NASCAR America: Dover ball joint failures concern teams

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Sunday’s Cup race at Dover saw two instances of rare ball joint failures on cars.

The first occurred on Jimmie Johnson‘s No. 48 Chevrolet during the pace laps and resulted in Johnson going to the garage for repairs before the green flag. He finished 36th, 17 laps off the lead.

The second failure happened to Clint Bowyer‘s No. 14 Ford and resulted in him crashing with less than 10 laps to go.

NASCAR America’s Marty Snider reported Monday that the incidents have caused “concern” in the NASCAR community over the rare failures.

“That’s a NASCAR-mandated part all the teams buy from one vendor,” Snider said. “There is concern –both those pieces have been sent to metallurgists — that there might be a bad batch of ball joints. So throughout the NASCAR community, all those pieces are being changed for Talladega and moving forward.”

Watch the above video for more from Marty Snider on Sunday’s Cup race.

Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, discussed the ball joint failures Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.”

“It was a very strange failure, something that we, me as a racer and everybody in the garage area … it’s not a part that would typically fail,” Miller said. “Very strange. We looked at the parts and stuff with the team. Going to get a full metallurgy report and see if there was potentially a bad batch of material or something that led to it because it’s not a typical failure at all.”

Todd Gordon, crew chief for Joey Logano, also addressed the part issue on “The Morning Drive,” saying it “really had me scratching my head.

“I know the Hendrick guys will be looking at it, and I’m sure the parts supplier will have an intent view on (it) because that’s not something we all play in,” Gordon said. “That’s a common part across the industry. I’d say every team is looking at that and trying to understand what happened and make sure we’re not all vulnerable, too, because if Jimmie makes it through the round last week at the Roval, that’s almost a championship-run ender for any team still in the playoffs. Something that we’ll all have to understand.

“That’s a really odd part to break. I can’t ever remember a ball joint failing especially on a pace lap like that. One when it hits the wall is one thing, but to be under normal racing scenarios and have one break, or in that case under caution. From what I understand, I don’t think it was a different part than what they what they had practiced with. Really odd timing with that one.”

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