NASCAR on NBC podcast, Episode VII: Kyle Larson

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Kyle Larson, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver in the midst of an extended homecoming, is the primary guest on the seventh episode of the NASCAR on NBC podcast.

Larson, a native of Elk Grove, California, has been spending much of his time on the West Coast since the 2015 season ended, celebrating the holidays in his native state and then enjoying the Phoenix Open golf tournament. He also is attending a family wedding (where his 14-month-old son, Owen, will be the ringbearer) this week in California before Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana

The 23-year-old is a fan of being a fan at other professional sporting events – he has tweeted photos from his courtside seats at Oracle Arena for Golden State Warriors games (which he scored through a friend who’s a financial advisor).

“It was really cool,” he said. “The Warriors are unbelievable right now, especially Steph Curry and how great of a player he is. To sit courtside and watch him is really cool.

“Going to any other basketball game, when a player hits a 3-pointer they get a round of applause. But when Steph or Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer, that place would go nuts.”

Larson also attended a Charlotte Hornets game recently as a guest of point guard Jeremy Lin, who came to the Chip Ganassi Racing shop last year for a tour.

“Jeremy is a really good guy, super, super normal,” Larson said. “I was blown away by how normal of a guy he was.”

As an Asian-American driver in NASCAR, Larson can relate to the impact Lin has made in diversifying the NBA’s fan base

“I definitely have noticed more Asians at the racetrack wearing my race gear,” he said. “It’s cool to play a small role of helping out the sport.”

During the podcast, Larson also discusses:

–The rigors of traveling the NASCAR schedule with a young family and how Owen is adapting to his immersion in the racing lifestyle;

–How he and girlfriend Katelyn Sweet handle parenting on the road;

–How members of his generation feel so comfortable with expressing themselves on social media and why it’s important for Larson to be so blunt about his performance on Twitter;

–Evaluating his 2016 performance and the outlook for Fontana.

To hear those discussions and more, listen to the podcast by clicking below, or download and subscribe to it on iTunes by clicking here. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here.

A breakdown of the Kyle Larson interview with time cues for easy referencing:

5:30 – Not a golfer, but the Phoenix Open was fun

7:00 – Courtside seats for the Warriors …

8:30 – … but he once was a Kings fan

10:00 – The atmosphere at Oracle Arena

10:30 – Being Jeremy Lin’s guest at a Hornets game

10:50 – “Jeremy is a good guy, super normal”

11:50 – The Asian-American sports connection

13:30 – On the joys of traveling with a baby boy

15:15 – A girlfriend who also grew up in the rigors of racing

16:00 – Immersing Owen in the racing experience

17:00 – “I don’t want to spoil him, but he’ll get to do what he wants.”

18:00 – “Before he turned 1 year old, he was making race car noises”

19:15 – How kicks beneath the covers decide who awakes in the middle of the night

20:15 – The disarming nature of social media for Millennials

22:00 – “I try and take the blame as much as I can”

22:50 – On hearing drivers destroy their teams on the radio

23:45 – His team appreciates the Twitter candor

24:15 – The state of the No. 42 Chevrolet

26:00 – Outlook for Fontana

27:15 – Why he likes the bigger speedways

28:15 – “I hope Owen doesn’t eat the ring” as ring bearer in uncle’s wedding

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In the second half of the podcast, NASCAR Talk managing editor and writer Dustin Long joins to evaluate what has been learned through the first four races of the Sprint Cup season.

Among the topics:

–The dominance of Sprint Cup powerhouses over the past two seasons and if there is any hope for the underdogs (covered in this week’s “Upon Further Review” feature by Dustin);

–What the future might hold for Kevin Harvick at Stewart-Haas Racing after his victory at Phoenix International Raceway;

–The abysmal start to the 2016 season for Clint Bowyer and its potential repercussions.

Again, you can subscribe to the podcast (and receive automatic downloads via your smartphone) by clicking here.

 

 

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.

 

Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

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Joey Gase Twitter
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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

More: Brad and Paige Keselowski welcome second daughter