Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hash out their differences on the lake

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LONG POND, Pa. – Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. apparently have hugged it out, figuratively and literally.

After Stenhouse vowed retribution (video above) for crashing after a flat tire from contact with Jones at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a chance meeting between the pair this week on Lake Norman in the Charlotte area defused the tension.

“We had a good day,” Jones said Saturday after qualifying fifth at Pocono Raceway. “I didn’t even know he was going to be out there. We ended up hanging out.

“It was fine. Ricky and I have always got along fine. We’ve had our differences on the racetrack from time to time, but I think we’re all good. I asked him if he needed a hug at the end of the day before I left out, but we’re all good. We had a good time out on the lake and patched things up.”

Jones, who finished third at New Hampshire to continue his surge toward the playoffs, had been adamant that he did nothing wrong after he felt Stenhouse impeded his progress for five laps.

“Ricky races people hard, and I think he knows that,” Jones said. “I wasn’t going to apologize to him for it. I didn’t want to wreck him. I didn’t want to take him out of the race. My move wasn’t to end his day. Unfortunately, it did. If you’re going to race hard, especially at that point in the race, you’re going to get raced hard back. Ricky and I understand that. I think we’ve come to a common ground there on how to race each other going forward.

Stenhouse conceded Saturday at Pocono that “we were in the way” of Jones at New Hampshire and said his frustration mostly stemmed from still being miffed that Jones didn’t say anything after spinning Stenhouse at Bristol Motor Speedway last year.

“That and (New Hampshire) added together was a little frustrating,” Stenhouse said. “I probably won’t go crash him like I thought I would. I don’t really like going to crash people on purpose. I’ll still race hard. It’s just what I do. It’s settled a little bit more.

“I’ll still race hard and similar to what he said. I like Erik. We just had a couple of run-ins, which everybody in this garage has. So there’s people mad at each other every week. That’s just part of our sport. Part of the package. We’re all racing so hard. It’s so hard to pass at some racetracks. You’ve got to hustle your car. You’ve got to drive your car hard. I enjoy it, but it definitely gets people frustrated.”

The 36th at New Hampshire was Stenhouse’s third DNF of the season. With six races remaining in the regular season, he’s ranked 20th in the points standings and in must-win territory to qualify for the playoffs.

“Obviously, I feel like Bristol is our best chance (for a victory) by far,” said Stenhouse, pointing to the Aug. 17 race at the final short track in the regular season.

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA
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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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Joey Gase Twitter
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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