XFINITY Series points leader discusses what he hopes the future holds NEWTON, Iowa – When Austin Dillon wrapped up his 2013 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship run, he'd run two full-time Camping World Truck seasons (winning a title in his second) another two at the XFINITY level and had a ride with the sport's most famous number – 3 – waiting for him in the Sprint Cup Series. Austin's brother, Ty, is well on his way to his own XFINITY Series championship – in his second campaign after two full-time seasons in the Truck Series, no less – as the points leader after the season's first nine races. Only difference is, with Richard Childress Racing 's three-car stable occupied by Austin, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard , there's no clear option for Ty to advance to. That doesn't mean Ty and his grandfather and RCR team owner, Richard Childress, aren't coming up with a plan. "We've definitely talked about (my Cup plans for 2016) and I think it's our goal," Ty said Saturday at Iowa Speedway , site of Sunday's 3M 250 (2 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). "It's my goal and my grandfather and I have talked about it a lot, (running) in Cup next year. "Still working on things, but that's next year. I think if we win the championship this year, it'll make plans easier to come by." Coming off a championship certainly helped Austin's case, as he had big shoes to fill and doubters to quiet, stepping into a car that adorns the number Dale Earnhardt made famous. The only problem with Ty's plans for next year is that there's no obvious car to step into, famous or not. It's conceivable that the No. 33 Circle Sport Chevrolet in which, RCR has an alliance with and the car that Ty has made his four Cup starts in over the past two years, could be transformed into a fourth Childress entry, but nothing has been said to indicate this. Expansion has been a trend the past two seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing going to four-car teams. JGR added a fourth team for the 2015 season to compete with other four-car stables in SHR and Hendrick Motorsports , but the organization has had some ups and downs in the early going since expanding to four cars. Either way, Ty is focusing on the task at hand. "We just have to focus on my job, and that's to win races," the 23-year-old driver said. "Hopefully sponsorship and everything will come together, but (running Cup in 2016) is our full intention." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Hendrick Motorsports pit coach Chris Burkey: 'It's a grueling time' On Saturday night, hundreds of fire suit-clad crew members will line pit road for the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Less than 20 hours later, some of the same crew members will be standing on pit road once more, but at a race track 1,024 miles away – Iowa Speedway . With their jobs revolving around 12-second pit stops that encompass lightning-fast movement and strength, the life of a NASCAR pit crew member is taxing both mentally and physically. And the growing trend of crew members pitting multiple series– sometimes at different tracks – tacks on another element of exhaustion. "The guys know it’s a grueling time when you have a non-companion race like that," Hendrick Motorsports pit crew coach Chris Burkey said, referring to this weekend's bi-city Sprint Cup and XFINITY races at Charlotte and Iowa. "So you kind of have to get mentally prepared for a late night at the All-Star Race and having to get up early in the morning (Sunday)." Burkey oversees the development of the Hendrick Motorsports pit crews of Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne on a daily basis at the team’s campus in Concord, North Carolina. A former NFL scout for the Miami Dolphins, Burkey also manages the recruiting process of bringing new talent to the pits through the organization’s pit crew developmental program, which grooms young athletes into eventual Sprint Cup pit performers. But since his arrival at Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, Burkey has noticed a shift in the pit crew industry, as more and more Sprint Cup veteran crew members are pitting lower series' vehicles in addition to their Cup duties. This is a change from the old method of the newer, less experienced pit performers pitting the lower series' rides. "You have a developmental team or a backup team trying to pit against some Cup teams," Burkey explained. "It's very hard to beat teams like that. We're in the world of wins so we just felt like we needed to join suit." "…We knew we were probably going to have to shift that way at some point, especially with the caliber of drivers that JRM (JR Motorsports) is putting in their cars." Hendrick Motorsports tends to keep most of its crews in the family, servicing Hendrick-affiliated JR Motorsports. This season, the No. 5 crew of Kasey Kahne is pitting the No. 9 XFINITY car for reigning series champion Chase Elliott . Similarly, the No. 24 crew for Jeff Gordon has performed pit stops for the No. 88 Chevrolet, an XFINITY ride that is driven by team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr ., as well as Sprint Cup veterans Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne . At Iowa, the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, Ben Rhodes will pilot the car. "I figured since the majority of the 5 guys had pitted Chase before, last year, they understand how he comes in the pit box, they understand how he does things," Burkey said. "… Which means a lot because there’s no learning curve on that car there. "… And then take the 24 – and the 24 being more of the veteran group... Keep the more established group with those stable veteran drivers week-in-and-week-out and give them an opportunity to perform for those drivers." Burkey said the extra stops for these veteran crew members has benefited them for the subsequent Cup race. Any extra practice time is crucial for athletes whose performance is measured in spans of 12-second stops on pit road. "You don't want to say (the XFINITY or Truck race is) a practice because you want to perform, but it gives them those extra reps leading into the Sunday race," Burkey said. "When you go to a place like Phoenix, Vegas where you have very slick pit boxes, it gives them the Saturday reps to get accustomed to that and get used to that instead of showing up on Sunday and all of a sudden 'oh wow, I forgot we have slick pit boxes here, don't push too hard.' So a lot of the teams have used those Saturday reps as kind of a tuning-up for the Sunday Cup race." But despite the increasing double duty on pit road for Cup crew members, Burkey said Hendrick Motorsports ' developmental program won't condense as a result. "I think it will still continue to grow," Burkey said. "We're always still looking for solid, quality back- ups . You can never have too many because just when you think you have too many, you have four injuries and you don't have enough … It will always help us." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Two-time defending series champion holds points lead No driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has been more dominant on 1.5-mile tracks than Matt Crafton the past year. It's one of the main reasons the No. 88 Toyota Tundra driver was able to win his second consecutive NCWTS championship last season. In nine starts at intermediate courses dating back to the Truck Series' latest visit to Kansas Speedway on May 9, 2014, Crafton has tallied two wins, three runner ups and nine top-10 showings for an average finish of 3.4. He will attempt to continue his reign at 1.5-mile tracks when the NCWTS returns to Kansas Speedway for the Toyota Tundra 250 (8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). Crafton has started all 14 NCWTS races at Kansas, more than any other driver. He is also tied for the track record among active drivers with three top-five finishes. "As the only driver entered that's competed in all 14 Truck Series races at Kansas, I feel old," Crafton said. "Kansas is definitely a tricky race track - it's tough to get off Turn 4 and to get your stuff handling good in Turns 1 and 2 and then be that good in Turn 4, it's tough. Just getting balance overall is key." The ThorSport Racing driver will also try to improve on his second-place finish at Kansas last season and win there for the second time in three years. "We were really, really fast (at Kansas) last year; a contender all night," Crafton said. "We were a little bit free-in and tight center and off, but we were scared to make any adjustments to hurt us on corner entry. I had to protect my entry and that's how Kyle (Busch) got around us for the win." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Furniture Row Racing driver goes through the fire with girlfriend Sherry Pollex
WIX to serve as primary sponsor in two national series; Grainger teams with Newman
G&K Services returning as a primary sponsor for the No. 01 team Landon Cassill will have a familiar sponsor returning to the fold for the 2015 XFINITY Series season with his JD Motorsports ride. G&K Services will be back on the No. 01 Chevrolet as a primary sponsor for multiple races as well as a full-time associate sponsor ship. "We've had a great partnership with the folks at G&K," said team owner Johnny Davis in a release. "Their participation with our team has been beneficial to both sides, and it really showed this year as we ran well in so many races. We're looking forward to what the future holds." The 25-year-old Cassill ran a full Nationwide Series slate in 2014 as well as 34 of 36 Sprint Cup Series races. In the Nationwide Series, Cassill had three top-10 finishes en route to a 12th-place finish in the final standings. The 2015 season marks the sixth season that JD Motorsports and G&K Services have been partners. 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
Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff extends partnership with No. 98 entry Registration for NASCAR Fantasy Live is now open! Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff and Pouches has extended their partnership with ThorSport Racing and Johnny Sauter for the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the team announced on Tuesday. The partnership is for eight races beginning with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway , the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday, Feb. 20 (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). "Smokey Mountain has been a huge supporter of our series, and every year they are able to increase their presence in NASCAR," Sauter said in a team release. "I'm honored they have chosen not only to extend their partnership with myself and ThorSport Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but to have also increased their presence in 2015. This kind of partnership is hard to find these days, so I'm honored to be carrying their colors and representing their brand again this season." In addition to the opener at Daytona, Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff and Pouches will serve as the primary sponsor for both races at Martinsville Speedway (in March and October), the May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway , the August race at Bristol Motor Speedway , the October race at Talladega Superspeedway and the November race at Texas Motor Speedway . Last season, Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff was a primary sponsor for Sauter in six of the series' 22 races. In the 2014 season, Sauter scored a win at Michigan International Speedway and finished fourth in the final standings, driving the No. 98 Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Nick Duncan and special guest Chris Rice tour the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage to chat with drivers about racing and which SpongeBob SquarePants character they would be.
AJ Allmendinger says he hopes to be with the No. 47 team ffor the rest of his racing career after signing a new deal until 2020, now he can focus on getting more wins.
Moments that changed the course of the 19th race of the 2014 season