Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

K&N East champion Justin Haley joining GMS Racing in Truck series

Leave a comment

Justin Haley, fresh of his championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East tour, will be joining GMS Racing in the Camping World Truck Series next year.

Haley, 17, makes the jump to the Truck Series after two seasons competing in the K&N Series with HScott Motorsports. The Indiana native scored two wins in 2016 on the way to his title. He also made three Truck Series start in 2015 and 2016. In his championship campaign, Haley finished outside the top five just once in 14 races.

“I’m so excited and thankful for this opportunity with GMS Racing,” Haley said in a press release. “The past few years in K&N has been an effort to get to the next step in my career and I don’t think we could have done any better than joining GMS, especially at this point in time. Everyone knows what they’ve been able to accomplish over the last year and it’s that type of consistency and drive that every driver wants to see when making a decision like this.”

MORE: Haley’s K&N title a family affair

Driving the No. 24 Chevrolet, Haley will be paired with crew chief Kevin Bellicourt, who worked with Ben Rhodes at ThorSport Racing last season. Bellicourt was also the crew chief for William Byron when his 2015 K&N East title.

“Kevin Bellicourt coming on for 2017 is one of the most exciting parts of this deal,” Haley said. “He’s had a lot of success with young drivers and I can’t wait to see what we’re able to accomplish.”

Haley fills out GMS Racing’s driver stable that includes defending Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter and fellow rookie Kaz Grala. Spencer Gallagher will be competing in the Xfinity Series full-time for GMS Racing.

“There are a lot of great things happening at GMS Racing,” said Bellicourt in a press release. “It’s one thing to watch the progress and success from a distance, but to now be a part of what is coming together is a completely different experience and I’m thankful for chance to be here. Justin is a great driver, who has had a lot of success fast, but he has handled it like a driver who has been doing this for years. I’m excited to see what he’s able to do once we get him in the No. 24.”

Haley does not turn 18 until next April, meaning he won’t be able to compete in the first two races of the season at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Drivers under 18 are barred by NASCAR from competing on oval tracks larger than 1.25-miles.

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch questions Xfinity rules package at Indy

1 Comment

Kyle Busch isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and he certainly did so after Saturday’s  Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR implemented a number of changes to make the racing closer, tighter and more exciting — including restrictor plates, a larger rear spoiler, aero ducts, and a smaller splitter — and achieved all that on many fronts.

But not for the younger Busch brother, who wasn’t pleased with the rules package. Was it actually designed to specifically slow him down rather than to even out things for the entire field?

Or was he just simply upset because he didn’t win a third Xfinity race in a row at IMS?

Check out how our NASCAR America analysts gauged the Xfinity changes in the above video.

 

TriStar Motorsports team owner Mark Smith passes away

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mark Smith, owner of TriStar Motorsports, died Saturday at his home, after a long battle with cancer, the team announced Monday. He was 63.

He began his racing career building engines for his brother Jack’s drag car in the 1970s. He moved his family from the West Coast in the early 1990s to pursue a career in NASCAR. He was the owner of TriStar Motorsports and Pro Motor Engines.

TriStar Motorsports fields the No. 14 in the Xfinty Series with JJ Yeley and the No. 72 in the Cup Series with Cole Whitt. The team stated the team will continue operations under the management of Bryan Smith, son of Mark Smith.

“It was dad’s dream to own and operate a NASCAR team,” Bryan Smith said. “He devoted his life to that dream and his family plans to honor his wishes by continuing our efforts in his memory.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Victory Junction Gang victoryjunction.org or NOVA (National Organization for Vehicle Access, part of the BraunAbility) novafunding.org.

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. ET, Aug. 1 at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, North Carolina. They have created a Facebook page where you are encouraged to leave a story for the family to enjoy. (facebook.com/Remembering-Mark-Smith-301261653675224)

NASCAR America: Analysts break down Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. wreck (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Given how wild the Brickyard 400 played out, the big wreck between race leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t exactly surprising.

Rather, with the way the race transpired from the opening lap, was the Busch/Truex wreck almost inevitable?

Truex got loose and washed up into the left rear of Busch’s car, sending both drivers and their respective cars into the outside retaining walls, hitting hard and ending their respective days.

Check out what our NASCAR America analysts had to say about the wreck from Monday’s show in the above video.

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. recaps wild Brickyard 400 (video)

Leave a comment

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, Dale Earnhardt Jr. — who will become part of our NBC Sports Group in 2018 — looked back on a wild and intense Brickyard 400.

Earnhardt was one of several drivers whose day came to an early ending — in Junior’s case when he ran into the back of Trevor Bayne‘s car, destroying his radiator in the process.

All the mayhem and mishaps could be linked to over-aggressive driving, Earnhardt said, saying that every driver was in “attack mode,” especially on restarts.

Check out Junior in the video above.