Brendan Gaughan

Getty Images

South Point to sponsor Daniel Hemric in every 2018 Xfinity race

1 Comment

South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will return as a primary sponsor with Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series next year.

It will mark the seventh year of their partnership.

South Point will be the primary sponsor of Daniel Hemric‘s No. 21 Chevrolet in all 33 races.

Richard Childress Racing

The hotel and casino are owned by the Gaughan family. Brendan Gaughan drove a South Point-sponsored car for RCR in the Xfinity Series from 2012 – 2017.

“The South Point Hotel & Casino is excited to be continuing our partnership with Richard Childress Racing in the 2018 season,” said owner Michael Gaughan in a press release. “Watching Brendan carry our colors these past couple of years on the track and into Victory Lane has been a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to continuing the accomplishments during this coming season with Daniel Hemric. Daniel is a great driver and we know he will represent the South Point well both on and off the track.”

Hemric is entering his second Xfinity season driving the No. 21. In his rookie season he was able to make it to the Championship 4 despite not winning a race all year.

“RCR and the Gaughan Family have had a special relationship that we’re thrilled to be able to continue,” Richard Childress said in a press release. “As with RCR, the South Point Hotel and Casino has a rich history in stock car racing and it is a part of our heritage.”

Shane Wilson joins JGL Racing as crew chief to Kaz Grala

Getty Images
Leave a comment

JGL Racing has paired Kaz Grala, its rookie driver in the Xfinity Series, with crew chief Shane Wilson for 2018, the team announced Thursday.

Grala, who competed for GMS Racing in the Camping World Truck Series in 2017, will drive JGL Racing’s No. 24 Ford.

Grala, 18 (turns 19 on Dec. 29), made the playoffs with his win in the season-opening race at Daytona.

Wilson arrives at JGL Racing after four seasons at Richard Childress Racing as crew chief for Brendan Gaughan, who will not race full-time in 2018.

Wilson served as Gaughan’s crew chief in multiple series off-and-on since his first year as a crew chief in 2000 on the K&N Pro Series West circuit. He has earned 17 Xfinity Series wins and two Cup wins.

“I am excited to join JGL Racing,” Wilson said in a press release.  “They have been improving their performance each year since they started racing in the Xfinity Series.  With the addition of the technical alliance with Roush Fenway Racing and Kaz as the driver – along with the internal support from James (Whitener) and Steven (Lane) – this should make for another positive step in performance and results in 2018.”

Steven Lane, who was crew chief on the No. 24 in 2017, will now be team manager and competition director.

JGL Racing will also field the No. 28 next season, but no announcement have been made regarding it.

“The addition of a talented and experienced crew chief such as Shane is great for our entire organization,” said team owner James Whitener in a press release. “We continue to build our program and it is crucial for us to add personnel such as Shane. This move also allows us to shift Steven Lane to a bigger leadership position which we feel only makes our program stronger.”

 and on Facebook

Brendan Gaughan will be part-time in NASCAR next season

Getty Images
2 Comments

Brendan Gaughan‘s career as a full-time NASCAR driver has come to an end after the conclusion of the 2017 Xfinity season.

But the 42-year-old veteran isn’t done with NASCAR.

Gaughan told Racer.com some of his career plans prior to Saturday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his last race in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 62 Chevrolet.

Those plans include a second season of competing in the four Cup restrictor-plate races next season for Beard Motorsports. He earned a top 10 in the July Daytona race this year, his first in Cup since 2004.

Gaughan said he could run in some road course races as well as some “here or there things.”

“I am very happy with going back to a part-time NASCAR role,” Gaughan said. “This has been 20 years of my life – it’s a lot work and it’s a lot of effort and it’s been a great 20 years. … It’s been a hell of a ride but I’m at the point now where I’m happy. I really wanted to get a win this year and that kind of stinks that we didn’t.”

Gaughan piloted the No. 62 for RCR the last four seasons, earning two victories in 2014 and making the playoffs this season. He was eliminated after the first round.

The No. 62 was one of five full-time cars RCR fielded in the Xfinity Series this season. Gaughan finished 10th in the standings with two top fives and eight top 10s.

The end of his season was marked by an altercation between Gaughan, Ross Chastain and both driver’s crews after the race at Texas Motor Speedway. 

Gaughan, a former basketball player at Georgetown University, has competed in all three of NASCAR’s national series since debuting in the Camping World Truck Series in 1997.

He earned eight victories in a Truck in 217 starts.

His four Cup starts next season will bring his career total to 58. His only full-time Cup year was 2004 when he drove the No. 77 co-owned by Roger Penske and finished 24th in the standings.

“Every year I almost retire,” Gaughan told NBC Sports in 2016. “But it’s always been the same strategy in my eyes. If I can’t win races, I don’t want to be here.”

The Las Vegas native also has multiple business ventures and a family with two young sons to take care of.

“I don’t want to be one of those racers from the ’70s and ’80s where (their kids) said they never saw their dad,” Gaughan said.

William Byron wins Phoenix playoff race, clinches spot in Xfinity title race with Allgaier, Sadler and Hemric

Leave a comment

William Byron led the final 13 laps to win the Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix Raceway and cement a spot in the Xfinity Series championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

On just two fresh tires, Byron fended off Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones to score his fourth win of the year and his first since July at Indianapolis. Blaney was on four fresh tires while Jones was on two.

The top five was Byron, Blaney, Jones, Christopher Bell and Daniel Hemric.

Byron and Hemric, both rookies, will join Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler in the championship race. Byron, Allgaier and Sadler all drive for JR Motorsports.

With Richard Childress Racing’s Hemric in the championship race, all four title contenders will be Chevrolet teams.

Byron scored the win with a patched together pit crew. Twenty-two of JR Motorsports’ 24 regular pit crew members did not take part in the race after a plane they were traveling on to Phoenix made an emergency landing in Arkansas due to an electrical problem.

“We grinded all day, great job by this team,” Byron told NBCSN. “To make that pit call (for two tires) by (crew chief) Dave (Elenz) is awesome. This one got robbed from me last year at Phoenix. Got it back and just can’t thank these guys enough for that. Awesome job.”

Elenz said that the two-tire strategy was necessary as the team had trouble lifting the left side of Byron’s car to change tires.

Last year as a rookie in the Camping World Truck Series, Byron was 10 laps from winning at Phoenix when his engine blew. Byron didn’t finish and failed to advance to the championship race.

Hemric clinched his spot in the playoffs after a battle with playoff driver and fellow rookie Cole Custer that ended with Hemric, who only had two new tires, pulling ahead of Custer and his four fresh tires as they exited Turn 4 to take the checkered flag.

MORE: Justin Allgaier fails post-race inspection, expected to be without crew chief at Homestead

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ryan Blaney

STAGE 2 WINNER: Ryan Blaney

MORE: Points standings

MORE: Race results

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Blaney led 147 laps before losing the lead on the final pit stop of the race … Blake Koch finished sixth for his fifth top 10 of the season and his best finish of the year. … Alex Bowman finished eighth in his second and final Xfinity start of the year for Chip Ganassi Racing.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Brennan Poole was eliminated from title contention after a crash on Lap 23 when he made contact with the lapped car of Caesar Bacarella in Turn 1. A cut tire sent his No. 48 Chevy into the wall. He finished 38th. … Brendan Gaughan finished 32nd after he crashed with 20 to go. Gaughan also caused a Lap 1 caution when he spun in Turn 3 with Corey LaJoie.

NOTABLE: William Byron is the only Xfinity regular to win in the playoffs … Daniel Hemric advances to the championship race after having his crew chief Danny Stockman Jr, his car chief and an engineer suspended for the past four races for an infraction at Dover. Richard Childress told NBC Sports he will keep interim crew chief Randall Burnett and the other two replacements in their roles in the title race.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “That’s what the playoffs are all about. So intense, man. I’m so proud of all these guys. Awesome pit stops all day. It kept us with a little faith in our souls the rest of the race.” – Daniel Hemric after clinching his spot in the championship race.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity Series ends the season Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Ross Chastain gives his side of Brendan Gaughan tangle, says he was hit in back of head

Getty Images
4 Comments

The war of words that followed the scuffle between Ross Chastain and Brendan Gaughan after Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Texas continued Tuesday morning.

Gaughan gave his side of the incident on Sunday during the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio “Fantasy Racing Preview” show, which he co-hosts.

Tuesday, Chastain appeared on TMD and said he was hit several times by Gaughan and several members of his team, including being blindsided and punched at least once in the back of the head.

Chastain also revealed that a crew member for teammate Garrett Smithley – which Chastain did not identify – was punched in the back of the head and taken to a local hospital. Chastain said the crew member was back in the shop working Tuesday.

Here’s Chastain’s side of the story:

“When we pulled down off the track, for some reason we pulled behind victory lane, which didn’t help things because it was dark and no lights back there,” Chastain said. “As I was getting out of the car, I was kind of surprised to see him (Gaughan) and a legion of RCR guys. I thought there was only a couple when I first looked.

“By the time he had me by the neck, I was still coming out of the car with my feet in my race seat and I was sitting on the door, I realized there was about 20 guys there surrounded us, and I had three guys at the time.

“It was ugly. It was not something that was pretty to think back on. They definitely had the numbers and it showed. I had a couple guys from the 0 car (Smithley) jump in to help, and I’m thankful for that.

“They really did keep me and my guys from probably getting hurt to any extent.”

Chastain thought things had ended at that point, only to see them resume.

“We thought we had it calmed down and I got hit in the back of the head and taken down into a golf cart and rolled around a lot,” Chastain said. “I don’t know if it was just fists or stomped on a little bit. That’s pretty scary stuff. Definitely had a lot of things going through my mind at that point on how to get out of that situation.

“But a lot of things flash before your eyes when that’s happening. Luckily, some of my guys came back, realized where I was at because we all got separated there in the darkness and the crowd of people, and got me out of that situation. That was relieving to see their faces. That was pretty much it there.

“A lot happened real quick and definitely not impressed by the amount of people that came down there with Brendan and went to wailing. I got hit in the back of my head and one of the 0 guys did, as well.

“It’s some scary stuff, for sure. I’m glad the cameras weren’t there because that’s not the kind of publicity the sport needs at all. I’m all for arguments and stuff, but it was ugly and that’s not something I want people seeing.”

NASCAR officials called both drivers to the hauler after the incident, but officials did not make any statements regarding the two drivers.

Of his tangle with Chastain, Gaughan said on SiriusXM, “It isn’t the first issue that we’ve had and the first issue that others have had (with Chastain), and I finally just had enough. Should I have done something differently? Maybe, but at this point in my life, I’m kind of to the (point of) don’t care.”