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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.

 

Tonight’s Xfinity race at Kentucky: Start time, lineup and more

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The last time the Xfinity Series raced at Kentucky Speedway, Tyler Reddick won to earn his first career series victory. Could the same thing happen in tonight’s Alsco 300? Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones are among those hoping that is the case.

Here’s all the info for tonight’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Larry Bailey, Chairman, Bowling Green Area Convention Visitors Bureau, will give the command to start engines at 8:17 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:25 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at noon. Qualifying is at 5:05 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 6:15 p.m. Driver introductions are at 7:45 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: County music recording artist Andy Velo will perform the anthem at 8:11 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 8 p.m. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for sunny skies with a high of 86 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Tyler Reddick won by 14.5 seconds in September, finishing ahead of Brennan Poole and Justin Allgaier. Kyle Busch won at Kentucky last July, finishing ahead of Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying is at 5:05 p.m.

Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Kentucky Speedway

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All three of NASCAR’s national series head to the Bluegrass State this weekend to race at Kentucky Speedway.

The weekend at the 1.5-mile track is capped off on Saturday by the Cup Series’ Quaker State 400 presented by Wal-Mart.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race.

Cup – Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 39 entries for the race.

Jesse Little, son of former Cup driver Chad Little will make his series debut driving Premium Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevrolet.

Garrett Smithley is set for his second career start driving StarCom Racing’s No. 99 Chevrolet. His first start last month at Michigan ended after one lap due to a transmission problem.

No driver is attached yet to BK Racing’s No. 23 Toyota.

Last year, Martin Truex Jr. led 152 laps and won over Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott.

Click here for the Cup entry list.

Xfinity – Alsco 300 (8 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN)

There are 39 entries for the race.

Kyle Busch, Ty Dillon and Paul Menard are the only full-time Cup drivers entered.

Spencer Gallagher returns to GMS Racing’s No. 23 Chevrolet after missing seven races. He missed six of those due to a suspension for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy.

Kaz Grala and Fury Race Cars are not entered in the race. The team had started the previous six races.

Last year, Tyler Reddick led 66 laps and won over Brennan Poole and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Buckle Up In Your Truck 225

There are 33 entries for the race. No full-time Cup drivers are entered.

NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman is entered in Henderson Motorsports’ No. 75 Chevrolet.

Last year, Christopher Bell won this race over Brandon Jones and Justin Haley.

Click here for entry list.