Johanna Long to compete in XFINITY, Truck events in 2015
22-year-old did not compete in any NASCAR national series in 2014 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Mike Affarano Motorsports announced Wednesday that Johanna Long will drive for the team in select NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series events this season. Long is scheduled to make her debut in the No. 03 Chevrolet in the XFINITY Series opener, the Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 21 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). "I'm grateful for the opportunity to race this season with Mike Affarano Motorsports," Long said in a statement provided by the team. "In a time when drivers are pressured to bring sponsorship money to teams in order to race, it was great to have my phone ring and be approached because of my talent." Long , a 22-year-old native of Pensacola, Florida, last competed in a NASCAR national series in 2013 with a 20-race schedule in what was then the NASCAR Nationwide (now XFINITY ) Series. Her best effort in her 41-race XFINITY career -- all spent with team owner Mary Louise Miller -- was 12th place on three occasions. Affarano's team will be making its first steps into the XFINITY ranks. The team added equipment from the former Turner Scott Motorsports organization in the offseason. "We are thrilled to have Johanna behind the wheel for 2015," Affarano stated. "She has such drive and determination that will represent our team well on and off the track, and we know she's great with attracting sponsors and fans. We're looking forward to growing and progressing as a company together this season." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Sound Off: Danica vs. Johanna
Johanna Long and Danica Patrick polarize fans in the Nationwide Series. Hear what they have to say about each other.
Long , Hornish wreck early at Phoenix
Johanna Long , Jamie Dick, and Sam Hornish Jr. wreck early at the Dollar General 200 at Phoenix.
Carmichael, Long crash hard
Ricky Carmichael spins out of Turn 4 and collects Johanna Long .
Pastrana, Cassill get turned by Long
Travis Pastrana and Landon Cassill get turned by Johanna Long
NASCAR announces race package for XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Indianapolis Teams competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this year will do so with a race package that incorporates three major modifications aimed at one goal -- improved competition at the legendary 2.5-mile speedway. Designed specifically for the 100-lap race scheduled for July 22, the modifications consist of a taller rear spoiler and splitter package; aero ducts on the lower front bumper area; and a 7/8th-inch restrictor plate currently used for superspeedway events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The static ride height of the cars will remain at 4 inches, which is unchanged from the current 2017 rules package. The Indy package was crafted after much in-house simulation and development and then field-tested on Oct. 12 at IMS for verification. XFINITY Series teams from Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Kaulig Racing participated in the test. "We (develop) the analytical package and come to some conclusions," Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Innovation and Racing Development, told NASCAR.com. "But then we also need to go on the track and verify this. So this approach has been a two-step approach, analytical creation of the package and then on-track verification. "We race at 29 tracks (across all three national series) and they're all very special," Stefanyshyn added. "Indianapolis has a long history; it's a wonderful track. Our objective is to give our fans the best possible show we can. We are very proud of being able to participate at Indy; we want to put our best foot forward. We believe we have come up with a package that gives us the best opportunity to do that." MORE: IMS announces updated race weekend schedule Stefanyshyn said officials had teams run various packages during the test. While the use of the restrictor plates enabled the cars to run closer together, the ability to pull out and pass remained difficult. "We saw the cars were closer together, but we weren't able to create some passing until we introduced the aero ducts," he said. "That's the main purpose of the ducts, to give the trailing car more of an advantage … we always hear about clean air and how the leader has clean air. Our objective here is to try to give the trail car more benefit." Without the aero ducts, cars running down long straightaways such as those at IMS hit a wall of air, which creates "a significant horsepower deficit" when they get within approximately one car-length of the lead car, Stefanyshyn said. The aero ducts direct air in through the existing brake ducts and out through the wheelhouse on each side. The high speed air flowing out creates a larger hole or "envelope" for the trailing car. Use of the aero ducts should increase the amount of horsepower differential for the trailing car by approximately 25 percent. "We're giving the driver more momentum from four-five car lengths back, gaining coming into within half a car length; when he gets right into that bubble, he's still got to cross through it, but he's carrying momentum and he can break through it," Stefanyshyn said. Stefanyshyn said incorporation of the package isn't "a slam dunk," but studies and testing have thus far validated the changes. "Our belief is that we will create a situation where they can pass on the straightaways," he said. "That's been done analytically, it's been done with three cars. The question is when we turn 40 cars loose on the track can that still manifest itself and that's still what we’re hoping will happen." Speeds likely won't vary greatly with the new package, and the use of restrictor plates isn't expected to generate the big packs of traffic on the track similar to what typically is seen at Daytona and Talladega. Stefanyshyn said it's more likely that there will be several groups of five or six cars each, "and in each of those groupings we're hoping to see passing on the straightaways." The XFINITY Series has competed at IMS since 2012, and the lack of passing on the big, flat track has been a concern for NASCAR and speedway officials. Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) led more than half the laps in winning the last two XFINITY Series races at Indy and he led 92 of 100 when he won the race in 2013. Dale Earnhardt Jr. addressed the racing package this week during his weekly Dale Jr. Download podcast. Earnhardt Jr. competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports. He is also co-owner of JR Motorsports, which fields four full-time teams in the XFINITY Series. "I'm curious to see (the changes)," he said. "I think NASCAR sees this as an idea on how fix racing in general at Indianapolis." According to NASCAR officials, there currently are no plans in place to utilize the package at any other venue or in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Lambert relishes first Monster Energy Series win
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary MORE: Race results " Post-Phoenix standings Richard Childress Racing crew chief Luke Lambert led Ryan Newman and the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet team to one of the gutsiest and most popular wins in recent NASCAR history last Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. While most of the race field made a final pit stop with a handful of laps remaining, Lambert told Newman to stay out on track. And the veteran driver made the decision look brilliant leading the final six laps to win his first race since 2013 -- a dramatic win from the pole position at Indianapolis. It was Lambert's first ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory as crew chief and came in his 157th Monster Energy Cup Series race atop the box and fourth season working with Newman. Looking at the next few races, Newman has five top-10 finishes in his last seven races at this weekend's venue, the two-mile Auto Club Speedway. He scored wins at Martinsville Speedway in 2012 and Texas Motor Speedway in 2003. Lambert, 34, was understandably optimistic when NASCAR.com caught up with him on Tuesday and feels that this team certainly has the potential to win again … and again before season's end. MORE: Childress, Newman win together " Crew call with the No. 31 team HOLLY CAIN: What a memorable way to get a first win as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series crew chief? LUKE LAMBERT: It was spectacular for sure. We are thankful for being able to put it all together. It was a good day. CAIN: Now that you've had some time to digest this great win, what has the reaction been like from others? LAMBERT: There's certainly been a lot of very gracious congratulations from a lot of people. A lot of people are giving me a lot of the credit, which I think is not completely all due. Ultimately I'm just one cog in the wheel. Everybody at the company has worked so hard to get us there. I think everyone deserves a lot of pride and exuberance for us to be able to get the victory because it certainly took every one of us." CAIN: The win meant so much to the organization as a whole. How did it feel to do something so important for not only the team but for team owner Richard Childress, whose teams haven't won since 2013 either? LAMBERT: It was almost surreal in a lot of ways. We'd been working tirelessly for so long and felt like we had been making gains and getting closer to that mark. But it's almost as if chasing a moving target because of how competitive the sport is. You hope and plan to reach your goals but you can’t be sure it will happen. It was surreal we were actually able to follow through and really enjoy that moment. I felt like the first few races of the year, we've had great cars. I felt like we've had cars that, in the right circumstances, could win the race. Our car at Atlanta was really strong. The Vegas car was strong. We just fought unforeseen circumstances at both of those races -- electrical at Atlanta and tire at Vegas. I really felt like we've had a lot of momentum with the team but the results on paper weren't really reflecting the direction we were going until Sunday. CAIN: With the change in the points structure, how different does it make your approach for the rest of the season having already secured a win only four races into the schedule? LAMBERT: Ultimately it's still a huge step towards being closer to making it into the championship. Getting our win puts us in a scenario we have not been in for the last few years. It does move our season along a lot faster than in years past. The last couple of years we've been holding onto that points position as our transfer spot into the playoffs so we really had to preserve solid finishes and couldn't take gambles for bonus points. Now, we are really racing for those bonus points, for wins and stage wins. So we can take chances that might sacrifice a solid finish in order to go after stage wins. So that's the scenario we’re in and as a team that will be really fun to race like that. As a team we will try equally as hard as we ever have, it just changes the risk-reward balance and affects some of the decisions we get to make. RELATED: Newman pumped to be back in Victory Lane CAIN: Have you spoken to Ryan post-Victory Lane and how are you two still savoring the win? LAMBERT: We hung out for a while yesterday (Monday) and neither of us had really gotten much sleep. He got like an hour and I actually never laid down Monday night (laughter). We got lunch together today and we were both kinda starting to hit that wall. He was physically exhausted and he was burnt up pretty bad from the heat in the car -- his feet and the backs of his legs actually have some pretty severe burns on them. He was kinda hurting. I was tired. More than anything else, we were elated but exhausted at the same time. We talked about how glad we were to be able to accomplish that, but we also talked about Fontana (Auto Club) and started working on our plans to have a car that could win at Fontana this weekend. CAIN: How does this early success change things going forward for your team and the whole organization? LAMBERT: It absolutely can (change things). The thing about racing, they don't give the checkered flag to the fastest race car. They give the checkered flag to the one that crosses the finish line first. You have to have a really good car to do that. Sometimes the fastest car doesn't. It takes certain circumstances to fall your way and you have to do everything right and get a little fortune along with it for most races. For everything to all come together Sunday, proved and reiterated to our group that we have what it takes. And it changes our position in the playoffs as far as having that win and gives us a little more pep in our step to be able to operate a little more aggressively. Having that early is just a big boost of excitement that I think will propel our season in a really strong direction. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Decker sisters qualify for Truck race at Martinsville
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Successful late model drivers Claire and Paige Decker, along with cousin Natalie Decker, all hoped to take the green flag in Saturday's Alpha Energy Solutions 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway . Claire, 21, and Paige, 23, are sisters from Eagle River, Wisconsin, and both made the field, qualifying 31st (92.038 mph) and 30th (92.389 mph) respectively. They are only the second pair of sisters ever to compete in the same Truck Series race, joining twins Amber and Angela Cope. Paige would finish the race 25th while Claire finished in the 27th position. Claire, a former NASCAR Drive for Diversity competitor, drove the No. 10 Chevrolet owned by Jennifer Jo Cobb . Paige was behind the wheel of Mike Harmon 's No. 74 RAM, having finished 30th in Harmon's truck in her series debut at Martinsville last fall. Cousin Natalie, 18, also a D4D alumna, was driving the No. 14 Chevrolet owned by Bob Newberry but did not make the field after qualifying in 38th place for a 32-truck field. All told, 18 female drivers have competed in Truck Series races, led by Cobb, who has 117 starts. Cobb also boasts the best finish by a female in series history -- sixth at Daytona in 2011. The highest finish by a female at Martinsville belongs to Deborah Renshaw, 15th in 2004. Only once in NASCAR national series history have more than three women competed in the same race. That happened in the Truck Series at Martinsville in 2010, when the Cope twins, Cobb and Johanna Long all took the green flag. On nine other occasions, three women have raced in the same NASCAR national series event: twice in Sprint Cup , four times in the XFINITY Series and four times in the Truck Series.
Elliott wins Snowball Derby after Bell disqualified
NASCAR Nation was buzzing Sunday and into Monday about the results of the 48th annual Snowball Derby Super Late Model Race. Specifically, the chatter was regarding race winner Chase Elliott and the driver who crossed the start/finish line first. The two were not the same. Christopher Bell , who won at Eldora in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in July, took the checkered flag in his Kyle Busch -owned entry before being disqualified less than an hour later for failing post-race technical inspection. That led to Elliott, who finished second to Bell, being declared the official winner -- Bell was formally scored 37th, last in the field. I feel for @CBellRacing21 , I've been there. Would much rather be the first one across the line, but I'm happy to take it home this time! — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) December 7, 2015 The 300-lap race on a half-mile oval in Pensacola, Florida, is the Super Bowl of late model races and has launched the careers of several drivers. Elliott won the event in 2011, and Erik Jones -- now a rising NASCAR star -- turned heads in 2012 when he outdueled Kyle Busch for the win. The event had a distinct NASCAR flavor, with the following drivers also competing in the main event: Dalton Sargeant (fourth), William Byron (eighth), Kaz Grala (10th), Daniel Hemric (11th), Johanna Long (20th) and 2014 winner John Hunter Nemechek (21st). Busch, who won the race in 2009, shared his disappointment and frustration via Twitter. Ahh the joys of ownership! Not sure why I continue the aggravation. — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) December 6, 2015
Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez top Friday practices
Dillon, Suarez both looking for first Iowa win RELATED: Practice 2 results After running fourth in Friday's first practice, Ty Dillon topped the leaderboard in the second practice with an impressive fastest lap of 133.012 mph in 23.682 seconds. The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet completed a total of 67 laps for the session. NASCAR XFINITY Series veteran Brendan Gaughan was second on the leaderboard for Friday's final practice session with his No. 62 Chevrolet coming in hot with a fastest lap of 132.704 mph in 23.737 seconds. T.J. Bell rounded out the top three with a lap of 131.871 mph (23.887 seconds). This weekend will mark the first time Bell has lined up for a NASCAR XFINITY Series race since 2012's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Next on the leaderboard was Drew Herring in his No. 6 Ford. Herring had a fastest lap of 131.519 mph (23.951). This will be his first NASCAR XFINITY appearance since 2013's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And completing the top five for this session was Brian Scott in his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet with a lap of 131.403 mph. Daniel Suarez , who topped the first practice, finished ninth in the Friday night's practice (131.026 mph). The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing driver will be on the lookout for his fourth consecutive top-five finish this weekend at Iowa Speedway. Kenny Wallace , who will be competing in his last race in the series this weekend at Iowa, finished 15th. Wallace is looking for his 10th career win at Saturday's U.S. Cellular Presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SiriusXM). NXS action continues Saturday with the Coors Light Pole Qualifying at 4:45 p.m. ET. RELATED: Practice 1 results Daniel Suarez topped the leaderboard in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opening practice on Friday at Iowa Speedway. The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota posted a fastest lap of 133.367 mph. Next was fellow rookie Brandon Jones in his No. 33 Chevrolet with a fastest lap of 131.965 mph. Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland marks Jones' second start in the XFINITY Series. His first race was at Iowa’s May race, the 3M 250 , where he finished eighth. Rounding out the first session's top three was Ben Rhodes . Rhodes had a fastest lap of 131.744 mph. Ty Dillon (131.546 mph) and Darrell Wallace Jr . (131.486 mph) came in fourth and fifth, respectively. XFINITY Series points leader, Chris Buescher finished practice in the seventh spot, posting a fastest lap of 130.332 mph. Johanna Long , finished 30th in the first session. This is Long's first 2015 appearance as she hasn't raced since 2013's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On-track action continues at 7 p.m. ET with the NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice on NBCSN. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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