Xfinity

Danica Patrick: ‘I want to continue racing if I have an opportunity to do well’

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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — While Danica Patrick’s future remains uncertain, one thing is certain.

She doesn’t have interest in racing full-time in the Xfinity Series next year.

“Cup only,’’ she said Monday after unveiling the throwback paint scheme her car will have in next month’s Southern 500.

Patrick’s future with Stewart-Haas Racing remains cloudy because of lack of sponsorship for next year. Nature’s Bakery was to have been in the second of a three-year deal with the team but terminated its contract in January. The team filed a $31 million lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery. A settlement was later reached in May.

Without sponsorship, Patrick could be out of a ride. She says she’s not fretting about her job status.

“I want to continue racing if I have an opportunity to do well,’’ Patrick said. “I have no interest, as I’ve said for years now, to run 25th. It’s not fun. So if I don’t feel like I can have the opportunity to move on from there and have a better opportunity, then honestly I don’t care. It’s just because it’s not fun. I don’t drive because I love the thrill of getting sideways. In fact, I don’t like getting sideways. That’s not why I do it. I’m just letting things evolve the way they can without being forceful about anything.’’

While some could infer that means she doesn’t care. Patrick says that’s not the case.

“When I was younger I used to get so mad all the time,’’ she said. “Trust me. I still get mad and throw things. I try not to do it in front of people. I still get fired up.

“But there was so much when I was younger that happened with me getting mad. I felt like if I didn’t portray a displeasure with anything but the best, but first place, then I was somehow showing people that I didn’t think that I could do it.

“I finally came to the conclusion a long time ago, and I’ve only just gotten better at it that I don’t have to look like I hate everything and hate everybody and be awfully unhappy about everything to do well on the track. In fact, sometimes it would get in the way if I was too unhappy. Me being more at peace with everything and not getting so fired up at certain points in time is just really because it’s unproductive, and I don’t need to prove to people that I care.’’

Since a run of four consecutive top-15 finishes — her best four-race stretch in two seasons — she has placed 22nd at Watkins Glen and last weekend at Michigan. She enters Saturday night’s race at Bristol 28th in the points.

“I think that we have finally got away from bad luck,’’ she said.  “I think we have finally found ourselves having clean races and staying out of trouble and getting lucky on top of not having bad luck, we’ve had some good luck, too.’’

Her team isn’t the only one at Stewart-Haas Racing searching for sponsorship.

Stewart-Haas Racing recently declined the option on Kurt Busch’s contract for next year because Monster Energy hasn’t decided if it will return to sponsor Busch’s car. The team expects Busch to return next year. Haas Automation, the company founded by team owner Gene Haas and that sponsors Kurt Busch‘s team, has been the sponsor on Clint Bowyer’s car in 13 of the season’s first 23 races.

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Brad Keselowski leads opening Xfinity practice at Watkins Glen

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Brad Keselowski posted the fastest lap in Friday’s opening Xfinity practice at Watkins Glen International.

Keselowski led the way with a lap of 122.200 mph. He was followed by Kyle Busch (121.586 mph), Joey Logano (121.501), Paul Menard (121.371) and Kyle Larson (120.744). The top Xfinity regular was Justin Allgaier. He was sixth with a lap of 120.607 mph.

Click here for practice speeds

Final practice for Xfinity teams will be from 2:30-3:25 p.m. ET and will be streamed online and on the NBC Sports App.

 

 

Bizarre crash at start of the Xfinity race (VIDEO)

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SPARTA, Ky. – After waiting nearly 15 hours to race at Kentucky Speedway, some Xfinity drivers’ hopes of winning the Alsco 300 were over before the race began Saturday.

A multicar wreck began just before the green flag began to wave on the postponed race. Several drivers appeared to accelerate before pole-sitter Kyle Busch, who radioed his team that the green flag waved late.

Unlike on restarts, the flagstand controls the start of the race. Replays showed the green flag didn’t wave until Busch was outside the restart zone and nearly to the start-finish line.

Brandon Jones, Blake Koch, Brendan Gaughan and Ryan Reed were involved in the crash. Jones was eliminated in the wreck, and Gaughan was knocked out of the race after hitting the wall a few laps later.

Watch the video of the start above.

 

Eleven drivers going for 700 Club membership at Kentucky Speedway

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
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SPARTA, Ky. – For the second consecutive week, Saturday will mean a much longer drive for many NASCAR drivers.

With Friday’s Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway delayed by rain to Saturday at noon (on NBCSN), it’ll mean a 700-mile doubleheader on the repaved 1.5- mile speedway.

Kyle Busch will start on the pole for both races, and he will be joined by Paul Menard, Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Ryan Sieg, Kevin Harvick, Timmy Hill, Joey Gase and BJ McLeod in attempting to complete an extra 300 miles than originally scheduled before Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at 7:30 p.m..

“It’s going to be tough for sure,” Busch said. “I’m not exactly sure how to handle it yet, but it’s certainly not the circumstances I would have liked to have been in, but we got what we got and I’ll try to prepare as best as I can tonight and get as many fluids as I can and then make sure you keep drinking and keep the fluids going for tomorrow.

“It’s just a matter of making sure you don’t get yourself too dehydrated and start to cramp up and things like that. It’s going to make for a long day for sure if it’s going to be 95 degrees and hot and sunny during the first (race) and it will make the second one at night a little better. Still going to be a long, long day.”

There at least will be roughly five hours between the end of the first race and beginning of the second — more recovery time this week than last week at Daytona International Speedway, where the Xfinity race ended a little more than two hours before the Coke Zero 400.

Elliott Sadler, Logano, Brendan Gaughan, Dillon, Erik Jones, Sieg and Daniel Suarez ran the doubleheader last week.

Gaughan (ninth in Xfinity; sixth in Cup) was the only driver to finish in the top 10 of both races. Jones, Dillon, Gaughan and Sadler completed all 417.5 miles as both races went into overtime.

Here’s the starting lineup for the Xfinity race.

Click here for the starting lineup for the Cup race.

Joe Gibbs Racing announces new role for former crew chief Dave Rogers

Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
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Joe Gibbs Racing announced Monday that former Cup crew chief Dave Rogers will be the technical director for its NASCAR Xfinity Series program.

Rogers had been a Cup crew chief from 2010 to early this season, working with Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez. Rogers won 18 Cup races.

Rogers took a personal leave from the team in March after serving as crew chief for Suarez in the season’s first five races. Scott Graves assumed Rogers’ role with the team.

In his new role, Rogers will work closely with Steve deSouza, JGR’s executive vice president, in all aspects of competition across the organization’s Xfinity program.

“I really appreciate the support I’ve received over the past couple of months allowing me to take care of what I needed to in my personal life,” said Rogers in a statement from the team. “This position really excites me and I’m looking forward to working closely with Steve (deSouza), our crew chiefs and everyone in our XFINITY Series shop on all aspects of competition.”