- Did you mean:
GMS Racing to run select XFINITY events in 2016
STATESVILLE, N.C. (February 3, 2016) - GMS Racing announced today that the team would field a single-car entry in select NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) races throughout the 2016 season. Spencer Gallagher is slated to pilot the team’s No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro beginning at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, March 12. The Statesville, North Carolina-based organization currently competes full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) with Johnny Sauter , Spencer Gallagher and Grant Enfinger. Gallagher completed his first full-time NCWTS campaign in 2015, finishing 10th in the driver championship standings with one top-five and six top-10 finishes. "This is big for GMS Racing," stated Mike Beam, GMS Racing Director of Competition. "We've worked hard to make sure we have the right resources in place to take the next step and we feel like now is the right time. This will be a great opportunity for us to put our equipment to the test, make improvements and get Spencer some additional experience." Leading Gallagher through the next phase of his career will be crew chief Joey Cohen, who joins GMS Racing after serving as Lead Engineer for Roush Fenway Racing . "I'm excited to take on a new role with GMS Racing and to add to the team’s development," said Cohen. "I truly feel like we have put together a strong team to pave the way for GMS Racing to break out in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. There will be a lot to take away from the track after each race, but I don't see why we can't put together some solid finishes along the way. I'm excited to take on a new role with GMS Racing and to contribute to the team's development." Additional details on GMS Racing’s NXS plans will be released at a later date.
Analysis: Last year's results with 2016 format
First, let's get something straight. Yes, we know that taking the new 2016 postseason format and applying it to the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series results to show who would have been the champion last year in an elimination format isn't scientific. Obviously, drivers would have raced differently. We get it. This isn't exact. It is, however, fun. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase will send eight drivers into a seven-race postseason, and the field will get whittled from eight to six and then from six to four for the season finale at Homestead. If you need a refresher on the rules, go here. So, who would have won the championship last year if the new format was in place? So glad you asked. RELATED: How NXS title would have turned out " Who benefits from changes? THE FIELD • Three drivers would have clinched their berths with victories in the first 16 races -- Tyler Reddick (Daytona, Dover), Matt Crafton (Atlanta, Kansas, Texas-1, Kentucky) and Erik Jones (Iowa, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park ). • Five drivers would have clinched their berths by virtue of points: Johnny Sauter , Daniel Hemric , Cameron Hayley , Timothy Peters and John Wes Townley . Townley would have earned the eighth and final spot by 12 points over Spencer Gallagher . • Cole Custer (Gateway), Christopher Bell (Eldora) and John Hunter Nemechek (Chicagoland) all won races running for Truck Series points, but would not be eligible for the postseason since they did not attempt to qualify for every race. The points heading into the first postseason race at New Hampshire would have looked like this:
Busch thrills youth at local Las Vegas high school
PHOTOS: 'Rowdy' takes Las Vegas LAS VEGAS— Kyle Busch returned to his Las Vegas roots on Tuesday afternoon—but not his racing roots. Busch kicked off NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion's Week with a visit to a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) class in room 709 at Clifford J. Lawrence Junior High School on the west side of the city, less than a 20-minute drive from the middle school he attended as a boy, Hyde Park. Champion's Week, NASCAR's annual postseason celebration, brings together the "who's who" of the racing industry, celebrities and fans for a robust schedule of events and appearances by the 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup participants. The week culminates with Friday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, which will be televised by NBCSN (8 p.m. ET). A fast-tracked science and math student in his own formative years, Busch had dreamed of following his childhood hero, Jeff Gordon , into NASCAR racing and ultimately beating his idol for a Sprint Cup Series championship on Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . As Busch fielded questions from the class, it was clear that both his words and his stature as a series champion sparked keen interest from the young listeners. One boy in particular, named Ronan, appeared to have his sights set on a racing career. "He was pretty excited," Busch said. "He had his camera going, and he was the one who wanted to be the race car driver, and it seemed like he was the most attentive and interested in the conversation we were having." Interestingly, NASCAR had begun exploring the possibility of a school visit by the Sprint Cup champion eight weeks before the season ended, and the STEM class founded and taught by Stacy Schaumburg was chosen for the honor. It was a fortuitous coincidence that the series champion happened to be a Las Vegas native who had grown up in the Clark County School district. Busch was a good student, good enough to graduate from Durango High School a year early. "Mostly As and Bs," Busch said of his academic performance. But he had a strong incentive to crack the books. "Those were the grades I had to make for my mom to let me race," Busch said. If there was pressure on Busch to perform well in school so he could pursue his passion on the race track, the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota said his 2015 championship lifted a huge weight off his shoulders and may make future titles less stressful to achieve. "I was actually pretty surprised by, not necessarily how easy it was, but how I felt through the whole situation, not being too nervous or this or that or other things," Busch said of his drive for the crown. "I've been racing for XFINITY wins or Cup Series wins, and I feel like I've let some slip away because of my internal feeling, maybe and not being able to get the most out of the car. "But this whole experience was far different from any of that. I'm not sure if number two will make me feel nervous or what, but it certainly makes it easier to think, going down the road, that those championships hopefully that we can achieve would be easier."
Austin Dillon wins XFINITY race at Charlotte
RELATED: Complete results from Charlotte CONCORD, N.C. – Where Charlotte Motor Speedway is concerned, Austin Dillon doesn't mind being a creature of habit. After experienced veterans Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne knocked themselves out of contention on Lap 151 of Friday night's Drive for the Cure 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the 1.5-mile track, Dillon streaked away from Erik Jones to win by 2.809 seconds over the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. With the victory, Dillon completed a season sweep at Charlotte, both wins coming from the pole position. The triumph was Dillon's fourth of the season in the XFINITY Series and the sixth of his career. Dillon's closest call came not on the track, but during the pre-race ceremony. A fireball from one of the skyrockets used to liven up the proceedings dropped out of the evening sky and singed Dillon's firesuit. "I was actually praying, and the fireworks hit me in the back," Dillon said. "I didn't know if it was a sign from God or what. But it got me going right there with a firework in the butt." Now that he's completed a season sweep in the XFINITY Series, Dillon will go for a weekend sweep on Saturday night, but he'll have to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to achieve it. "We going to do our best (on Saturday) to do the same thing we did tonight," Dillon said. Brad Keselowski ran third, followed by Daniel Suarez and Regan Smith . Chris Buescher came home seventh and extended his series lead to 26 points over defending champion Chase Elliott , who finished ninth. Busch lost several positions after a Lap 147 restart, and he and Kahne raced aggressively for third place -- with repeated side-by-side contact between the two cars, before Busch pulled ahead. But Kahne drove hard into Turn 3 on Lap 151, tapping Busch's Toyota twice and sending it up into the outside wall. Kahne's Chevrolet also sustained damage in the incident, but he managed to finish 12th. Busch took his car to the garage on Lap 154 and retired from the race in 31st-place. "Kyle got mad because he got into it with his teammate (Jones) off Turn 2 on the start," Kahne said after the race. "That shuffled him back to where I was, and I'm racing to try to get by him." By Kahne's account, the hard racing soon escalated. "He started beating on me down the back and on the front, and I overdrove Turn 3 and got into him," Kahne said. Busch was not available to comment after exiting his car. Before the incident, Busch had led a race-high 102 laps, taking over the all-time lead in the series at Charlotte with 1,288 laps led. Mark Martin was the previous record holder with 1,257.
Kenseth wins pole at Charlotte; earns sweep
RELATED: Complete race lineup CONCORD, N.C. -- For a driver who keeps insisting that qualifying isn’t his strong suit, Matt Kenseth continues to excel on NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole days. Touring the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway in a blistering 27.759 seconds (194.532 mph) on Thursday night, the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota earned the top starting spot for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM), the first race in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Kenseth was .198 seconds quicker than JGR teammate Kyle Busch (193.154 mph), who put the No. 18 Toyota on the outside of the front row. Busch's car is sporting a pink paint scheme this weekend to bring attention to the work of his foundation in fighting breast cancer. The Coors Light Pole Award was Kenseth's fourth this year -- a personal best for a single season -- his second at Charlotte (and second consecutive) and the 17th of his career. Kenseth didn't have a perfect lap, but as he crossed the start/finish to complete the circuit, he knew he had a shot at the pole. "It was a heck of a lap," Kenseth said. "I knew I had a lot of speed. I kind of changed it up in (Turns) 1 and 2 a little bit, and I just got a little tight in the middle of (Turns) 3 and 4. I knew the car was fast. Our Dollar General Camry has been fast all day, and it was a lot of fun to drive." Kenseth gave the car and crew chief Jason Ratcliff's setup much of the credit for his pole-winning effort. "I knew it was going to be real fast," Kenseth said. "I didn't know we were going to sit on the pole by any means, but it had the feel and everything that I wanted. It's funny, this place, if you can get it to drive just like you want, you can really perform well here, but it's so hard to get that feel ... "But today he (Ratcliff) got it to drive that way. I was going to have to mess it up to not get it, as good as he had it there." Joey Logano (193.023 mph) qualified third, followed by Greg Biffle (192.947 mph) and Denny Hamlin (192.912 mph). With Carl Edwards claiming the eighth starting spot, JGR put all four of its drivers, all of whom are Chase contenders, in the top eight. All told, Chase drivers grabbed nine of the top 12 positions on the grid, with Biffle, Jimmie Johnson (seventh) and Aric Almirola (ninth) the only non-Chase drivers able to advance to the final round of knockout qualifying. Busch, who fought his way back into the Chase with a second-place finish last Sunday at Dover, was pleased with his effort in time trials. "I don't know -- Matt Kenseth , he was better than me, that's for sure," Busch said. "He got more out of it than me, but our pink M&M's Camry is awesome. We were able to post some good speed there. I'm real happy with it ... and I'm looking forward to the race on Saturday night." All 12 Chase contenders advanced through the first round, but Brad Keselowski (13th), Martin Truex Jr . (15th) and Jeff Gordon (22nd) weren't fast enough to make the final elimination session, which is restricted to the top 12. Keselowski ran an identical lap to 12th-place Carl Edwards but lost the final spot in the third round on an owner points tiebreaker. Josh Wise and Timmy Hill failed to make the 43-car field. The Sprint Cup Series is back on track on Friday for practice at 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra).
Kyle Busch earns 75th XFINITY Series win at Kansas
RELATED: Complete results KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Overcoming obstacles in the XFINITY Series is commonplace for Kyle Busch . In Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway , Busch brushed aside a pit road speeding penalty, a hole in the nose of his No. 54 Toyota, a pit stop that dropped him to seventh for the penultimate restart, an unwelcome green-white-checkered-flag restart and a teammate who had the fastest car for much of the afternoon. The end result was Busch's 75th XFINITY Series victory, extending his own record. Busch won for third time at Kansas and for the fifth time in 20 starts this season. The race also saw Chris Buescher add one point to his series lead over Chase Elliott . Though both drivers had issues -- Elliott a wreck during qualifying that sent him to a backup car and the back of the field; and Buescher a pit road speeding penalty -- Buescher won a drag race to the stripe to come home sixth to Elliott's seventh and leads the standings by 27 points over the defending champion. But the final 43 laps of the event were vintage Kyle Busch . Restarting seventh on Lap 157 after the seventh caution of the afternoon, Busch surged into second place in a single lap. For the next 28 circuits he harried teammate and eventual runner-up Matt Kenseth before clearing his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate through Turn 4 on Lap 185. Busch survived a green-white-checkered after Joey Gase 's engine blew and oiled the 1.5-mile track with five laps left. Picking the outside lane, Busch cleared Kenseth entering the first turn and pulled away to win by .607 seconds. "I wasn't sure we had enough for that 20 car (Kenseth) today, but there at the end of the race, the track was cooling down and certainly getting freer and it looked like Kenseth just was too loose," Busch said. "And I was able to really get the gas down and drive real hard and had a good car to stick through the corner. "This Monster Energy Camry was awesome, (crew chief) Chris Gayle and the guys did a fantastic job for me in getting me a really good piece there at the end to be able to battle with Matt, and it's cool to end up in Victory Lane any day… I wasn't sure how I was going to get the pass done, but fortunately, finally there I was able to do it." Kenseth suffered a loose handling condition late in the race and couldn't keep Busch behind him. "It's frustrating to get beat again," said Kenseth, who has finished second in each of his last four XFINITY Series starts. "We were out front in Chicago and had the better car, but second is the (next) best place to finish, I guess. "Kind of aggravating when you get beat, but we were too free at the end. I didn't give Wheels (crew chief Mike Wheeler) good enough information on the tires. I did everything I could to hold off Kyle except for wrecking. Just couldn’t do it." Joey Logano finished third, followed by fourth-place Ty Dillon and fifth-place Regan Smith . Busch would like nothing better than to duplicate his victory in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas (2:15 p.m. ET on NBC). After a 20th-place finish last Sunday at Charlotte in the first race of the Chase’s Contender Round, Busch could earn a spot in the Eliminator 8 Round with the ninth XFINITY / Sprint Cup weekend sweep of his career (including his three-series sweep at Bristol in 2010).
Kenseth wins Coors Light Pole at Michigan
RELATED: See all 43 cars " Starting lineup for Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Matt Kenseth 's No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota crew woke a sleeping giant just in time for qualifying for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) at Michigan International Speedway. But Kenseth jokingly credited a sleepless night -- brought on by worry over teammate Denny Hamlin 's lack of punctuality -- for his pole-winning effort in Friday's time trials at the two-mile track. Getting the most out of the high-drag aerodynamic package in force at the event at Michigan, Kenseth covered the distance in 36.458 seconds (197.488 mph) to win his third Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his first at MIS and the 16th of his career. Hamlin (196.990 mph) was second fastest, and Carl Edwards (196.276 mph) claimed the third starting spot, as Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three positions on the grid for the 23rd Sprint Cup race of the season. Austin Dillon (195.918 mph) qualified fourth as the top Chevrolet in the field, followed by Tony Stewart (195.477 mph) in a Chevrolet and Kyle Busch (195.450 mph) in the fourth JGR Toyota. Joey Logano , last week's winner at Watkins Glen, qualified 10th as the only Ford driver to crack the top 12. Based on practice speed, Edwards was a favorite to win the pole, but Kenseth, who was 10th on the speed chart in the opening practice session, closed the gap in time from qualifying. "We were a long ways off Carl in practice, and I don't even know what changes they made, but they changed a lot of stuff that really woke this thing up and had some speed," Kenseth said. "I knew I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 good, but Denny put up such a fast lap, and I got into (Turn) 3, and I was bound and determined that I was going to make it wide open. "I had the first half of the corner. It was the second half that was starting to get exciting. I got sliding up the track and bogged down a little bit. I wasn't sure that we were going have it, but I have to say thanks to those guys (the crew). They gave me a car with a lot of speed." In Hamlin's view, Busch's return from an injury has achieved a critical mass of four talented, veteran drivers at JGR who can benefit from each other's expertise. "When you have drivers that you can feed off of, like the three teammates that I have, it makes a difference, and so that's where you're seeing the results," Hamlin said. That didn't prevent the driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry from throwing a barb toward the 43-year-old teammate who beat him for the pole. "Matt was probably too old to remember to lift there," Hamlin said of Kenseth's qualifying run. Kenseth provided a different perspective. "I could say it's because I didn't get enough sleep," Kenseth said. "I flew up with Denny today, and he likes to come to everything at the last minute. I didn't sleep last night thinking that we weren't going to make it up here, so it's really just for lack of sleep. I get to credit Denny for the pole." Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Logano completed the top 10. Reed Sorenson failed to make the 43-car field.
Kenseth foils fuel-less Harvick for New Hampshire win
RELATED: Full results from New Hampshire " Updated standings MORE: See the new Chase Grid LOUDON, N.H. -- Kevin Harvick clarified his championship status on Sunday -- but not the way he had planned. After dominating the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for most of the afternoon, Harvick ran out of fuel while leading on Lap 298 of 300, handing the top spot and the victory to Matt Kenseth , who joined teammate Denny Hamlin as an automatic qualifier for the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Despite leading 216 laps on Sunday, Harvick, the defending series champion, heads to next Sunday's Chase race at Dover almost certainly needing a victory at a track where he has never won in order to escape the Challenger Round of the Chase and keep his title hopes alive. Kenseth, who came to pit road for fuel and tires on Lap 239, triumphed for the fifth time this season (tops in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series), for the second time at the Magic Mile and for the 36th time in his career. He finished 8.941 seconds ahead of Hamlin, who nursed his car to a runner-up finish despite a late-race issue with the right front wheel. "It feels great to win here -- a lot of great race fans here at New Hampshire," Kenseth said. "We had a great car today -- Kevin definitely had the field covered and (Kenseth's crew chief) Jason (Ratcliff) did a great job on pit strategy there, and those new tires paid off better than we thought to get up through the field. "And I was able to keep the pressure on enough and he came up a little short." The victory was the 13th of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing , which has won 10 of the last 13 Sprint Cup events. Joey Logano ran third, followed by Greg Biffle , Carl Edwards , Jimmie Johnson , Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr . The only non-Chase driver of that group, Biffle posted his third top-five result of the season. Dale Earnhardt Jr . had a consistent top-10 car all afternoon, until he, too, ran short of fuel with two laps left and finished 25th. Earnhardt goes to Dover with no margin for error. He’s 12th in the standings, the final position that will survive elimination next Sunday, and just one point ahead of both Kyle Busch and Paul Menard . Busch blew a right front tire on Sunday, pounded the Turn 3 wall on Lap 159 and was credited with a 37th-place finish. Harvick, who finished 21st and declined comment after the race, came to pit road for the last time on Lap 212 and couldn't squeeze the last 88 laps at the 1.058-mile track out of his fuel cell. Restarting third on Lap 243 after the ninth and final caution (for Justin Allgaier 's wreck in Turn 3), Harvick passed Biffle for the lead on Lap 252. Twenty laps later, Kenseth got past Hamlin for second and tried to pressure Harvick, who left Loudon in 15th place, 23 points behind Earnhardt in 12th. "Jason kept saying he (Harvick) was low on fuel, but you never know unless they really run out," Kenseth said. "I was trying to run hard, but I was trying to save a little bit. I got racing Denny pretty hard, and I wanted to save the tires a little bit, but I also know I needed to get by him to pressure the 4 (Harvick). "That was as hard as I could run. I was planning on running up there and trying to pass him. I just couldn't get there. Kind of resigned to finish second with about four or five (laps) to go there. I couldn't get much closer, and he ran out with a couple to go." Second to Kenseth in the standings, six points out of the Chase lead, Hamlin also acknowledged JGR's good fortune on Sunday. "Really, I don't feel like we were dominant today by any means," Hamlin said. "Yeah, our cars finished 1-2, but I'm not sure that we had 1-2 cars most of the day. "So I think we've been very fortunate with some strategies and things that we've played that's worked out in our favor. You've got to just keep working. That's the only way you can stay on top is to not rest."
Gaining Traction: Spencer Gallagher
NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine gets to know up and coming NCWTS driver Spencer Gallagher.
Kahne holds off Jones in Truck Series thriller
Just .005 seconds separate pair in green-white-checkered finish