Eighteen-year-old Cole Custer has added five X-FINITY Series races to his 2016 schedule with Junior Motorsports, beginning with the ToyotaCare 250 on April 23rd at Richmond International Raceway. Additional starts are scheduled for Charlotte on May 28th and October 7th, Kentucky on July 8th and the season finale on November 19th at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Custer will split time between the Number-5 and Number-88 Chevrolets, part of a four-car J-R-M stable. Sponsorship will come from Haas Automation and Cessna. Custer is currently running a full season for Junior Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series. He has finishes of twenty-fourth and seventeenth in the first two races, and is tied with Christopher Bell for twenty-first place in the early-season point standings.
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Following an off-weekend to mark the Easter holiday, two of NASCAR’s three top national series are back in action this week. Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series teams head to Martinsville Speedway for a doubleheader April 2nd and 3rd. The X-FINITY Series remains idle until the April 8th O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Joe Gibbs Racing is off to a flying start in 2016. In the Sprint Cup Series, Denny Hamlin won the season-opening Daytona 500 and Kyle Busch has opened defense of his 2015 championship with top-five finishes in four of the first five races. Hamlin, Busch and Carl Edwards all presently reside among the top five in the Sprint Cup Series standings.
In the X-FINITY Series, J-G-R’s Daniel Suarez sits atop the early-season standings with a ten-point advantage over Elliott Sadler. He’s notched top tens in all five of his starts so far, including a runner-up showing to Busch earlier this month in Las Vegas.
For just the seventh time in twelve years, it’s an off-weekend for all three of NASCAR’s top series – Sprint Cup, X-FINITY and Camping World Trucks – as the sport pauses for the Easter holiday. Competition will resume with Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series races the weekend of April 2nd and 3rd at Martinsville Speedway. The X-FINITY Series does not return until Friday night, April 8th, at Texas Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR X-Finity Series also visits Auto Club Speedway this weekend for Saturday’s Treat My Clot-dot-com 300. Kevin Harvick is the defending winner and returns seeking back-to-back victories driving the Number-88 Junior Motorsports Chevrolet. If successful, he would become just the fourth driver to double up there since Auto Club Speedway first hosted the X-FINITY Series in 1997: joining Matt Kenseth, who went back-to-back in 1999 and 2000.
Greg Biffle, who swept both races in 2004 … and Kyle Busch in 2008 and 2009, and again in 2010 and 2011 … Toyota has won nine of the last eleven X-FINITY Series races contested on the two-mile Southern California oval with six of those wins courtesy of Busch – who also has three poles at A-C-S. Each time he’s started an X-FINITY Series race from the Number-1 spot, that’s also where he’s finished the race.
NASCAR X-Finity Series runs The Axalta Faster.Tougher.Brighter. 200 this weekend on Saturday afternoon. Daniel Suarez of Joe Gibbs Racing has the early-season lead in the standings by three points over Elliott Sadler. Ty Dillon, rookie Brandon Jones and Justin Allgaier complete the top five. Suarez has opened the season with three straight top-ten finishes including second place (behind Busch) last weekend in Vegas.
Pole sitters won both races last year at Phoenix, with Joey Logano victorious in March and Busch in November. A good qualifying effort is essential to success on the Arizona oval. Twenty-five of the twenty-eight race winners in the X-FINITY Series have started eighth or better … Thanks in large part to the efforts of Busch, Toyota has won five of the last seven races. Chevrolet is seeking its first X-FINITY Series win at P-I-R since Sadler was victorious in 2012.
Following Brad Keselowski’s victory on Sunday in Las Vegas, NASCAR’s early-season swing through the western United States continues as teams now head to Phoenix International Raceway. There’s another X-FINITY/Sprint Cup Series doubleheader on tap this coming weekend. There are thirty-eight drivers on the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s Good Sam 500, the fourth race of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series. Thirty-five of NASCAR’s thirty-six newly named “Charter” teams have drivers listed, with the driver of the Number-32 Go Fas Racing Ford to be announced. Non-Charter drivers entered at P-I-R are Ryan Blaney, Cole Whitt and Josh Wise.
There have been three different winners with three different manufacturers through the first three weeks of the campaign: Denny Hamlin in a Toyota at Daytona, Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet) in Atlanta and Keselowski (Ford) at Vegas.
There are thirty-nine drivers on the X-FINITY Series entry list including early-season points leader Daniel Suarez.
The NASCAR X-Finity Series runs on the mile-and-a-half desert oval with Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300, where Austin Dillon seeks his second straight Vegas victory. If successful, he would be the first driver with back-to-back wins since the track first hosted the series in 1997. Dillon is among forty-two drivers on the preliminary entry list that includes early-season points leader Elliott Sadler … Five drivers are signed up for double duty at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Dillon, Almirola, Busch, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski. Team owner Jack Roush has amassed thirteen victories in Las Vegas – seven in the Sprint in the X-FINITY Series, leading both divisions.
Stewart-Haas Racing has confirmed that Ty Dillon, who drives for Richard Childress Racing in the X-FINITY Series, will sub for the injured Tony Stewart in this weekend’s Folds of Honor Quik-Trip 500 in Hampton, Georgia. Stewart is recovering from back surgery performed three weeks ago after he was injured January 31st while driving dune buggies as he vacationed in California. There’s no timetable for his return to competition.
Dillon, who turns 24 on Saturday, was named Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year in 2012 and is starting his third full season in the X-FINITY Series. Brian Vickers, who drove Stewart’s Number-14 Chevrolet to a twenty-sixth-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500, will return for the third March 6th in Las Vegas. The team has not announced its driver lineup beyond that.
Richard Petty Motorsports has signed Jeb Burton to drive its Number-43 Ford full-time in the 2016 NASCAR X-FINITY Series. Burton, the son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2013 and 2014. Last year, he made 28 starts for B-K Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, where Burton posted a best finish of twenty-seventh in the fall race at Martinsville Speedway. Veteran crew chief Drew Blickensderfer will lead Burton’s team, which finished thirteenth in the final 2015 point standings with Dakoda Armstrong behind the wheel. He has since moved over to J-G-L Racing for the 2016 campaign.
Chris Buescher of Roush Fenway Racing and Erik Jones of Kyle Busch Motorsports were honored for their championship seasons in the NASCAR X-FINITY and Camping World Truck Series, respectively, on Monday night during a combined awards gala in Hollywood, Florida … The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards – to salute Kyle Busch for his first championship – will be held Friday night, December 4th, in Las Vegas, with live coverage on Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR.”
John Hunter Nemechek of NEMCO Motorsports had the highest finish by a rookie in any of NASCAR’s three top series that competed this past weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, placing second (to Matt Crafton) in Friday’s Camping World Truck Series season finale.
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