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Denny Hamlin predicting another Daytona crashfest tonight

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2018 Daytona 500 featured four multicar crashes that affected 28 drivers.

Denny Hamlin says to expect more of the same Saturday in NASCAR’s return to Daytona International Speedway nearly five months later – just with different circumstances producing a similar outcome in Coke Zero Sugar 400.

In the lone practice Friday afternoon on the 2.5-mile oval, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said the pack was much tighter and clearances much smaller.

“You could actually get to someone’s bumper in a four-car pack,” Hamlin said Friday morning. “I think it’s going to be a crashfest, which will be exciting. Hopefully, we’re not a part of it, but I think it’s going to be so close competition that we’re going to leave each other no room for error and more than likely it’s going to lead to big crashes.”

NASCAR has widened the Daytona spoilers by five inches for this weekend, adding sideforce that Hamlin said should enhance side-by-side drafting.

“It just creates a little bit bigger hole in the air,” he said. “Guys just are not going to leave each other any room.”

The 2016 Daytona 500 winner, who is considered among the best restrictor-plate racers in Cup, said it’ll be critical to get to the front early and stay there.

“All the same techniques to get to the front are going to be the same, making sure you put your chess pieces in the right place, but I think holding the lead probably will be a little bit harder than it was in the past,” he said. “I think the leader will punch a little bit bigger hole for the cars that are behind.”

“Anywhere from outside the top six or seven, you’re going to be blocked in, (and) you won’t be able to go anywhere. I think that it’s important to get up front early. The old strategy of laying back for the last 30, 40 laps like Dale Jarrett used to do, those days are done because everyone tries to go to the front at the same time and they’ve learned well you just get in the wreck anyway. I think earlier and earlier in the race, you have to put yourself in position.”

Contributing: Dustin Long

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