Crew chief Rudy Fugle strives to be a fast learner at Hendrick


Rudy Fugle knows what winning with an elite team is like.

Over the past eight seasons with Kyle Busch Motorsports, the 36-year-old crew chief contributed to 28 victories and seven championships (five owner’s titles, two driver titles) in the Camping World Truck Series.

It’s one thing to have success in the Truck Series. But more is expected when joining one of the flagship organizations in the Cup Series.

Fugle is getting his opportunity to do it as he joins Hendrick Motorsports as the new crew chief for William Byron, five years after their first stint together at KBM.

While times have changed for both, getting up to speed there hasn’t been Fugle’s main focus in the last few weeks.

Instead, it’s been learning the ins and outs of a Cup Series machine.

“I am trying to soak up as much information as fast as I can so that I can have intelligent conversations about this specific race car that we’re racing weekly,” he said Thursday in a Zoom teleconference.

“… It’s just the cars are different aero and suspension and different things than the Trucks I’ve worked on. When you work with a team long enough, all that stuff is embedded in your brain and you know everything like the back of your hand.

“I’m trying to make it where I know all that stuff as much as possible so I can help make those decisions and know as much as possible to make things better when I’m asked upon.”

Helping him get acclimated will be one of the great crew chiefs of all time.

Fugle is replacing future Hall of Fame crew chief Chad Knaus, who oversees all four of Hendrick’s Cup programs as vice president of competition.

When asked how he sees his working relationship with Knaus going, Fugle indicated he’d be all ears when the seven-time champion has advice to give.

“Naturally, I think I’m an inquisitive person and I’m confident in what I know,” Fugle said. “I’m definitely going to listen more than I speak when I speak to somebody like that, but I think that’s just respect, right? You have a huge amount of respect for people, and for somebody that’s done what Chad has done.

“He’s a legend; just to even say it like that, he just is. You figure out how to talk to him and be respectful – and I don’t mean that in the wrong way. What’s the best way to be prepared to get somebody’s time and then ask the inquisitive questions the right way, I guess is the right way to say that.”

Also helping is a sense of familiarity and not just with Byron.

On his first day with the organization, Knaus took Fugle for a tour of the sprawling Hendrick campus in Concord, North Carolina.

As it turned out, Fugle already knew “more than half the people” either from college, previous jobs, or “from some race track somewhere.”

With the getting-to-know-you phase somewhat averted, Fugle has quickly settled in to prepare for 2021.

“Everybody on the No. 24 (team) – the majority of them were there last year,” he said. “And I’m the new guy. And that’s okay.

“They’re showing me the ropes and everything they’re doing, and I’m picking holes or what could be holes in the thing, because I’m seeing it a different way than they’ve looked at it and trying to come up with a new way to solve a problem.”

Portland Xfinity race results, driver points

Portland Xfinity results
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Cole Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when the top three cars made contact and went on to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway. Custer is the 10th different winner in 13 races this season.

MORE: Portland Xfinity race results

MORE: Driver points after Portland Xfinity race

JR Motorsports took the next three spots: Justin Allgaier placed second, Sam Mayer was third and Josh Berry was fourth. Austin Hill completed the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek remains the points leader after 13 races. He has a 14-point lead on Hill. Nemechek leads Allgaier by 44 points.

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Portland in overtime


Cole Custer held off Justin Allgaier at the finish to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in overtime at Portland International Raceway. It is Custer’s first victory of the season.

JR Motorsports placed second, third and fourth with Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry. Austin Hill finished fifth.

MORE: Race results, driver points

Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when Parker Kligerman, who restarted third, attempted to pass Allgaier, who was leading. Sheldon Creed was on the outside of Allgaier. All three cars made contact entering Turn 1, allowing Custer to slip by. Creed finished seventh. Kligerman placed 14th.

Custer won the second stage when John Hunter Nemechek made contact with Creed’s car while racing for the lead on the final lap of the stage. The contact spun Creed and Custer inched by Nemechek at the line.

Early in the final stage, Creed gained revenge with contact that spun Nemechek, who went on to finish 10th. A few laps later, Nemechek and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith had issues. Smith spun Nemechek. After getting back around, Nemechek quickly caught Smith and turned into Smith’s car, damaging it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Despite the contact on the overtime restart, runner-up Justin Allgaier managed to score his fourth consecutive top-three finish. … Sam Mayer’s third-place finish is his best on a road course. … Austin Hill’s fifth-place finish gives him four consecutive top-five results.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Daniel Hemric finished 33rd after a fire in his car. … Riley Herbst placed 32nd after an engine issue. After opening the season with six top 10s in a row, Herbst has gone seven races in a row without a top 10.

NEXT: The series competes June 10 at Sonoma Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

Truck race results at WWT Raceway: Grant Enfinger wins


Grant Enfinger took the lead when the leaders wrecked in the final laps and held off the field in overtime to win Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

It is Enfinger’s second win in the last five races. He also collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the Triple Truck Challenge.

MORE: Truck race results

MORE: Driver points after WWT Raceway

Christian Eckes finished second and was followed by Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy.

Ty Majeski and Zane Smith wrecked while racing for the lead with six laps to go. Majeski, running on the inside of Smith, slid up the track and clipped Smith’s truck. Both hit the wall. That put Enfinger in the lead.

Smith finished 20th. Majeski placed 30th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Grant Enfinger’s victory is his fourth top 10 in the last five races. … Carson Hocevar’s fourth-place finish is his fourth consecutive top-five result. … Stewart Friesen’s third-place finish moved him into a playoff spot with four races left in the regular season. … Matt DiBenedetto‘s sixth-place finish is his third consecutive top 10. … Jesse Love finished ninth in his series debut.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Majeski had a chance to take the points lead with series leader Corey Heim out because of illness, but Majeski’s 30th-place finish after running at the front most of the day, leaves him behind Heim. … Hailie Deegan finished 32nd after contact sent her truck into the wall hard. … After finishing a career-high third last week at Charlotte, Dean Thompson placed 34th Saturday due to an engine issue.

NEXT: The series races June 23 at Nashville Superspeedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1)

Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole


Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.