NASCAR on NBC podcast, Episode XIV: Steve Letarte and Parker Kligerman

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With a wild race at Talladega Superspeedway to dissect, analysts Steve Letarte and Parker Kligerman join the latest NASCAR on NBC podcast to offer their unique insights.

Letarte makes a case that aero development might be contributing to three cars getting airborne Sunday at the 2.66-mile track.

“The concern really is the airborne cars,” Letarte said. “Nothing is a guarantee, but NASCAR has done a great job of increasing the opportunity for a driver to walk away from some serious crashes. But when cars get airborne, it’s very hard to control their energy and hard to understand where they go.”

The former crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. believes there might be a connection between the liftoff incidents and teams heavily focusing on the undersides of their cars to find speed by regaining downforce. Photos of the cars after they got airborne showed they had different setups, which “tells me teams are doing things to help the performance and perhaps inadvertently, the downstream effects change the rollover speed.

“They are getting off the ground, in my opinion, easier than they have in the past,” he said. “This is an awful thing to say, but it’s true: The only one who cares about the liftoff speed of those cars is NASCAR. I was a crew chief for 10 years and never did I change tailpipes and say, ‘Man, that’s 3 counts of drag better. I wonder if that’ll make that thing fly if I did that?’ That’s not my job. My job is to make the fastest car possible.”

Letarte also explains why the rash of steering wheel problems will be a teachable moment for younger racers and what makes Talladega winner Brad Keselowski so good in the draft.

Kligerman will return to the Camping World Truck Series this weekend at Kansas Speedway and details the recent developments of his underdog team, which remains second in points despite having only two full-time employees.

The former Talladega winner also describes how drivers wrestle with the levels of acceptable risk at Talladega and why all of the focus on understanding side-drafting and aerodynamics has made drivers and teams so good, it raises the chances of wreckfests such as Sunday.

Other topics covered by Kligerman:

–Comparing and contrasting the restrictor-plate methods of Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR’s current draft kings.

–How the lower downforce rules package might affect racing this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

–The NASCAR America analyst’s tricks for wheeling a driving simulator while talking live on national TV (hint: It helps to have a few thousand hours behind the wheel and several producers as spotters).

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 codes for the episode for easy referencing:



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