ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- News of Richard Childress Racing 's crew chief switcheroo for its Nos. 3 and 33 Chevrolet teams in the NASCAR XFINITY Series might've seemed like a rash measure back in June. With Ty Dillon sitting second in the driver standings, the swap resembled an overhaul more than a tweak. Eight races later, the early returns are promising for both RCR outfits, with momentum aligning for Dillon's championship push heading into Saturday's Road America 180 Fired up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Dillon remains second in the standings with a 19-point deficit heading into the 23rd of 33 races this season, but he also has a streak of four straight top-five finishes built up for the final road course event of 2015. The Richard Childress-owned team announced its move June 24, moving Nick Harrison over to call the shots for Dillon's No. 3 operation. Danny Stockman shifted over to RCR's No. 33, a full-time team but with three part-time drivers -- Austin Dillon , Brandon Jones and Paul Menard -- sharing the seat. The younger Dillon said the change has gone smoothly so far, but that the more encouraging byproduct has been the team's ability to compete for top-five finishes rather than settle for top-10s. "It's going really good. We're all figuring it out and we've made sure we've had our communication down the last couple weeks," Ty Dillon said. "Every week, we've gotten stronger and stronger and had really good race cars. It makes it easier to finish top-five when you have such good race cars. Nick's been calling good races and we just have a lot of momentum right now, heading in the right direction. We keep finishing in the top five like we are, we're going to get some wins and really put the heat on them." The move paid some immediate dividends for Austin Dillon , who prevailed at Daytona International Speedway in the team's first event since the personnel change. The Dillon-Stockman pairing reunited the driver-crew chief combination that netted the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in 2011, then the XFINITY crown two years later. Menard will participate in his fourth race under Stockman's watch this weekend, making his first XFINITY start in his home state of Wisconsin since 2010. The Sprint Cup Series regular said he understood the reasons for altering the team dynamic. "It was more for Ty, honestly," Menard said. "They called me to see if I was OK with making the switch and I said whatever is better for the company is fine with me. I know we'll run good with both those guys." Ty Dillon has methodically made up ground -- or at least held serve -- in the weeks following the change. After crashing out at Daytona and slipping to 43 points in arrears, he's chopped the deficit in half and then some, helping him apply pressure to Roush Fenway Racing 's Chris Buescher , the points leader since May. It's resulted in additional spring in the step for Dillon, noticeably so according to Harrison. "We've had a string of top-fives here, so we've got some kind of mojo rolling and we've been having fun doing it," Harrison said. "The pressure and intensity level's getting higher as we creep down toward the end of the year. Having some momentum is definitely showing to be a strength, and you can tell it's helping everybody's spirit going into the closing part of the year. "We've had two top-fives at Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen, so coming here, I think confidence is up for not only us but especially Ty. I feel like that's real important. You can just tell his attitude and charisma is where it needs to be right now and I feel like that's going to help tremendously." The poise may come in handy this weekend on the blazing fast 4.048-mile circuit, where off-course pitfalls and the prospect of fender-bending conflicts await. Dillon has managed to steer clear of the former if not quite the latter in this month's other two road-course events, gathering top-five finishes at both. The potential for trouble -- mixed in with the uncertainty of possible racing in the rain -- hasn't done much to deter Dillon's outlook as the final third of the season begins. "We're going for it. This is definitely an opportunity," Dillon said. "We're not sitting back and trying to let things happen for us. We're going for it. You never know what can happen with rain and the way a road course races anyway, so we've got to be on the attack and try to win this race."
Chase Elliott and Brandon Jones crash off Turn 4 at Iowa Speedway after Jones thought he was clear of the No. 9.
Rick Gdovic unsure when team will run under new banner The assets of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race team Viva Motorsports have been purchased by Brandon Gdovic 's dad, Rick Gdovic, he told the Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia. Rick Gdovic told the newspaper he purchased all of Viva's stock-car racing assets last week and the team, under the Precision Performance Motorsports banner, will race out of Viva's former shop in China Grove, North Carolina. The organization raced in the first 13 races of the season with Brandon Gdovic making two starts for the Jamie Dick -owned organization. His best finish was a 26th-place effort at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Two weeks ago, after the Michigan race weekend, Viva Motorsports announced it was ceasing operations. Dick (five races) and Jeffrey Earnhardt (six races) also made starts for the team this year. At the time, a team release said that the assets had been purchased and the No. 55 car would appear in a handful of races. Rick Gdovic told the newspaper that his son will be one of the drivers for the team and that they hope to run selected races over the course of the rest of 2015 with an eye on running the bulk of the 2016 schedule if additional sponsorship and drivers can be secured. The team will be sponsored by Pronius, American Messaging, WindStax and Gdovic's own business, ComServe Verizon Wireless. "We are excited about the purchase of Viva's operation," Gdovic said. "They have continued to build race assets and a reputation over the past few years. "We plan to continue their drive to become a top-level XFINITY Series operation that offers great value for our sponsorship partners, and another step up the ladder for our driver development program." The purchase includes 12 cars as well as race engines, shop, office equipment and a hauler. The China Grove shop will also house the K&N Pro Series East cars of Gray Gaulding , who is part of PPM's team in that series. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
RELATED: Full practice results Brandon Jones topped a rain-interrupted Camping World Truck Series practice session on Tuesday, pacing a stacked field with a best speed of 124.751 mph. The caution was brought out for weather in Turn 2 at 3:28 p.m. ET, with rain and track drying continuing until the session went back to green an hour later. Jones was followed by two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton at 124.719 mph, then Erik Jones (124.565 mph), Ryan Blaney (124.018 mph) and Cole Custer (123.554 mph) to round out the top five. Almost as soon as the track went back under green, Brandon Brown smacked the Turn 4 wall, suffering heavy right-rear damage and bringing the yellow back out. The trucks will next hit the track on Wednesday morning for final practice at 11 a.m. ET, with coverage on FOX Sports 1. Keystone Light Pole Qualifying will be held later that afternoon at 4:45 p.m. ET (FS2), with the race to follow at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
RELATED: Full qualifying results Kyle Busch won the Keystone Light Pole Qualifying on Wednesday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway. Despite Kyle's recent on-track dominance in all three series, this is his first pole for the 2015 Camping World Truck Series season. "Rowdy" had a fastest speed of 125.683 mph in 15.267 seconds. Next on the leaderboard was the driver of the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford, Ryan Blaney . Blaney posted a fast lap of 125.559 mph in 15.282 seconds. And rounding out the top three was Brandon Jones in his No. 33 Chevrolet, coming in at 125.469 mph (15.293 seconds). Next was the No. 4 of Erik Jones (125.166 mph) and the No. 00 of Cole Custer (125.142 mph) in fourth and fifth, respectively. On-track action for the NCWTS picks back up at 8:30 p.m. ET for the UNOH 200 Presented by ZLOOP (200 laps, 106.6 miles), FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM.
RELATED: Full practice 2 results Cole Cluster led the final Camping World Truck Series practice for tonight's UNOH 200 Presented by ZLOOP with the top speed of 126.528 mph. Following the JR Motorsports driver on the leaderboard was Ryan Blaney (126.104 mph) who was second-fastest in the session. John H. Nemechek (125.708 mph), Ty Dillon (125.609 mph) and Brandon Jones (125.609 mph) round out the top-five fastest. Jones was the fastest driver in the first Truck Series practice on Tuesday. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is scheduled for tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Dalton Sargeant, who will be making his NCWTS debut in tonight's race, ranked sixth in the final practice with a time of 124.971 mph. The 17-year-old was 21st-fastest in the first practice on Tuesday. Points leader Tyler Reddick had the 10th-fastest time in Wednesday's practice (124.170 mph).
Seven NASCAR XFINITY Series teams and one from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will lose 15 minutes of on-track time this weekend as a result of recent minor infractions. According to NASCAR, the following XFINITY Series teams will serve 15-minute practice time deduction penalties during the opening practice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, site of Saturday's Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 : Richard Childress Racing No. 2 (driver Brian Scott ), Team Penske No. 22 ( Alex Tagliani ), JGL Racing No. 26 ( Tomy Drissi ), Richard Childress Racing No. 33 ( Brandon Jones ), Jimmy Means Racing No. 52 ( Joey Gase ), Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 ( Boris Said ) and JR Motorsports No. 88 ( Ben Rhodes ). The seven teams were penalized for issues arising at Watkins Glen this past weekend (late exiting garage). The first practice for NXS teams at Mid-Ohio is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET Friday. The JR Motorsports No. 00 Camping World Truck Series team will serve a 15-minute penalty in the opening practice at Michigan this weekend for an issue (falling out of inspection line) two weeks ago at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The series did not compete this past weekend. Opening practice for Truck Series teams at MIS is scheduled to get underway Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET. Sprint Cup Series driver Alex Bowman is scheduled to drive for the JRM team this weekend in Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200 Presented by the Cooper Standard Foundation and Brad Keselowski ’s Checkered Flag Foundation.
RELATED: Practice 2 results Justin Marks sped to the top of the leaderboard late in Friday's final NASCAR XFINITY Series practice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, piloting his No. 42 Chevrolet around the road course at 95.574 mph. That was just quick enough to unseat Ty Dillon from the top spot. Dillon, who led Friday's opening practice and was looking for a sweep, had a best speed of 95.538 mph, which looked like it would hold up. That ended up being good for second place. Marks hasn't raced an XFINITY Series car since the season-opening race at Daytona, in which he finished 34th in the No. 29 Toyota. Alex Tagliani (95.205 mph) was third in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, followed by Chris Buescher (95.152 mph) and Elliott Sadler (94.965 mph). Chase Elliott , who finished eighth in the final session, spent time in the garage so his team could swap his transmission after the driver reported a small vibration on his second run, according to JR Motorsports. Next on the docket for the XFINITY Series is qualifying, which takes place Saturday at 11:15 a.m. ET. The Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 follows at 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). Opening practice RELATED: Practice 1 results A late mock qualifying run vaulted Ty Dillon to the top of the leaderboard in Friday's opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, Dillon topped Brian Scott 's best speed with approximately 90 seconds remaining in the opening 55-minute session with a pace of 95.660 mph. Scott, his Richard Childress Racing teammate, settled for second in the session at 94.937 mph. In a practice session that saw its leaderboard get topsy-turvy as teams made late runs in qualifying trim, Boris Said piloted the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to third place (94.825 mph). Regan Smith was fourth at 94.755 mph and defending race winner and series points leader Chris Buescher taking fifth (94.736 mph). Buescher enters Saturday's Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) 24 points ahead of both Chase Elliott and Dillon. Elliott finished seventh in the first practice. Dillon, of course, was involved in a pit-road tussle with Smith following last week's race at Watkins Glen. They avoided each other in Friday's opening period of on-track activity. RELATED: Smith, Dillon get physical post-Watkins Glen Seven NASCAR XFINITY Series teams lost 15 minutes of on-track time as a result of recent minor infractions. The following XFINITY Series teams served 15-minute practice time deduction penalties during the opening practice: Richard Childress Racing No. 2 (driver Brian Scott ), Team Penske No. 22 ( Alex Tagliani ), JGL Racing No. 26 ( Tomy Drissi ), Richard Childress Racing No. 33 ( Brandon Jones ), Jimmy Means Racing No. 52 ( Joey Gase ), Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 ( Boris Said ) and JR Motorsports No. 88 ( Ben Rhodes ). The seven teams were penalized for issues arising at Watkins Glen this past weekend (late exiting garage).
RELATED: Full NXS practice results from Bristol Brendan Gaughan led NASCAR XFINITY Series practice Friday morning with a quick lap of 125.289 mph in the No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway. Another RCR Chevrolet, the No. 33 of Brandon Jones , was quick at the end of practice, notching the second-fastest speed of 124.995 mph, edging out teammate Brian Scott . Scott's No. 2 Camaro was third-fastest with a speed of 124.914 mph at the 0.533-mile concrete oval in Bristol, Tennessee, under clear skies. Sprint Cup regulars Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were fourth- and sixth-fastest, respectively, in their Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. Hamlin's No. 20 posted a speed of 124.897 mph, and Busch's No. 54 was clocked at 124.549 mph. Ty Dillon rounded out the top five in his No. 3 RCR Chevrolet, posting a fast lap of 124.792 mph. Series points leader Chris Buescher was eighth-fastest in the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford at 124.444 mph. The Food City 300 is scheduled for 7:30 ET tonight (NBCSN/Live Extra, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR).
17-year-old will compete in two more 2014 Camping World Truck Series races Brandon Jones is joining GMS Racing to run two more NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season. Jones will pilot the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 25 as well as the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 7. Shane Huffman will serve as crew chief. "I couldn't be more excited to continue our NCWTS efforts this season with GMS Racing at Martinsville and Phoenix ," Jones said in a release. "The opportunity to start our relationship at a familiar track like Martinsville is a great benefit and I'm incredibly excited to tackle Phoenix for the first time. GMS Racing has had impressive performances this year and I can't wait to get back on track working with Shane Huffman and the entire organization." Jones has made six previous Camping World Truck Series starts in his career, including three this year, all for Turner Scott Motorsports. His best finish was a fourth-place result at Dover this past spring. Jones has made two previous starts at Martinsville and has an average finish of 17.0 at the track. The 17-year-old Atlanta native competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East circuit this season and finished fourth in the final standings. He won his first K&N Pro Series East race at Iowa Speedway in August. Huffman served as the crew chief for most of his races on that circuit and has also been the crew chief for all three of Jones' starts this season in the Truck Series. "Everyone at GMS Racing is thrilled to welcome Brandon into the fold of the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado," Nic Moncher, the general manager of GMS Racing, said in a team release. "He has shown a great deal of talent this season across every series he has competed in, and we're both looking forward to great performances together at both Martinsville and Phoenix . Brandon has all the tools you like to see in a young driver and he will be a great asset to our Truck Series program." This season, GMS Racing has fielded a full-time truck for Joey Coulter (No. 21), while Max Gresham and Spencer Gallagher have split time in the No. 23 entry. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule