Xfinity rookie Jordan Anderson forges own path toward the future


The first checkered flags of the NASCAR season have not yet waved. But Jordan Anderson has already won.

Earlier this month, the 29-year-old driver/owner got engaged to Kendall McReynolds, the daughter of longtime NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds.

He did so in an outdoor chapel in Cleveland, South Carolina that’s nicknamed “Pretty Place” for its spectacular views atop Standingstone Mountain.

Beforehand, he had convinced her that they were attending a private wine tasting.

“I looked at her and said, ‘I don’t know if you realize it or not, but there’s no wine here,'” he recalled with a laugh. “That’s when I popped the question.”

Both of them know the racing life acutely. And it’s about to get even busier.

Jordan Anderson NASCAR
Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

An independent driver/owner since 2018 in the Camping World Truck Series, Anderson is now expanding his operation to the Xfinity Series. Through a deal with Chevrolet and Richard Childress Racing, he’s purchased five RCR-built cars and an ECR engine package.

They’ll form the backbone of Anderson’s new No. 31 team, which will run alongside his Truck program. Anderson will run the full Xfinity schedule while sharing the No. 3 truck with multiple drivers.

In his conversation with NBC Sports, Anderson said he needed “a perfect storm” to enter the Xfinity Series. Between RCR and Chevy’s help, as well as additional support from St. Louis auto dealer John Bommarito and his Bommarito Automotive Group, he appears to have gotten it.

Now, his focus is on building the program race-by-race, just as he has in the Trucks.

“We ran (the Truck program) lean and we grew a little bit each year, and that’s our same approach with our Xfinity program as well,” he said.

One thing he won’t have to worry about is a lack of uniformity with his race cars.

As Anderson’s Truck program has progressed, he has competed with chassis manufactured by other teams that not only varied in age, but also in parts and set-ups.

Using older chassis and older parts in general have helped him keep his team rolling along. But it’s also contributed to up-and-down results on the track.

It’s a reason why Anderson was excited about making a deal with RCR.

“We’ve got five cars that are all from the same chassis builder at RCR – it goes down the path of what they’re doing,” said Anderson, who noted that some of the RCR-built equipment he purchased was raced last year and most of it was raced two years ago.

“… I think as we build our notebook and build our sim data for here in the shop – all of those things we’re really trying to focus and build on – I think that consistency is going to play a key role in us getting better as a team and growing as an organization.”

Additionally, Anderson hired new personnel entering this season, to the point where he says it’s pretty much a whole new team.

He also knows that he’ll have to keep practicing the lessons he’s learned in delegating duties to his crewmates, led by crew chiefs Artie Haire (Xfinity) and Bruce Cook (Trucks).

It’s all part of leading an operation that he likens to “a full-time job, times three,” where he has to constantly balance between the wants of a driver and the needs of an owner.

“The driver in me wants to buy the latest and greatest, the best of everything, this, this, this,” he said. “The owner’s got to pull the reins back and go, ‘You know, let’s stick to our budget, we’ve got to make sure we make the right decisions.’”

Sometimes, it’s fate that determines if those decisions are the right ones – like when Anderson, knowing his 15-year-old speedway truck could no longer cut it for him, bought a new speedway truck for last year’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

A split-second mistake in the pack at Daytona can wipe out at least a dozen cars in an instant. But fate held for Anderson, and on the final lap of overtime, he found himself charging from fifth place to the outside of Grant Enfinger‘s door.

The two banged off each other twice in the tri-oval, before Enfinger won by one one-hundredth of a second. Afterwards, an elated Anderson declared his run was “for every underdog in America.”

He’ll be in his No. 3 entry for this year’s Truck season opener at Daytona on Feb. 12. A year after his near-miss, he’ll have a chance to avenge it.

“That will forever be a night that’s one of the highlights of my career, without a doubt,” he said about how he remembers it all. “At the same time, I still have nightmares about it (laughs). Somewhere in between.

“… I sunk some savings into getting that truck built, moved some things around, and it felt like it was the right move. It could’ve gone the other way. I could’ve gotten wrecked out on Lap 5 and been shaking my head about it.

“But sometimes in life, you’ve got to push all your chips in and that’s where we were with that Truck last year, and that’s what we feel like with this Xfinity program. We’re pushing our chips in and feeling we have a good hand of cars here to go with it and try to see how it all plays out.”

It’s certainly a gamble. As a driver/owner, he is putting not only his money, but his dream on the line.

Time will tell where his journey goes. But one can believe that, both on the track and off, Jordan Anderson has already won.

COTA Xfinity starting lineup: AJ Allmendinger takes pole


AJ Allmendinger, who won this race a year ago, will start on the pole for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas.

Allmendinger earned the pole with a lap of 92.173 mph Friday on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Xfinity starting lineup

He will be joined on the front row Sammy Smith (91.827 mph).
Ty Gibbs (91.665) will start third. Sheldon Creed (91.652) qualified fourth. Parker Kligerman (91.195) will start fifth.

Cup driver William Byron will start ninth. Byron’s time was disallowed for cutting the esses. Cole Custer, who will start 10th, didn’t make a lap in the final round of qualifying.

Cup driver Aric Almirola (91.269) qualified 13th. Truck Series racer Carson Hocevar (90.669) will start 17th. Alex Labbe (90.476) will start 23rd. He’s filling in for Josh Williams, who is serving a one-race suspension for parking his car at the start/finish line of last weekend’s race at Atlanta.

COTA Truck starting lineup: Ross Chastain wins pole


Ross Chastain will start on the pole for Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

Chastain earned the top starting spot in Friday’s qualifying with a lap of 91.877 mph. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (91.490 mph).

More: COTA Truck starting lineup

Ty Majeski qualified third with a lap of 91.225 mph. Rookie Nick Sanchez (90.993) will start fourth, and Christian Eckes (90.937) will complete the top five.

Alex Bowman failed to make the race. Bowman had a flat right front on his qualifying lap.

Tyler Reddick leads Cup practice at COTA


Tyler Reddick posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Cup practice at Circuit of the Americas.

Reddick, who won two road course races last season, topped the field in his 23XI Racing Toyota with a lap of 92.989 mph. Kyle Larson was next, posting a lap of 92.618 mph around the 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Cup practice results

Ross Chastain, who won this race a year ago, was third on the speed chart in practice with a lap of 92.520 mph. He was followed by Kyle Busch (92.498 mph) and Daniel Suarez (92.461 mph).

Jordan Taylor, subbing for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, was 10th on the speed chart in practice after a lap of 92.404 mph.

Former world champion Jenson Button, driving for Rick Ware Racing, was 28th in practice with a lap of 91.759 mph. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, driving the Project 91 car for Trackhouse Racing, was 32nd in practice after a lap of 91.413 mph.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving in his first race for Legacy Motor Club since the Daytona 500, was 36th in practice after a lap of 91.072 mph. IndyCar driver Conor Daly was last among the 39 cars in practice with a lap of 90.095 mph.

Cup qualifying is Saturday. The series races Sunday.


Saturday COTA Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


Austin Hill, the dominant driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series through the early weeks of the season, will be looking for his first Xfinity road course win Saturday.

Hill has won three of the season’s first five races, scoring victories at Daytona, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Hill has been close in previous road course runs. He has a second at COTA, a third at Portland, a fourth at Road America and a ninth at Indianapolis.

MORE: Dr. Diandra takes a look at top Cup road course drivers

Kyle Busch and AJ Allmendinger own wins in the previous Xfinity races at COTA.

Allmendinger and three other Cup Series regulars — Aric Almirola, William Byron and Ty Gibbs — are scheduled to race in the Xfinity event.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 5:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled at 5:19 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 2 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Jordan Thiessen of Pit Boss Grills at 5 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by recording artist Payton Keller at 5:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 46 laps (156 miles) on the 3.41-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 14. Stage 2 ends at Lap 30.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 5 p.m. … NASCAR RaceDay airs at 4 p.m. on FS1. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. and can be heard at …SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mainly sunny. Temperature of 82 at race time. No chance of rain.

LAST TIME: AJ Allmendinger won last March’s Xfinity race at COTA. Austin Hill was two seconds behind in second place. Cole Custer finished third.