Who is hot, not ahead of Xfinity race at Road America

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When it comes to road courses in the Xfinity Series there’s just no consistency.

In the last seven events held at road courses, all of them have been won by a different driver.

This weekend at Road America in the Johnsonville 180, chances are there will be a new face in victory lane or one that hasn’t been to it in a long time. The only road course winner from the last three seasons that’s entered into Sunday’s race is Justin Marks, won last season at Mid-Ohio.

There’s also the chance the most successful team in Xfinity history, Joe Gibbs Racing, could win at Road America for the first time. Despite having 140 series wins, Road America is one of three tracks it has not won at, including Pocono and Mid-Ohio.

If Matt Tifft, James Davison or Christopher Bell win, it would be their first Xfinity Series win.

Here’s a look at who is hot and not ahead of the Johnsonville 180, which airs at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday on NBC.

Who is hot

Elliott Sadler
• Seventeen top-10 finishes and nine top-five finishes, leads all drivers.
• Five stage wins and 30 stage finishes in the top 10.
•Clinched playoff spot at Bristol.
• Leads all drivers at Road America with four top-10 finishes.
• Finished in top 10 in 13 of the last 15 road course races.
Brennan Poole
• Finished in top 10 in five of the last six races, 10 times total.
• Finished 17th (Watkins Glen) and eighth (Mid-Ohio) in the two races on road courses this season.
• Finished Xfinity best third at Road America last year in his only start there.
• Four top-10 finishes in five Xfinity road course starts
Daniel Hemric
• Finished in top 10 in 10 of his 22 starts with a best finish of second at Mid-Ohio.
• Finished in top 10 in four of the last five races.
• Three DNFs in 2017, all three were accidents on restrictor-plate tracks.
• Finished 11th at Watkins Glen and second at Mid-Ohio in his two Xfinity road course starts.

Who is not

Michael Annett
• Finished 12th or worse in 12 of the last 13 races (sixth at Iowa I)
• Finished seventh at Road America in 2011, his only top-10 finish in 16Xfinity road course starts
Spencer Gallagher
• Finished 10th at Richmond, his second career top-10 finish, but has only three top-15 finishes this
season.
• Finished 28th or worse in the last six races.
• Finished 22nd or worse in all three Xfinity road course starts. Has never raced at Road America.
Brandon Jones
• Only three top-10 finishes in 2017 and none in the last three races.
• Had nine top-10 finishes after 22 races in 2017.
• Best Xfinity road course finish of 13th came at Watkins Glen in 2016.
• Finished 16th in this race last year in his only Road America start.

NASCAR Awards: Scene on the red carpet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NASCAR community gathered at the Music City Center to commemorate the 2022 season and celebrate Joey Logano‘s second Cup title.

The event can be seen at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Here is a look at the scene on the red carpet before Thursday night’s NASCAR Awards:

Joey Logano and Brittany Logano (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ryan Blaney and Gianna Tulio (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle and Samantha Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Elliott (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Alex Bowman and Crystal Marsh (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Tyler Reddick and Alexa De Leon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Denny Hamlin and Jordan Fish (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Daniel Suarez and Julia Piquet (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Briscoe and Marissa Briscoe (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Christopher Bell and Morgan Bell (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Dillon and Whitney Dillon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle Larson (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

William Byron and Erin Blaney (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kevin Harvick (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ross Chastain and Erika Turner (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Cindric (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kurt Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Harrison Burton and Jenna Petty(Photo: Dustin Long)
Mario Andretti (Photo: Dustin Long)

Chase Elliott wins NMPA Most Popular Driver Award

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chase Elliott won his fifth consecutive NMPA Most Popular Driver Award on Thursday.

The announcement was made during the NASCAR Awards at the Music City Center. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Elliott is one of only five drivers to win the award since 1984.

Bill Elliott won it from 1984-88, 1991-2000 and 2002. Dale Earnhardt won the award posthumously in 2001. Darrell Waltrip won it in 1989-90. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won it from 2003-17. Chase Elliott has won it every year since.

Noah Gragson was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Xfinity Series. Hailie Deegan was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Camping World Truck Series.

Kevin Harvick to make decision on future by Daytona in February

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Former Cup champion Kevin Harvick says he’ll know by Daytona in February his plans beyond 2023.

Harvick’s contract with Stewart-Haas Racing ends after the upcoming season. 

Harvick said Thursday before the NASCAR Awards that “it could go either way at this particular point” on what he’ll do, but he affirmed that “going into Daytona, I’ll know what I’m going to do.”

The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 19. Harvick anticipates making an announcement by then.

“We’re at a point where everybody needs to know what’s going on,” Harvick said. “There’s too many tentacles to everything that happens. Whether it’s the race team, driver management company, every element needs to know. It’s not fair to anybody to have to start the season not knowing.”

Harvick turns 47 on Dec. 8. Next season will be his 23rd in Cup. His debut came a week after Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Harvick was selected by car owner Richard Childress to drive for Earnhardt’s team. 

Harvick has gone to win the 2014 Cup championship and 60 races at Richard Childress Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s tied with Kyle Busch for ninth on the all-time Cup wins list.

Harvick won two races last season. His victory last August at Michigan snapped a 65-race winless streak. He followed that by winning the next weekend at Richmond. 

Harvick has won at least two races in nine of the past 10 seasons. He has scored 41 of his 60 Cup wins since he turned 37 years old.

“Kevin, I think, is probably the No. 1 leader of the drivers, as he should be,” two-time Cup champion Joey Logano said Thursday. “He’s been around the longest. He’s very accomplished. He’s very smart. He’s been through the ups and downs. He’s lived it. There’s wisdom in experience. It’s great to hear his opinion on where we are as a sport.”

Harvick’s business interests include a management company that represents Cup drivers Ryan Preece, Harrison Burton and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., along with other athletes. Harvick also has worked as a broadcaster on NASCAR Xfinity races for Fox Sports, earning positive reviews. 

Harvick’s son Keelan, who is 10 years old, races and has competed in karting in Europe. 

“He’s got one more race in Italy … and then we’ll start all over again,” Harvick said of his son.

Harvick went overseas after the season finale at Phoenix to watch Keelan race.

“I think he’s definitely matured a little bit since he’s been making these trips,” Harvick said. “I think it’s important to have that culturing aspect of life to be comfortable to do things like that anywhere in the world.”

The NASCAR Awards program airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 3 on Peacock. To sign up for Peacock, go here.

BJ McLeod, Live Fast team move to Chevrolet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Driver/owner BJ McLeod and Live Fast Motorsports will race in Chevrolets beginning with the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Live Fast has been a Ford team.

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Live Fast is owned by McLeod, Matt Tifft and Joe Falk. Jessica McLeod, BJ’s wife, is the team’s chief operating officer.

“Our team is excited to make this transition to Chevrolet,” BJ McLeod said in a statement released by the team. “Chevrolet Camaros have proven great success on the track, and Live Fast Motorsports is looking forward to becoming a part of this advance.”

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The team will use ECR engines.

McLeod had one top-10 finish in 29 starts in the Cup Series last season.