NASCAR Next driver to make first national series start at Dover Team Little Racing announced Friday afternoon that it has reached an agreement with ThorSport Racing for a part-time schedule for NASCAR Next driver Jesse Little in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season. Little , 18, had previously announced that he would make his truck tour debut May 29 at Dover International Speedway . Friday's announcement provided extra detail on his 2015 plans, including the partnership with ThorSport -- winner of the last two Camping World Truck Series championships with veteran Matt Crafton . "To have this alliance and support from ThorSport Racing for my Truck Series Events is a huge step forward for me, Team Little Racing and our partners," Little said in a release provided by his team. "Our goals are to put together solid finishes and represent ThorSport Racing, Duke Thorson and our sponsors including NASCAR Technical Institute and Performance Friction Brakes in a first-class manner." Thorson has fielded trucks in the series since 1996. His three-truck effort this season includes rides for Crafton, Johnny Sauter and rookie Cameron Hayley . "We look forward to supporting Jesse as he makes his transition into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series," Thorson said. "We feel that this alliance with ( Little ) will assist him in reaching his ultimate goal in NASCAR." Little will have a familiar face atop the pit box in Harold Holly, a 19-time winner as a crew chief in what is now called the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The veteran wrench spent two seasons as crew chief for Little's father, Chad , in both XFINITY and Sprint Cup competition. "Jesse is an impressive young man in so many aspects of life," Holly said. "He's a strong student, treats everyone with respect and is eager to learn new things. From a racing perspective Jesse has won at every level he's competed on, takes care of his equipment, provides his team with good feedback and knows how to pace himself during a race. This partnership with ThorSport Racing will give us a chance to compete at one of the sport's top levels where Jesse can show his skills. "We have solid goals, will work to be a good teammate and always be respectful on the track. As a team we're excited to get to Dover and see what our team can do in our Camping World Truck Series debut." Jesse Little is in his fourth season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where he was the rookie of the year in 2013. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Fourth XFINITY Series pole of the season for 2013 champion RELATED: Full starting lineup Austin Dillon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 300 on Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, PRN, SiriusXM), turning a lap of 184.615 mph around the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The No. 33 Richard Childress Racing will be on the pole, sharing the front row with Darrell Wallace, Jr. The No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford led the first round of qualifying with a speed of 183.968 mph and finished the final round of qualifying with a lap at 184.395 mph. This is the fourth pole of the season for Dillon, who won from the top spot in Las Vegas in March. Brian Scott will start third in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (183.799 mph); Denny Hamlin starts fourth in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (183.536 mph); and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five with a lap of 183.474 mph in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet. Chad Boat lost control and spun out through the grass during XFINITY Series qualifying. The incident was almost identicial to Boat's wreck in the No. 84 Billy Boat Motrosports Chevrolet during Thursday's practice for the Hisense 300 .
Chad Boat loses control and spins out through the grass during XFINITY Series qualifying, almost identical to his wreck this past Thursday during practice for the Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Driver will be on call in case 'Rowdy' can't go full distance at Charlotte Making his first start in a points-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the sport's longest event, Kyle Busch will have a backup plan for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). Erik Jones will be on standby for Busch at Charlotte Motor Speedway should the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota not be able to go the full 600 miles. Erik will be on standby duty this weekend for @KyleBusch . As a precaution Erik will finish out happy hour on the 18 cup car. — Erik Jones (@erik_jones) May 23, 2015 Jones even went out and logged some laps during final practice on Saturday but Busch's intent is to run the full race just three months after suffering a compound fracture of the right leg and a broken left foot in a crash during the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway in February. The fact that Jones will serve as a standby driver for Busch comes as little surprise. In his conference call with reporters last week to discuss his return to action ahead of a sixth-place showing in the Sprint All-Star Race, Busch said the 18-year-old would be on standby to fill in as necessary. Three drivers took turns filling in for Busch in the 11 races he missed. Jones made one start at Kansas, while two-time defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton climbed in the No. 18 Toyota at Daytona and David Ragan made nine starts. Jones got some seat time as well at Bristol, filling in for Denny Hamlin , who suffered neck spasms and decided as a precaution not to return to the race after a lengthy rain delay. Sunday's 600 mile race is the longest of the season and the 12th race on the Sprint Cup Series schedule. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Joey Logano will also start from the front row in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 RELATED: Full starting lineup " See all 43 cars CONCORD, N.C. – After powering to his second pole of the season on Thursday night, Matt Kenseth will start NASCAR's longest race from the most advantageous position—with his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota getting serviced in the most advantageous pit stall. Kenseth ran his fastest lap of the night (194.252 mph) in the third and final round of knockout qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway and secured the top spot on the grid for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM), the 12th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. The Coors Light Pole Award was Kenseth's first at Charlotte and the 15th of his career. Kenseth, who covered the 1.5-mile distance in 27.799 seconds, was a whopping .204 seconds faster than Joey Logano (192.836 mph), whose No. 22 Team Penske Ford will start beside Kenseth's Camry on the front row. "I think starting up front is important at this track," Kenseth said. "It typically goes through a lot of changes here, especially if the sun is out for the beginning of the race. You want to have good track position, good pit selection—all those things—so if you get a little bit off and you're chasing the setup, or the track changes, you have a little bit of a buffer being toward the front, hopefully... "All the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas had some speed tonight, and that was encouraging." SHOP: Kenseth gear Carl Edwards (192.733 mph) was third in his No. 19 JGR Toyota, followed by Greg Biffle in his No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford (192.226 mph) and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner Denny Hamlin in his No. 11 JGR Toyota (192.007 mph). Surprisingly, in consecutive seasons that have seen domination of the intermediate speedways by the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Chevrolet of reigning series champion Kevin Harvick and the No. 48 Chevy of six-time champ Jimmie Johnson , Toyotas and Fords claimed the top seven qualifying positions for the 600. To Logano, however, the absence of a Chevrolet from the top five spots on the grid for the first time this season isn't hugely significant. "Those guys have been fast in the race—that's where their speed really shines," Logano said. "They qualify good--don't get me wrong—but in the race they shine a little bit more. You're talking about the 4, the 41 ( Kurt Busch ) and the 48. Those are the ones that stand out. "And I'm sure they'll be fast when it comes to race time. Qualifying's a different animal. You use a completely different setup, and qualifying can kind of mask over some issues you have in race trim a lot of times. ... I wouldn't (read) too much into it." Notes: All four Hendrick Motorsports entries failed to advance to the final round of knockout qualifying, but Kasey Kahne had a valid excuse. A cut tire prevented him from posting a quick qualifying laps. As a result, the three-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600 will start 33rd on Sunday ... Jeb Burton , Mike Bliss , Travis Kvapil , Jeff Green and Brendan Gaughan failed to make the 43-car field. The 48-car turnout for qualifying was the largest since 49 entries showed up for the season-opening Daytona 500 .
First K&N Pro Series East victory for NASCAR Next driver comes in front of influential eyes
Marty Snider and Chris Rice preview all the action in this week's Coca-Cola 600 as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads home for Memorial Day weekend.
Strategy play to stay on older tires late pays off for six-time Cup champ RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " SHOP: Winner's gear KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Thanks to a brief but wild Kansas spring storm and the long delay it produced, Jimmie Johnson on Sunday became the first Sprint Cup driver to win a race on Mother's Day since 2007. Johnson, who is pursuing a record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship this season, held off Kevin Harvick over the final six laps to win Sunday morning's SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway . Johnson's victory -- which was recorded just after midnight local time because of a delay of 2 hours and 16 minutes -- was his third of the season and his third at the 1.5-mile Kansas oval. "It was a long, hard night," Johnson, who led just 10 laps and who spun out unassisted early in the race, said in Victory Lane. "Once we got up front, we were able to hang on." Reminded about what day it was when he finally took the checkered flag, Johnson said, "I just want to wish Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. My mother and especially my wife Chani (Johnson, wife), hopefully she is still awake. I wish she was here. I wish my girls were here too, but I will be home tonight and we will have some fun tomorrow." Harvick, who led 53 laps, finished second in his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Third was Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr . Fourth was another Hendrick driver, Jeff Gordon , while pole-sitter Joey Logano was fifth in a Team Penske Ford. The victory was the 73rd of the six-time champion's career. It came thanks to some late-race strategizing by teams who had cars and drivers at the front of the field. Harvick appeared to be headed toward his third victory of the season as the laps wound down after he took the lead on a restart lap with 55 laps to go. The defending series champion had a lead of over 1 second with 14 laps to go and nobody appeared fast enough to close that gap let alone get around him. But with 12 laps to go, Ricky Stenhouse Jr .'s Roush Fenway Racing Ford clipped the outside wall to bring out the final caution. Harvick and all but four others -- Johnson, Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon -- pitted as they were iffy on fuel. Harvick also opted to take two right-side tires. After the restart with six to go, the race became a three-driver affair as Johnson, Earnhardt and Harvick, who restarted sixth, edged away from the field. The decision by Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus turned out to be a winner – even though they had less rubber than did Harvick. Harvick never got close enough to Johnson to take a final shot at a pass. Johnson said the decision to not pit was a split-second, gut-feeling kind of thing and it was mostly his. "I could tell he (crew chief Chad Knaus) was having a hard time making the decision," Johnson said. "I'm kind of running through the events in my mind. We have two wins, we are locked in the Chase, and we are here to win a race, let's gamble. Let's go for it. Sure enough it paid off. A few more laps I think the No. 4 (Harvick) would have had me. He was awfully strong. Obviously being on right side tires would have been an advantage for him. We had just enough time to get this Lowe's Chevrolet to Victory Lane. Just very proud of the team and the effort that has gone into it. We have great race cars. I wish we would qualify a little better on Friday's that would make life a lot easier for us." Harvick said he wasn't mad about his team's decision to pit. "I've been on the other side of this deal where the cars aren't running good and you don't have a chance to win," he said. "We won a championship on pit calls and tires and everything fell our way. We've had a lot of things go our way and we've had a lot of things work." Harvick did insist, however, he had the faster car regardless of the outcome. "He wasn't that strong," Harvick said of Johnson. "He was just trying to run right in front of our car so for those first few laps when you're pushing like that it really takes the air off the front of the car and it gets the chatter in the front end and it snaps around. But that was the strategy they took and it worked out for them." Perhaps the most bummed driver as a result of the finish was Furniture Row Racing 's Martin Truex Jr . His No. 78 Chevrolet was clearly the fastest on the track for the vast majority of the race. It led a race-best 95 laps. But his team felt it needed to pit for fuel during the final caution. On the restart, it became obvious they had made the wrong call. Truex finished ninth. "We should have either stayed out or took new tires," Truex said. "We probably did the worst thing you could have done there with just staying out and getting gas only because we ended up being the last guy with no tires. Everybody else behind us had two and they ate us up on the restart." MORE: Video recap " Dale discusses Hamlin incident FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule All-time premier series wins Rank Driver Wins 1. Richard Petty 200 2. David Pearson 105 3. Jeff Gordon 92 4t. Bobby Allison 84 4t. Darrell Waltrip 84 6. Cale Yarborough 83 7. Dale Earnhardt 76 8. Jimmie Johnson* 73 9. Rusty Wallace 55 10. Lee Petty 54 *200 top-5 finishes is 12th all time *300 top-10 finishes is 17th all time
Sawyer to take over for Little , who moves to new managing director position Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Chad Little , the former managing director for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has been named Managing Director, Technical Inspection/Officiating, and Elton Sawyer has been named to Little's previous position overseeing the Camping World Truck Series. The moves come as NASCAR prepares to kick off its 2015 season later this month at Daytona International Speedway . Little , a former driver with more than 200 career starts in NASCAR's premier series, oversaw the Camping World Truck Series from 2013-14. The reliance on technological resources and innovations has never been more evident in the sport, and it will be up to Little to help digest and direct the information gleaned from such advances. The last two years have seen the use of a laser-guided measuring system for the inspection process as well as a paperless mobile inspection application that is faster and more detailed. For 2015, a new officiating process that will rely on cameras and video to help police pit road is set to come into play. "I will work with the series directors and our managing supervisors of officials, and I'll also be working with the vehicle section experts, our engineers, at the NASCAR Research & Development Center," Little told NASCAR.com Monday. "We'll try as hard as we can to button up our processes … look at all of our processes for inspection and officiating and see if we can continue to improve on all those. We spent a lot of time and effort the last several months on mobile officiating devices at the track, pit road technology, on our electronic rule book. We just wanted to make sure that we're taking advantage of all that." Little said he will be involved in overseeing all three national series -- Sprint Cup , XFINITY and Camping World Truck series -- but that his role will be focused on what occurs behind-the-scenes. Series directors will continue to manage their respective events. Sawyer is also a former driver, and has held a variety of positions in the sport. That diversity, he said, should help him as he steps into his new role with the Truck Series. "Patty and I actually owned an XFINITY team back in the early '90s," Sawyer said of he and his wife, Patty Moise, who is a former racer as well, "so I had some experience on the ownership side. "I've been a crew member … working for (team owner) Bill Davis on a Ford driven by a young competitor named Jeff Gordon . Now we go full circle, (Gordon's) getting ready to retire." Sawyer also worked with former owner Ray Evernham in bringing Dodge back into NASCAR and served as competition director for Red Bull Racing during its brief stock car experience. The past four years have seen him working in IMSA as director of race team operations for Action Express. "Wayne Auton and Chad have done a tremendous job over the last 20 or so years with this series," Sawyer said of the two previous directors. "I went ahead and just put my rookie yellow stripe on." Getting familiar with those he doesn't know in the series will come in time, he said, but his past experiences with those in charge has given him a good jumping off point for his new position. "It's a high priority. I always appreciated that you could always approach John (Darby, Sprint Cup director), good or bad, you could ask him a question and you may not get the answer you were looking for, but he gave you an honest, upfront and I felt like, a fair answer. "I think just being transparent, being open, being in the garage is a big part of that." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine sits down with NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie Chad Boat to discuss his early racing career, his family's racing legacy and a deal with his mother to continue his education.