Travis Pastrana

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GMS Racing names Chad Norris as Spencer Gallagher’s crew chief in Xfinity Series

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Chad Norris has been named crew chief of Spencer Gallagher‘s No. 23 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series next year, GMS Racing announced Thursday.

Norris, who has spent the last two seasons as crew chief for Brennan Poole at Chip Ganassi Racing, replaces Joey Cohen.

In Gallagher’s rookie season, the 28-year-old driver recorded one top 10 (Richmond I), eight DNFs and finished 19th in the standings.

Norris and Poole earned four top fives and 17 tops 10s in each of their two seasons together. The No. 48 team advanced to the second round of the playoffs this season and finished sixth in the standings.

“Chad will bring a lot of good and solid knowledge to this Xfinity program,” said General Manager Mike Beam in a press release. “Spencer showed a lot of improvement last season, and I feel like Chad can take him to the next level. With Chad’s veteran knowledge and experience, I know Spencer and this No. 23 team will succeed and excel.”

Norris has been a crew chief for 215 Xfinity races since 2005, working with drivers including Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Trevor Bayne, Travis Pastrana and Darrell Wallace Jr. He’s earned three wins. The most recent was with Bayne in the fall 2011 Texas race.

“I am really excited to join GMS Racing for the 2018 season,” Norris said in the press release. “We have all of the assets to build this Xfinity team into a top-tier competitor every weekend at the track. With Mike Beam and myself there is a lot of veteran knowledge to continue to not only help Spencer to grow as a driver but the Xfinity program as a whole.”

William Byron announces spotter for rookie Cup season

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William Byron announced Tuesday that Tab Boyd will serve as his spotter next year during his rookie season in the Cup Series.

Boyd will spot for Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 24 Chevrolet after having worked with Joey Logano on the No. 22 Ford and with Johnny Sauter in the Camping World Truck Series.

Boyd will be replaced on the No. 22 by TJ Majors, the long-time spotter for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It was also announced that Byron, 19, has signed with sports and entertainment marketing agency, Wasserman.

The company represents 1,600 athletes, including Russell Westbrook, Andrew Luck, Alex Morgan, Giancarlo Stanton and Travis Pastrana. Byron is the only NASCAR driver represented by Wasserman.

Ben Rhodes earns first career Truck win, advances to second round of playoffs

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Ben Rhodes blocked a last lap challenge by Christopher Bell to win his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Saturday night’s Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Rhodes made his win look easy, but it was far from it. With seven laps to go, Rhodes ran low around the first three trucks on a restart, got past and then held on to take the checkered flag.

In so doing, Rhodes — a native of Louisville, Kentucky — gets an automatic berth into the second round of the Truck Series playoffs.

Bell finished second, followed by Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric and Kaz Grala.

MOREResults from Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race in Las Vegas

MORE: Christopher Bell holds dominating lead in Truck playoffs

John Hunter Nemechek looked like he might win, but ran out of gas with 14 laps left while in the lead after Austin Wayne Self wrecked on Lap 133, then stalled twice on pit road and was never able to catch back up. Nemechek, who is at risk of elimination in the playoffs, finished eighth.

Stage winners: Stage 1 (Chase Briscoe), Stage 2 (Ben Rhodes)

Who else had a good race: Christopher Bell gave it everything he had, but passed on a chance to wreck Rhodes on the last lap. “That was some intense racing right there,” Bell said. “Really happy for Ben, he’s been long overdue for that win. He earned it tonight.”

Who had a bad race: Myatt Snider’s race didn’t even last a full lap, spinning and hitting the wall in Turn 3. … A big wreck occurred on Lap 23 when Austin Cindric got into the rear of Johnny Sauter, spinning him into the wall. Kaz Grala was also involved. All three were able to continue, but were never able to get back up in the field to challenge.

Notable: There have now been 11 different winners in the last 11 Truck races. … Noah Gragson was penalized twice for speeding on pit road. … Making his first NASCAR start since 2015, Travis Pastrana finished 22nd.

Quote of the day: “I used every play in my playbook. That was the most nervous thing I’ve ever done in my life. This is the biggest high of my life. I just never thought it would come after so many things went wrong, and now it did.” – Race winner Ben Rhodes

What’s next: The series is off next weekend but returns Saturday, Oct. 14, with the Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. That will also mark the first cutdown race of the Truck playoffs.

Little brother does good: Ryan Truex takes Truck race pole at Las Vegas

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Like big brother, like little brother.

On Friday, 37-year-old Martin Truex Jr. won the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Dover.

Roughly 24 hours later and over 2,500 miles away, younger sibling Ryan Truex, 25, won the pole for tonight’s Las Vegas 350 Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a run of 177.194 mph.

“I was confident in this truck,” Ryan Truex told Fox Sports 1. “It’s the same one we sat on the pole at Chicago, so I had no worries going in.”

Tonight will be Ryan Truex’s 37th career start in the Truck Series. He’s enjoying his best season ever with seven top-5s, 11 top-10s and now two poles.

Now, Truex said, there’s one more detail left:

“I’ve gotta win still,” he told FS1. “That’s the last box I need to check. We’ve got stage wins, led laps and earned poles, we just need to put this Tundra in victory lane.”

Defending Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter was second (175.916 mph), followed by Chase Briscoe (176.881), Christopher Bell (176.713) and Matt Crafton (176.655).

Also of note, Travis Pastrana qualified 18th in his first Truck start in two seasons and third overall of his career.

The race takes the green flag shortly after 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on FS1

Click here for the qualifying results.

Travis Pastrana sponsored by Wienerschnitzel in Truck Series return in Las Vegas

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Action sports star Travis Pastrana makes his return to NASCAR this weekend after a two-year absence.

Pastrana, who last appeared in a NASCAR field in October 2015, will drive the No. 45 Chevrolet for Niece Motorsports in Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Pastrana will be sponsored by hot dog restaurant chain Wienerschnitzel in the race.

“I love NASCAR, and Las Vegas is always a good time, so I’m really looking forward to this weekend,” Pastrana said in a press release.  “I’ve actually worked with several of the people on this team in the past.  It’s a fun group and we have a good rapport. NASCAR is something that challenges me. I’ve done a lot of work over the past couple of years to try and improve my pavement skills. I’m really excited to be able to get behind the wheel again and see what we can do in the Truck Series.”

This won’t be Pastrana’s first time in a truck this season. He was part of a test at Charlotte Motor Speedway back in May, where the No. 45 was the slowest truck.

“I’ve been able to figure most racing things out and be competitive,” Pastrana told NBC Sports that day. “Everyday at some point, I go ‘why couldn’t I figure out NASCAR? What do I need to do?’ I haven’t had the time to do it right.”

This will be Pastrana’s 45th start in a national NASCAR race. In 2013, Pastrana competed full-time in the Xfinity Series for Roush Fenway Racing.

He’s made two starts in the Truck Series, both at Las Vegas in 2012 and 2015. His best finish was 15th in 2012.

Since his exit from full-time NASCAR competition, Pastrana has been busy with his Nitro Circus show and competing in Red Bull Global Rallycross.

The Las Vegas 350 airs at 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday on Fox Sports 1.