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JTG Daugherty co-owner: ‘We just haven’t been very good’ last several seasons

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After six seasons and more than 180 starts, JTG Daugherty Racing announced Tuesday it would part ways with AJ Allmendinger at season’s end.

It’s the latest development in a Silly Season with many aspects waiting to play out.

Co-owner Brad Daugherty addressed the decision Tuesday to part ways with the driver who earned the team its only Cup win in 2014 (Watkins Glen).

Simply, the two-car team – which includes Chris Buescher in the No. 37 Chevrolet – had become stagnant.

“I’m a huge AJ Allmendinger fan,” Daugherty said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Late Shift.” “For us at this point, as well as him, we’ve tried so many things and we continue to try to get better each week with our race team. We’re trying to do all the right things, put all the right pieces and parts together. And the past several seasons for us, the reality of it is we just haven’t been very good.”

Entering this weekend’s race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, Allmendinger and the No. 47 Chevrolet are 24th in the standings. Through 28 races Allmendinger has one top five (Daytona in July) and three top 10s. Since winning at Watkins Glen in 2014, Allmendinger has four top fives.

“It’s been very, very hard,” Daugherty said. “At the end of the day, for AJ, it could just be the fact we can’t get our cars to go any faster. But we worked really, really hard. We tried. We tried this, we tried that. We came up with multiple concepts outside our alliance with Hendrick. … At the end of the day, it didn’t get any better. You look at the big picture of our race company, a lot of people look and think, ‘Well, you’re 23rd, 24th, whatever a lot of weeks.’ All of us that race back there, we don’t want to be there. We’re not just there to be markers in the field.

“We want to get better so we’re trying everything. And we may not be successful at it. But we’re going to darn sure try to overturn every stone to try to get better. … It’s by no fault of AJ. It’s just kind of run its course, for him and for us. … It’s amicable, I think, on both sides that we’ll part ways.”

 

 

Daniel Hemric fastest in final practice; Kevin Harvick second

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Daniel Hemric turned the fastest lap Friday in the final Cup practice at Kansas Speedway, turning a 177.830 mph lap in his No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.

Kevin Harvick was second followed by Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski (who paced the first practice) and Ryan Blaney.

Hemric has yet to announce a ride for 2020 after RCR announced last month that the rookie would be replaced by Tyler Reddick next season.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 10.

Here are the rankings speeds of the other playoff drivers: Denny Hamlin 12th; Alex Bowman 15th; Joey Logano 16th; Clint Bowyer 19th; Chase Elliott 20th; and William Byron 22nd.

Click here to see where things stand in the playoffs standings entering Sunday’s second-round cutoff race at Kansas.

Click here for speeds from the final practice at Kansas.

Click here for the speeds during the first Cup practice of the weekend at Kansas.

Ryan Preece praises team for its work after hauler fire

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Ryan Preece praised his team for converting teammate Chris Buescher’s backup car into Preece’s primary car Friday after the hauler carrying Preece’s cars and equipment caught fire this week en route to Kansas Speedway.

“I know some of the guys haven’t had much sleep, very proud of them,” Preece said.

The team’s hauler pulled over near New Columbia, Illinois, on Thursday after a fire in the rear axle area that spread to the hauler. A team spokesperson told NBC Sports that crew chief Eddie Pardue and a couple of team members flew there to take what could be salvaged before driving to Kansas City.

The team spokesperson said that the lockers and uniforms in the hauler were heavily damaged. Both cars had damage with the backup car suffering smoke damage.

NASCAR allowed JTG Daugherty Racing to enter the garage at 8 a.m. ET Friday — five hours before the garage was scheduled to open — and allowed members from both JTG Daugherty teams to work on the car. Preece said he was there with the team when it arrived and worked on the interior as the crew converted the car.

“We’re in it as a team,” Preece said. “I wasn’t going to show up later in the afternoon. I wanted them to know that I was right there with them. I wanted to help in every way I could.”

Preece said his car was loose in the first practice session Friday at Kansas Speedway. He was 32nd on the speed chart in that session, making it on track about 10 minutes after practice began.

Brad Keselowski fastest in first practice at Kansas; Kyle Busch makes big save

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Brad Keselowski turned the fastest lap with a minute remaining in Friday afternoon’s first Cup practice at Kansas Speedway.

The 176.499-mph lap by the No. 2 Ford of Team Penske nipped a 176.389 mph lap by the No. 10 Ford of Aric Almirola.

Daniel Suarez was third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney. Kurt Busch, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick and Daniel Hemric rounded out the top 10.

Here’s how other playoff drivers fared during the practice:

Kyle Larson 11th; Joey Logano 13th; Clint Bowyer 15th; William Byron 20th; Alex Bowman 21st; Kyle Busch (who had an impressive save; video below) 22nd; Chase Elliott 23rd.

Click here to see where things stand in the playoffs standings entering Sunday’s second-round cutoff race at Kansas.

Click here for the speeds during the first Cup practice of the weekend at Kansas.

Gray Gaulding out Friday after suspected allergic reaction

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Stewart-Haas Racing plane made an unscheduled stop in St. Louis on Friday after Gray Gaulding had a suspected allergic reaction.

SS Green Light Racing confirmed Gaulding had an issue en route to Kansas City. A Stewart-Haas Racing spokesperson confirmed that its plane made the unscheduled stop, and that emergency personnel came on board after the plane landed. Gaulding remained in St. Louis while the plane continued to Kansas City.

SS Green Light Racing stated that after arriving at the track, Gaulding went to the infield care center and was not cleared to drive Friday. Gaulding will be re-evaluated Saturday. J.J. Yeley drove the car for Gaulding in practice Friday.