Driver to join TriStar Motorsports for full XFINITY Series slate TriStar Motorsports announced Thursday morning that Cale Conley will make the jump to a full-time ride in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season. Conley , 22, competed in 11 races last season in the Nationwide Series -- which is transferring title sponsorship to Comcast's XFINITY brand in 2015. His best finish in Richard Childress Racing 's No. 33 Chevrolet was sixth at Kentucky Speedway in September. "I am looking forward to working with people that are excited to work with me and help me mature as a driver and competitor in this series," Conley said. "I am grateful to Mark Smith and TriStar Motorsports for being willing to take a chance with me and let me race weekend after weekend after weekend, so I can get one step closer to my ultimate dream of being a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion." TriStar, owned by Mark Smith, fielded 13 drivers in its four-car operation last season, with Mike Bliss , Eric McClure , Blake Koch and Jeff Green making the majority of the starts in the team's Toyotas. Mooresville, North Carolina-based team's best finish was a ninth-place from David Starr at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring. A spokesperson for TriStar said that more announcements regarding the team's driver lineup for 2015 were coming in the next two weeks. Conley brought his rich sprint-car background to NASCAR competition in 2011, gaining experience in the K&N Pro Series before venturing into Nationwide races. The West Virginia native notched his first victory on the K&N circuit at Columbus Motor Speedway in 2012. In addition to his growth on the track last season, Conley made waves off the track when he settled a bet with Emma Blaney by wearing a dress . The campaign to add to Conley's Twitter following and the ensuing pictures prompted the social media hashtag #DriverInADress. Conley is scheduled to appear as a guest on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90) on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Conley will run limited Nationwide Series schedule for Richard Childress
Conley showed good speed in Friday's practice sessions
Cale Conley blew a right front tire in Turn 2 and collected Brendan Gaughan leaving him with major damage.
Ryan Reed gets loose and makes contact with Cale Conley ending Conley's day.
Sprint Cup regular Dale Jr. posts top-10 speeds during both sessions Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live XFINITY Series Practice 1 " Full results Austin Dillon clocked the fastest lap in opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice Friday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Dillon, the only driver to break the 30-second barrier in the 55-minute session, drove the Richard Childress Racing No. 33 Chevrolet to a best lap of 180.977 mph on the 1.5-mile track. He'll be making his second XFINITY Series start of the season in Saturday's Boyd Gaming 300 (4 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Dale Earnhardt Jr . was second-fastest at 179.414 mph in the JR Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet that he co-owns. He was just ahead of JRM teammate Regan Smith , who registered the third-fastest lap at 178.453 mph. Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin completed the top five. Joe Gibbs Racing wound up using two fill-in drivers in their three entries for Saturday's 300-miler. Matt Kenseth was an emergency sub in the No. 18 Toyota for rookie Daniel Suarez, who was treated in the infield care center for a stomach ailment. Suarez felt well enough to turn a handful of laps near the end of the session, but it was Kenseth who posted the team's best lap, a 177.363-mph speed that was ninth-fastest overall. Hamlin will substitute all weekend in Gibbs' No. 54 Toyota for the injured Kyle Busch , who suffered multiple lower-leg injuries in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway . Defending series champion Chase Elliott , Erik Jones , Elliott Sadler , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Cale Conley , Ross Chastain , Kenseth, Earnhardt, Smith, Hamlin and Blaney were all held out of the first 15 minutes of practice. Their respective teams all served a penalty for being late to technical inspection last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway . XFINITY Series co-leader Ty Dillon was sixth-fastest of the 35 drivers who participated in the opening season. Chris Buescher , who shares the top spot in the standings, was 13th-fastest. Series regular Brian Scott didn't complete a lap after the engine in his Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Chevrolet developed early trouble. XFINITY Series final practice " Full results Opening practice leader Austin Dillon continued to lay down fast lap times during Friday's final practice session for the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . The No. 33 driver propelled his Richard Childress Chevrolet around the Nevada oval at 182.927 mph. After replacing the engine in his No. 2 ride, Brian Scott finally hit the track for the second practice. The lack of seat time a few hours earlier didn't seem to deter the Richard Childress Racing driver, as he posted the second-fastest speed, circling the speedway at 179.665 mph. Rounding out the top five were RSS Racing's Ryan Sieg (179.384 mph), Richard Childress Racing 's Brendan Gaughan (179.348 mph) and JR Motorsports' Regan Smith (179.301 mph). Sprint Cup Series veteran Denny Hamlin is subbing for the injured Kyle Busch in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this weekend. After running the most laps during the final practice, Hamlin ranked seventh on the leaderboard. Posting the ninth-fastest speed was JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who is wheeling the team's No. 88 machine this week. JRM driver and reigning XFINITY champion Chase Elliott rounded the 1.5-mile track 18th-fastest in his No. 9 Chevrolet. Joe Gibbs Racing 's Daniel Suarez missed most of the first session due to a stomach ailment, but was back behind the wheel of his No. 18 Toyota by the final practice. He posted the 19th-fastest speed on the leaderboard. The XFINITY Series will be back on track on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. ET, for the Coors Light Pole Qualifying with coverage on FOX Sports 2. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Organization also named Eddie Pardue as crew chief for Cale Conley Mike Bliss will be back behind the wheel for TriStar Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015, the team announced on Friday. The 2015 campaign will mark Bliss' fifth season in the XFINITY Series together. Paul Clapprood will return to serve as the crew chief for Bliss. In the past four seasons with TriStar, Bliss has recorded five top-10 finishes. TriStar also announced that Eddie Pardue will serve as the crew chief for Cale Conley and the No. 14 Toyota Camry team. Last season, Pardue served as the competition director for TriStar Motorsports. Pardue has served as a crew chief in the XFINITY Series before, working with Greg Biffle , Matt Kenseth , Jason Leffler and several other drivers. In 280 XFINITY Series races, Pardue has been atop the pit box for three wins. He also has crew chief experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (one race) and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (22 races). In other announcements, TriStar also said Bruce Cook will serve as the crew chief for Blake Koch in the No. 8 car. Last year, Cook served as the crew chief for nine races with the No. 80 team in the XFINITY Series. In those races, he served as the crew chief for Alex Bowman (one race), Ross Chastain (five races) and Johnny Sauter (three races) in 2014. Before that, Cook served as the crew chief for Ron Hornaday Jr . in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the 2013 season. He has one victory in his career in XFINITY competition, overseeing Tony Stewart 's win in the 2011 season opener at Daytona International Speedway in what was then called the Nationwide Series. Greg Connor will be back as the crew chief for the No. 44 team. Connor has been with the organization since 2013. A driver and sponsor announcement will be made in the upcoming weeks, according to a team release. Wes Ward will now serve as the shop foreman at TriStar as he hangs up his crew chief hat. Ward had over 15 years of crew chief experience with his lone NASCAR national series win coming with Kasey Kahne in the 2003 season finale at Homestead in what is now the XFINITY Series. Rick Viers has come on board as the team's new general manager, while Keith Barnwell will serve as the new executive vice president. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Menards to serve as primary sponsor for No. 33 XFINITY ride in select races Richard Childress Racing announced Thursday that Menards has extended its sponsorship of the team's efforts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The agreement will keep the Wisconsin-based home-improvement company's familiar fluorescent yellow colors on the RCR No. 33 Chevrolet in select races for the fourth straight season. Menards also provides backing for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Paul Menard on Childress' No. 27 entry. "Menards has become a key supporter of our XFINITY Series program through the past few years and I look forward to an even better future with them," said team owner Richard Childress. "John Menard has vast experience in motorsports and business and I have leaned on him for advice during our partnership. I can't thank him enough for being there." The team said that Menard and 17-year-old Brandon Jones will split duty in the No. 33 next year with Menards sponsorship. In late November, RCR announced that Austin Dillon would drive the majority of the No. 33 team's races with backing by Rheem. A rotation of four drivers spent time wheeling the No. 33 Camaro last season, with Menard scoring the lone victory at Michigan International Speedway in June. Cale Conley , two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton and former Nationwide Series champ Dillon also took turns in the No. 33 cockpit. Jones was announced as an addition to Childress' developmental program in early November. The Atlanta native finished fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings last season, posting an impressive victory at Iowa Speedway in August in a race for the combined East and West tours. 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
What to watch for in 2015 season With the NASCAR Nationwide Series officially becoming the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Jan. 1, here's a primer for this season: About XFINITY , a Comcast brand, signed a 10-year agreement that officially begins Thursday. XFINITY will become only the third title sponsor in the program's history, following Anheuser-Busch (1982-2007) and Nationwide ('08-14). XFINITY is the cable and broadband division of Comcast, providing video, high-speed Internet and phone service to residential customers. Comcast also owns NBC and NBC Sports Network, which will broadcast the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events next season as well as the final 19 races of what will be the XFINITY Series. FOX and FOX Sports 1 will televise the first 14 races of the XFINITY season. Aligning with such a recognized, technologically driven company will help NASCAR continue to innovate in the future, Chief Operating Office Brent Dewar said. "It's a great fit. ... We're looking for great innovative companies, whether they are innovating like our great automotive partners or our auto supply companies that work with us, or packaged goods," he said. "It's about innovation, and that's what we're looking at. We've got a great successful product, but we're not resting on our laurels to say everything is just perfect. We want to continue to innovate; we want to grow with our fan base. We want to bring our fan base with us." Returning contenders Chase Elliott , who last year won both the series championship and Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, returns in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Those who gave Elliott his stiffest competition will also be back. Teammate Regan Smith returns in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet after finishing second in the standings last year, and Richard Childress Racing teammates Brian Scott (No. 2 Chevy, fourth in points last year) and Ty Dillon (No. 3 Chevy, fifth in points) are also back in their respective rides. Elliott Sadler is a familiar returning face, but he'll be in a new car. Sadler signed with Roush Fenway Racing and will drive the No. 1 Ford. Sadler finished third in the standings last year for Joe Gibbs Racing , meaning the entire top five will be back. Young faces; new places Among the new faces, Darrell Wallace Jr . will have more XFINITY Series races after leaving Joe Gibbs Racing for RFR last month. He will drive the No. 6, vacated when Trevor Bayne got the bump to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, in a schedule that has yet to be announced. Daniel Suarez has a full-time ride with JGR in the No. 18 Toyota with sponsorship from ARRIS. Other notables: • Ben Rhodes , the reigning K&N Pro Series East champion, will drive in 10 races in the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. • Cale Conley will drive a full slate for TriStar Motorsports, although in which car has not yet been announced. • Erik Jones , who had spot duty in 2014, will have a part-time role with Joe Gibbs Racing in the upcoming season. • Brandon Jones will have select races, which have not yet been announced, in the No. 33 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing . Jones will turn 18 in February. Schedule The XFINITY Series mirrors the new Sprint Cup Series schedule, with Atlanta moving to the second race of the season, Bristol now falling in April and Darlington going to Labor Day weekend. The first off-weekend of the season again comes in late March, but it'll be two consecutive weeks off this year instead of one because Easter weekend follows the off-weekend. Iowa Speedway again hosts the first stand-alone event in May, and a tweaked summer stretch will include three road courses (two of which are stand-alones) in four races from Aug. 8-29. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See a timelapse of the No. 8 car getting wrapped Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Blake Koch has picked up primary sponsorship for the 2015 XFINITY Series season. TriStar Motorsports announced Thursday that Koch's No. 8 Toyota Camry will see LeafFilter Gutter Protection serve as the primary sponsor beginning with the Alert Today Florida 300 on Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). "There are so many things about LeafFilter that I love," Koch said in a release provided by the team. "First of all the product is amazing and fun to promote because no one likes to clean their gutters and LeafFilter has the solution." "The people behind the scenes of LeafFilter are awesome, and the hundreds of employees that I have met are so excited to be working for LeafFilter and are extremely motivated. Having their support this year is very encouraging and motivating and we are going to do everything it takes to put the No. 8 LeafFilter Toyota Camry in victory lane in Daytona." Last month, TriStar Motorsports announced that Koch will pilot the No. 8 car on a full-time basis. Bruce Cook will serve as the team's crew chief. TriStar Motorsports will field four entries in the XFINITY Series this season. Besides Koch, the driver lineup includes Cale Conley , Mike Bliss and David Starr. You can see a timelapse of the car being wrapped below. &amp;amp;lt;/center&amp;amp;gt; FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule