NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
Series Points Leader And Texas Native Chris Buescher Comes Home
The state of Texas has known some pretty great drivers over the years, like NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte and renowned open-wheel driver AJ Foyt just to name a few. But this weekend the locals will have their chance to cheer for the next generation of Texan driver as Prosper, Texas’s own Chris Buescher returns to the Lone Star State to compete in Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).
Buescher currently leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings by 27 points over second-place Chase Elliott and 33 points ahead of third-place Regan Smith.
Buescher has posted two wins, 11 top fives and 20 top 10s in 30 starts this season.
The No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing driver has made four starts at Texas, posting one top 10 and an average finish of 16.5. He finished ninth at Texas earlier this season.
Buescher needs to finish fourth or better in the next three races and he will win the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship no matter what any other driver does.
He can actually clinch the title early in Phoenix – to accomplish the feat his points lead would have to be 49 points or more ahead of second-place in the standings following the race at the Arizona track.
If Buescher can win the title, he will join Bobby Labonte (1991) as just the second Texan to capture a NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.
JR Motorsports Teammates Elliott and Smith Not Giving Up On Title Hopes Yet
Two drivers that will have to dig deep these next three races are JR Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Regan Smith as the duo sits second (-27) and third (-33) in the points, respectively, behind leader Chris Buescher.
Despite Elliott’s best case scenario, winning all three remaining races and leading the most laps in each race, if Chris Buescher finishes fourth or better in the final three races the title is his.
No matter what, Elliott is going to need Buescher to slip in the final three races if he wants to catch him. Though, Elliott has outperformed Buescher on the final three tracks in the past. This season at Texas and Phoenix, he has a combined average finish of 7.5 compared to Buescher’s 11.5. Last year, Elliott posted an average finish of 8.7 in the final three races compared to Buescher’s 10.0.
Elliott’s teammate Regan Smith will also need Buescher to struggle to catch him. Smith will not be returning to the No. 7 team next year and is looking to make the most of his opportunity this season.
If Smith were to win all three remaining races and lead the most laps scoring the max points possible he would total out at 1,204 points. With that scenario in mind, Buescher would still have to finish eighth or worse without leading a lap or ninth or worse leading at least one lap in each of the final three races for Smith to pass him.
Smith has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts at Texas, including a fourth-place finish earlier this season.
Sunoco Rookie Update: Mexico Native Daniel Suarez Leads Rookie Points With Three To Go
Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and Monterrey, Mexico native Daniel Suarez heads to Texas Motor Speedway with a 31 point lead over second-place Darrell Wallace Jr. in the NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie standings with just three races to go.
Suarez’s hometown of Monterrey is a short 1 hour and 40 minute flight from Texas Motor Speedway, making the 1.5-mile track the closest facility the series competes at to where he is from.
Suarez’s rookie standings lead is well deserved. In 30 starts this season, he has posted three Coors Light poles, seven top fives and 15 top 10s.
Suarez, 23, qualified fourth in his track debut at Texas back in April but finished 18th after making contact with the wall during the race. In 10 career starts at 1.5-mile tracks, Suarez has one pole, two top fives and seven top 10s. He has an average starting position of 9.3 and an average finish position of 10.1.
“After two weekends away from XFINITY Series competition, it will be good to get back in the No. 18 ARRIS Toyota Camry,” Suarez said. “We didn’t have the result we had hoped for the last time out, but we’re still coming off of three good finishes and heading to another 1.5-mile track this weekend. We’ve had some success at those tracks this year and I think our expectations for this weekend are high.”
Team Penske’s No. 22 Not Far From Capturing Owner Title
Roger Penske has orchestrated another solid year of competition in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with his multi-driver No. 22 Ford team. Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford is currently 81 points ahead of Joe Gibb Racing’s No. 54 Toyota with three races left on the schedule.
Penske’s No. 22 team could lock up the title no matter what any other team does if it finishes 22nd or better in the next three races.
Crew Chief Greg Erwin has led a contingent of skilled drivers this season in the No. 22 Ford – Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Alex Tagliani and Ryan Blaney, posting an average finish of 6.2 – a 2015 full schedule series best.
Also the No. 22 team can clinch the title early if they leave Texas with a 97 point lead over second-place in the car owner standings with two races to go (or 96, if it owns the tiebreaker). If the No. 22 has a point lead or 49 points or higher after the Phoenix event they will have clinched the title there.
Brad Keselowski will be strapping into the No. 22 this weekend at Texas. Keselowski has made 15 series starts at Texas, posting one win, nine top fives, 11 top 10s and an average finish of 10.8.
JGR’s Erik Jones Looking For the Texas Season Sweep
This season, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones has been one of the most skilled young drivers not running full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He returns to Texas Motor Speedway looking to defend his win earlier this season and accomplish the season sweep.
Jones started on the Coors Light pole and led 79 laps on his way to Victory Lane at Texas earlier this season. The 19-year-old Michigan native has made 20 starts in 2015, posting four poles, two wins, 10 top fives, 14 top 10s and an average finish of 10.1.
This season, Jones has posted an average finish of 8.9 on 1.5-mile speedways in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. His two wins (Texas and Chicago) this season were also on 1.5-mile tracks.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.:
Eliminator 8 Drivers Competing In NXS At Texas: Second in Chase points, Kyle Busch (No. 54 Toyota), fourth in Chase points, Kevin Harvick (No. 88 Chevrolet) and sixth in Chase points, Brad Keselowski (No. 22 Ford) are all entered in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at TMS this weekend. There are two more full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series non-Chase drivers entered this weekend – Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet) and Austin Dillon (No. 33 Chevrolet). …
Texas Native And American Diabetes Association Youth Ambassador Grace Kendzierski to ‘Ride with Ryan’ Reed at Texas: American Diabetes Association® Youth Ambassador Grace Kendzierski will ‘ride’ along with Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Reed during Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The Carrollton, Texas native will have her name featured on a decal above the passenger-side window on the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes American Diabetes Ford. Kendzierski was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2009 at just 16 months old. Now seven years old, Kendzierski knows the importance of staying active to manage her diabetes.
“I’m excited that Grace can help kick off our special American Diabetes Month paint scheme at Texas by riding along on the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes American Diabetes Association Ford Mustang,” Reed said. …
Ray Black Jr. to Make NASCAR XFINITY Series Debut at Texas Motor Speedway: It will be a busy weekend for NASCAR driver Ray Black Jr., as the 24-year-old is set to compete in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series races this weekend at TMS. Black will make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut during Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge in the No. 15 Chevrolet.
“I’m thrilled to be making my XFINITY Series debut at Texas Motor Speedway!” Black said. “I’ve been to Texas a couple of times now and know the track’s racing style and characteristics, so I think it’s a great place for me to take this next step. I can't wait to get out on the track!.” …
NASCAR In Texas: NASCAR’s three national series have held a total of 102 races among three tracks in Texas. Texas Motor Speedway (Fort Worth) has hosted 93 races (29 NSCS, 29 NXS and 35 NCWTS), Meyer Speedway (Houston) held one race (NSCS) and Texas World Speedway (College Station) held eight events (all NSCS). The very first NASCAR national series race held in Texas was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Texas World Speedway in 1969 – won by 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Bobby Isaac (Dodge, 144.277 mph, 12/07/1969). The NASCAR XFINITY Series has only run at Texas Motor Speedway. The first NXS race held in Texas was at TMS in 1997 and was won by Mark Martin (Ford, 122.993 mph, 04/05/1997). …
Texans In NASCAR: 81 different drivers who have made at least one start in NASCAR’s three national series have their home state recorded as Texas. Of the 81 drivers with their home state recorded as Texas, 19 of them have competed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Of the 19 that have competed in the NXS only five have visited Victory Lane: Terry Labonte (11 NXS wins), Bobby Labonte (10), Chris Buescher (three), Bobby Hillin Jr. (two) and James Buescher (one). Bobby Labonte is currently the only Texas native to win a NASCAR XFINITY Series championship (1991).
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES
Championship Race Tightens Again After Crafton Win
Matt Crafton’s win at Martinsville boosted him to second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, 10 points behind leader Erik Jones, who placed 10th. Tyler Reddick (fifth at Martinsville) fell to third and is 13 points behind Jones.
The three drivers will continue to duke it out over the final three races, beginning with Sunday’s WinStar Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Jones won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award at Texas in April, but finished 15th. Last spring, he received his high school diploma from TMS President Eddie Gossage prior to the race before placing 11th. The 19-year-old NASCAR Next alum earned his first NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Texas in April.
Crafton won at Texas in April and can complete the season sweep of it on Friday. In 29 career starts at the 1.5-mile track, he boasts two wins, 10 top fives and 18 top 10s. An intermediate track standout, Crafton has finished 10th or better in 14 of his last 15 starts at 1.5-mile ovals. Included in that stretch are five wins.
In three starts at Texas, Reddick has one top-10 finish – a fourth-place showing from the pole last fall. He enters Friday’s race riding a streak of three straight top 10s.
Friday Night Lights: Burton Set To Make 2015 NCWTS Debut For JRM At Texas
Jeb Burton will make his 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut, driving the No. 00 JR Motorsports Chevrolet under the lights in Friday’s WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1).
Burton, 23, has seen success at TMS in the past, earning his first series win (Spring 2013) and a career-high seventh season pole (Fall 2013) there. He also finished runner-up at the 1.5-mile track last fall.
In 49 career NCWTS starts, the NASCAR Next alum owns one win, seven top fives, 19 top 10s and seven Keystone Light Pole Awards.
The No. 00 truck has two wins this season – Kasey Kahne at Charlotte and Cole Custer at Gateway.
Closing Time: Nemechek Finishing Out Season Strong
NASCAR Next member John Hunter Nemechek has rounded into form in the latter part of this NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.
Since the Aug. 19 Bristol race, Nemechek has posted one win, five top fives and six top 10s in seven starts. His lone finish outside the top 10 was an 11th-place showing at Talladega in his first race at a superspeedway. Making Nemechek’s performance more impressive is that he has only started inside the top 10 twice throughout that span.
The 18-year-old Mooresville, North Carolina native will attempt to build off his runner-up finish last weekend at Martinsville in his first start at Texas on Friday.
Also running at Texas is Nemechek’s NASCAR Next classmate Jesse Little, who will be making his third career NCWTS start. Little competed primarily in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this season where he notched one win, two top fives and two top 10s in six starts.
Crafton Leads Formidable ThorSport Racing Team To Texas
One week after all of its drivers placed in the top 10 at Martinsville – Matt Crafton (first), Cameron Hayley (third) and Johnny Sauter (ninth) – ThorSport Racing will try to repeat the feat in Friday’s WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.
All three ThorSport drivers also finished in the top 10 in the June NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Texas race as well: Crafton, first; Sauter, fourth; Hayley, seventh.
Crafton’s victory marked his fifth of the season. His career high in wins before this season was two.
Sauter’s top 10 was his eighth in the last nine races. He ranks fourth in the NCWTS standings.
Hayley has turned up his performance late in his Sunoco Rookie season with three consecutive top 10s. He ranks sixth in the series standings.
ThorSport can capture its first owner’s championship if it can close the 10-point deficit between its No. 88 truck and Erik Jones’ No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra in the last three races.
John Wes Hopes To Be Talk Of The Townley At Texas
For the first time since he won his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas, John Wes Townley gets to compete on a 1.5-mile track in Friday’s WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Two of Townley’s four career top-five finishes have occurred at Texas, including a then-personal-best third-place showing in June.
On the season, the No. 05 Zaxby’s Chevrolet driver ranks eighth in the NCWTS standings on the strength of one win, two top fives and seven top 10s.
Bell And Suarez Ready To Run For Kyle Busch Motorsports At Texas; KBM Unveils 2016 Lineup
Eldora winner Christopher Bell (No. 54) and NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner Daniel Suarez (No. 51) are both scheduled to compete for Kyle Busch Motorsports in Friday’s WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Bell has one win, two top fives and two top 10s in five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this season. His last race was at Talladega where he finished 13th.
In 10 NCWTS starts this season, Suarez owns five top fives and eight top 10s.
Last week, KBM unveiled its 2016 driver lineup. Bell and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion William Byron will run full schedules for the Mooresville, North Carolina-based organization, while Suarez and Cody Coughlin will split time in the remaining entry, starting at least 10 races each.
Coughlin has made two NCWTS starts this season, finishing 20th in both of them.
Ryan Blaney Returns To BKR At Texas; Keselowski’s Truck Team Releases 2016 Plans
Ryan Blaney will return to pilot the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford at Texas, almost two months after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol in August. In four starts this season, Blaney claims one win, three top fives and four top 10s. On Tuesday, Brad Keselowski Racing released its 2016 driver lineup. Tyler Reddick will run full-time in the No. 29 Ford, while Daniel Hemric will pilot the No. 19 Ford.
Reddick ranks third in the NCWTS standings on the strength of two wins, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.
Seventh in the NCWTS standings, Hemric has four top fives and 12 top 10s in 20 starts this season with NTS Motorsports.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, etc.
Midland, Texas native Tyler Young returns to his home track on Friday. He has two top-10 finishes this season and placed 13th at Martinsville on Saturday. … Erik Jones (XFINITY), Daniel Suarez (XFINITY), Jeb Burton (Sprint Cup) and Ray Black Jr. (XFINITY) are all scheduled for double-duty this weekend at Texas.