Joey Logano, Ryan Newman among Comcast Community Champion of the Year finalists

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On Wednesday, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the three finalists for the 2018 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, which includes Team Penske’s Joey Logano, Richard Childress Racing’s Ryan Newman and Sonoma Raceway President Steve Page.

Comcast, which owns NBCSN and NBC and sponsors NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, presents the award annually to recognize the philanthropic efforts of individuals within the NASCAR industry.

The award is in its fourth year and gives $60,000 to the winner’s affiliated charity and $30,000 on behalf of the two remaining finalists’ selected charities. The 2018 winner will be announced on Nov. 15 at W South Beach Hotel in Miami as part of the NASCAR Championship Weekend.

Below are profiles on each finalist. Watch the above video for more on Newman’s charity.

Ryan Newman – Newman and wife Krissie founded Rescue Ranch, an 87-acre facility that works to promote respect for all animals, the earth and the environment through a wide variety of educational programs in the community, in 2012. The Ranch is home to more than 85 animals that receive around-the-clock care, and serves as host to various school curriculum-based field trips, Scout badge programs, summer camps and more. In an effort to increase programs available to children and adults with special needs, Ryan and Krissie raised $500,000 for an inclusive playground where kids of all abilities can play together. The Ranch also incorporated additional Special Needs Summer Camp weeks to create more opportunities for children to have a successful camp experience.

Most recently, Rescue Ranch provided Search and Rescue aid to animals affected by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, and is continuing to gather and donate items needed for their care to the community. When he’s not on the track, Newman dedicates his time to maintaining the Rescue Ranch grounds to provide a safe environment for the animals, as well as a fun and educational atmosphere for the children who visit. Outside of Rescue Ranch, Newman plays an active role in supporting the NASCAR Green initiative, helping to plant trees with the Arbor Day Foundation in various regions across the country to honor fallen soldiers.

Joey Logano – Founded the Joey Logano Foundation in 2013 to support organizations across the United States that provide aid to children and young adults during times of crisis offering them a second chance. Since its inception, the Joey Logano Foundation has invested more than $2.7 million to hundreds of organizations through a multitude charitable programs. The Joey Logano Foundation created the JL Kids Crew to help provide opportunities for children with serious illnesses to spend time at the race track and be part of the No. 22 race team. Part of this special race package includes Logano gifting each JL Kids Crew recipient with their own matching fire suit and placing their names on his No. 22 Ford Fusion.

Through JLF’s Grant Funding Program, the Foundation delivers grants to organizations dedicated to helping families that care for sick children, foster children and children of veterans. Over the course of the NASCAR season, the Joey Logano Foundation also has a program that brings Comfort Care Backpacks to multiple race markets. The Joey Logano Foundation has donated over 600 backpacks filled with essentials to underprivileged, foster and terminally ill children. The Joey Logano Foundation also uses its powerful platform during NASCAR’s playoffs to aid 10 non-profit organizations in 10 different NASCAR markets, via their Chasing Second Chances program, an effort to help racing communities prosper.

Steve Page – Page has shown long-standing commitment to the people of Northern California through his work with the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, along with his efforts to assist in supporting and rebuilding areas affected by last October’s devastating wildfires. To help provide relief to those impacted by widespread fires, Page opened the gates of Sonoma Raceway to provide a refuge for those who were evacuated from their homes, hosting more than 100 campers and serving as a temporary evacuation center.

Page, whose family was also evacuated, served meals and sorted donations to provide clothing and necessities to evacuees. He also helped mobilize the local community in thanking public safety personnel, spearheading a “Laps of Appreciation” fundraiser that generated more than $72,000 for the Sonoma County Resilience Fund and the Redwood Valley and Santa Rosa Community Recovery Fund. Throughout the raceway’s NASCAR race weekend in June, Page oversaw “Sonoma Rising,” an initiative designed to honor fire survivors, salute first responders and lend support to the North Bay’s ongoing rebuilding efforts.

As part of that effort, the raceway distributed more than 1,100 tickets to allow fire survivors to attend the 2018 race at no cost. Since 2001, Page and Speedway Children’s Charities have distributed more than $6 million to Sonoma County organizations that serve local youth. This year the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities established a ‘Fire Resilience Fund’ to distribute grants to youth-serving groups that have increased or created programs to support the amplified needs after the fires.

Kyle Busch, JGR teammates take four of seven fastest spots in first of two Cup practices

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Kyle Busch led a Joe Gibbs Racing juggernaut in Friday’s first of two NASCAR Cup practices at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch paced the 40-car field with a top speed of 200.285 mph, followed by JGR teammates Martin Truex Jr. (200.200) in second, Erik Jones in fourth (200.156) and Denny Hamlin was seventh-fastest (200.044). Ryan Preece was third-fastest in a Chevrolet at 200.169 mph, while Ryan Newman rounded out the top five at 200.093 mph.

Click here for the full practice speed chart.

The second Cup practice session of the day is scheduled later this afternoon at 3:05-3:55 p.m. ET.

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Chase Briscoe fastest in first of two Xfinity practices at Daytona

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Chase Briscoe turned in the fastest speed (196.455 mph) in the first of Friday’s two NASCAR Xfinity Series practices at Daytona International Speedway.

Defending Daytona Xfinity race winner Tyler Reddick was second-fastest (196.344 mph), followed by John Hunter Nemechek (196.202), Ross Chastain (196.002) and Justin Haley 195.135.

Click here for full results of the first practice.

Today’s second and final Xfinity practice runs from 2:05 – 2:55 p.m. ET.

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Kyle Busch Motorsports adds Canadian teen for three Truck races

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Kyle Busch Motorsports has a long history of developing young drivers such as Erik Jones and Christopher Bell.

Now, KBM has gone north of the border for its latest addition to the fold, 17-year-old Canadian teenager Raphael Lessard.

Lessard, a native of Saint Joseph de Beauce, Quebec, is slated to drive the No. 46 Toyota Tundra in three Gander Outdoors Truck Series races for KBM this season: Martinsville (March 23), Dover (May 3) and Bristol (August 15). He turns 18 in July.

“Driving for KBM I will be assured of having one of the best vehicles in the Truck Series and that will allow me to go for the win every time out,” Lessard said in a media release. “KBM is a team of winners, and I intend to take full advantage of the great situation I find myself in.”

Raphael Lessard (Photo: Kyle Busch Motorsports)

The move to Trucks is a promotion for Lessard, who competed for KBM’s Super Late Model Program in 2018. He captured two wins: the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol last May, and the Red Bud 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Anderson (Indiana) Speedway last July.

In 16 combined starts for KBM last season, Lessard recorded two wins, three poles, seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2018 across the CARS Super Late Model Tour, the Southern Super Series and the ARCA/CRA Super Series.

“Raphael was really fast in our Super Late Models last season and added a couple of marquee wins to KBM’s resume,” team owner and NASCAR Cup driver Kyle Busch said in a media release. “We expect that he’ll be able to step right in and be competitive as he makes the jump to the next level.”

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Friday’s schedule at Daytona, including Truck season opener

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The Gander Outdoors Truck Series opens it season tonight to complete a busy day at Daytona International Speedway.

The day features two afternoon practice sessions each for the Cup and Xfinity Series.

Then it’s on to NextEra Energy Resources 250 race for the Trucks at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Here is today’s schedule:

(All times Eastern)

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Cup garage open

9:30 a.m. – Truck garage open

10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

12:05 p.m. – 12:55 p.m. – Xfinity first practice (Fox Sports 1)

1:05 p.m. – 1:55 p.m. – Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network)

2:05 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. – Xfinity final practice (FS1)

3:05 p.m. – 3:55 p.m. – Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

4:40 p.m. – Truck qualifying (single vehicle/two rounds)

6:15 p.m. – Truck driver/crew chief meeting

7 p.m. – Truck driver introductions

7:30 p.m. – NextEra Energy Resources 250 Truck race (100 laps/250 miles) (Stages 20/40/100) (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)