Joe Nemechek

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Preliminary entry lists for Cup, Xfinity at Charlotte

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The longest race of the NASCAR Cup season takes place Sunday with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is also back in action after having the last two weekends off. The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is off until June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for this weekend’s two races:

Cup – Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox)

There will be a full 40-car field in Sunday night’s main event of the weekend.

NASCAR On NBC analyst Parker Kligerman will be making his sixth Cup start of the season, driving the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota.

Cody Ware will make his fourth consecutive start and 10th start overall in the No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet.

BJ McLeod will make his seventh start of the season for Rick Ware Racing and will be in the No. 53 for the second consecutive weekend.

Joey Gase makes his fifth start of the season for MBM Motorsports in the No. 66 Toyota.

There is no driver listed yet for the No. 51.

Kyle Busch won last year’s race, leading 377 of 400 laps and beating Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Click here for the preliminary entry list.

Xfinity – Alsco 300 (1 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

There are 39 cars entered for this race.

Austin Dillon is the only Cup regular who will compete in this race. He’ll drive the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

Joe Nemechek makes his first Xfinity start of the season in the No. 13 MBM Motorsports Toyota.

Camden Murphy makes his second career Xfinity start, and his first since 2016, in the No. 17 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet.

Brad Keselowski won this race last year under caution, leading 77 of 204 laps, beating Cole Custer and Christopher Bell.

Click here for the preliminary entry list.

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Truck Series practice report from Charlotte

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CONCORD, N.C. – Brennan Poole had the fastest lap in Friday’s final Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He posted a lap of 180.313 mph. He was followed by Sheldon Creed (180.000), Todd Gilliland (179.904), Stewart Friesen (179.689) and Harrison Burton (178.944).

Creed ran the most laps at 37.

Click here for final practice report

There were no incidents in the session.

Truck qualifying is set for 4:35 p.m. ET. Green flag for the truck race is scheduled to wave at 8:46 p.m. ET.

 

FIRST SESSION

Sheldon Creed posted the fastest lap in Friday morning’s opening Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Creed, driving for GMS Racing, led the way with a lap of 181.561 mph. He was followed by Todd Gilliland (181.110 mph), Ben Rhodes (179.964), Kyle Busch (179.682) and Joe Nemechek (179.628).

Click here for practice report

Harrison Burton ran the most laps in the session at 37. He was 12th on the speed chart with a top lap of 178.311 mph.

There were no incidents in the session.

The final Truck practice is scheduled from 10:35 – 11:25 a.m. ET.

Special weekend for Angela Ruch: Race and then her first Mother’s Day

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NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Angela Ruch will be in a unique class this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

She’ll not only celebrate being back behind the wheel of the No. 44 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado, she’ll also celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday as a first-time mother.

One of two twin nieces of 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, Angela Ruch will be competing in her first race since she and husband Mike Ruch adopted a baby boy who turned two months old Thursday. The couple borrowed from chess piece names to christen their first child King Knight Ruch (pronounced “rook”).

Racing on my first Mother’s Day weekend truly feels like a blessing,” Angela Ruch said in a team media release. “I cannot think of a better way to celebrate motherhood than by showing my son to never stop pursuing your passions.”

This will be Ruch’s second start of the season for Niece Motorsports. Her first two starts of the season were for Joe Nemechek’s team, including finishing the highest of all female racers (eighth place) in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway in February.

She went on to finish 16th at Las Vegas and was 31st in her first run for Niece Motorsports at Texas, being eliminated early after a wreck just 18 laps into the event.

Angela Ruch was recently on NBC affiliate WCNC-TV in Charlotte and talked at length about her racing career, but more importantly, about becoming a mother.

Mike and I have struggled to get to where we are today, to try and get a baby, but also the hard work and dedication it takes,” Angela Ruch said on WCNC of her husband. “But the reward is so big in the end. It’s all worth all those tears and that sweat and that blood just to get to that end game – and it’s there for everybody.”

It was a lengthy and occasionally frustrating process to adopt King, Angela noted. While the couple was going through the process and awaiting King’s arrival, they began filming for an online reality show – “The Ruch Life” – that traces their path to becoming adoptive parents, as well as to heighten awareness for other couples that may be considering adoption.

It’s basically our story, going through the adoption process, a lot of highs and lows, a lot of tears going through it, a lot of failed adoptions,” Angela Ruch told WCNC.

The couple had to go through potential adoption proceedings with three different mothers, only to see each one of those efforts fall through.

But finally, the fourth time was the charm.

In the end it was very rewarding for us because we finally get the little boy of our dreams,” Angela Ruch told WCNC. “All the while, trying to race NASCAR and to be one of the top females in the sport is a challenge in itself.

These moments are live and they’re real emotions. But it’s kind of cool we can share our story and all these challenges because there’s so many people out there looking to adopt or going through the adoption process. We’re all there together and go through the same challenges.”

As for how she’ll celebrate her first Mother’s Day on Sunday, Ruch beamed and said of her new son, “He’s like perfect. They grow up so fast so you cherish every moment.”

 

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Wayne Carroll to serve as Landon Cassill’s crew chief, Tony Furr moves to ARCA team

Landon Cassill. Photo: Getty Images.
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StarCom Racing has named Wayne Carroll as crew chief for driver Landon Cassill in the 2019 Cup season, NBC Sports has confirmed.

Carroll served as crew chief for 12 Cup races last season on StarCom Racing’s No. 99 car, working with several drivers including Derrike Cope, Gray Gaulding, Kyle Weatherman and three races with Cassill.

After leasing a charter from Richard Childress Racing for the No. 00 last season, StarCom purchased the charter for the same car for this season. The No. 00 and 99 will also have ECR motors under the hood for both Cassill and teammate Derrike Cope.

Also, Tony Furr, who served as crew chief for both Cassill and Jeffrey Earnhardt last season with StarCom, has accepted a similar position with Mullins Racing in the ARCA Racing Series, the team announced Tuesday.

Tony Furr, right, and team owner/driver Willie Mullins. Photo: Dinah Marie.

Furr will serve as crew chief for the No. 3 Mullins Racing Ford driven by team owner and 2018 Daytona ARCA runner-up Willie Mullins in the ARCA Racing Series season-opening Lucas Oil 200 on Feb. 9 at Daytona International Speedway.

Furr has spent much of his career in the Cup Series, working with numerous stars including Bill Elliott, Joe Nemechek, John Andretti, Ward Burton, Jerry Nadeau and others.

Furr has two Cup Series wins as a crew chief, one with Andretti in the summer race at Daytona in 1997 and one with Nadeau at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2000.

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John Hunter Nemechek to compete for GMS Racing in 2019

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John Hunter Nemechek will compete for GMS Racing in the Xfinity Series next year, the team announced Thursday.

Nemechek will drive the No. 23 Chevrolet, taking over for Spencer Gallagher.

The son of Joe Nemechek, John Hunter Nemechek competed part-time for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018, making 18 Xfinity starts in the No. 42 Chevrolet. Ross Chastain will drive that car full-time next season.

A NASCAR spokesperson said a decision has not been made yet on whether Nemechek will be eligible for Rookie of the Year next season.

Nemechek scored his first series win on Oct. 20 at Kansas Speedway in his 15th start.

He finished the season with six top fives, 11 to 10s and one pole.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity that Mr. (Maury) Gallagher and the entire GMS Racing organization has presented to me to be able to run full-time in 2019,” Nemechek said in a press release. “The results that GMS Racing showed last year in their NASCAR Xfinity Series program were impressive. Their goal is to create a championship-caliber team, like their truck series program, and I believe that we can achieve that goal in the 2019 season.”

Nemechek, 21, will have Chad Norris as his crew chief. It will be Norris’ second year as the leader of the No. 23 team.

“John Hunter is a wheelman,” GMS Racing President Mike Beam said in the press release. “We are excited to have him on board for the 2019 season. With how much progress we showed last year in our NASCAR Xfinity Series program, I know that John Hunter will take us to the next level.”