NASCAR addresses fire hazard to Cup cars with rule change


NASCAR has made a rule update to address the fire in Kevin Harvick’s car in last weekend’s Southern 500.

All Cup teams must make the changes before this weekend’s action at Kansas Speedway. Cup teams practice and qualify Saturday. The Cup race is at 3 p.m. ET Sunday on USA Network.

The move comes after Harvick was critical of NASCAR and the Next Gen car after a fire ended his race at Darlington Raceway. Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that it was “unacceptable” that cars were catching on fire and that the sanctioning body was looking into changes.

NASCAR announced the change Wednesday. The rule update states:

  • A lateral seal/dam must be installed between the back of the front clip weight box and the top of the splitter panel (location shown below). This seal must extend laterally to the width of the engine panel. The purpose of this dam is to reduce the migration of tire debris from the splitter area.
  • The lower front section of the right side back stop panel must be trimmed as indicated. The section that is removed must be replaced by a 14 gauge stainless steel panel. The steel panel must be mounted inboard of the polymer panel. 
  • Using any joint adjustment available in the exhaust assembly, it is recommended that the clearance between the exhaust and the floor of the rocker box is maximized. 

Rudy Fugle, crew chief for William Byron, addressed the change Wednesday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:

“This panel is going to do a good job of closing off the bottom where the fire is going to come into the cockpit,” Fugle said. “ … It’s gonna help protect the driver.

“The big part of this steel panel that’s going in the right front foot box, rocker panel area, it’s going to keep that fire from going straight into the car. It’s got something that won’t burn. And so that’s a positive. Then they’ve recommended some coating that has some fire protective properties in it.”

One of the key issues has been rubber getting into the car and catching fire in those areas.

“There’s an intake for air in front of the car and it has hoses that go into those rocker boxes and rubber is going through those hoses, collecting on the headers,” Fugle said. “We have to vent all this stuff and a place like Darlington, which we all know chews up tires …  we were able to count 20 pounds of rubber on some of our cars post-Darlington. We were able to ball it all up and there was 20 pounds of rubber sitting in different areas. So that’s a whole bunch that can catch on fire.”

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.