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Jimmie Johnson apologizes to Kyle Busch for contact in Duel

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Jimmie Johnson said he made a mistake, causing Kyle Busch to spin in the first qualifying race Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway, but Busch was not happy.

This was the second time in Speedweeks Johnson has been at the center on an incident. Contact with Paul Menard spun Menard, triggering a 17-car crash in the Clash last weekend while Johnson went on to the win. Johnson finished eighth in Thursday’s qualifying race.

Johnson apologized for the contact with Busch and said he planned to talk with him at the earliest opportunity.

“He ran into me,” said Busch, who finished 18th, meaning he’ll start at the rear of the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500. “Flat out. Watch the television.

“You have to open your eyeballs to see where the (expletive) you’re going. That’s about all I can say.”

Crew chief Adam Stevens said the damage was repairable and they would not be going to a backup car.

Johnson’s right front hit the left rear of Busch’s car as they ran underneath Tyler Reddick down the backstretch. Busch spun off course but was able to continue.

Johnson explained what happened: “So we’re three-wide coming through the turn. I’m looking out the windshield, my rearview mirror and my third mirror trying to judge if the line is going to follow me, if the line is going to follow Kyle and where the third car is. In that environment, I was wanting to get behind Kyle and I think my eyes were in the wrong spot, so I didn’t have the good sense of perception of where I was with Kyle, trying to manage my mirrors and I just got it wrong. I thought I knew where I was with my right front and I just had it wrong.”

After the contact sent Busch sliding down the backstretch, Johnson radioed his team: “I don’t know what happened. Damn it.”

Soon after, Johnson apologized on the radio.

“Apologize to the 18,” Johnson said. “I assume that’s on me. Got to see the video first. I don’t know what happened.”

Busch was relayed the message on his radio.

“Tell him I don’t know want to hear it,” Busch said. “That’s twice he’s done same thing in two … races.”

As for two incidents in two races, Johnson said: “I firmly believe the Clash was a racing incident. This one was a mistake on my behalf. Everybody makes mistakes.”

Asked if he needs to prove anything to the rest of the field after being in the center of two incidents in Speedweeks, Johnson said: “I don’t think from a field standpoint I have anything to worry about there. I’m sure fan perception will be different. From the field standpoint, I don’t have any concerns there.”

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