High participation scheduled for Charlotte tests
It's a rare occasion when NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams get a day all to themselves for on-track testing, so it's not surprising that more than 40 drivers are expected to take part in an open test May 2 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Multiple teams from JR Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Team Penske, Richard Childress Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing are among those slated to participate in the XFINITY Series portion of the test, which is scheduled to run from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. ET at the 1.5-mile facility. Entries from ThorSport Racing, GMS Racing, Red Horse Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports and Brad Keselowski Racing head up the Camping World Truck Series lineup. Scheduled on-track time for Truck Series teams is 3-9 p.m. ET. RELATED: Travis Pastrana set for NASCAR return, starting with test "We met with the teams about testing and because we knew that Texas was going to be a repave, we'd already heard that Kentucky was going to be another repave and we knew we were looking at a new aero drag and restrictor-plate package at Indy; all the teams got together and asked us to let them have one full-blown test," Wayne Auton, managing director for the XFINITY Series, told NASCAR.com."They voted to have one test and they all picked Charlotte, which works out with the aero package and it's before the two series race there." The schedule mirrors actual race time for the two groups -- the May 27 Hisense 4K TV 300 for the XFINITY Series is scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET start, while the May 19 North Carolina Education Lottery 200 for the Truck Series will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET. Each entry will get six sets of tires for the test and the use of telemetry on the vehicles will be allowed. Teams in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series have several opportunities to test during the season -- through Goodyear tire tests and organizational tests. XFINITY and Truck Series teams, however, are limited to additional track time during select race weekends. Auton said because of rules changes instituted this year, teams asked for and received additional on-track time at Atlanta and Phoenix. Practice time was also beefed up at Texas because that track underwent a repave earlier this year. The Charlotte test will give teams in the XFINITY Series to gather data from the new aerodynamic package through the use of telemetry on the vehicles. Truck Series teams can run telemetry during extra practice sessions, but Auton said XFINITY Series teams are prohibited from running the data-gathering devices at the request of the teams. Testing is prohibited in the two series with the exception of two developmental tests for drivers with fewer than 10 career starts and two additional tests for those competing for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. Auton said Monster Energy Series drivers are allowed to participate in the one-day test. "We made suggestion that no Cup drivers could come to the test," he said. "If you look at the numbers in the XFINITY garage for example, that was going to leave a bunch of teams out and wasn't fair. The owners wanted to know 'Why can't we bring our Cup guys if that's who we have driving our cars?' "The (Team) Penske cars wouldn't get to test; the No. 98 (Biagi DenBeste Racing) which is part time with Aric Almirola most of the time, wasn't going to be able to test. The owners called us and said they would like the opportunities to be able to test their cars." According to track officials, grandstands will be open to the public from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. ET. Speedway Club members, season ticket holders, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ticket holders and anyone purchasing Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series tickets on Tuesday will get infield access and can view the test session from the Pit Suites overlooking pit road. The Speedway Club will be open for lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. ET. Drivers scheduled to participate in the test are: NASCAR XFINITY Series: Kevin Harvick and Cole Custer (Stewart-Haas Racing); Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski (Team Penske); William Byron, Elliott Sadler, Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier (JR Motorsports); Tyler Reddick and Brennan Poole (Chip Ganassi Racing); Brandon Jones, Brendan Gaughan and Daniel Hemric (Richard Childress Racing); Matt Tifft, Christopher Bell and either Denny Hamlin or Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing); Darrell Wallace and Ryan Reed (Roush Fenway Racing); Blake Koch (Kaulig Racing); Ben Kennedy and Spencer Gallagher (GMS Racing); Dakoda Armstrong (JGL Racing), Casey Mears (Biagi DenBeste Racing); and Brandon Brown (King Autosport). Camping World Truck Series: Ryan Truex (Hattori Racing Enterprises); Travis Pastrana (Niece Motorsports); Noah Gragson and Myatt Snider (Kyle Busch Motorsports); Johnny Sauter, Spencer Gallagher, Justin Haley and Kaz Grala (GMS Racing); Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe (Brad Keselowski Racing); Cody Coughlin, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger (ThorSport Racing); Brett Moffitt and Timothy Peters (Red Horse Racing); John Hunter Nemechek (NEMCO Motorsports); Austin Wayne Self (AM Racing); Austin Hill (Young's Motorsports); and Brandon Jones (MDM Motorsports).
Talladega ties still run deep with immortal 'Alabama Gang'
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Talladega RELATED: Complete stats, race results for Talladega BESSEMER, Ala. -- In the beginning, there was Bobby and Donnie and Red. They were the Alabama Gang. Bobby Allison. Donnie Allison. And Charles "Red" Farmer. Three racers from South Florida who, as the 1950s ended and the '60s began, picked up stakes and relocated to little-known Hueytown, Alabama, in search of bigger race purses and infinitely more opportunities. Across much of the southeastern United States, local tracks were prime entertainment for folks in towns and cities such as Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville. And a driver with good equipment, enough talent, and a bit of luck, could make anywhere from two to three shows a week. You don't win bigger purses, of course, unless you run exceptionally well but that was never a problem for the Allisons or Farmer. In fact, they won so often on the region’s short tracks that other drivers quickly began to lament their arrival. It's a hard thing to pin down exactly when the Alabama Gang moniker first surfaced, and there are numerous versions of the story. But a similar thread runs through each -- whenever and wherever the trio arrived, the quality of the competition increased dramatically. "It was years before I heard the story behind it," former crew chief Larry McReynolds said. "I guess they kind of all traveled together in a caravan and would go to these different short tracks. They went somewhere, I don’t even remember where it was, and they all … Bobby, Donnie, Red, I think even Neil (Bonnett) -- three or four of them pulled in and somebody said, 'Well hell, here comes that damn Alabama Gang.' It just stuck and they kind of picked it up and ran with it." Bonnett, the former pipefitter who grew up in the area, joined the fold in the early '70s, and got his break only after working as a volunteer at the Allison's race shop in Hueytown. "I told him I didn't have money to pay him but what could I do for him," Bobby Allison said of Bonnett. "He said, 'let me drive one of your short track cars in a race or two.' I said, 'Tomorrow night is the night.'" Allison, whose NASCAR career was picking up steam, continued to compete in as many local shows as his schedule would allow. And as luck would have it, he was scheduled to run in two races in two different states the following night. "I promised I would race at Maryville, Tennessee, and I was committed to race at a short track in Virginia," Allison said. "So I gave him the car for Maryville and I went north the other direction." According to Allison, Bonnett won his race, at Smoky Mountain Raceway, "and that’s really when he became a member of the Alabama Gang. "He ran the car for me 64 times over the following year and won 61 of those races on short tracks all around Alabama," Allison said. Eventually they all competed at NASCAR's top level, what's known today as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, with varying degrees of success. Bobby Allison's star rose the highest, reaching its zenith when he won the series' championship in 1983 and culminating with 84 career wins and a much-deserved place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. A crash at Pocono Raceway in 1988 nearly took his life, and ended Allison's racing career. Donnie, every bit as successful in those early years, won 10 times as a NASCAR regular while often running a limited schedule. Injuries suffered in a hard crash at Charlotte in 1981 eventually ended his career behind the wheel as well, seeing him make just 13 more starts over the course of seven years. At 84, Farmer is the only one of the original Alabama Gang members still competing, and can often be found racing at nearby Talladega Short Track. Bonnett had 18 career wins when he was injured in a crash at Darlington Raceway in 1990. After a brief but successful stint in the television booth, he returned to competition in 1994 only to die when his car hit the wall at Daytona during practice for that season's Daytona 500. • • • It’s a gray, rainy day and the sounds of afternoon traffic rolling across interstate can be heard here -- the thump-thump-thump of 18-wheelers and the hum of cars and pickups and SUVs headed northeast toward Birmingham or southwest toward Tuscaloosa. The rain comes and goes but the traffic is constant, quickly moving past Bessemer and nearby Hueytown and yes, here at Highland Memorial Gardens too. Back in the corner of the cemetery, midway across the section named "Garden of Everlasting Life," is the plaque, centered on a piece of granite. Coins rest atop the marker. Two dimes, a nickel and three pennies here, a quarter and three pennies there. Twenty-eight cents. Always 28 cents. Twenty-eight, the car number of David Carl "Davey" Allison. Nearby, although not in the same section, is the grave of Davey's younger brother Clifford. Another Allison, another second-generation member of the Alabama Gang. Another racer who could seemingly outrun everything except fate. • • • Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Supespeedway (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is a homecoming for McReynolds, a native of Birmingham. As a youngster, McReynolds would often walk to nearby Birmingham International Raceway with his aunt and her husband to watch the weekly shows. Later, he convinced his father to take him to Talladega, to the "big track." McReynolds won 23 times as a crew chief in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, including 11 times with Davey Allison. One of those, in 1992, came just down the road at Talladega. "Even though I’ve been gone 37 years it’s still my home track," said McReynolds, now an analyst for NASCAR on FOX. "And I guess to finally win there as a crew chief with Davey in '92 -- Davey would start talking about Talladega a month out. He loved that place and obviously had a huge fan following there. And of course he won there three times; he won his first race there in '87 as a rookie. RELATED: Recalling Allison's first win at Talladega "But it was pretty special to be able to go to Victory Lane. … Almost 20 years earlier, I'm sitting in the grandstands with my dad and I asked if we could sit somewhere where I could see the garage area on race morning, and where I could see the pits, that's what I really wanted to see because that's what intrigued me. To know 18-19 years later I actually was the crew chief of the car that won the race and of all people to do it with, Davey Allison, and I guess that's what was even much cooler, 20 years after that, for my son Brandon , who is Davey's godson, to win the ARCA race there. "So to know what all happened in that 40-year span, almost in 20-year increments, is pretty unbelievable." • • • Hueytown once hummed with racing activity, home to the Allisons and Farmer and Bonnett and their families and extended families and when they won, the people of Hueytown won, too. Today? Today the clouds hang low and the rain starts and stops and out on the interstate the traffic is constant. Shops and storefronts have that slightly-used look, some no doubt repurposed for yet another shot at one business venture or another. There are roads and highways in the area bearing their names but the Alabama Gang is more memory than reality around here these days. Members of the next generation of the Alabama Gang, either by birthright or birthplace, have come and gone. Davey Allison, winner of 19 races and a runner-up finish to his father in the 1988 Daytona 500, died from injuries sustained in a helicopter crash at Talladega just five years later. He was 32. Clifford, two years younger, was killed when he crashed during practice in 1992 at Michigan International Speedway. Hut Stricklin and Mickey Gibbs and David Bonnett. Guys that had the ties but not the good fortune. • • • In the beginning, there was Bobby, Donnie and Red. They were, and will always will be known, as the Alabama Gang. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Second-annual XFINITY Philadelphia takeover tomorrow
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Pocono " See the races at Dover SEE: Inaugural event in photos It's that time of the year again. On Tuesday, May 9, Pocono Raceway, Dover International Speedway and Comcast are coming together for the second year in a row to bring NASCAR to the city in a major way for the NASCAR XFINITY Philadelphia Takeover. For the entire day, fans are invited to tag along at numerous events at key locations across Philadelphia, celebrating the sport in advance of upcoming races near Comcast headquarters, the NASCAR XFINITY Series entitlement partner, at Pocono and Dover. Most notably among the day's festivities, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series cars from participating teams JR Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing will be taking over the city streets during the midday hours, making a pit stop in front of Philadelphia City Hall and putting on a show for fans along the way. That was one of the highlights of last year's trip, with Ty Dillon putting on a smoke show, burning down the tires in his Chevrolet. A large cast of drivers from the NASCAR XFINITY Series will be spread across the city throughout the day, visiting the Franklin Institute, Reading Terminal Market, Thomas Edison High School and Philadelphia Phillies game that evening. A star-studded lineup of drivers is expected to be in attendance for the day, including Ryan Reed, Darrell "Bubba" Wallace, Jr., William Byron, Michael Annett, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones, Daniel Hemric, Ben Kennedy, Brennan Poole, Cole Custer and Blake Koch. New for this year, fans are invited to participate in an expanded fan fest, located at the Comcast Center on the front plaza. Throughout the entire day, families will have the opportunity to receive free tickets to the upcoming NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Dover and Pocono. In fact, kids ages 12 and younger are admitted free to all NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, making it easier for families to create memories at the racetrack. Back-to-back race weekends at nearby venues in the month of June will give fans from the Philadelphia area and beyond the opportunity to see their racing heroes following the NASCAR XFINITY Philadelphia Takeover. First, the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover International Speedway on June 3, followed by the Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway on June 10. Fans are encouraged to follow along with the events of the day via social media and use #XFINITYTakeover to join the conversation. On Twitter, @XFINITYRacing, @PoconoRaceway, @MonsterMile and @NASCAR_XFINITY will all carry updates, along with Pocono Raceway and Dover International Speedway on Facebook. &lt;/p&gt;
GarageCam replay: Fiesta time at Talladega
Go inside the XFINITY Series garage at Talladega Superspeedway and hear from JJ Yeley, Brandon Jones and Garrett Smithley
Brandon Jones extends deal with RCR in XFINITY
WELCOME, N.C. -- Brandon Jones , 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase contender and Rookie of the Year candidate, has signed an agreement to remain with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) as the driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro in the XFINITY Series for the 2017 season. " Brandon has shown he has the talent behind the wheel to run up front and compete for championships in the XFINITY Series, and we are pleased he will continue to do so in an RCR Chevrolet," said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR. "We are proud of everything he has accomplished this season, including leading laps, making the inaugural XFINITY Series Chase and contending for the Rookie of the Year title. Brandon has also been an excellent spokesman for our sponsors and does an exceptional job representing our brand. We can't wait to see what Brandon can do in his second full XFINITY Series season." In his first full year with RCR, Jones has recorded 11 top-10 finishes through the first 26 races and earned a spot in the XFINITY Series Chase. The 19-year-old driver scored an impressive sixth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway , and also led 36 laps at Talladega Superspeedway in April. "I am honored to return to Richard Childress Racing for the 2017 season," Jones said. "RCR is such a storied NASCAR organization and it's a great opportunity to be a part of the team. Racing full-time in the XFINITY Series this season has been a valuable learning experience. I believe we have what it takes to compete for the championship throughout the Chase this season and make another run at the title in 2017. The teamwork and support from RCR, ECR Engines and Chevrolet have been second to none and instrumental in my development as a driver. I've also enjoyed representing several partners including Menards, Nexteer, Chevrolet, Okuma, Cometic, Roland and Rain-X." Before joining RCR as a full-time driver in 2016, Jones ran five XFINITY Series races in 2015, earning one top-five and two top-10 finishes, along with 16 laps led. The Atlanta, Georgia, native, has 30 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, recording five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. He also has one NASCAR K&N East Series win and three ARCA Racing Series victories.
Brendan Gaughan is like Brandon Jones' (much older) big brother
Having a little brother can be cool. More often, it's annoying. Little brothers get a kick out of being pests, as 41-year-old Brendan Gaughan is learning this year with his 19-year-old Richard Childress teammate, Brandon Jones . Ready to head out to 2nd practice like pic.twitter.com/7KyKGsvQZn — Brandon Jones (@BrandonJonesRac) November 4, 2016 That's Jones in Gaughan's firesuit ... with perhaps a little extra padding. Gaughan, of course, declared payback is coming. Oh I can't wait... the payback is going to be EPIC! @BrandonJonesRac https://t.co/KDc4guknFx — Brendan Gaughan (@Brendan62) November 5, 2016 Thing is, this isn't the first time Jones has worn a filled-out version of Gaughan's suit over his wiry frame. Ready to carry the @southpointlv colors this weekend at @MonsterMile . @Brendan62 thanks for the suit! #TheChase pic.twitter.com/65lmoZXnHE — Brandon Jones (@BrandonJonesRac) September 26, 2016 And guess what? Gaughan vowed vengeance then, too. Oh you are SO gonna pay for that @BrandonJonesRac ! https://t.co/RaOQojg05L — Brendan Gaughan (@Brendan62) September 26, 2016 That means that Gaughan has had well over a month to plan his payback, which will undoubtedly be awesome. Why? Because -- call it experience -- big brothers always get the last prank.
Brandon Jones, Brendan Gaughan get 'Annoying'
Richard Childress Racing drivers Brandon Jones and Brendan Gaughan are taking their talents to YouTube. The pair of NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers made guest appearances in the hit online show "Annoying Orange," which is certainly among the most unique things you'll ever see. And, well, just watch.
Experience surrounds Brandon Jones' rise at RCR
RELATED: Series standings " See how the XFINITY Chase Grid looks Photo credit: (HHP/Gregg Ellman) For any rookie there is always a bit of a learning curve, but for Brandon Jones he has several veterans surrounding him to help guide the way in his first full NASCAR season. One of the younger drivers in the garage, 19-year-old Jones pilots the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He's fifth in the standings with seven top 10s ahead of next weekend's Subway Firecracker 250 (July 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). At RCR, Jones has a stable of teammates with a variety of experience in Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 Chevrolet) and the brothers Dillon, Ty (No. 3 Chevrolet) and Austin (No. 2 Chevrolet) as well as Paul Menard (No. 2 Chevrolet) to lean on for advice and guidance. "The biggest thing everybody's helped me out with is not coming so much to the tracks I've been to in the past, but the tracks that we haven't seen so far," Jones said at Iowa Speedway last week . "People like Brendan and all the teammates really they help me out a lot. We've got a lot of notes from previous years from everybody that goes to driver debriefs so I have that to kind of go over and look through. They are just always there to help me out if they see something." Gaughan, who has 20 years of NASCAR experience, shares an easy rapport with the young Jones as evidenced by their willingness to play off their similar first names and their exchange when the elder statesman of the RCR team asked Jones how old he was during a recent press conference. When Jones answered, 40-year-old Gaughan buried his head in his hand. Just past halfway in the regular season of the XFINITY Series, Gaughan likes what he has seen from Jones. "When he goes out and runs top 10 just about every week, it's not like you need to keep giving him a lot of coaching," Gaughan said. "You just want to try to keep the head on straight, keep him pointed in the right direction -- and he does a good job of that already to begin with." Jones also has the experience to draw on from crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. atop his pit box. Hillman comes from a racing background but he used another sport to describe how the young driver gets ready, especially for a track that's new to him. Coming into this season, Jones, a Georgia native, had 30 NASCAR national series starts split between the XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. "It's kind of like being a quarterback; he watches a lot of game film, a lot of in-car camera stuff and the races that have been run at the racetracks before to try and be on top of it before we ever get here," Hillman told NASCAR.com at Iowa. Hillman notices the cool and calm demeanor with which Jones carries himself. The duo bonded away from the track as well and Hillman, age 37 and a father of three, has welcomed Jones into his family. "To have the age difference between the two of us, but to have a lot of things in common and enjoy a lot of things outside of racing, it's really cool to be able to hang out and grow together," Hillman said. Hillman, a New York native, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from working primarily in the Camping World Truck Series and winning two championships with Todd Bodine , as well as working with young drivers such as Kyle Larson , Jeb Burton , Cameron Hayley and Ben Rhodes . Last season, Hillman was atop the pit box for Brian Scott and the No. 2 team at RCR in the XFINITY Series. Under Hillman's guidance, Jones is in a comfortable position to be one of the 12 drivers competing in the debut of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, which begins Sept. 24 at Kentucky Speedway . While Jones has been consistent in averaging a finish of 11.4 -- fifth-best among XFINITY Series regulars -- he has yet to record a top-five finish in 2016, and has been out front for just 36 laps (all coming at Talladega in April) . Those are among the next steps Hillman wants to see Jones make as the series gets closer to the postseason. "We have to take our eighth-, ninth- and 10th-place finishes and make them fourth, fifths and sixths," Hillman said. "And then once we do that, we can start making them firsts, seconds and thirds, and just take it a step at a time. Hopefully, if we keep doing that and progressing the way we are, by the time we get to the Chase, we're in a spot to be in contention."
Chase driver Brandon Jones involved in costly incident
Brandon Jones is involved in a costly incident with Justin Marks, becoming the first Chase driver sent to the garage at Kentucky Speedway.
Brandon Jones slips up early in NXS practice
Brandon Jones makes contact with the wall at Kentucky Speedway during practice for the ALSCO 300, forcing him to a backup car for the race.
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