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Truck Series practice report from Texas Motor Speedway

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Austin Hill posted a top speed of 185.816 mph in the final Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice at Texas Motor Speedway.

Hill recorded 28 laps around 1.5-mile track. He also had the best 10-lap average at 182.020 mph.

The top five was completed by Brett Moffitt (185.778 mph), Brennan Poole (185.452), Stewart Friesen (185.408) and Todd Gilliland (185.338).

Kyle Busch was sixth fastest.

 

Click here for the speed chart.

First practice

Johnny Sauter was fastest in the first practice session

Sauter posted a top speed of 185.580 mph. He recorded 16 laps in the session.

He was followed in the top five by his ThorSport Racing teammates Grant Enfinger (185.376 mph) and Ben Rhodes (184.489).

The top five was completed by Busch (183.723) and Moffitt (183.082).

Greg Biffle, who will race for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the June 7 Truck race at Texas, made 14 laps in the session in Busch’s No. 51 truck. His fastest lap was 181.616 mph, which was good for P13 before he was replaced by Busch.

The session was stopped once for a fire in the No. 1 truck of Bayley Currey. Currey was able to exit his truck.

Click here for the speed chart.

 

Kyle Busch grabs pole for tonight’s Truck Series race at Las Vegas

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Kyle Busch roared to the pole for tonight’s Stratosphere 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Busch earned his 22nd career Truck Series pole with a speed of 178.903 mph.

Brett Moffitt was second-fastest at 178.359 mph, followed by Harrison Burton (178.224 mph), Grant Enfinger (178.036 mph) and Cory Roper (177.895 mph).

Sixth through 12th were Austin Hill (177.731), Stewart Friesen (177.521), Brennan Poole (177.509), Sheldon Creed (177.433), Ryan Reed (177.293), Johnny Sauter (177.235) and Natalie Decker (176.794).

The race, scheduled for 134 laps/201 miles, kicks off tonight at 9 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Click here for full qualifying results.

Stewart Haas Racing names Mike Shiplett as Cole Custer’s crew chief

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Stewart Haas Racing on Friday announced that NASCAR veteran Mike Shiplett has been named crew chief for the No. 00 Xfinity Series Ford and driver Cole Custer.

I’m very excited to start here over at Stewart Haas Racing,” Shiplett said on the first-ever SHR Podcast. “There’s a lot of technology. I’ve been here a little over two weeks and I’m learning a lot of stuff.”

Shiplett became available when Chip Ganassi Racing shut down its 2019 Xfinity Series racing operation on Jan. 4.

Yes, doors close, but fortunately opened up pretty quick thanks to (SHR president) Joe Custer,” Shiplett said. “Just putting our best foot forward and getting ready for the 2019 race season.

“The goal every week is to go and win races. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with a lot of young drivers and get them their first wins. I’m very proud of that.”

Shiplett takes over for Jeff Meendering, who was the 21-year-old Custer’s crew chief last season. Meendering has moved on to Joe Gibbs Racing for the upcoming Xfinity Series as crew chief for Brandon Jones.

“I’m looking forward to working with Cole and refining his talents, see where he needs help and just helping him in those areas so he can win multiple races each year,” Shiplett said.

Shiplett has served as a crew chief for 191 Xfinity Series races dating back to 2007, with 17 wins, 49 top-five and 83 top-10 finishes. Drivers he’s worked with include Kasey Kane, Elliott Sadler, Patrick Carpentier, Kyle Larson, Justin Marks, Brennan Poole, Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Jamie McMurray and John Hunter Nemechek.

Shiplett also has 121 starts as a NASCAR Cup crew chief, with zero wins, three top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. Drivers he worked with include Terry Labonte, Mike Wallace, Reed Sorenson and A.J. Allmendinger.

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Brennan Poole returns to full-time NASCAR competition in Truck Series

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Brennan Poole will be back in a full-time NASCAR ride in 2019 racing for On Point Motorsports in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, the team announced Monday.

Poole, who competed for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Xfinity Series from 2015-17, will drive the No. 30 Toyota.

“I am extremely excited about driving for On Point Motorsports this season,” Poole said in a press release. “From the very first moment I set foot in the On Point Motorsports facility, I continue to be so impressed with what the team has put together for the 2019 season. We have a great opportunity to surprise a lot of people and we are ready to go racing.”

The 27-year-old driver made two Truck Series starts last year with NextGen Motorsports in the playoff races at Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. He also served as a test driver for GMS Racing in the Xfinity Series in May when Spencer Gallagher was serving a suspension.

Last June, Poole also served as a relief driver for Natalie Decker in an ARCA Racing Series race at Pocono Raceway. Poole finished eighth.

That month, Poole also filed a lawsuit against CGR and Spire Sports and Entertainment for breach of contract in a North Carolina court. He also sued Spire for breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence. Both parties denied any wrong doing.

Poole’s new home, On Point Motorsports, made five Truck Series starts last year with Scott Lagasse, Jr., Jeb Burton and Austin Theriault.

“We have put a tremendous amount of sweat and tears into the development of On Point Motorsports and the results show when a driver of the caliber of Brennan Poole is excited about being a part of this,” said team manager Steven Lane in a press release. “We have worked very hard as an organization to build this program and we are very excited to welcome a driver with the talents of Brennan to our team. We definitely have some exciting times ahead for all of us.”

NASCAR penalizes Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones for Texas infractions

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NASCAR issued penalties Wednesday against the No. 20 of Erik Jones and the No. 12 of Ryan Blaney for L1 infractions following their top-five finishes at Texas Motor Speedway.

Blaney’s car, which placed second, violated Section 20.4.17.6.b in the rulebook, which states all filler panels must remain permanently attached for the entire event.

Blaney was docked 20 driver and owner points. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins was fined $50,000 and car chief Kirk Almquist was suspended for two points races.

Blaney remains ninth in the standings.

There was not an immediate response from Team Penske on if it would appeal the penalty.

Jones’ No. 20, which placed fourth, violated Sections 20.4.h and 20.4.17.8.b in the rulebook, which states that air cannot pass from one area of the vehicle interior to another and the vehicle package tray must remain flat and straight, front to back, with one break.

Crew chief Chris Gayle was fined $50,000 and car chief Jason Overstreet was suspended for two points races.

The team also was docked 20 driver and owner points. Jones left Texas 13th in the standings. He is now tied with Austin Dillon for 15th.

Joe Gibbs Racing will not appeal the penalty.

Those penalties are in addition to the L1 penalty against Kevin Harvick’s team.

In the Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR issued a penalty against NextGen Motorsports for a ballast falling off Brennan Poole‘s No. 35 truck in practice at Texas.

Crew chief Ryan Bell, truck chief Jerry Kennedy and mechanic Patrick Magee have been suspended for the next three points races, which would include the 2019 opener at Daytona.

The team is not entered in this weekend’s race in Phoenix.

NASCAR also issued indefinite suspensions to Vincent Shull and Doug Campbell for violating the its substance abuse policy.