BK Racing Goes Four for Four

HUNTERSVILLE, NC (February 20, 2016) – Beginning this season NASCAR reduced the starting field, by three, to 40 cars which created added pressure for many teams. For BK Racing, the chore of qualifying doubled.
Typically a two-car team, BK Racing added two entries just weeks before Sunday’s Great American Race, the Daytona 500.
Based on NASCAR’s new Charter system, BK Racing had automatically secured spots for the cars of David Ragan and Michael Waltrip, driving the Nos. 23 and 83 respectively. That forced both Matt DiBenedetto and Robert Richardson Jr. to have to earn their spots on NASCAR’s premier event.
Rewind.
At the conclusion of the 2015 season, owner Ron Devine made a promise to his team that 2016 would start a new era for BK Racing. Fortifying that, Devine purchased cars and equipment from Michael Waltrip Racing. In addition, many key MWR team members joined the origination giving stronger resources towards Devine’s promise. Subsequently, Matt DiBenedetto and Robert Richardson Jr. executed strong performances in the Can-Am Duels to lock themselves into the Daytona 500.
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 14:  David Ragan, driver of the #23 Dr Pepper Toyota, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #23 Dr Pepper Toyota, (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

David Ragan – No. 23 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry

David Ragan will make his ninth Daytona 500 appearance starting from the 29th position.
“The 500 is a long race that requires a lot of mental toughness,” Ragan said. “There is not one perfect strategy to win. The driver, crew chief, and spotter all have to make decisions on the fly and hope they are right.”
Robert Richardson Jr. – No. 26 Stalk It Toyota Camry

during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Robert Richardson Jr. #26 Stalk It Toyota (Getty Images Photo)
 
Robert Richardson Jr. is quite literally an 11th-hour deal that was put together between Richardson’s sponsor Stalk It and the team. Richardson will start the Daytona 500 from the 40th position as the last car to transfer into the race.
“I’m very, very honored to be a part of BK Racing, having another opportunity to run here at the Daytona 500,” he said. “I’ve been in it once before, but this one is very, very special to me. My wife and I welcomed our brand-new baby boy who was born in early December.  Every bit of earnings we get from this race is going to go into a college fund for him.”
during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Michael Waltrip #83 Maxwell House Toyota Camry (Getty Images Photo)

Michael Waltrip – No. 83 Maxwell House Toyota Camry

After showing speed early in the Cam-Am Duel, Waltrip didn’t have the finish he wanted, as he made an extra trip down pit road under green flag conditions, going a lap down. As a result, he finished 20th.
The two-time Daytona 500 Champion will roll off from the 36th starting position in his 29th appearance at the Great American Race.
Matt DiBenedetto – No. 93 Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry

during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Matt DiBenedetto #93 Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry (Getty Images Photo)
By virtue of a strong qualifying effort, DiBenedetto was able to lock himself in based on his qualifying speed. This is DiBenedetto’s maiden voyage in the Great American Race.
“Being able to race in my first Daytona 500 this weekend is going to be a heck of an honor,” DiBenedetto said. “I’ve dreamed of it since I was five, so I’m excited.”
DiBenedetto’s No. 93 Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry will roll off from the 20th starting position.
While this is the first weekend of the 36-race schedule, BK Racing is poised to set a strong foundation and make good on Devine’s promise.

Tommy Baldwin Racing Driver Regan Smith: Daytona 500 Notes.

Regan Smith
No. 7 Nikko RC/ Golden Corral Chevrolet
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona 500 | February 21, 2016
Starting Position: 27th 
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 16: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Regan Smith poses for a portrait during NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Regan Smith (Photo by Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

New Beginnings: Just a few weeks ago, Regan and Tommy Baldwin took advantage of each others opportunities and put together a deal. 2016 marks the start of TBR’s eighth season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Baldwin: “This is probably the most excited our team has been heading into a season. We’ve put together some great people in place during the off-season and having Regan -a proven race winner – driving for us, puts the polish on our program. We’re ready for Sunday.”
Race with Regan: On Saturday, Smith will be visiting the Fanatics Trackside Superstore (10:00 a.m.) with sponsors Nikko RC and Toy State to demonstrate the use of their Nikko RC cars.
Making a Difference: Friday morning, Smith visited children at Halifax Health’s Speediatrics Unit. The hospital’s pediatric wing is designed to ease the experience for ill or injured children with its motorsports-themed décor. For photos from the visit, click here.
Smith: Our goal on Thursday night was to have our primary car on the grid for the 500, and we accomplished that. We’ve learn some things that we can apply Sunday and I think we’ve got a solid car. If we make good decisions all day, well set up for the end and see what we’ve got. I’m ready to get this season going.”
Tune In: Want to watch Regan Smith and the No. 7 Nikko RC/Golden Corral Chevrolet in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway? Race coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on MRN affiliates and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio channel 90. The green flag is scheduled for 1:31 p.m. ET.
Follow Us: TBR is active on Social Media and we want you to be a part of our journey. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest news.

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES News and Notes.

 

2016 Season Brings Some Change And Lots Of Excitement
With a new season brings tons of excitement and also some great new ideas to the table for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Much like the successful NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase, the NASCAR XFINITY Series has now adopted a new version of NASCAR’s playoff system. Also the fan and driver adorned Dash 4 Cash program returns for 2016, but this time with a tweak to the process. Below are details to the biggest changes the NASCAR XFINITY Series will see in 2016.

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES CHASE – The seven-race NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase will begin at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 24, and feature 12 drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

A win in the first 26 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, provided the driver is in the top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race. Drivers who win two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are also all but guaranteed a Chase berth.

The first round, called the Round of 12, consists of the races at Kentucky, Dover and Charlotte. All drivers will start with their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 12, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-8) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.

Each driver who advances to the Round of 8 (Kansas, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 8 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.

The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will be crowned the NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES DASH 4 CASH – The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main at four tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16), Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23).

 
Qualifying for each Dash 4 Cash event will set the 40-car field and the starting positions for the Two Heats with the fastest qualifier awarded the Coors Light Pole Award. Odd-numbered qualifiers (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) will start in the first Heat in respective order, while even-numbered qualifiers (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.) will start the second Heat in respective order.

The Two Heats will set the starting positions for the Main with the top two NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars in each Heat becoming eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus. The highest finishing driver among the four Dash 4 Cash eligible drivers will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. If any driver wins two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available, he/she is all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In short, two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are equivalent to one race win in the new NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase format.

Drivers must have declared to earn NASCAR XFINITY Series points in order to be eligible for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Championship Or Bust For Dillon
Ty Dillon has one goal on his mind for the 2016 – a NASCAR XFINITY Series title. 

“It’s winning races or bust for me,” Dillon said. “I know with that will come a championship opportunity. So we get locked in that Chase, you have to win the races, just like they have in the Sprint Cup Series.”

The No. 3 Richard Childress racing driver placed third in the series last year on the strength of 12 top fives and 25 top 10s. In 2014, he finished fifth in the final standings with one win, seven top fives and 24 top 10s.

He begins his title quest in Saturday’s PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET). Dillon placed third in the same race last season and has an average finish of 14.8 in five XFINITY Series starts at DIS.

Ryan Reed Looks To Kick 2016 Off Like Last Year… With A Win
As the NASCAR XFINITY Series field roared down the Superstretch and towards Turn 3 on the final lap at Daytona last season, Ryan Reed faked going into the turn high and dove his No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford to the bottom of the track and locked it to the double yellow line as he flew into the lead passing Brad Keselowski. Reed was then able to hold off the remaining ensuing efforts at his position as he glided his Ford across the start/finish line and into Victory Lane. It was Reed’s sole win of 2015, but he returns to Daytona looking to become the fifth driver in series history to win back-to-back season-opening races, joining Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip.

Reed has made four career NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Daytona, posting one win (2015), two top fives and an average finish of 9.0. 

Moving On Up: Erik Jones Takes Truck Championship And Graduates To XFINITY Series
Most pundits will agree Erik Jones is the next big thing rising through the ranks of NASCAR. After claiming the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title last season, the 19-year-old Michigan native has turned his full attention to the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

Jones has been tapped to drive the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with crew chief Chris Gabehart in 2016.

Jones is no stranger to the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He has already made 26 starts over the last two seasons posting two wins (Texas and Chicago), 13 top fives, 20 top 10s and average finish of 8.9.

The young JGR prodigy has made two series starts at Daytona, posting one top 10 and an average finish of 13.0.

Super Sophomores: Suárez, Wallace Go For Championship In Second XFINITY Series Season
A year after battling for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, Daniel Suárez and Darrell Wallace Jr. are both back ready to compete for the championship.

Suárez, who ended up taking home the rookie honors, finished fifth in the final standings, posted eight top fives, 18 top 10s and three Coors Light Pole Awards last season. He had an average start of 8.1 and an average finish of 11.7. He won the pole in last year’s Daytona summer race.

Last season, Wallace finished seventh in the series standings on the strength of three top fives and 14 top 10s. He recorded an average start of 12.7 and an average finish of 11.8. Wallace has a high finish of seventh at Daytona International Speedway.

Suárez and Wallace are alumni of both NASCAR Next and NASCAR Drive for Diversity.

Former Series Champions Are No Slouches In Daytona 500 Qualifying  
Last Sunday, 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott added his name to a prestigious list of former series champions who have gone on to win the pole for the Daytona 500. Elliott is the ninth driver in NASCAR History to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship and go on to start on the pole for the Daytona 500, joining Austin Dillon, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle, Jeff Green and Bobby Labonte. 

Elliott is just the sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie to win the pole for the Daytona 500 joining Austin Dillon, Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Loy Allen Jr and Mike Skinner.

Familiar Faces – New Teams In 2016
Don’t be too surprised seeing several drivers wheeling for new teams in 2016. The front offices of several of the race teams were definitely busy during the off-season with roster management. Below is a look at a few drivers who will be competing for a new team in 2016.

Former series champion, Bobby Labonte (1991) will be driving part-time in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing this season. Labonte will have a full-schedule this weekend as he will be running Saturday with Joe Gibbs Racing before jumping in a car for Go Fas Racing and running his 24th career Daytona 500 on Sunday. 

Labonte has made eight series starts at Daytona, posting two top 10s and an average finish of 20.9.

JR Motorsports will be welcoming a whole new cast of drivers. Elliott Sadler will now be in the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Returning to the series this season is Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Sadler has made 13 series starts at Daytona, posting four top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 15.3. Sadler finished second in the July race at Daytona last season. Allgaier, on the other hand, hasn’t driven an NASCAR XFINITY Series car since 2013, but when he did, he made 10 starts at Daytona, posting five top 10s.

Sunoco Rookies to Watch In 2016
Everyone knows the awkward feeling of your first day of school. You don’t know your way around anywhere, and you don’t know very many people, but the excitement of the next stage in your life gets you through it. Many of the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates will likely feel like that this weekend as they embark on their first season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

As of this week, there are four drivers entered as Sunoco Rookies for 2016: Brandon Jones (Richard Childress Racing), Brennan Poole (Chip Ganassi Racing), Ryan Preece (JD Motorsports) and Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing).

Brandon Jones is from Atlanta, Georgia and turns 19 on Thursday, Feb. 18. He has one top five and two top 10s in five career XFINITY Series starts.

Poole, from The Woodlands, Texas is 24 years old. Poole made 17 XFINITY Series starts last season, logging two top 10s.

Preece is a graduate of the NASCAR Next program. He hails from Berlin, Connecticut is 25 years old. Preece mad three XFINITY Series starts from 2013-14.

Erik Jones, 19, calls Byron, Michigan home. The NASCAR Next alum has made 26 starts over the last two seasons, posting two wins (Texas and Chicago), 13 top fives, 20 top 10s and average finish of 8.9.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Track Facts – Daytona International Speedway

Below is a quick look at some NASCAR XFINITY Series statistics for Daytona International Speedway: Number Races: 48

Number Of Winners: 24

Wins Leader: Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart (7 each)

Number Of Pole Winners: 35

Poles Leader: Joe Nemechek (5)

Most Race Leaders: 20 (2/23/2013)

Most Lead Changes: 41 (07/06/2012)

Most Laps Led (Single Event): 105 (Joe Nemechek, 1998)

Most Cautions: 11 (2/18/2006)

Most Caution Laps: 35 – three times (most recently: 2/25/2012)

Last Season’s Green Flag Passes for the Lead: 56

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