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As weather heats up, Justin Allgaier feels ‘like myself’ on track

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Two weeks ago defending Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick sounded a warning.

“Definitely, as we get into the summer stretch you can’t forget about Justin Allgaier,” Reddick told NBC Sports. “Trying to forget about him is exactly when we’re going to get in trouble and that’s when he’s going to pop his head back into the race and make himself known.”

Reddick almost ate his words last weekend on a hot and humid day at Charlotte Motor Speedway when he had to fend off a charge from Allgaier over the final 14 laps.

Allgaier emerged from a field that had been picked apart as many drivers – Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer and Brandon Jones – fell out of contention or the race due to contact with the wall and the resulting cut tires.

Allgaier couldn’t catch Reddick, but he earned his fifth top five of the season, all of which have been in the top three. He enters this weekend’s race at Pocono with consecutive runner-up finishes.

This current stretch was preceded by one where the JR Motorsports driver failed to finish better than ninth over five races, including at Bristol where he led 138 laps and fell out with a right front hub failure.

“You know what’s disappointing is we had way more speed at the beginning of the year and we didn’t have the finishes to show for it,” Allgaier said after Saturday’s race. “Now I don’t feel like we’re quite as fast, but we’ve got the finishes to show for it.

“This team has got a great effort, a lot of instinctual effort. I think that’s what’s saving us right now. We got a really solid crew. These summer months when it’s hot and slick like this, that’s when I feel like myself, personally, but also JR Motorsports excels. So I’m looking forward to the summer.”

Allgaier and the rest of the Xfinity Series won’t have to experience the heat they did in Charlotte this weekend at Pocono. The high Saturday is forecast at 75 degrees by wunderground.com.

Allgaier will try to improve his record at Pocono. In three Xfinity starts, he has two DNFs for wrecks and a second-place finish in 2017 after he led 13 laps.

He does have an ARCA win at the “Tricky Triangle” in 2008.

“I love racing at Pocono,” Allgaier said in a media release. “(Crew chief) Jason Burdett and our No. 7 Klondike team have done a really good job there in the past. I really like racing at tracks that are unique and aren’t necessarily your standard shape. You really have to think through all three corners. To be good in Turn 1, you’re going to struggle a little in Turn 2 and Turn 3 and vice versa. Figuring which corner you’re willing to give up a little bit of speed in order to gain the speed on the other corners is so important. I’m excited for this race. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Should Allgaier break through on the Pennsylvania track, it would be just his second win in 55 Xfinity starts on tracks 2 miles or larger. The first came last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (which inspired the design of Turn 2 at Pocono).

An Allgaier win would also be just the second for JRM in 2019.

It hasn’t found victory lane since Michael Annett won the season-opener in Daytona.

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