(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Quick success has surprised Truck rookie William Byron

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No one is more surprised by William Byron‘s first two wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series than William Byron.

The 18-year-old rookie, who started racing at 15, has earned two wins in four races this season. The first came at Kansas Speedway in May in his fifth start and his most recent came last week at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I’m a little bit surprised – I was surprised with the first win, how quickly it came and then I was pretty surprised last week with being able to move up the race track and try different lines,” Byron said Friday at Iowa Speedway. The series races there Saturday night.

Byron had chased down two-time champion Matt Crafton – who had older tires – in the final laps at Texas. Then with three laps to go, he fended off Rico Abreu using the high line, which has become Abreu’s trademark.

“That’s something that I don’t have a background doing that like some of these guys with Rico and Christopher (Bell) that are used to searching around on the dirt track,” Byron said. “It’s enabled our race team to try some new things.”

Now Byron is one of two drivers – the other being Crafton – who has two wins this season through seven races. The native of Charlotte, North Carolina, sits in third in the point standing behind Crafton and Timothy Peters, but is all but insured a spot in Chase at the end of the season.

Byron wasn’t comfortable thinking about the playoffs even after his Kansas win.

“I haven’t really thought about the Chase honestly before we got that second win because I didn’t want to think about the potential that there would be eight different winners or more,” Byron said. “It’s good to have that win and be able to focus on what we can do to try and win more races. I think our race team is always looked at as just trying to do the best we can each week, and as a rookie that’s your goal, is just to try and get the best finish you can each time.”

The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver is doing all this with crew chief Ryan Fugle, who is fresh off winning the Truck series title with Erik Jones. That duo won three races in 2015, but the first didn’t come until the series visited Iowa Speedway, where it returns this weekend.

While Jones didn’t win until Iowa, he had four top-five finishes in the first eight races of last season. While Byron has two wins, he has only one other top five entering Iowa.

“Going into it, obviously they won the championship last year, you would think, ‘Well, he has these expectations of oh, this kid is a rookie and what’s it going to be like?’” Byron said. “He’s really had an open mind approach to it like we are a rookie team and he’s taken me under his wing and been able to coach me each week. We have high expectations but I don’t think those expectations are a burden for me and I never look at it that way.”

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