Category Archives: Xfinity Series

Harvick Dominates For Atlanta Xfinity Series Win

(Courtesy: NASCAR Media)

HAMPTON, GA – FEBRUARY 24: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 24, 2018 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

HAMPTON, Ga. – Kevin Harvick put on a driving clinic in Saturday’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

The driver of the No. 98 Ford dominated the action on the track, leading 141-of-163 laps and winning both stages before taking the checkered flag 4.183 seconds ahead of runner-up Joey Logano. 

Harvick collected his fifth NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Atlanta and the 47th of his career. He has won four of the last six events at the 1.54-mile track, where he also has won for four different car owners, tying Tony Stewart for the distinction of winning for four different owners at a single track. 

Atlanta continues to be a special track for Harvick, who earned his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory here in 2001, after succeeding the late Dale Earnhardt in the Intimidator’s vaunted Richard Childress racing ride. 

“It’s just been a really good place for me, obviously getting my first Cup win here,” Harvick said. “We’ve run good cars throughout the years, and the race track has stayed very similar to what it’s been for a number of years. 

“And I think, as you look at the techniques and the things that I do in the car – and they give me what I want in the car, as far as the feel – it just applies here.” 

Harvick’s pit crew got into the act, too, pulling off a stop in 14.4 seconds under NASCAR’s new rules that have reduced the size of the over-the-wall crew to five members. That same crew pits Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Cup car on Sundays. 

“The good thing is they’ve had a lot of reps,” Harvick said. “We’ve had Clash reps, reps in the qualifying race, the Daytona 500, and they pitted on Saturday last week. They pitted on Saturday this week, and they’re just doing a really good job. 

“Those guys are pretty athletic, and they practice hard and have done a great job over the last couple years of getting this car off pit road. As long as I don’t screw it up going too fast, they do really well making the pit stops.” 

Behind Harvick and Logano, pole winner Christopher Bell ran third, followed by John Hunter Nemechek, who scored a fourth-place finish in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut. Elliott Sadler (fifth), Justin Allgaier (sixth) and Austin Cindric (seventh) were the only other drivers on the lead lap when Harvick crossed the stripe for the last time. 

“I don’t think we were even close,” Logano said. “Kevin played with us all day long.” 

Nemechek ran into early trouble on the bottom of the track and early trouble on the top. On Lap 7, Harvick bulled his way past Nemechek, who had just taken over third place. Nemechek’s No. 42 Chevrolet turned sideways after the contact, but he managed to save the car off Turn 4. 

Three laps later, Cole Custer cut to the inside of Nemechek in a battle for fifth as the cars entered the tri-oval. Nemechek slid to the top of the track, right into the path of Elliott Sadler, who had exited Turn 4 with enormous momentum. 

A tap from Sadler turned Nemechek’s car into the No. 00 Ford of Custer, who nosed into the outside wall and damaged his machine beyond repair. 

“It looks like the 42 got out of shape, and then the 1 (Sadler) had a run, and he didn’t hit the brakes hard enough and he hit the 42, and the 42 hit me,” Custer said after viewing the replay.  

“We just got collected in something, and there’s not much we could do. We had a pretty good car and was just kind of riding at that point, but, I don’t know. We’ll go on to the next one.” 

“I’ve got to apologize to Cole Custer,” Nemechek said after climbing from his car. “I never meant to get into him off (Turn) 4 there. I got tagged from behind.”

William Byron Wins 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship

Byron Also Takes Sunoco Rookie of the Year;

No. 22 Team Penske Ford Captures Owners Title;

Chevrolet Wins Bill France Performance Cup as Top Manufacturer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2017) – William Byron’s meteoric NASCAR rise continued Saturday, as the 19-year-old added two more superlatives to an already lengthy list – 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion and 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Byron is only the second driver to win the XFINITY Series championship in his rookie season (Chase Elliott, 2014).

Following an extraordinary rookie campaign, the NASCAR Next graduate, who finished third, outlasted his Championship 4 competitors Elliott Sadler (eighth), Justin Allgaier (12th) and Daniel Hemric (34th) in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to capture his second NASCAR title. He also won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship in 2015. With the 2017 championship, Byron – at 19 years, 11 months and 20 days – is the second-youngest champion in series history (Elliott was 18 years, 11 months, 18 days).

This season, Byron drove the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet to four wins, 12 top fives and 22 top 10s. His victories came at Iowa, Daytona, Indianapolis and Phoenix, which helped propel him to a lofty position in the standings – from race No. 2-33, he never dropped lower than fifth in the standings.

Byron’s ascent to the top level of the sport will continue in 2018, as Hendrick Motorsports announced that he will drive the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Byron is the fourth member of the NASCAR Next program to win a NASCAR national series championship (Chase Elliott, NASCAR XFINITY Series, 2014; Erik Jones, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, 2015; Daniel Suarez, NASCAR XFINITY Series, 2016).

With its second-place finish, the No. 22 Ford won the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Owner Championship for Team Penske, the organization’s fourth XFINITY Series owner title. This season, the No. 22 was piloted by Ryan Blaney (11 races), Brad Keselowski (nine), Joey Logano (seven), Sam Hornish Jr. (five) and Austin Cindric (one race).

Chevrolet, on the strength of 12 victories, clinched the Bill France Performance Cup – the manufacturers’ championship – in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Because Chevrolet owned a more than 40-point lead in the standings following Phoenix, the automaker clinched the title one race early. It is Chevrolet’s 18th Bill France Performance Cup win.

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Hornish Jr Claims Victory at Mid-Ohio

(Courtesy: NASCAR Media)

LEXINGTON, OH – AUGUST 12: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 12, 2017 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Sam Hornish Jr. dominated Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge, but his victory was anything but certain until the waning laps of a caution-filled race. 

Hornish, driving Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang, earlier had eclipsed his own qualifying record at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and edged series rookie Daniel Hemric by 1.335 seconds when the event ultimately went green for the final time with five circuits remaining in the 75-lap distance. 

The victory was the fifth in the series by Hornish, whose last win came in June of 2016 at Iowa Speedway. 

LEXINGTON, OH – AUGUST 12: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, poses with the winners sticker after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 12, 2017 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Hornish, who led four times for 61 laps, traded the top spot with Hemric’s No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro four times over the race’s third and final stage. He took the point for the last time on Lap 62, on a restart following the seventh caution. 

Veteran Brendan Gaughan advanced to the second after Justin Allgaier and James Davison slipped off the track in Turn 3 at Lap 63, setting up a final restart battle that ended prematurely when Gaughan’s No. 62 RCR Chevrolet Camaro was forced off the track by Hornish shortly after the green flag. 

“I finally got the win (at Mid-Ohio),” said Hornish, who finished second here a year ago. “We had a smart, almost flawless day but I feel bad about the 62. I didn’t want to beat him that way.” 

LEXINGTON, OH – AUGUST 12: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, practices for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 12, 2017 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Rookie Matt Tifft finish third in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, improving his best NASCAR XFINITY Series finish from a fifth-place at Kentucky Speedway last September. Davison, an international racing star and Indianapolis 500 competitor, took fourth in the No. 20 JGR Toyota, followed by sports car veteran Andy Lally, whose No. 07 Chevrolet Camaro team posted their first top-10 finish in the series. 

Twenty-four of the race’s 40 starters completed all 75 laps. Five drivers, Hornish, Hemric, Blake Koch, Ryan Reed and Elliott Sadler, traded the lead nine times. 

NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader Sadler spotted the field an early spin and a green flag pit stop to change a flat tire, but he ultimately took sixth, ahead of Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Justin Marks and Dakoda Armstrong. 

Koch won the race’s first stage when Hornish elected to pit with three laps left and leader Sadler was spun in Turn 1 by Poole. 

Hornish quickly went back to the front of the field after Stage 1 pit stops, claiming Stage 2 over Hemric and Davison. 

Saturday’s race left the playoff picture unchanged with no bubble drivers able to bump their way into the standings. Sadler holds an 81-point lead over William Byron, who appeared headed for a top 10 until being caught up in a late accident relegating him to a 25th-place finish.