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Jerry Baxter named crew chief for Bubba Wallace for 2020

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Jerry Baxter has been named crew chief of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Bubba Wallace for the 2020 NASCAR Cup season, Richard Petty Motorsports announced Monday.

It will be a reunion of sorts for Baxter and Wallace, who previously worked together for two seasons during Wallace’s tenure for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

“The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season is a crucial year for Richard Petty Motorsports,” Wallace said in a team media release. “As a team, we have made a ton of progress from my debut in 2018, and we are looking to continue that progress with Jerry calling the shots.

“He has been a great mentor, and even better friend, since we were able to work together in 2013 and 2014. I am excited to see him get this opportunity in the NASCAR Cup Series, and use our past success to take this team to new levels.”

This will be Wallace’s third different crew chief in as many seasons with RPM. Drew Blickensderfer was crew chief for the No. 43 in 2018, while Derek Stamets was promoted from Wallace’s engineer to crew chief in 2019. A spokesman for the team said Monday that Stamets “has been offered a position within Richard Petty Motorsports.”

Jerry Baxter, left, and Bubba Wallace shown together in 2014 at Phoenix. They’re reunited for 2020 with Baxter serving as Wallace’s crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series.(Getty Images)

Baxter and Wallace earned five wins, 25 top-10 finishes and three poles in their time together in Trucks with KBM, including Wallace finishing third in the driver standings in 2014.

“During our time together, he trusted what I did as a crew chief, and trusted himself more and more, and we got better and better as we went,” Baxter said in the media release. “This is an incredible opportunity, and change is good.

“Having the confidence of Bubba and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports means a lot to me. I am excited about working with Bubba again, and the foundation Richard Petty Motorsports has in place with their group of guys.”

Baxter spent the last three seasons at GMS Racing, most recently in 2019 as Brett Moffitt’s crew chief in the Truck Series. Moffitt finished third in the standings this past season with four wins, 13 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes, as well as three poles.

Baxter has worked with a number of notable drivers over his 34-year career in NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Trucks, including Ernie Irvan, Boris Said, Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, Matt Tifft, Timothy Peters, Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip, David Reutimann, Trevor Bayne and Robby Gordon.

The majority of Baxter’s career as a crew chief has been in the Xfinity and Truck Series. This will be his first crew chief role in the Cup Series since 2000 with Robby Gordon.

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Spencer Boyd wins Talladega Truck Series race after Johnny Sauter penalized

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NASCAR declared Spencer Boyd the winner of Saturday’s Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway after penalizing Johnny Sauter for going below the yellow line and forcing Riley Herbst to do so while racing for the lead on the final lap.

The win is the first of Boyd’s career and comes in his 23rd career start. The driver for Young’s Motorsports is 24 and hails from Creve Coeur, Missouri.

“I got out (of the truck) and they’re like, ‘Hey, it’s under review,'” Boyd told FS1. “You never know what’s going to happen here. The guys gave me a great truck. I’m sitting there, ‘Man, second is amazing for us. I’m happy.’ We finished fourth at Daytona in this truck. One of my crew guys was like ‘You just won!’ I can’t believe this. Two weeks ago I wasn’t running this race. We put this together late with Alabama Roofing Professionals … It’s been a tough season. It’s been a lot of fun. …

“I had no idea what to expect,” Boyd continued. “You dream of winning a NASCAR race. Four years ago I was selling cars with my dad at Hendrick Automotive Group. A lot of people have believed in me to get me to this point. … It’s Talladega. Man, I don’t drink beer, but it might happen tonight!”

The top five in the overtime finish was completed by Todd Gilliland, Herbst, Brett Moffitt and Stewart Friesen.

Sauter was dropped to 14th, the last car on the lead lap.

“It ain’t the first win NASCAR’s taken from me,” Sauter told FS1. “I went down to put a little block on (Herbst), but when I did I got hooked sideways. But that’s just plate racing. I didn’t block his advance or anything like that. If I remember I think Tony Stewart and Regan Smith had the same deal (in 2008). Just hate it for my guys. They deserve better than that. What are you gonna say?”

Scott Miller, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, explained the decision on the finish.

“It’s made very clear in the rule book, in the driver’s meeting video and all of the dialogue we have with the drivers what you can and can’t do when it comes to the yellow line,” Miller said. “It was clearly a violation of what we ask of the drivers when it relates to the yellow line. So there was no other call for us to make, except for what we did.”

The overtime finish was setup by a Gus Dean crash on the backstretch with two laps go in the scheduled distance.

The race was red flagged for a 10-truck wreck with seven laps to go. The wreck involved race leader Ross Chastain, Harrison Burton, Timothy Peters and Grant Enfinger.

The wreck started when Chastain, who is in the playoffs, attempted to block a pass from Sheldon Creed and made contact with him, turning Chastain.

“I turned left on him,” Chastain told FS1. “Sorry to everybody that got taken out. That was on me.
“That was poor execution on my part.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

MORE: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Brett Moffitt (fourth) and Stewart Friesen (fifth) were the top finishing playoff drivers after they bounced back from a penalty for locking bumpers mid-race … Rookie Tyler Ankrum placed seventh in his first career start on a superspeedway.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Tyler Dippel was eliminated in a crash in Stage 2. He finished 31st … John Hunter Nemechek was eliminated and finished 30th due to damage suffered when trucks in front of him stacked up and he rammed into the back of Sheldon Creed … Anthony Alfredo finished 15th after he spun in Turn 4 from a punctured tire with 13 laps to go in the scheduled distance. He was making his first superspeedway start.

WHAT’S NEXT: Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway at 1:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 26 on FS1

 

Truck practice report from Talladega

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TALLADEGA, Ala. – Harrison Burton had the fastest lap in Friday’s final NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice at Talladega Superspeedway.

Burton had a top lap of 189.077 mph. He was followed by Todd Gilliland (189.040 mph), Tyler Ankrum (188.988), Riley Herbst (188.798) and Codie Rohrbaugh (183.628).

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for final Truck practice report

 

FIRST PRACTICE

Austin Hill posted the fastest time in the first of two practice sessions Friday for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.

Hill (193.115 mph) was followed by Clay Greenfield (193.022), Timothy Peters (192.948), Brett Moffitt (190.325) and Sheldon Creed (190.109).

There were no incidents in the session.

The final Truck practice will be from 3:35 – 4:25 p.m. ET.

Click here for Truck practice results

Preliminary NASCAR entry lists for Talladega

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Two of the most unpredictable races of the playoffs are this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

The Cup Series will reach the midpoint of its 10-race playoffs, while following a month off, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series resumes with the fourth race of its seven-race playoffs.

The Xfinity Series is off this weekend. It returns to action next weekend at Kansas Speedway.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for this weekend:

Cup – 1000Bulbs.com 500 (2 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

A full field of 40 cars are entered for this race.

Spencer Boyd is in the No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet.

Brendan Gaughan is in the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet.

Blake Jones will make his first start of 2019 and fourth of his Cup career in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet.

NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman will pilot the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Toyota.

Aric Almirola won this race last year. Clint Bowyer was second, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chase Elliott won this year’s spring race, followed by Alex Bowman and Ryan Preece.

Click here for entry list.

Trucks – Sugarlands Shine 250 (1:30 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

There are 33 trucks and drivers entered for this race.

Korbin Forrister will drive the No. 7 All Out Motorsports Toyota.

Clay Greenfield will drive the No. 68 Clay Greenfield Motorsports Toyota.

Timothy Peters won this race last year. Myatt Snider was second, followed by David Gilliland.

Click here for entry list.

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Preliminary entry lists for Bristol Motor Speedway

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NASCAR returns to “Thunder Valley” this week for its series of night races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

All three national series will compete on the half-mile track, including the Gander Outdoors Truck Series in its playoff opener.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race.

Cup – Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 39 cars on the entry list.

Last year this race was won by Kurt Busch over Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Kurt and his brother Kyle Busch have combined to win the last four Bristol races.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Food City 300 (7:30 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN)

There are 42 cars on the entry list. With a full field set at 38 cars, four cars will not make the event.

Kyle Busch is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota for his sixth and of seven Xfinity starts of the season.

Erik Jones is entered in XCI Racing’s No. 81 Toyota. It would be his first Xfinity start since 2017.

Joe Graf Jr is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet.

Kyle Larson won this race last year over Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – UNOH 200 (8:30 p.m. ET Thursday on FS1)

There are 37 trucks entered for the event. A full field is 32 trucks, meaning five won’t make the event.

John Hunter Nemechek is entered in NEMCO Motorsport’s No. 8 Chevrolet. This would be his first start of the season.

Dylan Lupton is entered in DGR-Crosley’s No. 15 Toyota.

Ryan Sieg is entered in Reaume Brothers Racing’s No. 33 Chevrolet for the second time this year.

Angela Ruch is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 44 Chevrolet.

Chandler Smith is entered in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota.

NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman is entered in Henderson Motorsports’ No. 75 Chevrolet. This would be just the second race of the year for the team (Atlanta).

Timothy Peters is entered in Ricky Benton Racing Enterprises’ No. 92 Ford. This will be Peters’ fourth race of the year.

This race was was last year by Johnny Sauter over Stewart Friesen and Nemechek.

Click here for the entry list.