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William Byron focuses on Xfinity ride; not replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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William Byron says he’s focused on his rookie season in the Xfinity Series.

That’s fine, but others wonder if he’ll take over the No. 88 car when Dale Earnhardt Jr. retires at the end of this Cup season.

Hendrick Motorsports officials have not stated who they would consider for that ride.

Byron said Friday that he wants to race Cup at some point — what young Xfintiy driver doesn’t? — but he has more pressing concerns.

“Every one of us wants to race in the Cup series,’’ Byron said at Richmond International Raceway. “That’s the ultimate goal. I’d be ready for anything I think.

“Right now it’s just focusing on what I can do at (JR Motorsports) and see what we can do the rest of the year and hopefully compete for a championship.’’

The 19-year-old, who has a driver development contract with Hendrick Motorsports, has rocketed up NASCAR’s ranks since he started racing a Legends car in 2012.

Byron won the K&N Pro Series East title in 2015, won a rookie record seven Camping World Truck races in 2016 and led Kyle Busch Motorsports to the owners title. He has two top-five finishes in seven Xfinity starts this season as a rookie.

While there are different tactics to bringing drivers to Cup, Kyle Larson and Joey Logano are among those who moved quickly to Cup.

Larson ran four Truck races and a full Xfinity season before moving to Cup for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2014.

Logano ran one Truck race and 19 Xfinity races before his rookie Cup season in 2009.

While Logano endured struggles, he said Friday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that moving up to Cup quickly can be a good thing.

“I think the only way you get better is racing people better than you,’’ Logano said on the show. “So when you put yourself in a very challenging position, you’re going to get better. Right? If you don’t get beat up too bad that you lose all your confidence and you get thrown out of the sport too quick.

“If you lose the opportunity of driving a Cup car because you got into it too green, you weren’t ready for it. That would be a downfall. Everything else is good because you’re going to make the mistakes and mistakes are a good thing as long as you learn from them.’’

Elliott Sadler, a teammate to Byron at JR Motorsports, praised the young driver’s ability Friday.

“He’s got it,’’ Sadler said. “He’s a guy that is going to go Cup and understands it. I think once he understands these tracks and these races and setting your car up for the longevity of them and making adjustments and stuff like that, once he gets all that down, he’s going to win a bunch of races, not only in Xfinity but also in the Cup Series.

“I’m not sure what his future holds, but my job as a teammate, with the experience, is to try to prepare him and help him as much as I can because the better he runs, the better for all of us at the entire company.’’

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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 90: Roger Slack

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Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack joined the NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss his track’s past, present and possible future with NASCAR.

Slack detailed the run-up to the initial “secret” test with Tony Stewart and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon that led to scheduling a Camping World Truck Series race that recently completed its fifth edition.

Slack also discussed the storied history of Eldora, which opened in 1954 and was bought by Stewart 50 years later.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

NASCAR America: How Daniel Suarez found out he was replacing Carl Edwards (video)

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On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Daniel Suarez recalled the moment he got the call that he was being promoted to replace Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Cup Series at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Suarez was at dinner back home in Mexico with family and friends when JGR officials called and him to be ready for a teleconference in a few moments.

Suarez stepped away, telling his dinner partners he’d be back shortly — which ultimately lasted 40 minutes.

When he returned to the dinner table, he couldn’t tell anything about the phone call — JGR officials swore him to secrecy — but he eventually revealed that he had been promoted to the NASCAR Cup Series to replace Edwards, who had decided to take a hiatus from his racing career.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: What Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other (video)

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Daniel Suarez appeared on Wednesday’s live broadcast of NASCAR America from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina,

One of the funniest segments of Suarez’s visit was a video and verbal collage of how much he and his fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other — all in good humor, of course.

Check out the video above where Suarez, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch answer the “tough questions” about themselves, as well as how they feel about their fellow teammates.

NASCAR America: Daniel Suarez’s journey from Mexico and VW Beetles to NASCAR champion (video)

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In winning last year’s Xfinity Series championship, Mexican native Daniel Suarez became NASCAR’s first international champion.

It was the culmination of a journey that began with his father and, interestingly enough, Volkswagen Beetles.

Check out Suarez’s story and the thoughts about his success and prowess by our NASCAR America analysts in the video above.

Speaking of VW Beetles, Suarez’s father sold his restoration shop to fund his son’s racing dream. Years later, Daniel repaid his father by purchasing a new restoration shop for him. See the video below.