Getty Images

Leavine Family Racing gives Kasey Kahne much needed ‘fresh start’

Leave a comment

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Kasey Kahne says it’s “been a while” since he has looked forward to a test session.

But at 37 and entering his 15th Cup season, that’s the case for the former Hendrick Motorsports driver.

Because as his new crew chief, Travis Mack says, “It’s all about Kasey.”

When Kahne next gets in a Cup car, it will be in January at an open two-day test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It will be his first time behind the wheel of a car owned by Leavine Family Racing.

After six years driving the No. 5 Chevrolet as one of four HMS drivers, Kahne will be LFR’s lone focus in the No. 95 Chevrolet.

The Las Vegas test will be the most significant test Kahne has been part of in at least three years.

“I haven’t had a test in three years that wasn’t at a repaved road course or a short track or a Kentucky repave that we come back with completely different tires from what we tested,” Kahne said Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where LFR revealed his Daytona 500 car. “To me it’s the first time in three years that I’ve actually been able to go and learn things and you can use them at an upcoming race. This will be completely different. It’s good for myself, it’s good for our team to have that going into a new season.”

New season, new team, new crew chief, new car number.

Kahne admitted the 2018 season may be the first time he’s ever really had a truly “fresh” start in his career, despite having competed on four teams through the first 504 starts of his Cup career.

“It’s a fresh start all the way around,” Kahne said. “It’s not just a different owner or a different manufacturer. It’s a fresh start everywhere. I think that’s really good for me. I think it’s probably the first time ever that it’s fresh, completely new in all aspects. So yeah, it’ll be interesting but I think it’s good.”

And Kahne needs to be good.

In his last three seasons at Hendrick, Kahne earned just one win –  the 2017 Brickyard 400 – while accumulating nine top fives (three each season). In 2012, his first year at Hendrick, he placed fourth in the final standings. In the following five seasons, he never finished better than 12th.

In September, it was announced Kahne wouldn’t be returning to Hendrick. He’ll be replaced by rookie William Byron in 2018.

Despite the lack of recent success, the 18-time Cup winner says his passion for racing on Sundays hasn’t wavered.

“I don’t understand why I would be done,” Kahne said. “I don’t understand why I can’t go out and win like I’ve won other years in the past. To me, I still have the desire and the passion that I’ve always had, so I don’t understand why any of that has changed, I feel really good and think in the right situation can still do really, really well.”

But Kahne understands why his time at Hendrick ended. And he’s kind of relieved.

“I think if results were better, I would still be there,” Kahne said. “But the results weren’t good enough. It’s hard to really understand where (the cause of) that lies or why or whatever. But that’s just the way it is and it’s racing.

“I’ve moved on and they’ve moved on and it’s all perfectly fine. I don’t have any bad feelings at all. I think Mr. H(endrick) is a great guy. My team and all those guys put in a huge effort. I don’t have any hard feelings, but I’m glad I’ve moved on, because what we were doing there was not working. To have that over with is great.”

He heads into the new chapter of his career with a rookie crew chief in Mack, who also arrives from HMS, where he had worked since 2004. Last year, Mack served as the car chief on the No. 88. He got his first chance to crew chief in the regular-season finale at Richmond after Greg Ives was suspended one race.

Kahne, Mack and the rest of LFR — roughly 30 employees in total — will begin to grasp what the No. 95 team is capable of with the Las Vegas test.

“I feel like it’s great place to get two full days, 15, 16 straight hours of just driving and communicating and learning each other, learning the car, learning setups,” Kahne said. “Between myself, Travis, the engineers at LFR, working with the RCR group, it’s just a completely new deal. So to have 15, 16 hours to work on all that stuff is awesome. I didn’t think we would get that test going into the year. I just thought we would show up to Daytona to race, go to Atlanta, race. With that, I feel it’s really a big benefit for us.”

 and on Facebook

Bristol Truck race results, driver points

Bristol Truck race results
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sam Mayer scored his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win Thursday night. The 17-year-old finished ahead of GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt.

Mayer is the youngest driver to win a Truck race at Bristol.

Tanner Gray placed third and was followed by Parker Kligerman and Chandler Smith.

Gray’s finished tied a career high. Kligerman’s finish was his best this season.

Trevor Bayne crossed the finish line fifth but his truck was disqualified for failing post-race heights in inspection.

The next race in the playoffs is Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Click here for race results

POINTS

Brett Moffitt leads the points after the opening race in the first round of the playoffs. He leads Sheldon Creed by nine points. Zane Smith trails Moffitt by 12 points.

Click here for points report

17-year-old Sam Mayer wins first NASCAR Truck race

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sam Mayer passed GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt with 30 laps to go and went on to score his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The victory came in the seventh career Truck start for the 17-year-old Mayer. The win also came a few days after JR Motorsports announced that Mayer would drive for the team in the second half of the 2021 Xfinity Series, once he turns 18.

“I love this place,” Mayer told FS1 after the 200-lap race. “I don’t know what to say.”

Mayer was helped by having tires that were 52 laps fresher than Moffitt’s tires.

MORE: Race results 

Mayer is not competing in the playoffs and does not advance to the second round. He said he has two more Truck races left to run this season.

Mayer followed his Truck win by taking the checkered flag in the ARCA Menards Series race that followed Thursday night.

Moffitt, who is competing in the playoffs, finished second. He was followed by Tanner Gray and Parker Kligerman.

Trevor Bayne finished fifth but his Truck was disqualified after the race for failing inspection. His truck failed post-race heights. Chandler Smith finished fifth after Bayne’s disqualification.

Moffitt was one of only four playoff drivers to finish in the top 10. Grant Enfinger was sixth. Tyler Ankrum placed seventh. Matt Crafton was 10th.

Mayer is the second youngest winner in series history. Cole Custer is the youngest winner in series history. Custer was 16 years, 7 months, 28 days when he won in Sept. 2014 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Mayer becomes the youngest Truck winner at Bristol at 17 years, 2 months, 22 days. Ryan Blaney had held that record, winning a 2015 race there at age 21 years, 4 months, 19 days.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Brett Moffitt

STAGE 2 WINNER: Tyler Ankrum

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Tanner Gray’s third-place finish tied his career best. He finished third at Michigan earlier this season. … Parker Kligerman’s fourth-place finish is his best of the season while running a limited schedule.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Austin Hill finished 26th, worst among the playoff drivers. He had contact on Lap 2 with Stewart Friesen.

NOTABLE: Trevor Bayne said that four weeks ago he didn’t know if he would be racing again at Bristol. He crossed the finish line fifth but his truck failed inspection after the race and was disqualified.

NEXT: The second race of the opening round of the playoffs is at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Texas Motor Speedway to host polling site for election

Leave a comment

Residents and race fans in parts of North Texas will be able to cast their vote in the upcoming election at their local NASCAR track.

Texas Motor Speedway will be a polling site for the Nov. 3 election.

The track, owned by Speedway Motorsports, will serve as a polling site for the residents of Precinct 4048. That precinct includes a large portion of Denton County and Forth Worth, Texas.

The polling site will be in the Lone Star Tower Condominium Clubhouse just outside Turn 2. It will be open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET on election day.

More: Upcoming Cup playoffs races can fans attend

“In anticipation of a very high voter turnout for the presidential election, we have been working for months to acquire polling sites throughout the county,” Frank Phillips, Denton County Elections Administrator, said in a press release. “We are excited that Texas Motor Speedway has offered the use of the Lone Star Tower Clubhouse as a polling site.”

Local, state and CDC guidelines will be followed to ensure a sanitized, safe and socially distanced voter experience.

TMS is the first track that hosts NASCAR Cup races to announce its plans for use as a polling site. It joins sporting venues for other major sports in doing so.

A number of NBA arenas and practice facilities will be voting locations, as well as select NFL stadiums and NHL arenas.

Travis Pastrana, Conor Daly set for Las Vegas Truck Series race

Leave a comment

Action sports star Travis Pastrana and IndyCar driver Conor Daly are teaming up with Niece Motorsports to compete in the upcoming Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

With the backing of iRacing, who made the announcement Thursday, the duo will drive the No. 42 and No. 45 Chevrolets in the Sept. 25 race.

Pastrana and Daly’s involvement is a continuation of their rivalry in the LCQ League, a private iRacing league featuring motorsports and action sports legends having fun in cars from all disciplines.

For Pastrana, a former Roush Fenway Racing driver, it will be his fifth career Truck start and his second of the year after he competed in the July 25 race at Kansas Speedway. He finished 22nd.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing our rivalry from the LCQ League to the real world,” Pastrana said in a press release. “We’ve been getting lots of advice and iRacing on-track coaching from fellow LCQ member Parker Kligerman. I’m looking forward to seeing how the hours in iRacing pay off on the track, especially for Conor who has never driven a NASCAR truck in real life. He might be the first person in history to jump into a professional racing series and take the green flag without so much as a single practice lap in real life! Conor is a phenomenal IndyCar driver and a quick learner so I think he will surprise a lot of people.”

It will be the first Truck Series start for Daly, who has 61 IndyCar starts since 2013. Daly made his NASCAR debut in 2018 at Road America driving for Roush in the Xfinity Series.

“I could not be more excited to jump in a Gander Outdoor Series truck for the first time ever in Las Vegas!” Daly said in a press release “This will be one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever faced in my career as it will be the first event I’ve ever done where I’ve never driven a single lap in the Chevy Silverado before taking the green flag for the race. Travis and I have been going head to head on iRacing getting as much practice as possible since that’s the best possible form of preparation we have!