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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Episode XIII: Michael Waltrip


Michael Waltrip, who will interrupt his Fox Sports job to race this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, was the guest of a bonus episode of the NASCAR on NBC podcast.

The two-time Daytona 500 winner will be driving a No. 55 for Premium Motorsports at the 2.66-mile oval, where his last of four Sprint Cup wins (all on restrictor-plate tracks) occurred in September 2003.

Waltrip, who turns 53 Saturday, finished 30th in the season-opening Daytona 500. He believes with the proper car, he still could win.

“Yes, I think I could,” he said. “I also know I don’t have the opportunity to get in a car that’s there.

“The car I raced at Daytona and Talladega was built in the middle of 2015 at (Michael Waltrip Racing). The research and development and engineering and processes that the top teams have gone through since then have made their cars way faster than my car. But I did win, and I had a good run for a while with a car that was capable of it. I relish those memories and am thankful for them.”

As an analyst on Sprint Cup pre- and postrace shows and the Camping World Truck Series for Fox, Waltrip says getting behind the wheel informs his work on TV.

“I know it does week in and week out, despite the fact the racing style is different” at Daytona and Talladega, Waltrip said. “You have to make pit stops, you have to read the digital dash, you have to work with your spotter, you have to hit your pit road speed perfectly. You have to do all the jobs they do every week.

“The product on the track is different, but you’re doing the same things to win Richmond or any event. I know it keeps me current and tuned in to what they’re doing on the track.”

Waltrip already has insight into this year’s dominant team, Joe Gibbs Racing, which seems to have benefited with the addition of Furniture Row Racing in the Toyota Racing Development fold. Michael Waltrip Racing was one of TRD’s original teams and worked with JGR to lesser success from 2008-15.

“Our team could have meshed in as an organization with Gibbs as Furniture Row has, but I think the philosophy of (co-owner) Rob (Kauffman) and our team didn’t quite match up with the way Joe looked at the racing,” Waltrip said. “(Joe Gibbs) and (Furniture Row owner) Barney (Visser), it’s perfect, because Barney is, ‘What do we have to spend to win?’ And that’s the way Joe looks at it. So instead of meshing them together and saving money, they’ve meshed it together, and now we spend more. That’s the way you have to be in NASCAR.”

Waltrip also discusses how much longer he wants to race part time in Sprint Cup, the importance of teammates and the rest of his professional life.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking below or download and subscribe to it on iTunes 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.

Here are time cues for easy reference in listening to the episode:


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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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