Yeley expected to return to TriStar: Though J.J. Yeley was not a frequent face in the Cup Series garage in 2016, he was seen mentoring some of NASCAR's younger talent. Cole Whitt and Matt DiBenedetto both competed for TriStar Motorsports in multiple XFINITY Series races, leaning on the NASCAR veteran for advice. As Yeley progresses toward the end of his NASCAR career, this is something he will likely be doing more of - though he's not thinking about retirement. "I think mentally I'm still in my twenties," Yeley said. "I know physically, I hurt a little bit more than I used to. Retirement, for me, is something I haven't considered." Heading into the 2017, Yeley is likely to return with TriStar Motorsports, where he had a season-high finish of eighth at Dover International Raceway in 2016, though nothing is set in stone just yet. "My goal is not to retire and to be back next year and try to make this program better than it was this year to where we can have a shot at making the Chase," Yeley said. "I love racing so much. I can't imagine doing anything different than what I'm doing now."(Frontstretch)(1-18-2017)
Daniel Defense joins RCR #3 team: Taking advantage of the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Daniel Defense and Richard Childress Racing announced a partnership that will see the leading manufacturer of premium firearms, rail systems and accessories serve as the primary sponsor of the #3 NASCAR XFINITY Series team for select races during the 2017 season. This is Daniel Defense's first venture into NASCAR. The partnership came about after Daniel and Childress became friends through Childress' involvement with the National Rifle Association. The #3 Chevrolet Camaro will feature Daniel Defense's signature black-and-gold logo and will be driven by Ty Dillon and other drivers yet to be announced for select XFINITY Series races.(Richard Childress Racing), see an image of the car on the #3 team paint schemes page.(1-17-2017)
Hunt Brothers Pizza sponsoring Sadler in 2 races; Meendering returns as crew chief: JR Motorsports and Hunt Brothers Pizza have extended their partnership with a multi-year deal, as the brand joins Elliott Sadler and the #1 team as primary sponsor for two NASCAR Xfinity Series races in each of the next two seasons. In 2017, Sadler will drive the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Camaro at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 4) and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 21). A JRM partner since 2014, Hunt Brothers Pizza is the nation's largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry. It's a familiar partner for Sadler, who previously drove a Hunt Brothers Pizza-branded entry in 2011 and 2012, earning a NXS victory with the brand at Chicagoland Speedway (2012). Additionally, Kevin Meendering will return as crew chief for Sadler and the #1 team. In 2016, the Meendering and Sadler pairing produced three wins and a runner-up finish in the NXS championship. The season also included a career-best 29 top-10 finishes for Sadler.(JR Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #1 team paint schemes page.(1-17-2017)
Barrett working with hemp oil company: Stanton Barrett, a former NASCAR driver and stuntman has seen first-hand the positive effects of CBD hemp oil for athletes and now had taken on the role of President of Ojai Energetics. Barrett's career spans nearly three decades of highly physical work in both television and film, as well as a career as a professional racecar driver in the most elite forms of auto racing. Ojai Energetics is a health and wellness company utilizing proprietary delivery technology to produce the most effective cannabidiol delivery method on the market.(Rosen Group PR)(1-16-2017)
Some 2017 rules changes: NASCAR competition officials issued memos detailing rule book changes for the 2017 season in its three national series.
Drivers in all three series may use biometrics devices in their vehicles in 2017. The wrist-worn health tracking devices may not transmit data, may not connect to the vehicle in any way and must operate on an internal battery. Devices eligible for use are certain models made by Garmin, Misfit, Polar, Samsung, Tom Tom and Jawbone.
For superspeedway events at Daytona and Talladega, the restrictor plate opening will be smaller by 1/64 of an inch -- reduced from 57/64 to 7/8. The change affects only the Monster Energy Cup and XFINITY series for those two tracks.
Additional safety guidelines were issued for restrictor-plate events for Monster Energy Cup and XFINITY teams. Among them, the previously optional roof hatch is now mandatory as an alternate escape route. Competition officials have also required the use of energy-absorbing materials to strengthen the area occupied by the drivers' feet in the cockpit.(NASCAR.com)(1-15-2017)
Sieg returns for full season; second RSS Racing team to be part-time UPDATE: 2016 was 29-year-old Ryan Sieg's third full NXS season and each has been slightly better than the last. This past year was most notable for the Sugar Hill, Georgia-based RSS Racing team, because they scored enough points to run in the inaugural NXS Chase. Crew chief Kevin "Cowboy" Starland, who achieved success in the NCWTS years ago with driver Rick Crawford, returns to the team in 2017 and team owner Rod Sieg, Ryan's father, will continue purchasing good equipment and engines from Richard Childress Racing. There will be more full-time teams in the well-funded part of the garage this season, but Sieg could still make the 2017 Chase, if he stays consistent and the team adapts well to the changes in the car. RSS Racing plans to run continue running a second team, but that is likely to be a start-and-park effort and not full-time like it was for David Star in 2016.(WSB Radio)(1-13-2017)
UPDATE: RSS Racing is again planning a full season with Ryan Sieg behind the wheel of the #39 Chevrolet. The team is still searching for sponsorship for Sieg. RSS is also prepared to run a second car in 2017 if the right driver and sponsor materializes. Veterans Kevin Starland, Mike Ford, and Bruce Cook will all return to the team. "Our team is in a great position heading into 2017. With Cowboy, Mike Ford, and Bruce Cook we have some of the smartest guys in the garage. I'm looking forward to making another run at the chase," commented owner and driver Ryan Sieg.(RSS Racing)(1-13-2017)
Lower downforce expected for XFINITY cars: 2017 brings a significant change to the NXS racecars: a decrease in downforce. A source says that NASCAR is shortening the spoiler by three inches and making it narrower by four inches. The sport is also mandating teams make the cars' front splitters an inch lower and change two other dimensions on the lower front nose of the car. This should decrease speeds and handling and make for more passing. But these changes could also be harder for smaller teams to adapt to, since bigger teams have budgets to better implement them.(WSB Radio)(1-13-2017)
Gaughan to attempt Daytona 500: If upstarts Derrike Cope, Jamie McMurray and Trevor Bayne are capable of winning the Daytona 500, then why not Brendan Gaughan? Brendan Gaughan said he will drive the Chevrolet Michael McDowell wheeled to a 15th-place finish for Leavine Family Racing in last year's race. The car owner is Mark Beard of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, a former driver and team owner in the Midwest-based ARCA series who had a couple of Xfinity starts during the 1980s. "Jay Robinson, the man I drove for a couple of years ago at Premium Motorsports, called me in the middle of the Christmas break and said a friend of his was trying to do a deal and run the 500," said the 41-year-old Gaughan, who qualified for the inaugural Xfinity Series Chase in 2016 driving for Richard Childress. "They bought the old Leavine car, they've hired ECR to do motors - real racing motors - and they asked if I would be interested. So it's got Richard Childress motors, and I'm going to have a Richard Childress pit crew - my guys - and so we're going to the Daytona 500 and see if we can qualify."(Las Vegas Review Journal)(1-13-2017)
Earnhardt, Jr., Kahne to run two NXS races each: Continuing a tradition of running his own JR Motorsports Chevrolets each season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to make a pair of starts in the #88 Chevrolet Camaro this season in races at Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 18) and Richmond International Raceway (Sept. 8). Long-time JRM driver Kasey Kahne will drive the car at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 25) and Talladega Superspeedway (May 6). Scott Radel, director of engineering at JRM, has been tabbed to crew chief all four races. Radel has been a JRM engineer since 2013, and previously worked for Hendrick Motorsports. He won championships with JRM in 2014 and with two other teams as an engineer. Radel brings 20-plus years of experience in calling races. The #88 "All Star car" has been a full-time car the past two seasons, but with JRM's expansion to four full-time teams and the addition of new drivers William Byron and Michael Annett, it will be a fifth JRM entry in the four races named.(JR Motorsports)(1-12-2017)
Sadler to run Daytona 500 with Baldwin: Tommy Baldwin Racing announced that the team will compete in the 59th running of the Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel of the #7 Golden Corral Chevrolet. Sadler, a 16-year veteran of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will be running double-duty during NASCAR's opening weekend competing in both the Cup and Xfinity Series. The Emporia, VA native and Baldwin have a relationship dating back to their days at Robert Yates Racing when Baldwin served as crew chief for Sadler. Golden Corral returns for their seventh season together and will bring back their popular 'Top 10 Kids Eat Free' promotion. If Elliott Sadler finishes in the top-10 at Daytona, kids 10 and under will eat free at Golden Corral restaurants nationwide on Monday, February 27th.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)(1-12-2017)
PIRTEK to expand relationship with BKR: Brad Keselowski Racing announced that PIRTEK, the industry leader in fluid transfer solution sales and service in the United States, will serve as a full time associate partner for driver Austin Cindric during the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. PIRTEK will also join Team Penske as an associate partner in 2017 for select races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The partnership will include driver appearances, business-to-business opportunities and licensing rights for both Brad Keselowski Racing and Team Penske. PIRTEK Service and Supply Centers stock, customize and install hydraulic and industrial hoses and fittings of all kinds. The PIRTEK range of products and services is designed to meet the diverse requirements of customers of all sizes from a broad cross section of industries. More importantly, within each of these industries there are literally hundreds of opportunities and applications for which the PIRTEK range of products and services are in demand. Cindric, 18, made four starts for the team in 2016 with PIRTEK as a partner, highlighted by a second-place qualifying effort at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada). Cindric also won from the pole in K&N Pro Series East starts in 2016 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Virginia (Danville, Va.) International Raceway and he was victorious in his ARCA Racing Series debut in 2016, winning with PIRTEK as a partner at Kentucky Speedway.( Brad Keselowski Racing)(1-12-2017)
Suarez to run partial XFINITY schedule: Daniel Suarez was scheduled to run another full season in the XFINITY Series. Joe Gibbs said plans are unsettled for the #19 XFINITY car, but that Suarez probably will run about 10 races and that the team's other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup drivers - Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin - might drive in a few events.(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-11-2017)
Athenian shutdown? Social media posts popped up in early December that employees had been laid off from Athenian Motorsports. More posts circulated after the new year. It is unclear what the team plans are as of now; whether they will continue part-time or close completely. In 2016, the team entered races in ARCA and XFINITY, and ran the entire Truck Series schedule. John Wes Townley was the primary driver, but missed multiple races mid-season for a concussion, and ended the year on the sidelines after suffering a non-racing related ankle injury.(1-4-2017)
UPDATE: John Wes Townley will not race in 2017. A source says that the 27-year-old Watkinsville, Georgia native has decided to end his racing career and take some college courses. Townley also got engaged to girlfriend Laura Bird in the autumn of 2016 and his settling down includes not competing in NASCAR. Concord, North Carolina-based Athenian Motorsports, owned by Townley's father and Zaxby's co-founder Tony Townley, is also ceasing operations. The team had fielded entries for Townley in the Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and ARCA Racing Series the past couple of seasons. Several drivers also filled-in for Townley in some respect for the team the past two seasons, due to either scheduling conflicts or injuries. Athenian Motorsports is in the process of selling its inventory.
Townley has raced since his childhood and has competed in NASCAR since he was 18. With Zaxby's sponsorship in almost every race, Townley was able to stay in NASCAR with first other teams and then his own. In 2015, Townley won his first-career NCWTS race - a fuel mileage gamble to win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Townley also won the 2013 and 2016 season-opening Daytona International Speedway races in the ARCA Series. Townley had a down final season in 2016, despite his ARCA win. He missed two races mid-season with a concussion and the final three with an ankle injury. Townley did score two NCWTS poles, but had only two top 10 finishes in 18 races. His final race saw the #05 Chevy place 21st at Texas Motor Speedway. That race was fittingly right around the time that he got engaged.(WSB Radio Race Blog )(1-10-2017)
Leicht to drive for Obaika: Former Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, Stephen Leicht, will drive the #77 Obaika Racing Vroom Brands Chevrolet. Leicht is a 30-year-old race car driver from Asheville, N.C. He last competed in all three series of NASCAR in 2012, ultimately winning the title of Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. Of driving the #77 Chevrolet, Leicht says "To say I am excited about my opportunity to race with Obaika Racing is an understatement to say the least. I cannot wait to get to Daytona to kick the season off at the first race. I, along with my family and friends, are so appreciative of Victor giving me this opportunity. I feel as though this is a second chance to grow as a driver in this sport. With all the experience I have had in the past, I believe I will be able to contribute a lot to this team and am looking forward to doing just that. I am very optimistic about our chances."(Obaika Racing), it is unknown if this is for a set number of races or the full season.(1-10-2017)
Armstrong will return to JGL UPDATES: #28-Dakoda Armstrong will be back with JGL Racing in 2017, the third-year driver confirmed Friday afternoon to Frontstretch. The 25-year-old Indiana native moved to JGL Racing this season after competing with Richard Petty Motorsports for two years. But when RPM opted to sign Jeb Burton, Armstrong was left without a ride. "The plan is to try to come back and improve on everything we've done with Toyota this year," Armstrong said. "Our crew is going to be pretty stout next year. We have a lot of new cars coming in and we just need to improve." JGL Racing will continue to get its engines from Joe Gibbs Racing, which enabled Armstrong to compete at Iowa Speedway in July. That evening, he finished in the top 5 for the first time in his XFINITY Series career as he replaced Matt Tifft, who was out for several weeks due to having surgery for a brain tumor. In 2016, Armstrong has 21 top-20 finishes and sits 13th in the standings, an improvement from 20 last year.(Frontstretch)(11-20-2016)
UPDATE: JGL Racing announced that Dakoda Armstrong will return to the organization for the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Joining the duo once again will be sponsor WinField as they will be Primary Sponsor on the #28 Toyota for 20 races starting with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The 25-year old Armstrong finished 13th in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series final drivers' standings in his first season with the JGL Racing organization. He went on to collect 22 top-20 finishes during the season which was highlighted by a fifth-place finish in the July event at Iowa Speedway and a 12th place finish in the July event at Daytona International Speedway. Armstrong and his #28 WinField Toyota will once again be led by veteran crew chief Steven Lane. The team will continue to utilize Joe Gibbs Racing engines and will be expanding on that relationship as well.(JGL Racing)(12-8-2016)
UPDATE 2: JGL Racing completed a successful 2016 season by narrowly missing the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase by one spot and showcasing a group of Rising Stars with its unique Young Guns program. The Denver, North Carolina based team will continue with its growth process as it eyes an even more successful 2017 campaign with its long term goal of being the top independent team in the XFINITY Series. For the second year in a row the team will field the #28 WinField Toyota with driver Dakoda Armstrong who is coming off a 13th place finish in the 2016 XFINITY Series final drivers' standings. The organizations #24 Toyota will once again feature the Young Guns program with discussions currently underway with potential drivers and sponsors. Additionally, JGL Racing has recently purchased several Toyota's from Joe Gibbs Racing. As it did in 2016, the team will also continue to utilize the JGR engine program. JGL Racing is also in the midst of a building expansion in an effort to provide the best facility possible for the race team. The addition of a second building being constructed next to the team's current facility is near completion and will provide for additional space for the expanded car inventory.(Integrity Sports Marketing)(1-6-2017)
Hunt Brothers to sponsor Harvick in 4 NXS races: Hunt Brothers Pizza, the No. 1 made-to-order pizza brand in convenience stores across the United States, is expanding its partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing to include a four-race sponsorship of Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Hunt Brothers Pizza has been involved with SHR since 2014, serving as an associate sponsor of Harvick and the #4 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team while also being the official pizza of SHR. As SHR expands its operation into the XFINITY Series for the first time in 2017, Hunt Brothers Pizza will be the primary sponsor of Harvick's #41 Ford Mustang April 8 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 7 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Sept. 2 at Darlington Raceway. Hunt Brothers Pizza will also serve as an associate sponsor of SHR's #00 Ford Mustang driven by XFINITY Series rookie-of-the-year contender Cole Custer.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #41 team paint schemes page.(1-5-2017)
Leidos to sponsor Bubba Wallace in 2017? hearing that Leidos will return to sponsor Bubba Wallace in Roush Fenway Racing's #6 Ford for the 2017 XFINITY Series season. Leidos sponsored Wallace for the final six races of the 2016 XFINITY Series season. Ford will also be a primary sponsor during the season (1-5-2017)
Brandon Brown expected to run partial NXS schedule: Brandon Brown, one of NASCAR's young guns continues to climb the ranks with his family-owned team. Brown and Brandonbilt Motorsports will move up to the XFINITY Series for at least 10 races in 2017, the team has told Frontstretch, jumping to the higher division while focusing their funding on select events. The team is "90 percent sure" it will be at Daytona International Speedway to kickoff the season in February. Jerry Brown, owner of Brandonbilt Motorsports admitted they've got two chassis and are looking to purchase a used speedway car for the opening event. Either way, he's committed to upping the ante while transitioning into NASCAR's second-tier division. Other races that the team will attempt to qualify for include Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 4), Richmond International Raceway (April 29), Dover International Speedway (June 3), Pocono Raceway (June 10), Kentucky Speedway (July 7), Bristol Motor Speedway (August 18), Richmond (September 8), Kentucky (September 23), Charlotte Motor Speedway (October 6) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (November 18). The team is also hopeful to compete at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend due to its close ties with Coastal Carolina University, located 67 miles from the racetrack. Adam Brenner, who has been with Brown since he debuted in the Truck Series in 2014, will lead the team atop the pit box. Brown will still compete in four Camping World Truck Series races in 2017.(Frontstretch)(1-5-2017)
Harvick to broadcast 5 XFINITY races for Fox UPDATE: Fox Sports will announce that NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick will call eight combined national series races for Fox this season as a guest analyst, as the 41-year-old driver starts to eye his post-racing career. Harvick will call five Xfinity and three Camping World Truck Series races, including the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 25.(Sports Business Daily)(1-4-2017)
UPDATE: Kevin Harvick is scheduled to return to the FOX NASCAR television booth as a race analyst for eight NASCAR events in 2017, beginning with the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES season opener from Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 25. Harvick also will contribute as an analyst on FS1's NASCAR RACE HUB, airing Monday through Thursday at 6:00pm/et during the racing season, joining a solid rotation of Cup drivers and crew chiefs. This marks the third consecutive year Harvick will be alongside Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip to call the Daytona season kickoff. He also is scheduled to be an analyst in the FOX Sports booth at Phoenix, Bristol, Talladega and Pocono, as well as Truck Series races at Kansas, Eldora and Talladega. Announcements regarding additional Cup Series drivers in the booth for the entirety of FOX Sports' 2017 NASCAR XFINITY season are forthcoming.(Fox)(1-4-2017)
Rick Ware shutting down XFINITY program; moving to Trucks: Rick Ware Racing will return to the Camping World Truck Series full-time in 2017, temporarily shutting down its XFINITY Series program. 21-year-old Cody Ware says he will pilot the team's full-time truck for approximately half of the 23-race schedule. The other driver will be announced at a later date. There has been talk within the team of possibly running a second part-time truck with various drivers filling the seat. The organization has purchased the #07 team's points, owned by Bobby Dotter and SS-Green Light Racing. That team competed in all 23 Truck Series races in 2016, finishing 25th in the owner's championship. Ware is coming off a season in which he competed in six XFINITY Series races, finishing a season-best 21st at Watkins Glen International. Rick Ware Racing has spent part of 12 years in the Truck Series since debuting in 1999. In 2001, Coy Gibbs finished an organization-high 10th in the standings, resulting in two top-5 finishes and seven top 10s. The organization is coming off a season that witnessed 22 different drivers compete between the team's two full-time XFINITY Series machines. But with the move to the Truck Series, RWR is leaving that merry-go-round and the sport's second-tier division behind. In addition to selling the points of the #25 car, the organization also sold some race equipment. It will keep the rest because the family-run organization is hopeful to make a future return to the XFINITY Series.(Frontstretch)(12-29-2016)
Richard Childress Racing Announces 2017 Team Lineup: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will return with three full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entries and five full-time NASCAR XFINITY Series teams for the 2017 season. It will be the first time in team history that RCR will field five full-time XFINITY Series entries, and the first time since 2011 the team has fielded eight full-time teams. #3-Austin Dillon, #27-Paul Menard and #31-Ryan Newman return to carry the banner for the RCR Cup Series program in 2017. Richard "Slugger" Labbe, Matt Borland and Luke Lambert have been assigned crew chief duties, respectively.
With the addition of rookie driver Daniel Hemric, RCR will operate five entries out of its XFINITY Series stable. The #2 and #3 Chevys in the XFINITY Series will include multiple drivers. Austin Dillon and Paul Menard will be primary drivers for the #2 Chevy, with second-year crew chief Justin Alexander atop the pit box. Ty Dillon will remain with the #3 Chevy team and will partner with rookie crew chief Matt Swiderski, who has spent 10 years at RCR in its engineering department. Swiderski made his debut as crew chief last season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he led the #3 team to a second-place finish. Additional drivers for RCR's #2 and #3 teams will be named at a later date. Brandon Jones and Brendan Gaughan return with full-time driving duties of the #33 and #62 Chevys, respectively, and will compete for the XFINITY Series driver championship. Jones and veteran crew chief Nick Harrison will be paired together, while Gaughan returns with his long-time crew chief Shane Wilson for their 12th season together. In 2017, RCR will welcome back the storied #21 entry with Daniel Hemric behind the wheel. Hemric and two-time NASCAR championship winning crew chief Danny Stockman will work together as Hemric competes for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and the XFINITY Series driver championship.(RCR)(12-21-2016)
Poole expected to return to Ganassi UPDATE: Brennan Poole has earned his keep at Chip Ganassi Racing. The 25-year-old Sacramento, Calif. native, who pilots the #48 Chevy, will re-sign with CGR for 2017 sources have told Motorsport.com. Poole easily qualified for the inaugural Xfinity Series Chase and is currently eighth in the standings with a cut to the top eight looming at Charlotte on Friday. After running a limited schedule in 2015, when Poole posted two top-10 finishes in 17 starts, he has flourished in 2016 with four top fives and 5 top 10s in the first 28 races. Poole's best result was third at both Talladega Superspeedway and Elkhart Lake. He's shown tremendous consistency this season by completing 99.2-percent of all laps raced with an average finish of 12.1.(Motorsport)(10-3-2016)
UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing announced that DC Solar will return as the season-long partner on the #48 Chevy Camaro driven by 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase contender and Rookie of the Year candidate Brennan Poole. Veteran XFINITY Series Crew Chief Chad Norris will remain with the DC Solar team. After sharing driving duties with Kyle Larson and road-course specialist Justin Marks in 2015, Poole (25) competed full-time in the 2016 XFINITY Series, scoring four top-five and 17 top-10 finishes with a best finish of third at Talladega Superspeedway in May and Road America in August. He finished eighth in the final XFINITY Series drivers' points and runner-up in the Rookie of the Year standings.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(12-20-2016)
Obaika to run two full-time teams in 2017: Obaika racing will run two full time teams, the #77 and #97 Chevrolet Camaros, in 2017. The team has also confirmed that Greg Vandersluis will be the driver for Mid-Ohio. Vandersluis is a 28 year old professional driving instructor from Ohio. He was named NEOHIO SCCA Rookie of the Year in 2008 followed up by Driver of the Year in 2010. The team is in talks to sign drivers for other races this season.(Obaika Racing)(12-13-2016)
Northeastern Supply returns as associate sponsor for Allgaier: Three things are certain with the anticipation of the Northeastern Supply Company's 24th consecutive season of driver and team sponsorship in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017. The first is a fourth consecutive season supporting a driver and race team out of the JR Motorsports stable. The second is support of a driver and team that finished third in the Xfinity Series inaugural Chase for the Championship and thus challenged for the title. Third and most noteworthy is the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, hardware and water systems distributor's decision to return to support Justin Allgaier and the #7 BRANDT Professional Agricultural team. Having backed the efforts this past season of championship runner-up finisher Elliott Sadler, Northeastern Supply was looking to move its sponsorship around the JR Motorsports organization in 2017 before settling on Allgaier, who returned to full-time Xfinity Series competition in 2016 after two years of trying his luck in the prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Northeastern Supply)(12-10-2016)
Chastain, Preese to return to JD Motorsports; Smithley uncertain UPDATES Preece not returning: JD Motorsports will have some familiar faces in its camp next year. Lead driver Ross Chastain is returning to the #4 car, with 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece back in the #01 car as well. "We're trying hard and we have a lot of great people behind us," Preece said. "We're hoping that next year, we can keep on digging. We want more sponsorship and make a lot more great things happen." Chastain's return to the team comes as he caps off his second full-time season with JD Motorsports. However, he failed to finish in the top 10 this year. "Before, the [No.] 01 car was leaps and bounds over the [No.] 4 car on the racetrack and business-wise," Chastain said. "To have equal racecars is a big deal. I'll be back in the #4 car next year. Me and Johnny shake hands and we're racecars who want to go racing. We want to do it at the highest level possible, and we're trying to get this car up the leaderboard." While the two drivers are confirmed to be returning, Garrett Smithley is unclear of whether or not he will return to pilot the team's #0 car in 2017. "Nothing is solid yet," Smithley said. "We're still working on sponsors and everything. I think we will be."(Frontstretch)(11-24-2016)
UPDATE: With the approach of a new racing season, the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team is working toward finalizing its driver lineup for the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. Ross Chastain, one of the top young drivers in the sport, will return to JD Motorsports for a third straight season. The team is working with Garrett Smithley, who had a fine rookie season this year in JD Motorsports Chevrolets, to return Smithley to the team lineup next season. "We're 99 percent sure Garrett will be back with us," said team owner Johnny Davis. "But we're still working on funding and sponsorship issues to get everything lined up." The team has a vacancy in its third car as Ryan Preece, who ran his Xfinity rookie season with JD Motorsports, has decided to move on to other opportunities. The Florida Watermelon Association will return as a sponsor of Chastain's cars next year.(JD Motorsports)(12-8-2016)
UPDATE 2: The tentative plans for Berlin driver Ryan Preece for the 2017 racing season, as of right now, is to return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour full-time. Tentative being the key word in that sentence. "I think it's time to pursue another opportunity and I hope the best for Johnny [Davis]," Preece said. "I'm sure he's going to be just fine." Preece said his plans right now are to focus on chasing a second Whelen Modified Tour championship, though with a "but" involved currently. "But also in pursuit of trying to get in a good [XFINITY Series] car that can win races," Preece said. "That's kind of where I'm at right now."(RaceDayCT)(12-9-2016)
Rinnai sponsoring XFINITY race at Atlanta: Peachtree City, Georgia-based Rinnai America Corporation has signed on as a multi-year sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, beginning with the 2017 race scheduled for Saturday, March 4. The race will officially be named the Rinnai 250 and will serve as the front-end of an XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series same-day doubleheader unique to Atlanta. The Rinnai 250 will be the first of three NASCAR national touring series races during the 2017 Atlanta NASCAR Weekend. Following the 1:30 p.m. Saturday race, the Camping World Truck Series Active Pest Control 200 will polish off the twinbill with a scheduled green flag at 4:30 p.m. The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Cup Series race will round out the weekend with a 2:30 p.m. start time on Sunday, March 5. Established in 1974, Rinnai America Corporation is a subsidiary of Rinnai Corporation, based out of Nagoyoa, Japan. Rinnai is the No. 1 selling brand of tankless water heaters in North America. Rinnai also manufactures gas appliances, including a wide range of kitchen equipment and heating and air conditioning units. This year, Rinnai's Ultra Series RUR condensing tankless water heater was named among the "Top 100 Products" in the mechanical and electrical category by Professional Remodeler Magazine.(AMS)(12-7-2016)
Suarez returns to Mexico: A NASCAR championship aside, Daniel Suárez is still making his name known in the United States. In his native Mexico, his name is etched in gold. He's a rock star, the kind of guy who draws large crowds of adoring fans, each one seeking an autograph or selfie or handshake or high-five. Need proof? Just look at the crowd that packed Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on Sunday. Suárez served as the grand marshal of the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series exhibition race, continuing a whirlwind celebration that hasn't stopped since he won the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship last month. Suárez could barely take a step without posing for a picture, signing an autograph or hearing the words "felicidades campeón (translation: congratulations, champion)."
"I was expecting something good, but this was great," said Suárez, shortly after a large group of photographers captured a photo of him posing with the Mexican flag. "Every time I talk about this, I feel very, very happy for all the fans, all the teams and everyone who has been helping me to get to this point -- the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship."(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-5-2016)
Gallagher to run full season with GMS Racing UPDATE: Statesville-based GMS Racing announced that, beginning in 2017, the team will compete full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with driver Spencer Gallagher. The Las Vegas native will continue to the pilot the #23, a number that he has raced since 2006 in honor of former NASCAR driver TJ Clark and his son, Spencer Clark. Gallagher has been with GMS since 2014, first competing in the ARCA Racing Series and most recently the NCWTS. Over three seasons and 58 starts, Gallagher earned three top-fives, 15 top-10 finishes, and two pole awards. The 27-year-old made his NXS debut this past season, earning a best finish of eighth place at Daytona International Speedway in July. The team debuted the GMS Chevrolet Camaro at Phoenix International Speedway with a goal of building the program in preparation of running a full-time season in 2017. Additional details regarding sponsorship and crew chief will be announced at a later date.(GMS Racing)(12-1-2016)
UPDATE: GMS Racing announced that Joey Cohen will return as crew chief for the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) program in 2017. Gallagher competed in seven races this past season with Cohen atop the pit box. The Chesapeake, Va., native helped steer Gallagher to earn his highest finish of eighth place at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). In 2016, Cohen also served as crew chief for Ben Kennedy, collecting both the driver and crew chief's first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway.(GMS Racing)(12-3-2016)
McLeod planning on two full-time teams: BJ McLeod Motorsports will run two-full time NASCAR XFINTY Series cars in 2017 - and potentially a third, depending on how things go through the first three races. "Two cars for sure full-time," team owner/driver BJ McLeod told Frontstretch following a 31st-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. "We're going to start a third car for the first three races and see how we maintain it. Obviously, we've been doing OK the last three weeks. We're going to see how we can handle three cars and make a decision after the third race whether we are going to continue on with a full-time effort or not." This season marked the first time that BJ McLeod Motorsports competed in a full season. Over the course of the 33-race season, McLeod had a pair of 19th-place finishes at Dover International Speedway and Iowa Speedway. Hoping to have a final driver lineup by the beginning of the new year, McLeod said he needs more partners to jump on board with the organization. More money will secure a third car for the entirety of the 2017 schedule.(Frontstretch)(12-2-2016)
XFINITY named 2016 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award Recipient: Comcast will be honored with the 2016 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award for its support of the NASCAR XFINITY Series, known as the series "Where Names Are Made." The company, which also serves as the Official Entertainment Provider of NASCAR, will be recognized at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Wednesday. Entering the sport with a historic 10-year entitlement agreement last year, XFINITY is changing the way fans experience NASCAR by introducing live race stats and data directly to the TV through their XFINITY X1 platform. XFINITY X1 provides an insider's look at the action taking place across NASCAR's three national series each race weekend, along with custom video content, weekly exclusive VOD content, live leaderboards, up-to-the-second race stats, interactive championship point standings, and much more. At the track, Comcast engaged fans, the industry and media at its state-of-the-art activation space, the XFINITY Zone. The award-winning fan zone allowed thousands of fans to interact with drivers and utilize the technology that is changing the live sports TV experience. Off the track, Comcast is working to recognize charitable efforts of NASCAR team members through the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, which was created in 2015. In year two of the partnership, NASCAR and XFINITY collaborated on changes that differentiated the series and further integrated the XFINITY brand into the sport. The introduction of an elimination-style Chase and a new Dash 4 Cash format enhanced competition, spiked fan interest, and generated even more drama around the series. The competition changes were accompanied by a new visual identity, providing the NASCAR XFINITY Series with its own distinct look across digital, social, at-track and on broadcast.(NASCAR)(12-1-2016)
Meendering to serve as Custer's crew chief: Jeff Meendering will oversee Cole Custer's full-time foray with Stewart-Haas Racing's new Xfinity Series team in 2017. Meendering, 39, started his career at Hendrick Motorsports. After 11 seasons, he was promoted to car chief on the #24 team under crew chief Steve Letarte and driver Jeff Gordon. Most recently, Meendering was the car chief on the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing team with Matt Kenseth and car chief Jason Ratcliff. Custer will pilot the #00, just as he has in the Camping World Truck Series. In 42 CWTS starts, he's scored two victories (Loudon 2014, Gateway 2015) and ended the 2016 season tenth in the championship standings.(Motorsport)(11-22-2016)