What drivers said after Kentucky race

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Here’s what drivers had to say after Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

Brad Keselowski — Finished 1st: “I’ve got to give credit to my guys, the Roush Yates Engine shop, and everybody at Ford.  We knew the fuel mileage. We went out and we set a really fast pace there on that restart and was just using fuel, and then it became obvious that you were going to have to save fuel at the end, but I already used so much. It’s a testament to our guys to have the fuel mileage that we did to be able to get back what I burnt early in the run.’’

Carl Edwards — Finished 2nd: “I thought he was out of fuel, and he wasn’t.  He played it perfectly.  He let me get to him and then stood on it.  But we had an opportunity to win the race, and I really appreciate my crew chief putting us in that position and TRD and the power and the fuel mileage that we get.  Those are great engines.  We had a shot at it, we just weren’t able to do it.  Saved a little too much.’’

Ryan Newman — Finished 3rd: “We did have a good car.  We just never seemed to be able to get good track position and played the fuel game there at the end, did what I thought I had to do, and with no fuel gauge or any kind of telemetry was able to make it to the end.  Was hoping that we were going to be the first guy that could pull that one off, not the third guy, but just proud to get our first top 5 of the season

Kurt Busch — Finished 4th: “That is a nice feather in the cap. Top five’s are special everywhere. Today, we persevered. I have never seen such an effort from everybody to dig deep and to just be back on their heels the whole time and just start to lean forward, lean forward and then right at the end to turn into fuel mileage and our car just came to us at the end. It was a perfect day for us to get a top five. We had to sweat it all weekend.”

Tony Stewart — Finished 5th: “With the way the first half of this race went, we got in survival mode there and still wanted to race hard, but you didn’t want to do anything that was going to jeopardize finishing the race and capitalizing on the misfortune of the guys that are around us in points had. You are not really going to race anywhere else the rest of the year like this, so I don’t think it’s an indication of what our season is going to be like, but we ran anywhere from 11th to 22nd, pretty much just stayed in that range all day. It was just really tricky on restarts of being able to stay around cars. Kasey Kahne drove around me on the outside once and I about wrecked. It chattered the right-rear and all he did was just drive around me just like Pocono. It’s kind of hard when you have conditions like that. The track is going to be fine. NASCAR did the right thing. It’s easy to point the finger at Goodyear, but they had to do what they thought was right and what was conservative for them. It is just way too hard and the wrecks kind of proved that.”

Jamie McMurray — Finished 7th: “We had a really good car, probably the best 1.5-mile car we have had in a while. I thought I had a flat tire there at one point and we lost like 10 spots in three laps. Then it started shaking, so I just went ahead and came in to be careful. We got a little bit lucky because we were the lucky dog when the caution came out. It all just kind of worked out. My thoughts on the night are just that we had a little bit of luck and we haven’t really had that.”

Matt Kenseth — Finished 8th: “At least we ran well tonight. It’s been a while since we performed well. I thought we had a top-five car all night. Just more guys made it on fuel than we were and we couldn’t make it. Just had to pit there at the end and get what we could get.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 9th: “We kept our track position. I overshot our pit stall one time looking at my pit road speed, we got that back. But, all-in-all it just came down the fuel mileage, we couldn’t make it at the end and some guys could. That is just part of it.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 10th: “It’s just one of those deals. I’m not sure why we got penalized. It’s a timeline thing, everybody does it. You get your line and you gas it up to your pit, it’s what I did. I don’t know. I guess it wasn’t my night on that deal. It’s frustrating, we had the car to beat and I felt like if we didn’t get (Kevin Harvick) on the pit stop, we weren’t going to be able to pass him. It was so hard to pass. We came out with the lead and they took it away from us. It’s just the way it goes I guess.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 11th: “It was slick. The first run I was like, ‘Man, we’ve got a top 10 car.’ We drove up to 12th and we were decent. Then we took four tires and a lot of guys took two and that put us back in track position that hurt us the rest of the race. We could never get it back, but at the end the result is really all that matters and we got to 11th. I probably could have held off three or four more of those guys if I knew I had enough fuel, but you’ve got to save all you can. I almost ran out coming to the checkers, so I saved just enough but maybe could have held them off.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. — Finished 13th: “Okay, so a new repave has a lot of grip. Goodyear brings a real conservative tire that is going to be extra careful on blistering. They had some blistering in the test that scared them, so they went really conservative on the tire. I think personally I believe they can make that right-side tire as hard as they want, go as safe as you want there so we don’t have the blistering, but soften the left up some. The racing will be better. We have issues with all the recent repaves with the left-side tires being a little bit too hard. It hurts the racing because you just can’t get any grip and turn and go underneath nobody. You just slide that left-front all night long through the center and on exit. You can’t drive around and underneath guys. There is nothing you can do to get that left-front tire any grip except for soften the tire up. That wouldn’t be hard to do.  It’s a conservative tire. I understand why they did it because of the blistering they had in the test.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 31st: “Just being top of (Turn) 3 and there is really not enough room to be three-wide, so I heard at the last second we were three-wide and I had a feeling that we were just because we got bottled up there off of (Turn) 2. I tried to give as much room as I possibly could to stay at the top of the black and out of the grey. I didn’t know how much further out I could get without wrecking myself without any help. I guess Ryan (Blaney) just got loose and got us, but that is racing. The good news is we had another fast car, the bad news that is the third bad week in a row. We will try to regroup and go get ‘em wherever we go next.”

Brian Scott — Finished 33rd: “(Denny Hamlin) was pretty tight on my door and I had (Kyle Larson) up my bumper there on that restart and these cars are pretty difficult to drive when you’re in that type of situation. I was expecting it and when it happened I thought I had it saved. I was just trying to gather it back up and lose the spots we were gonna lose, but go on and then some cars barreled in pretty fast from behind and caused a pile up. It started with me. It’s a product of new paves. You just don’t have any room and everybody holds each other really tight, and it’s just difficult.”

Regan Smith — Finished 34th: “Just blew a right-front tire. I don’t know how many laps we had on them or what not. We had seen a couple of issues with guys earlier in the night. I think we were just doing what we could to try and get back on a decent lap sequence with the leaders. We had kind of dug a hole for ourselves. It’s frustrating, disappointing we struggled all weekend long and it was just one of those weekends. We will work hard and try and get back to Loudon and see if we can’t figure something out there.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 35th: “That restart was pretty hectic from the beginning with (Martin Truex Jr.) getting loose and it kind of put everybody in a bad spot, and it wound up with us being in the middle of three-wide into three. It’s so hard to get into that corner all night with a car close to behind you and outside of you, and no one lifting either, and it’s just an unfortunate spot we got put in and I hate to see two really good cars tore up. We were both very fast tonight (24 and 21) and it’s just a really unfortunate deal, but we’ll try to get it fixed and get back out there and make some laps.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 36th: “I won’t say we deserved it, but we put ourselves back there. We weren’t very good all night.  Randall Burnett (crew chief) and everybody we were trying to figure it out. We just missed it all weekend. I thought we had a really good test here. They changed the tire and it’s our own fault we didn’t figure the tire out as good as other guys did. We are working hard. I feel like we are not getting a lot in return. We are making our own mistakes. I didn’t do a good job, but put us back there and it’s not any fun anymore.” 

Chris Buescher — Finished 37th: “The guys did a heck of a job. Unfortunately, the call was made to run practice during our qualifying time and we started by points.  We’ve had three of these situations at superspeedways already this year and just didn’t put us in a good place for the start and the pit selection wasn’t good because of it, and we ended up in a bad spot because of it. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Joey Logano — Finished 39th:  “I got loose off of four and knocked the right-rear quarter off it and then got real loose. When you get loose you have to slow down more and you use a lot of brake to slow down. Usually, the next thing to go is the right-front tire and that happened. Unfortunately, I put us in a bad spot here. It’s not where we want to be and we’ll figure out next week.”

Friday 5: Clash at Coliseum provides a reset for RFK Racing

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Mired in traffic was not where Chris Buescher expected to be. Sure, he knew that racing 22 cars on a quarter-mile track inside a stadium that has hosted the Super Bowl, Olympics and World Series would put him in tight confines, but when the green flag waved for last year’s Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Buescher was in traffic on the freeway.

He was headed to the airport — along with the rest of RFK Racing. 

Both Buescher and team owner Brad Keselowski failed to make last year’s feature, sending them home earlier than expected.

“A punch to the gut,” Buescher told NBC Sports.

NASCAR’s return to the Coliseum for Sunday’s Clash is not a redemption tour for RFK Racing, said Jeremy Thompson, the team’s vice president of race operations. He calls it a reset.

That’s what last year was thought to be with Keselowski leaving Team Penske to become an owner/driver of an organization that had gone more than four years without a points victory before 2022. The Clash was a chance for RFK Racing to show its new direction.

Instead, RFK Racing and Spire Motorsports were the only multi-car teams not to have a car in the feature.

“Yes, it was not a points race, but it just looked bad,” Buescher said. “And it was bad. It hurt our feelings more than anybody else’s, I promise.”

Through that disappointment, lessons were learned.

“We didn’t have a lack of hunger that was holding us back,” Keselowski said of last year’s Clash. “We had a lack of understanding our vehicle dynamics. Understanding was just not good enough on a lot of levels.

“We continue to invest in resources and people to continue to push that forward to where we can go to events like that and feel that we’re a threat to win and we’re not just trying to make the race.

“I don’t think I understood that when I came in, where we were at as a company on the vehicle dynamics side.”

It was clear immediately that Buescher and Keselowski were in trouble. Buescher was 21st on the speed chart in practice; Keselowski was 33rd of 36 cars. 

“The car bounced so bad that I thought we were going to rip the transmission right out,” Buescher said of last year’s Clash weekend. “We spent all of practice trying to make the car just drive in a circle vs. trying to make it faster. We missed … before we ever left (the shop).”

Said Thompson about last year’s Clash: “I felt like our effort going into that was exceptionally high. We left no stone unturned. We just turned over some of the wrong stones.”

Two weeks later, both Keselowski and Buescher won their qualifying races at Daytona, but there was much work to do to overcome flaws with other parts of their program.

“We’re pushing really hard on vision and values of what it takes to be a high performer at this level, whether that is getting all the details right in the shop or on the road,” Keselowski said.

RFK Racing learned from its struggles early in the season, particularly with its short track program. Buescher, who had never placed better than 16th at Phoenix at the time, finished 10th there last March, a little more than a month after the Clash. He called his top 10 that day “a small win.”

Progress continued but it was not quick. Buescher placed third at Richmond last August before winning the Bristol night race in the playoffs. Keselowski was seventh at New Hampshire last July and won the first stage at the Bristol night race in September before a flat tire ruined his chances.

Keselowski acknowledges that turning RFK Racing into a team that can contend weekly for wins will take some time, but he sees progress.

“We’re not everywhere we need to be, but we definitely have a plan to get there,” he said. “Navigating that plan is challenging, but we’re on a path.”

2. Why not more horsepower?

NASCAR will take what it learned in last week’s Phoenix test to the wind tunnel on Feb. 13. If the wind tunnel test of short track enhancements goes well, changes could be implemented before the April 2 race at Richmond.

The changes being tested in the wind tunnel are a smaller spoiler (2 inches) and some adjustments to the underbody of the car. 

Still, one suggestion drivers often make is to give them more horsepower.

“I think there’s a misconception that we could take the existing engines and just throw 200 horsepower in it,” said John Probst, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, in response to a question from NBC Sports. 

“We do have multiple-race engines today that we have to keep in mind. (More horsepower) is something that we are actively discussing, but, obviously, we don’t do that in a vacuum. We do that with the engine builders.

“But anybody that has been around, we’ve raced high horsepower and low downforce before and ended up at some point in time deciding to go away from that to get more entertaining racing. … I think we’re open to entertaining any horsepower gains that we can get with our current (engine) architecture, but anything beyond that is actually not something that can happen quickly.”

Probst later said that keeping the engines in the current horsepower range could prove helpful for any manufacturer looking to join the sport.

“One of the reasons we landed on the horsepower range we’re in now is to try to land in areas that have existing racing engines designed for them, similar to our current (manufacturers),” Probst said. “We’re not hiding from the fact that we would like to encourage some new (manufacturers) to come in. That is part of the equation for that whole thing. I’m not saying it’s the driving reason, but it is a consideration.”

3. Crossing the line

The quarter-mile oval in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will provide plenty of chances to hit bumpers, doors and other parts of the car Sunday.

But there’s a line between short track racing and racing without respect. 

For Ryan Preece, who is running his first race in the No. 41 for Stewart-Haas Racing this weekend, there is a clear divide.

“There’s certainly a way to go about it in quarter-mile racing where you can pass somebody without hitting them,” said Preece, a veteran of racing modifieds in bullrings. 

So how does he tell what’s crossing the line on a short track?

“If somebody drives into me getting into the center of the corner, they’re in control of their race car at that point,” Preece said. “So that or door slamming somebody, not even trying to make the corner, are two good examples (of not racing with respect).”

Preece relies on a lesson he learned racing modifieds with how to race in close quarters.

“I’ll never forget this, I was at Thompson (Speedway) and I used (seven-time modified champion) Mike Stefanik up pretty well into Turn 2 with probably six or seven laps to go, trying to chase down the leader. It didn’t happen. 

“I said, ‘Oh, hey man, I’m sorry. I had to do what I had to do for my team.’ He looked at me and said ‘Well, what about my team? What about the guys I race with?’ 

“I think that day really helped me understand that side of things. You want to race with as much respect as you possibly can. There’s a way to do it, a way to race somebody hard but not overstep the line.”

4. On the same page

Ty Dillon moves to Spire Motorsports this season as a teammate to Corey LaJoie.

Dillon will drive the No. 77 car, which has never finished in the top 30 in car owner points since its debut in 2019. The best the car placed was 31st in owner points in 2021.

Dillon says he has confidence in building the program based on Spire Motorsports’ approach.

“We aren’t unrealistic about where we are,” Dillon told NBC Sports.

But he also said that management has workable goals.

“We said, ‘Hey, here’s where we stand in the spectrum of the race teams,’ ” Dillon said. “Here’s our goals. Here’s what we believe we can accomplish. The structure of what everybody knows and how we’re all pulling in the same direction is a real confidence (boost).

“We know we’re not going to be the team that competes every single weekend for wins, but we’re going to be the best at who we are. Over time, people are going to say, ‘Damn, Spire has taken a step.’ … We’re long-term focused and everybody’s on the same page as that.

“I’ve been a part of a team that said, ‘Hey, we’re wanting to build something.’ Well, you get 10 races in and they haven’t won a race and they’re throwing everybody out the door.”

Dillon said the “realistic, genuine expectation” at Spire Motorsports makes this situation feel different for him.

“The hope and optimism is knowing that we’re all on the same page,” he said.

5. Rule book changes 

NASCAR announced a series of rule changes this week and stated that it would outlaw the video game move Ross Chastain made on the final lap of last year’s Martinsville race. 

NASCAR also made a number of changes to the rule book this week.

Among those:

— Intentionally damaging another car on pit road could lead a Cup driver to be penalized 25-50 points and/or 25-50 owner points and/or $50,000 – $100,000 fine. Last year, intentionally damaging another car on pit road could lead only to a fine of $25,000 – $50,000.

— Member to member confrontations with physical violence and other violent manifestations could result in a fine and/or indefinite suspension or membership revocation. Last year, such an infraction was listed as incurring a penalty of 25-50 driver and/or team owner points and/or a fine of $50,000 – $100,000. Violations also could result in a race suspension(s), indefinite suspension or termination.

— In the past, if a car could not go when it was time to make a qualifying attempt, it was put on a five-minute clock to do so. That’s changed this year. Now, the clock will be no more than one minute unless it is a safety issue. 

Also, NASCAR listed the length of each Cup race. The inaugural Chicago Street Course Race is scheduled for 100 laps.

Harrison Burton looks for progress in second year in Cup

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Harrison Burton made the first start of his NASCAR Cup Series partnership with the Wood Brothers in the bright lights of Los Angeles.

Burton and the Woods teamed last season as Burton jumped into full-time Cup racing after two full seasons (and four wins) in the Xfinity Series. Their first race was the Clash at the Coliseum, and it was a good start — Burton qualified for the feature and finished 12th on the lead lap.

Then things headed downhill. Crashes at Daytona and Auto Club Speedway left Burton with finishes of 39th and 33rd, respectively. After the first five races of the year, he had four finishes of 25th or worse.

Now, Season Two, and there are higher expectations. Much higher.

MORE: Drivers to watch in Clash at the Coliseum

“The start of last year was really, really rough,” Burton told NBC Sports. “It kind of put us in a hole. We got into the wreck in the 500 and crashed at Fontana. Things kind of stack up on you, and all of a sudden you’re buried in points and it’s hard to make it back up.

“But, at the end of the year, three of the last four weekends were big for us (three consecutive top-20 finishes). We need to build off that and try to get out of the West Coast swing and have a clean group of those races. That’s really important. We need to get our average finish up in the first four to five races and not put ourselves in a hole we can’t get out of, and then go from there.”

The Wood Brothers team typically brings strong cars to the Daytona 500, the season’s first point race. Trevor Bayne scored the team’s latest win in stock car racing’s biggest event in 2011.

“We ran well in the 500 last year until I was upside down,” Burton said. “We had a fast car and qualified well and finished third in our duel. Then in the second Daytona race we put ourselves in good position late, so we were in contention in both Daytona races. The speed was there, and the cars drove well.”

The team’s primary goal is to make the playoffs, Burton said. “And we want to be a contender,” he said. “Cup races are so hard. First, you have to contend. Having a good average finish is really important. If you average around 17th or 18th all year, you can kind of point your way into the playoffs, and doing that is on our minds for sure.”

MORE: Power Rankings: 10 historic moments in the Clash

Burton looks for a strong start in Sunday’s Clash, which will present teams with a mix of the old and the new. Drivers got the experience of racing inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last year, and notes from that race will be useful, but the racing surface will be all new again.

“Every repave has a different tendency,” Burton said. “We’ll see how close it is to last time and how different. Obviously, there is experience on that track, but still it’s a completely new surface, so it’s going to be a mixture of old and new. There’s some knowledge we can build off of, but we kind of have to go into the weekend with that knowledge as tentative because we don’t know if the track is going to be different.”

Burton heads for Los Angeles with a win already under his belt this year. He and teammate Zane Smith, last year’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, won last Friday’s International Motor Sports Association’s Michelin Pilot Challenge Series race on the Daytona International Speedway road course.

Burton drove the finishing laps in the four-hour race. He was third with about 50 minutes to go but moved in front with 22 minutes left when leader Elliott Skeer parked. Burton outran second-place Spencer Pumpelly by .688 of a second for the win.

“I thought we could run well,” Burton said. “After the test we did, we were really fast, so I was pretty excited. But apparently there is a lot of sandbagging that goes on there, so I wasn’t sure where we were. We had to have some things go right for us, and they did.”

 

 

 

 

Dr. Diandra: Muffling racecars won’t change fan experience

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Last week, NASCAR tested the muffler that will be used for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum.

“Heresy,” some fans cried. They argued that it is against the laws of man and nature to muffle racecars. That noise is an integral part of the fan experience. That you’re not supposed to be able to have conversations during races.

Relax.

The cars will be plenty loud.

Loud is fast

Engines produce power by combusting fuel and air in their cylinders. Each combustion produces high-pressure gases that push the piston up. The same gases make a loud popping sound when they escape the cylinder and finally the exhaust.

At 8,000 rpm, an eight-cylinder engine performs about 520 combustions every second. The faster an engine runs, the more combustions per second and the higher the frequency of the tailpipe noise.

That’s why NASCAR engines sound like grizzly bears and F1 engines, which run at higher speeds, sound more like angry mosquitoes.

Maximum horsepower requires getting the spent gases out of the cylinder as quickly as possible so the next combustion reaction can start. And that’s the problem with mufflers, from a racing perspective.

Mufflers on street cars bounce sound waves from the engine around a metal can. The waves interfere with each other, which decreases the overall volume coming from the exhaust.

Mufflers can also mitigate noise by directing the exhaust through a sound-absorbing material. Borla, the sole-source supplier for this weekend’s muffler, makes commercial racing mufflers that feature a robust sound-absorbing material superior to the commonly used fiberglass.

Both methods slow the exhaust gases — the first more than the second. The ideal racing muffler diminishes sound with minimal horsepower reduction.

Decibels

Sound-level measurements come in decibels (dB), a unit named after Alexander Graham, not Christopher — and apparently by someone who wasn’t the best speller.

But decibels don’t tell the whole story. Sound intensity decreases with distance, so you need to specify how far away the sound source was.

The easiest way to explain the decibel scale is to relate it to real-world noises, as I’ve done below.

A bar chart showing representative sound levels expressed in decibels.

  • Zero dB is the threshold of human hearing.
  • A whisper you can just barely make out is about 20 dB.
  • Most everyday noises are in the 60 dB to 100 dB range but are sometimes louder.
  • Exposure to 130 dBs can be painful.
  • A 150-dB sound can cause permanent hearing damage in a very short time.

Ringing in your ears the day after a rock concert was a badge of honor in high school. Older me wishes I had been a little smarter.

Hair cells — not to be confused with ear hair — facilitate hearing. Sound bends these hair-shaped cells, and the cells convert sound into electrical signals that the brain interprets. Loud sounds can bend these cells so much that they break.

Unlike animals such as sharks, zebrafish — and even the lowly chicken — humans cannot grow new hair cells. Once your hearing is damaged, you can’t get it back.

How loud are racecars?

A noise mitigation study for the proposed Nashville Fairgrounds track measured a single Next Gen car at COTA generating 112 dB on a straightaway at 100 feet.

A 2008 study measured the sound level inside a Gen-6 car to be an average of 114 dB. The study also compared sound in the stands, the infield and the pits.

Let’s add those numbers to our graph.

A bar chart showing representative sound levels expressed in decibels, including sound measurements from the Gen-6 and Next Gen cars

  • The Next Gen car at 100 feet is about the same loudness as a person screaming at top volume 1 inch from your ear.
  • The Next Gen car at 100 feet is just a bit quieter than sitting inside the Gen-6 car.
  • Bristol reached peak sound levels loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage.

The graph data suggests that inside the Next Gen car should be around 10 times louder than inside the Gen-6. Some drivers made new earmolds to cope with the additional noise in the cockpit.

Because of the way sound works, the numbers don’t add like you’d expect them to. A Next Gen car might be 112 dB, but two Next Gen cars are more like 115 dB. A full field would be only 5-7 dB louder.

The mufflers won’t muffle much

NASCAR expects a six to 10-dB reduction in sound with mufflers. A 10-dB reduction would make the Next Gen car about as loud as the Gen-6 car was.

Another way of looking at it: Good earplugs reduce sound levels by 25 to 30 dB. Wearing earplugs just barely gets you into the range of being able to hold a conversation if you stand very close to each other and you both shout.

You won’t notice the change in sound inside the track.

You also won’t notice a change in speed this weekend, despite a drop of 30-40 horsepower. The Next Gen car takes around 14 seconds to traverse the L.A. Coliseum’s quarter-mile track. That means cars won’t be going much faster than typical expressway speeds.

If you’re headed out to the track this weekend — despite the mufflers — bring earplugs or over-the-ear headsets. This is especially important for children, as their hearing is more easily damaged.

Joe Gibbs Racing adds young racers to Xfinity program

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Connor Mosack, 23, and Joe Graf Jr., 24, each will drive select races in the No. 19 Xfinity Series car for Joe Gibbs Racing this season.

Mosack, who has a 20-race Xfinity schedule with Sam Hunt Racing this year, will run three races for JGR: Chicago street course (July 1), Pocono (July 22) and Road America (July 29) while also competing in six ARCA Menards Series races for JGR, including Feb. 18 at Daytona.

Graf, who has a 28-race Xfinity schedule with RSS Racing this year, will run five races in the No. 19 Xfinity car for JGR: Auto Club Speedway (Feb. 25), Las Vegas (March 4), Richmond (April 1), New Hampshire (July 15) and Kansas (Sept. 9).

“I made my Xfinity Series debut with JGR last June at Portland and from the moment I made my first lap in their racecar, I realized why they’ve been so successful,” Mosack said in a statement. “Their equipment was second to none and the resources they had in terms of people and their knowledge was incredible.

“Jason Ratcliff was my crew chief at Portland and he’s got a ton of experience. I was able to learn from him before we even went to the track. Just in our time in the simulator, we made some great changes. So, to be back with him for three Xfinity races is going to be really valuable.

“And when it comes to JGR’s ARCA program, it’s the class of the field. After having to race against JGR cars, I’m really looking forward to racing with a JGR car. No matter what track they were on, they were always up front competing for wins. To have that chance in 2023 is pretty special, and I aim to make the most of it.”

Said Graf in a statement about his opportunity with JGR: “Running five races with JGR is a fantastic opportunity for myself and for my marketing partners. I think I can learn a lot from JGR and showcase my skills I’ve been growing in the series in the past three years. 2023 is shaping up to be a great year and I’m pumped to get started with the No. 19 group.”

Ryan Truex has previously been announced as the driver of the No. 19 Xfinity Series car in six races this season for JGR. The remaining drivers for the car will be announced at a later date.

Mosack didn’t start racing until he was 18 years old. He went on to win five Legends car championships before moving to Late Model stock cars in 2019. He graduated from High Point University in 2021 with a degree in business entrepreneurship. Mosack’s first Xfinity Series race with Sam Hunt Racing this season will be March 11 at Phoenix Raceway.