Hosts Marty Snider and Chris Rice talk about the rain-shortened Phoenix race and breakdown how each driver in the Championship Round can come out of Homestead a champion.
Veteran crew chief to sit atop box, serve as competition director Chris Rice has left RAB Racing for the position of competition director and crew chief of the No. 20 Chevrolet for NTS Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , the team announced Tuesday. Rice was crew chief of the No. 99 Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for 14 races this season (and every race last year) before leaving the box to be the program's competition director. He will serve as crew chief for Austin Dillon this week at Michigan, the team announced, and will lead Gray Gaulding the following week at Bristol. Rice is also an analyst for NASCAR.com. "I have kept my eye on NTS Motorsports and watched them grow over the past few years," Rice said in a press release. "They have a great stable of drivers that continue to impress me week in and week out." All told, Rice has 11 years of experience as a Nationwide Series crew chief. He's called 219 total races in that series, and 41 in the Camping World Truck Series. Team owner Bob Newberry has run 81 races in the Truck Series, starting in 2012. The No. 20 team has used four different drivers in the seat this year and has a best finish of second (Justin Lofton at Texas). The team is currently 13th in the owner standings. "We are proud to have Chris Rice join us at NTS Motorsports," NTS Vice President of Operations Dwayne Gaulding said. "I have known Chris and his family for several years and have been impressed with his attitude and demeanor. Chris will be a great asset to NTS Motorsports on both sides of competition in the Camping World Truck Series and K&N Pro Series. Bob Newberry and myself look forward to Chris' positive attitude and how it will spread throughout the shop." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Hosts Marty Snider and Chris Rice examine the continuing drama between Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano after the wreck at Martinsville, talk about Jeff Gordon's win and look ahead to the racing at Texas Motor Speedway.
The topic of the day, tampering with tires. NASCAR.com analyst Chris Rice explains why making holes in a tire could be an advantage for some teams.
NASCAR.com Analyst Chris Rice explains what went wrong for Joey Logano during a late-race pit stop at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Hosts Marty Snider and Chris Rice examine Jimmie Johnson's win at Texas Motor Speedway and talk about how Johnson's win affects Chase drivers in the final race of the Eliminator Round at Phoenix International Raceway.
NASCAR.com's Chris Rice explains how the No. 10 team's left-side driver heat shield could create an advantage on the track.
NASCAR.com's Chris Rice sits down with all four Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs to talk about the organizations changes in 2015.
RELATED: Full race results " Final season standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- As it turned out, the final step in Chris Buescher 's march to the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship was almost pedestrian. None of his closest pursuers could mount a serious challenge for the victory in Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . In fact, Buescher, title runner-up Chase Elliott and fellow contenders Ty Dillon and Regan Smith all went a lap down to race winner Kyle Larson during a long green-flag run in the middle of the race. Ultimately, Buescher got a free pass back to the lead lap and finished 11th, leaving him with a 15-point edge in the standings over Elliott, the defending series champion, and 18 over third-place Dillon, who finished seventh on Saturday. With no real pressure from his competition, and with 18 points in hand entering the race, Buescher's primary task was to keep his No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford out of trouble, and the 23-year-old Texan did exactly that. RELATED: Buescher's path to becoming a champion If the pressure of an impending first NASCAR national series championship was weighing on him, Buescher didn't show it. "I did a good job masking it didn't I?" Buescher said after the race. "I was a little nervous. All things considered, that was exactly what we needed to do, and we knew that and knew we were capable of doing it. "I'm glad we could pull it off for all the people that were on board all year, AdvoCare, Roush Performance, Cheez-It and all the fans. I know the weather wasn't ideal today (rain caused the fourth caution), but they hung in there with us and we made it through this thing and get to celebrate." More than seven years earlier, Buescher left home to pursue a racing career, despite the reservations of his parents. "I'm glad (my mother) let me," Buescher said. "I think she's OK with it now. I have to thank my parents so much for the opportunity to be here and leave home and do this. That was such an amazing race, just being careful. "Our Fastenal Mustang had good speed in it. We just had to be careful out there… It's pretty amazing to be in this position." Keeping his desire to race for victories in check, however, has been a difficult proposition for the young champion. "I am not a points racer," Buescher said. "I don't like it. It's not the most fun way to run the last 10 races of the season, but it is important. "This is what we have been fighting for since February at Daytona, and these guys (the team) have done such a great job and stuck in there with us all year and had no mechanical failures or DNFs. It's a huge accomplishment for our team." Austin Dillon , who finished second to Larson on Saturday, wasn't surprised Buescher and his team exhibited that sort of race management. " Chris is a smart race car driver," Dillon said. I think that's what won him a championship. I noticed it earlier on in the year. I've noticed it from when he was driving ARCA against Ty (Dillon, Austin's brother). Him and Ty had good battles then, and Chris is always smart with his equipment. "I think he knows the ability of the equipment, uses it to its ability every time, and finishes races well. So I think Chris is going to be good. He's smart. He doesn't tear up stuff. He's raced with less before, and it teaches you what you have in the car, so I think he's very good at managing his equipment and getting the best out of it." Interestingly, even with a championship to his credit, Buescher hasn't settled his plans for next season. "I'm optimistic about it," Buescher said. "I feel like we'll have something ... I just don't have anything right now. We don't have everything planned out at the moment. It will be a couple weeks, I'm sure, before we get everything lined up and get a little bit closer – not that I'm worried about it. "I feel pretty confident that the guys back at the shop are doing everything they can to get sponsors on board and to try to put together a 2016 season, wherever that may be." Team owner Jack Roush indicated Buescher would run some NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races next season. What's unknown is how many. "We're still not sure what his arrangement is going to be next year," Roush said. "He will be involved in a Cup car to some extent, but whether it's a part-time program or a full program, we're still in the midst of finalizing the conditions. "We've got a number of possibilities, but we're not ready to announce that today."
RELATED: Series standings going into final race Chris Buescher isn't fond of points racing or being cautious. But when it comes to Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:45 p.m. ET on NBC), he might have to do a little of both. Buescher leads Chase Elliott by 18 points, Ty Dillon by 22 and Regan Smith by 24 going into the race. With such narrow margins, Buescher will try to balance caution with aggression. "You've got to be a little bit more careful, but at the same time, I've been pretty adamant about how much I hate points racing," Buescher said. "So I want to go have a good day, and I feel like this has been a good racetrack for us. I've only run one race there but had a lot of fun last year, first and foremost, and was able to get a top five out of it. So I feel like this should be a good weekend for us. We just have to continue doing what we've done all year." While he'll try to race as usual while aware of his competitors, they'll be able to race with abandon. "You always push yourself to want more no matter what, and you're never satisfied unless you're winning in this sport," Dillon said. "I think it's one of the only sports where there's 43 people playing or participating each week and there's only one winner, so that makes 42 losers a week. You're always wanting to be that guy winning, and I want to be a champion for my team and myself, so it's something that I'm going to continue to push for." Elliott, who will replace retiring Jeff Gordon with Hendrick Motorsports next season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, said Buescher doesn't need any advice. "He doesn't need my help," Elliott said. "He's done a good job, and those guys are deserving of the position they're in, and for the rest of us trying to catch up, I know at least I can speak for myself, that we need to do a better job and try to catch up. We have an opportunity to do that this weekend." Buescher, a 23-year-old from Prosper, Texas, is one of four Roush Fenway Racing drivers in the top 10 in the XFINITY Series standings – Elliott Sadler , Darrell Wallace Jr . and Ryan Reed being the others. "I've been under the radar all my life," Buescher said. "(I'm) not opposed to it, so I've been able to have good success coming up through various series and been able to accomplish a lot to get to this point. It's a little bit more of a quiet way to get there, but we're here. We've made it this far. It's going to be a good weekend. We've just got to go race. That's what we've been trying to do all my life. This is the scenario I've been working toward for many years."