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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Kansas Speedway

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Digital Ally 400

The Place: Kansas Speedway

The Date: Saturday, May 11

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7:00 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400.5 miles (267 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)

2018 Winner: Kevin Harvick

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Alsco 300

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, May 25

The Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance:  300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2018 Winner: Brad Keselowski

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 

Next Race: Digital Ally 250

The Place: Kansas Speedway

The Date: Friday, May 10

The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 8:00 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250.5 miles (167 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 167)

2018 Winner: Noah Gragson

 

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

No. 4 pursuing #4 at Kansas

Defending race winner Kevin Harvick couldn’t be more eager to return to Kansas Speedway for Saturday’s Digital Ally 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) where he (tied with Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon) has earned a series-best three wins at the venue. This season in particular, Harvick is ready to revisit Victory Lane in the Heartland. He has eight top-10 finishes in the opening 11 races of 2019 but is still looking for his first win. To put it in perspective, his win in this race last year was his fifth victory in the opening 12 races. He ultimately hoisted eight trophies – a career-best single-season mark.

 

Harvick has five top-eight finishes in the last six Kansas races, including two wins (2016 fall and 2018 spring), a runner-up (2016 spring) and a third place (2017 spring). Last year he won this race from the Busch Pole position and led 79 laps, taking the lead from Martin Truex Jr. with only two laps remaining.

 

His 108.6 driver rating is tops among the competition – significantly better than the next best, fellow three-time winner Jimmie Johnson (104.1). Only Truex (726 laps) has led more laps (703) than Harvick and he is ranked first or second in all six of NASCAR’s key Loop Data standings.

 

Harvick has shown himself to be master at starting Kansas races as well as finishing them. He’s won a track record four pole positions, including a record three consecutive from 2013-14. And Harvick has started on the front row in the last three Kansas races.

 

The 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion is coming off a fourth-place finish at Dover – his fifth fourth place run in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang this season. He’s now ranked third in the points standings.

 

Kyle Busch looking for a dozen in the top 10

Kyle Busch earned his 11th straight top-10 finish (10th place) to start the season at Dover on Monday and can set a new single-season mark this week should he start the year with 12 consecutive top-10s. It would break a 29-year old record held previously by Morgan Shepherd.

 

Yet, for all the success, the season’s three-time race winner is eager to return to Victory Lane. His lead in the standings is now only five points over defending Monster Energy Series champion Joey Logano heading to Kansas Speedway where Logano is a multi-time winner (twice).

 

Busch won this spring race in 2016. He has six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 22 starts at Kansas, but his 91.1 driver rating is only sixth best in the field.

 

His recent struggles have coincided with the track’s 2012 repave and reconfiguration. The first three races with the new track configuration, Busch was involved in accidents and finished no better than 31st in that timeframe. In October 2014, Busch earned his first top-five and he answered that with the win in 2016.

 

He has top-10 finishes in the last eight races there and led a career best, race high 112 laps in the 2017 Playoff race, finishing 10th.

 

“It’s a place we’ve really picked it up at ,’’ Busch said. “We’ve seemed to have gotten a setup or ahold of the place, I’d say, and hopefully we don’t screw that up this time around and we can continue our strong runs and fast pace of being able to have a shot to win.’’

 

And as for maintaining that historic top-10 run? Busch is proud of the mark, but hopeful this week to win.

 

“It is good, it is cool,’’ Busch said “It is kind of on our mind right now going into every week. We want to win. That is what we strive to do every time we hit the track. We thought it would come to an end at a place like Talladega and it was close. We were right on the verge, but we made it through another one.

 

“Hopefully at Kansas we can keep it going, but I would much rather us be up there fighting for the win with our M&M’s Red Nose Day Toyota than to just to finish in the top-10. That’s not what we come to the race track for.’’

 

Martin’s Momentum

With two wins in the last three races, Martin Truex Jr. is certainly showing a spring sweet spot and the 2017 Monster Energy Series champion certainly shows up at Kansas Speedway this week with good reason to assume that trend continues.

 

Truex is a two-time Kansas winner and the only driver in history to sweep a season’s slate of races – doing so en route to his first Cup title two years ago. His consecutive race work puts him in an elite category at the track. He and fellow Monster Energy Series champions Jeff Gordon (2001 and 2002) and Matt Kenseth (Fall 2012, Spring, 2013) are the only drivers to ever win back-to-back races at Kansas.

 

Truex, however, is more interested in continuing his current run of superiority. The 38-year-old has finished in the top-five in the last four Kansas races and led 380 laps in the last six races at the 1.5-mile track. In addition to his two wins, he has three runner-up finishes – second place in both 2012 races and this race last year. He’s won two Busch Pole positions and hasn’t started farther back than the fourth row in the last eight races.

 

Turn around for Larson

Perennial championship favorite Kyle Larson joked on social media how happy he was just to claim a top-10 in the rain-delayed race at Dover International Speedway on Monday. But after a string of bad luck, the popular driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 finished third and earned his first top five of 2019.

 

Larson crashed out in three of the most recent five races and has only led laps in two of the 11 races this season. Larson led a race-high 142 laps at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway finishing 12th.

 

But Larson has plenty of confidence as he arrives in Kansas. He led a race-best 101 laps in this race last year, finishing fourth. He capped the Kansas portion of the season with a third place in the fall race. His career best showing at the track is a runner-up finish in the fall of 2014 – his second career Monster Energy Series start there.

 

His 93.3 driver rating is actually fifth best in the field as is his 13.233 average running position.

 

“It was good to finally have a clean race,’’ Larson said of Monday’s Dover, Del. result. “I don’t think we’ve had a clean weekend all year long and we’re 11 weeks into the season. So, it’s good to finally get a clean day.’’

 

Revival for Hendrick Motorsports

Chase Elliott’s victory at Talladega Superspeedway and Alex Bowman’s back-to-back runner-up finishes coming into Saturday night’s race at Kansas Speedway gives the Hendrick Motorsports team a lot of reason to be optimistic.

 

On Monday at Dover International Speedway, Bowman was second, the race polesitter Elliott was fifth and the team’s second-year Cup driver William Byron finished eighth – giving the team three drivers among the top-10 for the first time this year. Seven-time Monster Energy Series champion Jimmie Johnson was 14th.

 

This week’s Kansas Speedway venue has been historically good for the team as well. Hendrick is the winningest organization there with seven wins – three each by NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon and champion Johnson – and Elliott in last year’s Playoff race.

 

Certainly, the effort at Dover earlier this week puts the team in a positive mindset.

 

“It would be better if we had a trophy, right?’’ Bowman said following Monday’s rain-delayed Dover race. “But we needed this, for sure. Talladega is a speedway and it’s a lot of luck involved. But to come here, in my opinion, the hardest race track we go to and to run like that from the back of all things, was pretty special.

 

“I’m just proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for all the improvement we’ve made over the last year or so and we’re going to keep it going.’’

 

Johnson has three wins and three pole positions at Kansas Speedway – his last victory coming in May, 2015. He has a pair of top-five finishes since and eight top-three finishes in his 25 starts.

 

Elliott picked up his first Kansas win during the 2018 Playoffs and has top-10s in three of his six starts at the track. Bowman has two top-10 finishes in his last three starts at Kansas – a career best seventh place in the fall 2016 event.

 

The 21-year old Byron had DNFs in his two rookie Monster Energy Series starts at Kansas last year, but he won the 2016 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Kansas and had a fourth place in his only NASCAR Xfinity Series start at the track in 2017.

 

Home state favorite

There will be no mistaking the hometown favorite this week. The likeable and outgoing Clint Bowyer is from nearby Emporia, Kansas, and scoring a victory at this track has been a longtime mission for the 39-year old driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.

 

Bowyer convincingly won the 2011 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Kansas – leading 124 of the 167 laps – but he’d like to put a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trophy on the mantle, too. It would be helpful both for sentimental and practical reasons. He has six top-10 finishes in 21 Cup starts at Kansas and was 15th and 13th last year. And he arrives in his home state with good momentum scoring five top-10 finishes in the most recent six races of this season. A two-race winner in 2018, Bowyer’s best showing through 11 events this year is a runner-up at the Texas Motor Speedway 1.5-miler.

 

“I’ve said before that if we ever win at Kansas, I probably wouldn’t be in very good shape for Mother’s Day,’’ Bowyer said laughing. “We would probably have to postpone that to Monday.

 

“It would be huge to win a home and finally seal the deal after all this time. It would be ultra-special. This is where all my family and friends and people who helped me get to where I am today all live in this area and it would be cool to celebrate that with them. I think probably everybody would have an open invite.’’

 

Looking at the Sunoco Rookies

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie Ryan Preece answered a career-best third-place finish at the sport’s biggest track Talladega Superspeedway with a frustrating 28th-place finish at the Dover “Monster Mile.” The driver of the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Chevy remains ranked 24th in the points standings. This will be his Monster Energy Series debut on the 1.5-mile Kansas track. His previous best showing there is 21st driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series race. 

 

Richard Childress Racing’s rookie driver Daniel Hemric answered his career-best Cup finish (fifth) at Talladega with a 25th-place run at Dover on Monday in the No. 8 Chevrolet. He is ranked 26th in the Cup standings, but does have a positive track record at Kansas. He won the pole position and finished runner-up in last fall’s Xfinity Series race at the track.

 

Matt Tifft, who is third in the Sunoco Rookie standings, is looking for his second top-20 showing of 2019 in the No. 36 Front Row Motorsports Ford. He was 20th at Phoenix. He had a pair of top-10 finishes in the Xfinity Series there in 2017 and 2018.

 

By the numbers at Kansas

Kevin Harvick has the top driver rating (108.6) at Kansas Speedway and the best average finish (9.7) among the top-16 in the standings. …. The top-seven drivers ranked among the current Playoff 16 have won previously at Kansas, eight of the remaining nine drivers have not (Ryan Newman is the exception, winning in 2003. …Harvick leads the series with four pole positions. …Jimmie Johnson’s nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes are best at Kansas. …Joey Logano has the top average start (9.632 ) among active drivers. The late Jason Leffler (3.5) has the mark all-time. … Leffler and Ryan Blaney are the only drivers to earn their first career Cup pole position at Kansas. … Kurt Busch leads the series with most starts (26) at Kansas without a victory.

 

Parade Laps: Insights ahead of this week’s driver media rotations

Seven drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Wood Brothers Racing’s Paul Menard, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Daniel Suarez, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones, Front Row Motorsports’ David Ragan, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer, Richard Petty Motorsports’ Bubba Wallace and Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Kansas Speedway in advance of Saturday’s Digital Ally 400 (7:30 p.m., ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Paul Menard, 38, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, comes to Kansas Speedway having scored a pair of top-10 finishes in the last four races of 2019, including a season best of sixth place in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford at Bristol, Tenn. last month. The popular Midwesterner has six top-10 finishes in 20 Kansas races including a mark of four top-10s in a five-race stretch between 2012-14. He was sixth in this race last year – his first season driving fulltime for the legendary Wood Brothers team.

 

Daniel Suarez, 27, of Monterrey, Mexico, has already earned four top-10s in his first 11 races driving the No. 41 Ford for the Stewart-Haas Racing team. His best showing is third place at Texas Motor Speedway – a 1.5-mile track, as is Kansas Speedway. He had immediate success at Kansas with a seventh-place run in his first race at the track in the spring of 2017, but has struggled in the series there since. He also has a pair of top 10s there in the Xfinity Series (third in 2016) and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (sixth in 2015).

 

Erik Jones, 22, of Byron, Michigan, is coming off a 2018 season that saw top-10 finishes at both Kansas Speedway races – seventh in the spring and a career best fourth place in the fall. The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota is currently ranked 16th in the Monster Energy Series points standings. He has four top 10s on the year – bookending the season to date with a third place in the season-opening Daytona 500 and a sixth place in Monday’s rain-delayed race at Dover, Del. He’s ranked 16th in the points.

 

David Ragan, 33, of Unadilla, Georgia, is hoping Kansas Speedway will be the venue that kickstarts his 2019 season. The 13-year Cup veteran’s only top 20 so far was a 16th place effort at his “hometown” track, Atlanta Motor Speedway, a 1.5-miler. Ragan has a top-10 finish at Kansas, finishing eighth in only his second start at the track. He was 13th and 19th in the two Kansas Cup races last year. He has a third place in the 2008 Xfinity Series race here and a sixth place in the 2006 Gander Trucks race.

 

Clint Bowyer, 39, of nearby Emporia, Kansas, is unquestionably the hometown favorite at this track. The veteran has six top-10s on the Kansas 1.5-miler, including a career best runner-up finish in only his second Monster Energy Series start at Kansas in 2007. He dominated the 2011 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at the speedway, leading 124 of 167 laps en route to his lone NASCAR major series win there. This season Bowyer has six top 10s in 11 starts driving the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford – including five top 10s in the last six races. His best showing was a runner-up on the Texas 1.5-mile track and he was third at Richmond the following week. Bowyer is coming off a ninth-place run at Dover in Monday’s rain-delayed race and sits 10th in the championship points standings.

 

Bubba Wallace, 25, of Mobile, Alabama, is looking for his first top-10 finish of 2019 in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet. He has a pair of top-20 showings, including a season best 17th on the Martinsville short track. The popular driver – who was runner-up in his first Daytona 500 start last year – scored finishes of 23rd and 26th in his two Kansas starts and led a pair of laps in the fall race. He has past success at Kansas earning a seventh-place finish in the 2013 Gander Trucks race.

 

Alex Bowman, 26, of Tucson, Ariz. is in the midst of his finest Monster Energy Series stretch – earning back-to-back runner-up finishes in the last two races – at Talladega and Dover. He’s already nearly matched a career high in season top-fives (three) and the season is only 11 races old. The driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has a pair of top-10 finishes in his last three Kansas Speedway races – a ninth in this race last year and a seventh place in the fall, 2016 event – both races in the No. 88. He’s had success on the 1.5-mile venues like Kansas, scoring his only major NASCAR victory at the Charlotte 1.5-mile track in the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Christopher Bell’s Xfinity wins keep adding up

The keepers of the NASCAR Xfinity Series record books best have their pens full of ink this season as Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell continues to rack up wins in just his second full-time season.

 

The Oklahoman already set the single season wins record for a Sunoco rookie in the NASCAR Xfinity Series last season when he won seven races, surpassing the previous record of five wins held by Greg Biffle (2001), Kyle Busch (2004), Carl Edwards (2005).

 

This season he already has three wins (Atlanta, Bristol, Dover), bringing his Xfinity career wins total to 11 in just 51 starts. Only four other drivers in NASCAR Xfinity Series history have scored 11 or more wins in their first 51 starts – Darrell Waltrip (12), Dale Earnhardt (11), Harry Gant (11) and Jack Ingram (11).

 

By the end of this season Bell will have made 74 NASCAR Xfinity Series career starts. The record for the most wins in the first 74 starts of a driver’s NASCAR Xfinity Series career is 18 wins held by Sam Ard (1982-1984). Bell will need seven more wins this season to match the record held by Ard.

 

This season, Christopher Bell has posted three wins, six top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 7.7.

 

Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick still on top

Despite Christopher Bell winning at Dover last weekend, ‘Mr. Consistency,’ a.k.a. Tyler Reddick, is riding a wave of seven consecutive top-five finishes and as a result is still holding the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championship standings lead by 23 points over second place Bell.

 

Ever since Reddick grabbed the No. 1 position in the series points standings following ISM Raceway back in March, he has yet to relinquish it. The California native has been lights out this season, posting one win (Talladega), eight top fives and nine top 10s. He also leads the series among title contenders in average start, 4.2 and average finish, 4.7.

 

Reddick became the third rookie in series history to win the title last season joining Chase Elliott (2014) and William Byron (2017). Now this season he’s looking to check off several more statistical accolades like becoming the seventh driver in series history to win back-to-back titles joining Sam Ard (1983-84), Larry Pearson (1986-87), Randy LaJoie (1996-97), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998-99), Martin Truex Jr. (2004-2005) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-2012). Or becoming just the fourth driver to bring Richard Childress Racing a Xfinity driver championship (Kevin Harvick 2001, 2006; Clint Bowyer 2009, Austin Dillon 2013).  

 

Sunoco Rookie Update: Briscoe takes the lead

Xfinity Rookies

Points

Chase Briscoe

335

John H. Nemechek

325

Noah Gragson

304

Justin Haley

294

Brandon Brown

204

On a string of eight consecutive top-10 finishes, Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi’s Chase Briscoe has taken the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings lead by 10 points over second-place John Hunter Nemechek following the 10th race of the season last weekend at Dover International Speedway.

 

Briscoe has increasingly become more consistent as the season has progressed. In 10 starts, he has five top fives and eight top 10s. His average starting position this season is 12.7 and his average finishing position is 7.1.     

 

GMS Racing’s Nemechek, on the other hand, has also been quite consistent this season. In 10 starts, he has posted two top fives and eight top 10s. His average starting position this season is 11.7 and his average finishing position is 10.2.

 

Xfinity Playoff Outlook: 10 races into 2019

Following the 10th race of the 2019 season at Dover International Speedway last weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series is now in a two-week break and pick back up on Saturday, May 25, at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Alsco 300.

 

With 10 races in the books it’s time to take a deeper dive into those vying for an Xfinity Series Playoff spot this season. Below is a two-part look at the upcoming Playoffs, the first part will highlight the drivers locked into the postseason on wins and the second part will investigate the drivers still trying to secure their ticket to the postseason.

 

In On Wins – Four of the 27 eligible NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contenders this season have won already, locking themselves into the Playoffs, leaving eight spots still up for grabs for this season’s Playoff top 12.

 

Rank

Driver

Points

Starts

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

Pts From Cutoff

1

Christopher Bell

439

10

3

4

19

In On Wins

2

Cole Custer

391

10

2

4

14

3

Tyler Reddick

462

10

1

2

7

4

Michael Annett

297

10

1

0

5

 

JR Motorsport’s driver Michael Annett kicked the season off with a big win at Daytona, and then Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell followed it up with his first of three wins this season with a victory at Atlanta. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer was the next championship contender to win this season with a victory at Auto Club Speedway. Then Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick became the fourth different title contender to win this season with his victory at Talladega.

 

Bell (three wins: Atlanta, Bristol, Dover) and Custer (two wins: California, Richmond) are the only two championship- contenders with multiple wins. This season is the first since 2012 to have two Xfinity Series title contenders with multiple wins in the first 10 races of the season – in 2012 the multiple winners were Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (three wins) and Elliott Sadler (two wins).

 

Still Needs A Win – Eight drivers currently sit above the Xfinity Series Playoff cutoff following the 10th race of the season without a win to secure their spot. With 16 races to go in the regular season a lot can still happen making scoring a win the top priority for these title contenders. 

 

Rank

Driver

Points

Starts

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

Pts From Cutoff

5

Austin Cindric

381

10

0

1

1

137

6

Justin Allgaier

348

10

0

3

3

104

7

Chase Briscoe

335

10

0

0

0

91

8

John H. Nemechek

325

10

0

0

0

81

9

Ryan Sieg

315

10

0

1

1

71

10

Noah Gragson

304

10

0

1

1

60

11

Justin Haley

294

10

0

1

1

50

12

Brandon Jones

286

10

0

0

0

42

13

Ross Chastain

244

10

0

1

1

-42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Penske’s Austin Cindric currently has the biggest points lead (137) over 13th-place Ross Chastain following Dover, of the drivers still looking for their first win this season. After a DNF at Las Vegas, Cindric has slowly worked his way back up the points standings. In 10 starts this season, the North Carolina native, Cindric, has posted four top fives and eight top 10s.

 

JR Motorsport’s Justin Allgaier is currently 104 points ahead of the Xfinity Series Playoff cutoff following Dover. Allgaier’s season has been tumultuous thus far, having posted four top fives and five top 10s, but also three DNFs. Allgaier and the recently retired Elliott Sadler are the only two drivers to make the Playoffs each season since its inception in 2016.

 

Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi’s Chase Briscoe is the hottest rookie in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the moment. Briscoe is on a streak of eight consecutive top-10 finishes that has him in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings lead and en route to the Playoffs with a 91-point advantage over the postseason cutoff following Dover. Briscoe, in 10 starts this season, has posted five top fives, eight top 10s and an average finish of 7.1.  

 

GMS Racing’s John Hunter Nemechek is the second of four Sunoco rookies currently in the top 12 in points, and in the running to make the Playoffs this season. Following Dover, Nemechek has an 81-point advantage over the Playoff’s cutoff. In his first season with GMS Racing, Nemechek, has posted two top fives, eight top 10s and an average finish of 10.2. In his previous two seasons in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (2016, 2017) he made the Playoffs finishing eighth in the final championship points both years.

 

RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg is already having the best season of his career. The Georgia native, has set new career records in top fives (two) and top 10s (five) this season. Sieg is currently 71 points ahead of 13thplace Ross Chastain following Dover. Sieg is looking to make the Xfinity postseason for the second time in his career. He made the Playoffs back in 2016; ultimately finishing ninth in the championship points.

 

JR Motorsport’s Noah Gragson is the third of four Xfinity rookies this season inside the Playoff cutoff following Dover. He is currently 60 points ahead of 13th-place Ross Chastain the first spot outside the Playoffs. In 10 starts this season, Gragson has posted one top five and three top 10s.

 

Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley is the fourth rookie this season inside the top 12 looking for a Playoff spot. Haley is currently 50 points up on Chastain in 13th following Dover. Haley has posted seven top 10s in 10 starts this season. 

 

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones finds himself in the final Playoff transfer position (12th in points) just 42 points ahead of Ross Chastain in 13th. Jones might be feeling like he is in the ‘hot seat’ following Dover and its mostly attributed to his rollercoaster-type season. In 10 starts he has two top fives, five top 10s but also three DNFs.  

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Put a little Monster in their step – Six NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contenders, Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Joey Gase, Timmy Hill, Landon Cassill and Jeb Burton, will be attempting to run in this weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, the Digital Ally 400 on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Reddick will pilot the No. 32 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Chastain will be in the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Gase will be in the No. 46 Motorsports Business Management Toyota Camry, Hill will be in the No. 66 Motorsports Business Management Toyota Camry, Cassill will be in the No. 00 StarCom Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Burton will jump in the No. 51 Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

 

Moonlighting in the Gander Trucks – Three NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contenders will not be taking this weekend off but rather competing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race, the Gander Outdoors 250 at Kansas Speedway on Friday night (May 10) at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Ross Chastain will pilot the No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet, Riley Herbst will drive the No. 46 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota and Brandon Jones will strap into the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

 

Keeping a Joe Gibbs Racing pace – Over the last 12 seasons (2008-2019) in the NASCAR Xfinity Series no team has been able to win more races in the first 10 races of a season than Joe Gibbs Racing, who holds the series record at six victories. The next highest wins total through the first 10 races of a season by an organization in the last 12 years (2008-2019) is four wins by JR Motorsports (2014) and Roush Fenway Racing (2009). What is even more impressive than the pace at which JGR wins in the first 10 races  of a season, is the amount of times they have been able to accomplish the feat – five. Bell’s win last weekend was the fifth different year Joe Gibbs Racing has opened up the first 10 races of the season with a record six wins (2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2019). In 2008 and 2016 JGR set the series record for the most wins by an organization in an entire season at 19 victories. 

 

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

 

Truckin’ under the lights

The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is full throttle this weekend at Kansas Speedway for the seventh race of the 2019 schedule, the Digital Ally 250, on Friday, May 10  at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Last season’s Gander Trucks winner at Kansas Speedway was Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Noah Gragson, who made the move up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in the offseason and will not defend his win this weekend. Only two previous series winners are in the field this weekend – ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton (two wins: 2913, 2015) and Johnny Sauter (one win: 2010) – which means there is a good chance we see new Kansas winner.

 

Kansas Speedway has been known to be a track that has given drivers their first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win. Five drivers in series history have won their first series career victory at Kansas – Ricky Hendrick (2001), Jon Wood (2003), Eric Darnell (2007), James Buescher (2012) and William Byron (2016).

 

Sauter knocks out the Monster Mile 

Last weekend at Dover International Speedway, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series returned to action after a month-long hiatus with ThorSport Racing’s Johnny Sauter winning his first race of the 2019 season.

 

It was also Sauter’s third consecutive win at Dover, making him first driver in series history to win three in a row at the Monster Mile.  

 

This year marks Sauter’s 17th year in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and he is

is currently second in the driver standings with 237 points; just four points behind Grant Enfinger in the series standings lead.

 

Sauter has made 10 series starts at Kansas Speedway posting one win (2010), six top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 8.8.

 

Toyota looks to extend winning streak at Kansas

Kansas Speedway has seen just one manufacturer in Victory Lane over the last six NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races, and Toyota returns to this weekend to keep the winning ways rolling.

 

From 2013 to 2018, a Toyota Tundra has been victorious at Kansas Speedway, a series record of six consecutive wins at the track – 2013 (Matt Crafton), 2014 (Kyle Busch), 2015 (Matt Crafton), 2016 (William Byron), 2017 (Kyle Busch) and 2018 (Noah Gragson).

 

The Toyota camp will once again try to extend their streak of wins this weekend but this time around it will need to be done by someone new. Previous Toyota winners Noah Gragson, Kyle Busch, and William Byron are not entered in this weekend’s race and Matt Crafton will be piloting the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford this season.

 

Kyle Busch Motorsports is responsible for four of the six consecutive victories at Kansas and this weekend KBM will have four drivers in the field –  Todd Gilliland (No. 4 Toyota), Harrison Burton (No. 18 Toyota), Riley Herbst (No. 46 Toyota) and Brandon Jones (No. 51 Toyota). 

 

Enfinger overtakes Friesen to regain series standings lead

ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger certainly knows how to make a comeback. With the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series making a return to Dover last weekend after a month-long spring break, Enfinger posted a solid fourth-place finish, vaulting himself back into the series standings lead.

 

As the Gander Trucks head in to Kansas this weekend, Enfinger will have to keep the momentum going. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native only has a slim four-point lead over last weekend’s winner and ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter.

 

Enfinger has made two series start at Kansas, posting one top 10 (eighth in this race last season).

 

Expect the ThorSport teammates of Enfinger and Sauter to battle it out this weekend at Kansas. Enfinger’s average finish is a 9.5; while Sauter’s is slightly better at an 8.8. Both are the only drivers in the field with an average finish inside the top-10 this weekend.

 

Kansas Speedway quick stats

With the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race the Digital Ally 250 just days away, here are some quick facts you should know about Kansas Speedway.

Track Length: 1.5 miles

Race Length: 250.5 miles (167 laps)
Track Surface: Asphalt
Turns: Four
Degree of Banking in Corners: 17-20 degrees

Degree of Banking on Straights: Frontstretch – 10 degrees; Backstretch – 5 degrees

Length of Frontstretch: 2,685 feet

Length of Backstretch: 2,207 feet

Races:  18

Pole Winners: 14

Youngest Pole Winner: Erik Jones (05/08/2015 – 18 years. 10 months, 8 days)

Oldest Pole Winner: Ron Hornaday Jr (05/02/2010 – 51 years, 10 months, 12 days)

Race Winners:  15

Youngest Winner: William Byron (05/06/2016 – 18 years, 5 months, 7 days)

Oldest Winner: Mike Skinner (04/27/2009 – 51 years, 9 months, 30 days)

 

Parade Laps: Insights ahead of this week’s driver media breakouts  

Six drivers from the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series – ThorSport Racing drivers Johnny Sauter and Grant Enfinger, GMS Racing driver Brett Moffitt, NEMCO Motorsports driver Angela Ruch, Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing driver Jennifer Jo Cobb, and Sunoco Rookie contender and DGR-Crosley driver Natalie Decker – will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Kansas Speedway. These six drivers are preparing for the Digital Ally 250 this Friday, May 10, at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 

 

Johnny Sauter (No. 13 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150)

Birthdate: May 1, 1978

Driver’s Age: 41

Hometown: Necedah, WI

Hobbies: Late-model racing, family activities, hockey

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • In 2018, he made the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4 for the third consecutive season; posted a career-high six wins on the season.
  • Finished second in 2017 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, amassing a then career-high four wins along the way.
  • In 2016, he won the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship.
  • In 2009, he won the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently second in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver championship standings four behind the standings lead.
  • In six races this season he has posted one win (Dover), three top fives and five top 10s.

Kansas Speedway Performance:

  • Has made 10 series starts at Kansas Speedway posting one win (2010), six top fives and seven top 10s.
  • Average start, 6.6 and average finish, 8.8.
  • Has also led 135 laps at Kanas.

 

Natalie Decker (No. 54 DGR-Crosley Toyota Tundra)

Birthdate: June 25, 1997

Driver’s Age: 21

Hometown: Eagle River, WI

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • She made her NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck series debut in the 2019 season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
  • Has made four starts in her career (all this season) with a best finish of 13th place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Has run a part-time schedule this season and is currently 23rd in series driver championship standings as a rookie.
  • Has made four starts, posting one top-15 and two top-20 finishes. Her average finish this season has been a 21.5.
  • Her best finish this season was 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Kansas Speedway Performance:

  • This weekend will be Decker’s series track debut at Kansas Speedway

 

Jennifer Jo Cobb (No. 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Chevrolet Silverado)

Birthdate: June 12, 1973

Driver’s Age: 45

Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas

Hobbies: Working out, reading, traveling

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Has made a total of 175 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series career starts; the most by a female competitor in the series.
  • In 2011, Cobb scored her career-best finish (sixth) at Daytona International Speedway – the highest finish by a female competitor in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
  • Made her NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut at her hometown track Kansas Speedway in 2008.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Has run a part-time schedule this season and is currently 27th in series driver championship standings.
  • Has made four starts posting one top-20 finish. Her average finish this season has been a 23.0.
  • Her best finish this season was 18th at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kansas Speedway Performance:

  • Kansas Speedway is Cobb’s home track.
  • She has made 11 series starts at Kansas Speedway a best finish of 13th in 2014.
  • Average start, 29.5 and average finish, 23.7.

 

Angela Ruch (No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota Tundra)

Birthdate: August 18, 1983

Driver’s Age: 35

Hometown: Puyallup, Washington

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Made her NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck series debut at Martinsville in 2010. Has just four series starts to her career – one in 2010 and three this season.
  • Became the first female driver in Gander Trucks history to lead laps at Daytona International Speedway in the 2019 season opener.
  • Scored her series career-best finish at Daytona (eighth) to open the 2019 season. 

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently on a part-time schedule and is ranked 24th in series driver championship standings.
  • In three starts this season she has posted one top-10 and two top-20 finishes.
  • Led two laps at Daytona International Speedway – first female driver to accomplish the feat in the series.

Kansas Speedway Performance:

  • This weekend will be Ruch’s series track debut at Kansas Speedway.

 

Grant Enfinger (No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150)

Birthdate: January 22, 1985

Driver’s Age: 34

Hometown: Kannapolis, NC

Hobbies: Fishing, Outdoor activities, Working on cars

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • In 2018, he captured his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoff berth and finished fifth in the final points standings, the best of his career thus far in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
  • In 2017, he finished 11th in the final standings in his rookie season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
  • In 2016, he claimed his first career NASCAR national series win at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • In 2016, posted his first NASCAR national series career pole for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series season opener at Daytona.
  • In 2010, he made his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut at Talladega Superspeedway

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Current NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver championship point standings leader by four points over second-place Johnny Sauter.
  • In six starts this season he has posted four top fives and five top 10s. 
  • He has led 17 laps this season.

Kansas Speedway Performance:

  • He has made two series starts at Kansas posting one top-10 finish (eighth – in this race last season).

 

Brett Moffitt (No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado)

Birthdate: August 7, 1992

Driver’s Age: 26

Hometown: Grimes, Iowa

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Last season, Moffitt drove Hattori Racing Enterprise’s No. 16 Toyota to six wins, leading the way for the first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship for both Moffitt and HRE.
  • Won his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race in 2016, taking home the checkers at Michigan for Red Horse Racing.
  • Made the most of his six NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2016, with three top-three finishes and four top 10s.
  • In 2013, entered the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series scene with a pair of starts (Kentucky and Michigan).

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently fourth in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship points. 
  • In six starts this season he has posted four top fives and an average finish of 9.3
  • Has led 121 laps this season.

Kansas Speedway Performance:

  • Has made two series starts at Kansas posting one top 10 (seventh in 2017).
  • Average start, 8.5 and average finish, 11.5. 

 — NASCAR —