NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
Crew Chief Swap Is Expected To Turn Season Around For RCR
Starting this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, the crew chiefs for Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 and 33 cars will look a little different. That’s because they have been switched; a good old fashioned swap. Now Danny Stockman Jr. will lead the No. 33 Chevrolet team with driver Austin Dillon, and Nick Harrison will now serve as crew chief for the No. 3 team with driver Ty Dillon.
"Like many teams this time of year, we are making some mid-season personnel changes to improve the overall performance of our teams this season," said Richard Childress.
Danny Stockman Jr. had spent the last four years guiding the No. 3 team, leading both Austin and Ty Dillon during that time. Stockman and the Dillon Brothers have won three series races and have posted 38 top fives and 82 top 10s in the No. 3.
Stockman joins a No. 33 team that’s third in the NASCAR XFINITY Series car owner standings with 503 points, just 55 back from standings leader Roger Penske and his No. 22 Ford team. Look for the No. 33 team to contend this weekend for the win. Austin Dillon has made five series starts at Daytona posting four top fives and an average finish of 7.8.
Crew chief Nick Harrison turns his attention to the No. 3 team that has driver Ty Dillon second in the standings, 29 points behind leader Chris Buescher. Harrison had worked with the No. 33 team since 2013. In that time, he posted three series wins.
This isn’t the first time Ty Dillon has worked with Harrison. The two were paired together in two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races last season. Harrison and Dillon will look to build on Dillon’s season-opening third-place finish at Daytona earlier this season.
Roush Fenway Racing Returns To Daytona To Win
Daytona is known for its spectacular finishes and this past February was nothing short of impressive when Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed and Chris Buescher finished 1-2 to kick off the 2015 season. Now some 14 races later the Roush Fenway brigade heads back to the sunny sands of Daytona to defend their win and score some records.
Reed has the opportunity to become the fourth driver in series history to win consecutive races at Daytona joining Darrell Waltrip (1983, ‘84), Dale Earnhardt (1990, ’91, ’92, ’93 and ’94) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003 sweep and season opener of 2004).
Reed can also become just the second driver in series history to sweep both NASCAR XFINITY Series races in the same season joining Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003 sweep). Daytona started running two series races in 2002.
Reed is currently ninth in the standings, 118 points behind Buescher, who boasts the standings lead. Reed has made three series starts at Daytona posting one win (2015), two top fives and an average finish of 7.7 (his career-best track).
Standings leader Chris Buescher is having a career-defining season. In 14 starts, he has posted two wins and a series-leading eight top-five finishes. He is 29 points ahead of second-place Ty Dillon and 43 points ahead of third-place Chase Elliott.
Unfortunately for Buescher’s competitors, he’s good at Daytona too. In two starts at the 2.5-mile facility Buescher has an average finish of 7.0; including his runner-up finish in the season opener earlier this year.
“We know we have a good superspeedway program at Roush Fenway,” Buescher said. “I just need to try to position myself in a good spot at the end of the race to get a win.”
Florida Drivers Embrace The High Banks Of Daytona
Welcome to the Sunshine State.
Florida is known for many things like warm weather, long sandy beaches and some of the best racing NASCAR has to offer. This weekend, local Florida fans will get the chance to cheer for four drivers in the Subway Firecracker 250 who share their home state: Blake Koch (W. Palm Beach), Scott Lagasse Jr. (St. Augustine), Ross Chastain (Alva) and Aric Almirola (Tampa).
Aric Almirola hails from the west coast of Florida in the Tampa Bay area and has participated in six series events this season, posting three top 10s and an average finish of 11.7. Almirola won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona last July for Richard Petty Motorsports and since has been on everyone’s radar when the series comes to the 2.5-mile speedway. Almirola will look to capitalize in the No. 98 Ford this weekend on his seventh-place finish in the series’ season opener in February.
Driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet, Ross Chastain, calls Alva - a small city near the Fort Myers / Naples area with a population of just over 2000 – his hometown. A 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, Chastain, is having a good start to his season. He is currently third in the rookie of the year standings and 15th in the XFINITY Series driver standings. In 14 races this season, he has posted one top-10 finish – his ninth-place finish in the season opener at Daytona. Chastain has made two series starts at Daytona in his career, posting an average finish of 19.0.
Blake Koch from W. Palm Beach will be in the No. 8 Toyota this weekend at Daytona for TriStar Motorsports. Koch has made 14 starts this season posting two top 20s and an average finish of 25.4. Koch has made six series starts at Daytona, posting an average finish of 24.0.
Scott Lagasse Jr. from St. Augustine will be in the No. 15 Chevrolet this weekend at Daytona. Lagasse has just one other start this season - Daytona back in February. Lagasse started 22nd but finished 37th due to accident.
Daytona Draws A Host Of Sprint Cup Motorists
Each week several of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will participate in the NASCAR XFINITY Series logging extra laps and raising the level of competition. This week is no different, except it’s Daytona. Five NSCS championship-contending drivers are entered to compete this weekend: David Ragan, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and Aric Almirola.
David Ragan will be one to watch this weekend, as he will be in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. Ragan has had mediocre success in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Daytona; in eight starts he has four top 10s. But Ragan has won at Daytona in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (July, 2011).
When it comes to how dominant Joey Logano has been this season, he’s as close to a guaranteed win as anyone has ever been in the series. In his six starts this season, Logano has three victories (Phoenix, Bristol and Talladega), five top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 2.3.
He has also led 54% (629 laps led) of his total laps completed (1,151 laps). Logano has made 10 series starts at Daytona posting one win (July, 2011), seven top 10s and an average finish of 8.2.
Kasey Kahne returns to the series in the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. Kahne is the defending winner of the Subway Firecracker 250. He started 13th and drove to victory with the help of his JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith pushing him to the lead last season. Kahne has made 19 series starts at Daytona posting one win (2014), three top fives and nine top 10s.
Austin Dillon will be in the No. 33 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing and Aric Almirola will be in the No. 98 Ford for Biagi DenBeste Racing. Both are looking for their first series win at Daytona.
Erik Jones Is Back In the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 For Daytona
When it comes to hot prospects in NASCAR, none are scorching the temperature gauge more than Erik Jones at the moment.
The last time the young 19-year old Jones was behind the wheel, he won, sweeping two NASCAR national series events in the same weekend (NCWTS at Iowa and NXS at Chicago).
This weekend he is back in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota to make his 14th start of the season. In his previous 13 races he has posted two wins (Texas and Chicago), seven top fives, eight top 10s, three poles and an average finish of 10.4.
While expectations are high for Jones, and rightfully so based on his recent performance, his early accomplishments haven’t translated to restrictor-plate racing. In his two starts on restrictor-plate tracks this season he has finished 18th at Daytona and 30th at Talladega.
Though Jones can expect a nice piece to drive come Saturday, the No. 54 JGR team has posted two wins, six top fives and an average finish of 11.6 this season.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.:
NASCAR XFINITY Series Welcomes NBC Sports Network: For the first time in NASCAR history the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network. On Wednesday, July 1 the NBC Sports Group will hold a media teleconference to preview the launch of its 10-year chapter as a home for NASCAR. The teleconference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET. NBC will broadcast the final 19 NXS events of the season; for more information about the teleconference check out NASCARMedia.com. … Series Milestones: J.J. Yeley will attempt to post his 200th career NASCAR XFINITY Series start this weekend. Yeley will be driving the No. 28 Toyota. … This weekend Joey Logano will attempt to become the 16th driver in series history to post 75 top-five finishes. …
July Driver Birthdays: Several of the drivers competing this weekend have birthdays in the month of July: Brendan Gaughan (7/10/75), Dakoda Armstrong (7/16/91), Harrison Rhodes (7/15/93), and Bobby Gerhart (7/21/58).