Landon Cassill adds part-time Cup schedule with Spire to full-time Xfinity ride at Kaulig

Landon Cassill
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A NASCAR driver whose branding and popularity have embodied the age of social media memes, it’s fitting to frame the career of Landon Cassill through 21st century Internet reinvention.

Landon 1.0 was the teenage prospect for Hendrick Motorsports who wrecked more than a few Xfinity cars at JR Motorsports in 2007-08 (“I was 18 and had no idea what truly being a professional race car driver was like.”).

Landon 2.0 was the test driver and Xfinity part-timer who scuffled through the aftermath of being labeled a NASCAR flash in the pan.

Landon 3.0 was the full-time Cup Series driver from 2012-19 who endured awkward situations (including a lawsuit over getting paid) at backmarker teams while becoming an irreverent Twitter cult hero amid occasional work as a NASCAR on NBC analyst.

CLASH AT THE COLISEUM: A viewer’s guide to this weekend’s racing

After a transitory and turbulent period since then, it’s hard to nail down exactly what version of Cassill this would count as after an undulating ride through more than 400 starts in NASCAR’s three national series.

But with sponsorship from the Voyager Digital crypto platform, the 2022 edition will be the most stable of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native’s career: A previously announced full-time Xfinity ride with Kaulig Racing and a schedule of at least a dozen Cup races in Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet (which he will share with Josh Bilicki).

And regardless of which iteration this would mark, Cassill, 32, is certain of one thing: It’s the best opportunity he ever will have for finally visiting victory lane in NASCAR.

“For sure,” Cassill told NBC Sports. “It’s such a new challenge for me because I think every driver in 15th to 25th can so easily look at the top teams and say, ‘I’m just as good as that driver. All I need is the car.’ But the real challenge I’m preparing for and about to find out is how hard it is to win these races. Before the job was different. It was to run 15th, not wreck the car, qualify for the race, or make it through six weeks.

“I feel like I’m almost changing professions. I’m going from one sort of role in my skillset to a different one. There are different aspects of race car driving I’ll have to tap into that I haven’t used in a long time or haven’t trained for. I have more resources and more experience now to know what being a true professional race car driver takes, and there’s so much more knowledge out there. I have more support in this opportunity than I’ve ever had to make sure I’m the best race car driver I can be.”

Though the redemption tour officially will begin this weekend with Spire in the Clash at the Coliseum, the Xfinity season opener Feb. 19 in the No. 10 Chevy will be a major benchmark. Cassill will be teamed with defending series champion Daniel Hemric and 10-time winner AJ Allmendinger on a team that has become well known as among the best in the draft at Daytona International Speedway.

Though Cassill has spent the offseason immersed in data, simulation and video homework, he also realizes there’s only so much he can do to be ready for his best shot at a checkered flag in the 177th start of his Xfinity career.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 302
Landon Cassill had Voyager sponsorship for 19 Xfinity races last season with Johnny Davis Motorsports. He finished a season-best 12th three times in the No. 4 Chevrolet last year (Steph Chambers/Getty Images).

“I think by Lap 5 at Daytona, I’m going to realize how much easier it is to run in the draft with the car that I’m driving,” he said. “That’s going to help me execute on the strategies I studied or prepared for or talked to team about. I’m definitely working every single day on my craft to make sure I’m prepared, but there is a bit of wait and see. I won’t know until I know.

“The thing that is exciting to me, I have 100% faith in what (team owner) Matt Kaulig and (president) Chris Rice are building and have the resources to build. So it’s extremely relieving for me because I don’t have to think and worry about that. I don’t really have to worry about having input because this team already has the people to do that. What it does for me is allows me to focus on things as a driver in higher quality than I’ve ever done in my career.

“And I can scrutinize my own driving in a way that I’ve never done in my career because I’ll have two teammates that won the championship and won five races last year at all different types of tracks. I’ll be able to lean on those guys and know my car is capable of this. I should have an open mind of what do I have to do to match that.”


Cassill has had teammates at Johnny Davis Motorsports, which fielded him full time in its No. 4 last season.

The ride helped Cassill build his relationship with the Voyager sponsorship and also was a lifeline after a bleak 2020 season. Cassill made only four starts – his fewest in a decade – and none after starting at Darlington Raceway in NASCAR’s return from a two-month delay for the pandemic. He was on the road as a backup driver for JTG Daugherty Racing and GMS (though neither needed him to fill COVID-19 absences) but was out of the national series for nine months.

“That was a really weird year,” he said. “I ran so few races but was awfully active because of all the iRacing stuff. So I didn’t feel like I was gone, but it didn’t occur to me how far out of the seat I’d been until I got in the car at Daytona in 2021.

“It’s so hard to point to saying that was the end, because I really enjoy driving for Johnny Davis. I love that team and what he’s done for me and what we’ve done for each other in our careers. I could have been happy driving for Johnny for two to three more years and retiring. Because I feel like I fit a really good role there of take this car, with this amount of resources, and maximize it with minimal damage. It wasn’t like. ‘I can only stand one more year of this crap, then I’ll retire.’ It was, ‘I like what I’m doing here.’ ”

With one exception: The lack of a victory on his resume. Over 15 seasons in NASCAR, Cassill has a combined two top fives in Cup (a fourth at Talladega in 2014) and Xfinity (third at Daytona in 2011.

The No. 10 Xfinity car that Cassill will drive this season in the Xfinity Series (Kaulig Racing).

The Voyager sponsorship, which started through a chance meeting with CEO Steve Ehrlich at a conference two years ago, offered Cassill a chance to change that narrative.

After engagement spiked from putting the Shiba Inu coin on Cassill’s car (in a 19-race sponsorship last season), Ehrlich said the company decided to “significantly” increase its NASCAR spend (which is part of a sports marketing budget that also includes NFL star Rob Gronkowski, NBA player Victor Oladipo and the Dallas Mavericks).

“We saw tremendous feedback that helped us grow, but really most important was Landon being a great ambassador,” Ehrlich told NBC Sports. “Not just for Voyager but for crypto being probably the only NASCAR driver that’s crypto-centric. Landon was in this space long before anyone else.

“All that helped us put it in perspective that we had that much exposure and built our brand and recognition and customer base when he was driving for JD Motorsports. We thought this was an opportune time for having him move up to Kaulig. They race for trophies, we felt Landon was the right guy to represent us. He has a super appealing personality that fits our ‘Crypto for All’ strategy of being associated with the general population. Being a leader in crypto in NASCAR was one of our goals.”


As part of the deal, Cassill is paid in crypto, and he said he is using the Voyager brokerage platform to bring the sponsorship funding to  teams in US dollars. He also had a certain amount of autonomy in the direction of the sponsorship after Ehrlich decided last June to go bigger in 2022.

“I started talking with my wife about it a lot, and I said, ‘I want to win in NASCAR and put myself in best chance to do that,’ which is what led me to Kaulig Racing,” he said. “I still have to do it. In a lot of ways just by having the ride and showing up at Daytona with my name on the door, I feel like I’ve won. But the work has really only begun. Every driver who thinks if I just had a $2, 3, 4M sponsor. If I just had that sponsor, everything else would fall into place. And really that’s not the case. I think you just trade one set of challenges for another. So for me, the challenge is really only beginning. I need to figure out how to squeeze everything out of this.”

Cassill believes the Cup races with Spire (of which Voyage will sponsor 11) in the Next Gen car also will offer the opportunity for maximizing results.

The No. 77 Chevrolet that Landon Cassill will drive at the Clash (Spire Motorsports).

“I feel I’m the best driver I can be when I ran as many Cup and Xfinity races in the same season I could,” he said. “And my other desire to run Cup races is be able to have that baseline in the Next Gen car. I’ve been through this sport, tested the COT for Hendrick and been through rules package changes. If you can be a driver on the leading edge of new things, it just helps to be one of the first guys driving them. The Next Gen is incredible that NASCAR took the step to standardize the hardware side. There’s still going to be differences in how the cars run because there are humans that operate them.

“But it’s really cool and new it’s not happening in the manufacturing side of things. The parts and components are ideally all the same. A team like Spire is attractive and Kaulig because they can attract talent to organizations that maybe they would have had a harder time in the past. I don’t know how level the playing field will be off the bat, but over time, I think it really will level itself out.”

Perhaps that could mean Landon 5.0 and a winning breakthrough to reward a devoted fan base that has helped him grind through NASCAR.

“I do feel I’ve earned a lot,” Cassill said. “I’ve made it this long in my career without some gravy train paying the way. I’ve always sort of had to make it happen. I am very proud of that and the fans I’ve built along the way. I have my core fans who are so excited to root for me, and I want to deliver a win for them. But there are a lot of younger fans that maybe don’t know about me between 2011-16.

“Those fans may not fully know the Landon Cassill story or appreciate it or support it. So hopefully I can also show them what kind of person I am but do it by running up front and being seen on TV and talked about more.”

Friday 5: Clash at Coliseum provides a reset for RFK Racing

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Mired in traffic was not where Chris Buescher expected to be. Sure, he knew that racing 22 cars on a quarter-mile track inside a stadium that has hosted the Super Bowl, Olympics and World Series would put him in tight confines, but when the green flag waved for last year’s Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Buescher was in traffic on the freeway.

He was headed to the airport — along with the rest of RFK Racing. 

Both Buescher and team owner Brad Keselowski failed to make last year’s feature, sending them home earlier than expected.

“A punch to the gut,” Buescher told NBC Sports.

NASCAR’s return to the Coliseum for Sunday’s Clash is not a redemption tour for RFK Racing, said Jeremy Thompson, the team’s vice president of race operations. He calls it a reset.

That’s what last year was thought to be with Keselowski leaving Team Penske to become an owner/driver of an organization that had gone more than four years without a points victory before 2022. The Clash was a chance for RFK Racing to show its new direction.

Instead, RFK Racing and Spire Motorsports were the only multi-car teams not to have a car in the feature.

“Yes, it was not a points race, but it just looked bad,” Buescher said. “And it was bad. It hurt our feelings more than anybody else’s, I promise.”

Through that disappointment, lessons were learned.

“We didn’t have a lack of hunger that was holding us back,” Keselowski said of last year’s Clash. “We had a lack of understanding our vehicle dynamics. Understanding was just not good enough on a lot of levels.

“We continue to invest in resources and people to continue to push that forward to where we can go to events like that and feel that we’re a threat to win and we’re not just trying to make the race.

“I don’t think I understood that when I came in, where we were at as a company on the vehicle dynamics side.”

It was clear immediately that Buescher and Keselowski were in trouble. Buescher was 21st on the speed chart in practice; Keselowski was 33rd of 36 cars. 

“The car bounced so bad that I thought we were going to rip the transmission right out,” Buescher said of last year’s Clash weekend. “We spent all of practice trying to make the car just drive in a circle vs. trying to make it faster. We missed … before we ever left (the shop).”

Said Thompson about last year’s Clash: “I felt like our effort going into that was exceptionally high. We left no stone unturned. We just turned over some of the wrong stones.”

Two weeks later, both Keselowski and Buescher won their qualifying races at Daytona, but there was much work to do to overcome flaws with other parts of their program.

“We’re pushing really hard on vision and values of what it takes to be a high performer at this level, whether that is getting all the details right in the shop or on the road,” Keselowski said.

RFK Racing learned from its struggles early in the season, particularly with its short track program. Buescher, who had never placed better than 16th at Phoenix at the time, finished 10th there last March, a little more than a month after the Clash. He called his top 10 that day “a small win.”

Progress continued but it was not quick. Buescher placed third at Richmond last August before winning the Bristol night race in the playoffs. Keselowski was seventh at New Hampshire last July and won the first stage at the Bristol night race in September before a flat tire ruined his chances.

Keselowski acknowledges that turning RFK Racing into a team that can contend weekly for wins will take some time, but he sees progress.

“We’re not everywhere we need to be, but we definitely have a plan to get there,” he said. “Navigating that plan is challenging, but we’re on a path.”

2. Why not more horsepower?

NASCAR will take what it learned in last week’s Phoenix test to the wind tunnel on Feb. 13. If the wind tunnel test of short track enhancements goes well, changes could be implemented before the April 2 race at Richmond.

The changes being tested in the wind tunnel are a smaller spoiler (2 inches) and some adjustments to the underbody of the car. 

Still, one suggestion drivers often make is to give them more horsepower.

“I think there’s a misconception that we could take the existing engines and just throw 200 horsepower in it,” said John Probst, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, in response to a question from NBC Sports. 

“We do have multiple-race engines today that we have to keep in mind. (More horsepower) is something that we are actively discussing, but, obviously, we don’t do that in a vacuum. We do that with the engine builders.

“But anybody that has been around, we’ve raced high horsepower and low downforce before and ended up at some point in time deciding to go away from that to get more entertaining racing. … I think we’re open to entertaining any horsepower gains that we can get with our current (engine) architecture, but anything beyond that is actually not something that can happen quickly.”

Probst later said that keeping the engines in the current horsepower range could prove helpful for any manufacturer looking to join the sport.

“One of the reasons we landed on the horsepower range we’re in now is to try to land in areas that have existing racing engines designed for them, similar to our current (manufacturers),” Probst said. “We’re not hiding from the fact that we would like to encourage some new (manufacturers) to come in. That is part of the equation for that whole thing. I’m not saying it’s the driving reason, but it is a consideration.”

3. Crossing the line

The quarter-mile oval in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will provide plenty of chances to hit bumpers, doors and other parts of the car Sunday.

But there’s a line between short track racing and racing without respect. 

For Ryan Preece, who is running his first race in the No. 41 for Stewart-Haas Racing this weekend, there is a clear divide.

“There’s certainly a way to go about it in quarter-mile racing where you can pass somebody without hitting them,” said Preece, a veteran of racing modifieds in bullrings. 

So how does he tell what’s crossing the line on a short track?

“If somebody drives into me getting into the center of the corner, they’re in control of their race car at that point,” Preece said. “So that or door slamming somebody, not even trying to make the corner, are two good examples (of not racing with respect).”

Preece relies on a lesson he learned racing modifieds with how to race in close quarters.

“I’ll never forget this, I was at Thompson (Speedway) and I used (seven-time modified champion) Mike Stefanik up pretty well into Turn 2 with probably six or seven laps to go, trying to chase down the leader. It didn’t happen. 

“I said, ‘Oh, hey man, I’m sorry. I had to do what I had to do for my team.’ He looked at me and said ‘Well, what about my team? What about the guys I race with?’ 

“I think that day really helped me understand that side of things. You want to race with as much respect as you possibly can. There’s a way to do it, a way to race somebody hard but not overstep the line.”

4. On the same page

Ty Dillon moves to Spire Motorsports this season as a teammate to Corey LaJoie.

Dillon will drive the No. 77 car, which has never finished in the top 30 in car owner points since its debut in 2019. The best the car placed was 31st in owner points in 2021.

Dillon says he has confidence in building the program based on Spire Motorsports’ approach.

“We aren’t unrealistic about where we are,” Dillon told NBC Sports.

But he also said that management has workable goals.

“We said, ‘Hey, here’s where we stand in the spectrum of the race teams,’ ” Dillon said. “Here’s our goals. Here’s what we believe we can accomplish. The structure of what everybody knows and how we’re all pulling in the same direction is a real confidence (boost).

“We know we’re not going to be the team that competes every single weekend for wins, but we’re going to be the best at who we are. Over time, people are going to say, ‘Damn, Spire has taken a step.’ … We’re long-term focused and everybody’s on the same page as that.

“I’ve been a part of a team that said, ‘Hey, we’re wanting to build something.’ Well, you get 10 races in and they haven’t won a race and they’re throwing everybody out the door.”

Dillon said the “realistic, genuine expectation” at Spire Motorsports makes this situation feel different for him.

“The hope and optimism is knowing that we’re all on the same page,” he said.

5. Rule book changes 

NASCAR announced a series of rule changes this week and stated that it would outlaw the video game move Ross Chastain made on the final lap of last year’s Martinsville race. 

NASCAR also made a number of changes to the rule book this week.

Among those:

— Intentionally damaging another car on pit road could lead a Cup driver to be penalized 25-50 points and/or 25-50 owner points and/or $50,000 – $100,000 fine. Last year, intentionally damaging another car on pit road could lead only to a fine of $25,000 – $50,000.

— Member to member confrontations with physical violence and other violent manifestations could result in a fine and/or indefinite suspension or membership revocation. Last year, such an infraction was listed as incurring a penalty of 25-50 driver and/or team owner points and/or a fine of $50,000 – $100,000. Violations also could result in a race suspension(s), indefinite suspension or termination.

— In the past, if a car could not go when it was time to make a qualifying attempt, it was put on a five-minute clock to do so. That’s changed this year. Now, the clock will be no more than one minute unless it is a safety issue. 

Also, NASCAR listed the length of each Cup race. The inaugural Chicago Street Course Race is scheduled for 100 laps.

Harrison Burton looks for progress in second year in Cup

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Harrison Burton made the first start of his NASCAR Cup Series partnership with the Wood Brothers in the bright lights of Los Angeles.

Burton and the Woods teamed last season as Burton jumped into full-time Cup racing after two full seasons (and four wins) in the Xfinity Series. Their first race was the Clash at the Coliseum, and it was a good start — Burton qualified for the feature and finished 12th on the lead lap.

Then things headed downhill. Crashes at Daytona and Auto Club Speedway left Burton with finishes of 39th and 33rd, respectively. After the first five races of the year, he had four finishes of 25th or worse.

Now, Season Two, and there are higher expectations. Much higher.

MORE: Drivers to watch in Clash at the Coliseum

“The start of last year was really, really rough,” Burton told NBC Sports. “It kind of put us in a hole. We got into the wreck in the 500 and crashed at Fontana. Things kind of stack up on you, and all of a sudden you’re buried in points and it’s hard to make it back up.

“But, at the end of the year, three of the last four weekends were big for us (three consecutive top-20 finishes). We need to build off that and try to get out of the West Coast swing and have a clean group of those races. That’s really important. We need to get our average finish up in the first four to five races and not put ourselves in a hole we can’t get out of, and then go from there.”

The Wood Brothers team typically brings strong cars to the Daytona 500, the season’s first point race. Trevor Bayne scored the team’s latest win in stock car racing’s biggest event in 2011.

“We ran well in the 500 last year until I was upside down,” Burton said. “We had a fast car and qualified well and finished third in our duel. Then in the second Daytona race we put ourselves in good position late, so we were in contention in both Daytona races. The speed was there, and the cars drove well.”

The team’s primary goal is to make the playoffs, Burton said. “And we want to be a contender,” he said. “Cup races are so hard. First, you have to contend. Having a good average finish is really important. If you average around 17th or 18th all year, you can kind of point your way into the playoffs, and doing that is on our minds for sure.”

MORE: Power Rankings: 10 historic moments in the Clash

Burton looks for a strong start in Sunday’s Clash, which will present teams with a mix of the old and the new. Drivers got the experience of racing inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last year, and notes from that race will be useful, but the racing surface will be all new again.

“Every repave has a different tendency,” Burton said. “We’ll see how close it is to last time and how different. Obviously, there is experience on that track, but still it’s a completely new surface, so it’s going to be a mixture of old and new. There’s some knowledge we can build off of, but we kind of have to go into the weekend with that knowledge as tentative because we don’t know if the track is going to be different.”

Burton heads for Los Angeles with a win already under his belt this year. He and teammate Zane Smith, last year’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, won last Friday’s International Motor Sports Association’s Michelin Pilot Challenge Series race on the Daytona International Speedway road course.

Burton drove the finishing laps in the four-hour race. He was third with about 50 minutes to go but moved in front with 22 minutes left when leader Elliott Skeer parked. Burton outran second-place Spencer Pumpelly by .688 of a second for the win.

“I thought we could run well,” Burton said. “After the test we did, we were really fast, so I was pretty excited. But apparently there is a lot of sandbagging that goes on there, so I wasn’t sure where we were. We had to have some things go right for us, and they did.”

 

 

 

 

Dr. Diandra: Muffling racecars won’t change fan experience

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Last week, NASCAR tested the muffler that will be used for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum.

“Heresy,” some fans cried. They argued that it is against the laws of man and nature to muffle racecars. That noise is an integral part of the fan experience. That you’re not supposed to be able to have conversations during races.

Relax.

The cars will be plenty loud.

Loud is fast

Engines produce power by combusting fuel and air in their cylinders. Each combustion produces high-pressure gases that push the piston up. The same gases make a loud popping sound when they escape the cylinder and finally the exhaust.

At 8,000 rpm, an eight-cylinder engine performs about 520 combustions every second. The faster an engine runs, the more combustions per second and the higher the frequency of the tailpipe noise.

That’s why NASCAR engines sound like grizzly bears and F1 engines, which run at higher speeds, sound more like angry mosquitoes.

Maximum horsepower requires getting the spent gases out of the cylinder as quickly as possible so the next combustion reaction can start. And that’s the problem with mufflers, from a racing perspective.

Mufflers on street cars bounce sound waves from the engine around a metal can. The waves interfere with each other, which decreases the overall volume coming from the exhaust.

Mufflers can also mitigate noise by directing the exhaust through a sound-absorbing material. Borla, the sole-source supplier for this weekend’s muffler, makes commercial racing mufflers that feature a robust sound-absorbing material superior to the commonly used fiberglass.

Both methods slow the exhaust gases — the first more than the second. The ideal racing muffler diminishes sound with minimal horsepower reduction.

Decibels

Sound-level measurements come in decibels (dB), a unit named after Alexander Graham, not Christopher — and apparently by someone who wasn’t the best speller.

But decibels don’t tell the whole story. Sound intensity decreases with distance, so you need to specify how far away the sound source was.

The easiest way to explain the decibel scale is to relate it to real-world noises, as I’ve done below.

A bar chart showing representative sound levels expressed in decibels.

  • Zero dB is the threshold of human hearing.
  • A whisper you can just barely make out is about 20 dB.
  • Most everyday noises are in the 60 dB to 100 dB range but are sometimes louder.
  • Exposure to 130 dBs can be painful.
  • A 150-dB sound can cause permanent hearing damage in a very short time.

Ringing in your ears the day after a rock concert was a badge of honor in high school. Older me wishes I had been a little smarter.

Hair cells — not to be confused with ear hair — facilitate hearing. Sound bends these hair-shaped cells, and the cells convert sound into electrical signals that the brain interprets. Loud sounds can bend these cells so much that they break.

Unlike animals such as sharks, zebrafish — and even the lowly chicken — humans cannot grow new hair cells. Once your hearing is damaged, you can’t get it back.

How loud are racecars?

A noise mitigation study for the proposed Nashville Fairgrounds track measured a single Next Gen car at COTA generating 112 dB on a straightaway at 100 feet.

A 2008 study measured the sound level inside a Gen-6 car to be an average of 114 dB. The study also compared sound in the stands, the infield and the pits.

Let’s add those numbers to our graph.

A bar chart showing representative sound levels expressed in decibels, including sound measurements from the Gen-6 and Next Gen cars

  • The Next Gen car at 100 feet is about the same loudness as a person screaming at top volume 1 inch from your ear.
  • The Next Gen car at 100 feet is just a bit quieter than sitting inside the Gen-6 car.
  • Bristol reached peak sound levels loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage.

The graph data suggests that inside the Next Gen car should be around 10 times louder than inside the Gen-6. Some drivers made new earmolds to cope with the additional noise in the cockpit.

Because of the way sound works, the numbers don’t add like you’d expect them to. A Next Gen car might be 112 dB, but two Next Gen cars are more like 115 dB. A full field would be only 5-7 dB louder.

The mufflers won’t muffle much

NASCAR expects a six to 10-dB reduction in sound with mufflers. A 10-dB reduction would make the Next Gen car about as loud as the Gen-6 car was.

Another way of looking at it: Good earplugs reduce sound levels by 25 to 30 dB. Wearing earplugs just barely gets you into the range of being able to hold a conversation if you stand very close to each other and you both shout.

You won’t notice the change in sound inside the track.

You also won’t notice a change in speed this weekend, despite a drop of 30-40 horsepower. The Next Gen car takes around 14 seconds to traverse the L.A. Coliseum’s quarter-mile track. That means cars won’t be going much faster than typical expressway speeds.

If you’re headed out to the track this weekend — despite the mufflers — bring earplugs or over-the-ear headsets. This is especially important for children, as their hearing is more easily damaged.

Joe Gibbs Racing adds young racers to Xfinity program

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Connor Mosack, 23, and Joe Graf Jr., 24, each will drive select races in the No. 19 Xfinity Series car for Joe Gibbs Racing this season.

Mosack, who has a 20-race Xfinity schedule with Sam Hunt Racing this year, will run three races for JGR: Chicago street course (July 1), Pocono (July 22) and Road America (July 29) while also competing in six ARCA Menards Series races for JGR, including Feb. 18 at Daytona.

Graf, who has a 28-race Xfinity schedule with RSS Racing this year, will run five races in the No. 19 Xfinity car for JGR: Auto Club Speedway (Feb. 25), Las Vegas (March 4), Richmond (April 1), New Hampshire (July 15) and Kansas (Sept. 9).

“I made my Xfinity Series debut with JGR last June at Portland and from the moment I made my first lap in their racecar, I realized why they’ve been so successful,” Mosack said in a statement. “Their equipment was second to none and the resources they had in terms of people and their knowledge was incredible.

“Jason Ratcliff was my crew chief at Portland and he’s got a ton of experience. I was able to learn from him before we even went to the track. Just in our time in the simulator, we made some great changes. So, to be back with him for three Xfinity races is going to be really valuable.

“And when it comes to JGR’s ARCA program, it’s the class of the field. After having to race against JGR cars, I’m really looking forward to racing with a JGR car. No matter what track they were on, they were always up front competing for wins. To have that chance in 2023 is pretty special, and I aim to make the most of it.”

Said Graf in a statement about his opportunity with JGR: “Running five races with JGR is a fantastic opportunity for myself and for my marketing partners. I think I can learn a lot from JGR and showcase my skills I’ve been growing in the series in the past three years. 2023 is shaping up to be a great year and I’m pumped to get started with the No. 19 group.”

Ryan Truex has previously been announced as the driver of the No. 19 Xfinity Series car in six races this season for JGR. The remaining drivers for the car will be announced at a later date.

Mosack didn’t start racing until he was 18 years old. He went on to win five Legends car championships before moving to Late Model stock cars in 2019. He graduated from High Point University in 2021 with a degree in business entrepreneurship. Mosack’s first Xfinity Series race with Sam Hunt Racing this season will be March 11 at Phoenix Raceway.