Angela Ruch

Preliminary entry lists for Championship Weekend in Miami

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NASCAR’s final race weekend of the year has arrived with the championship races for all three of its national series at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for all three races.

Cup – Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

A full field of 40 cars are entered into the race.

Drew Herring is entered in Gaunt Brothers Racing’s No. 96 Toyota for his Cup debut.

John Hunter Nemechek will make his third start in Front Row Motorsports’ No. 36 Ford in relief of Matt Tifft.

Joe Nemechek is entered in Premium Motorsports’ No. 15 Chevrolet.

Joey Logano won this race last year over Martin Truex Jr. to claim his first Cup title.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Ford EcoBoost 300 (3:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 39 cars entered. One car will not qualify for the race.

Jeb Burton is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Harrison Burton is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota.

Tyler Reddick won this race last year over Cole Custer to claim the championship.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Ford EcoBoost 200 (8 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

There are 37 trucks entered. Five trucks will not qualify for the event.

K&N Pro Series West champion Derek Kraus is entered in Bill McAnally Racing’s No. 19 Toyota for his fifth start of the season.

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

Christian Eckes is entered in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota.

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

No drivers are listed for NEMCO Motorsports’ No. 87 Chevrolet and Reaume Brothers Racing’s No. 33 and No. 34 Toyotas.

Brett Moffitt won this race last year to claim the championship.

Click here for the entry list.

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.

 

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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Preliminary entry lists for Cup, Xfinity at Kansas

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NASCAR returns to the Midwest this weekend for its second visit of the year to Kansas Speedway.

The Cup Series holds its second-round elimination race Sunday.

The Xfinity Series begins its second round Saturday.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race:

Cup – Hollywood Casino 400 (2 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

There are 40 entries.

Kyle Weatherman is entered in StarCom Racing’s No. 99 Chevrolet. It would be his fifth start for the team this season.

Kevin Harvick won at Kansas in May from the pole, beating Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano. This race last year was won by Truex from the pole. He beat Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Kansas Lottery 300 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC)

There are 42 cars entered. Two cars will not qualify.

Angela Ruch, niece of Derrike Cope, is entered in RSS Racing’s No. 38 Chevrolet. It would be her second start of the year.

Bobby Earnhardt, son of Kerry Earnhardt and grandson of Dale Earnhardt, is entered in MBM Motorsports’ No. 66 Dodge. It would be his first start of the season.

There is no driver attached to J.P. Motorsports’ No. 55 Toyota.

Last year, Christopher Bell won his first career Xfinity race after passing Erik Jones with four laps to go.

Click here for the entry list.

Friday 5: How soon until the next female driver arrives in Cup?

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Danica Patrick’s departure after the Daytona 500 (provided she secures a ride for that race) will leave NASCAR without a female driver in its top series.

It could be years before the next female driver arrives in Cup.

Only two of the 114 drivers who attempted to qualify for an Xfinity race last year were female — Angela Ruch ran four races and Jennifer Jo Cob ran one. Cobb was the only female driver among 103 who attempted to qualify for a Camping World Truck Series race last season.

The last four NASCAR Next classes — which spotlights talented young competitors — featured four female drivers among the 44 racers selected. Those female drivers chosen: Kenzie Ruston (2014-15 class), Nicole Behar (2015-16), Julia Landauer (2016-17) and Hailie Deegan (2017-18).

The 16-year-old Deegan will run the K&N West Pro Series schedule for Bill MacAnally Racing, which has won the past three K&N West titles.

Landauer finished seventh in the points last year in the K&N West Series (after placing fourth in 2016) and Behar was eighth in her second full-time season in that series.

In ARCA, Natalie Decker will run the full season with Venturini Motorsports. She stands to become the fifth female in modern-day ARCA history to compete for a driver’s title, joining Shawna Robinson (2000), Christi Passmore (2003-04), Milka Duno (2013) and Sarah Cornett-Ching (2015).

Former champion crew chief Ray Evernham understands the challenges female drivers face. His wife, Erin, competed in 10 Xfinity races from 2005-06 and 29 Camping World Truck races between 2005-08.

“I think that we’ve got to keep providing opportunities for girls to get that experience,’’ said Evernham, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 19.

“Now with the technology of the cars, the way they’re doing the setups, things like that, it will make it a little bit easier for newer people to come in. But we’ve just got to continue to provide an opportunity or a path for ladies to get experience.

Just as important will be how well they’ll handle the scrutiny.

“I know it stinks that so many people are so critical of lady drivers, much more critical than they are of a male driver of the same performance,’’ Evernham said. “Each time one of those girls weathers that storm, gets a little bit further down the road, gets some credibility, it gets a lady closer to Victory Lane in NASCAR.’’

NASCAR lists 16 women who have competed in at least one Cup race from Louise Smith, Sara Christian and Ethel Mobley in 1949 to Patrick. Patrick’s 190 career Cup starts are more than the other 15 women combined. Janet Guthrie was next with 33 starts between 1976-80 and followed by Smith with 11 starts from 1949-52 and Robinson, who had eight starts from 2001-02.

Patrick and Robinson are the only females to run a Cup race since 1990.

NASCAR lists 22 females having competed in the Xfinity Series. Patty Moise started 133 races, more than any other driver.  Patrick and Robinson are next with 61 starts each, followed by Johanna Long (42 starts) and Jennifer Jo Cobb (29 starts).

2. “The Great American Race”

The phrase has long been used as the nickname for the Daytona 500, but where did it originate?

Australia.

True story.

Let Ken Squier, who will be among the five men inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 19, explain how he came up with the phrase for the race.

“Well, (Bill) France Sr. had me (in Daytona) from the ’60s.  Daytona always stood out separately, individually, for one thing, the time of year, because most race tracks in America were closed. 

“It was the gathering of the tribes in Daytona Beach, which went all the way back to the turn of the century, when Henry Ford, the Chevrolet brothers, all of that tribe went down there.  They raced down that hard‑packed beach. That never stopped.  One way or another, they continued to go down there in the month of February and toast a few of their friends from the past and turn some wheels.

“That spirit of Daytona is more prevalent than any other when you talk about tracks and parts of the country. In my mind, it needed something that set it aside. Indianapolis was always the greatest spectacle in sports. Indeed, it was.

“But what was Daytona? Well, it was All‑American stock cars in those days, and pretty much the neighbors sounded like your neighbors, particularly if you came from a small town. What would come to mind? I fooled around with that for a long time.

“I was in Australia doing a show. They had a great race over there. It was a long one, it was a dinger, and it was a national holiday. On the way home, I thought, God, that’s what Daytona is. It’s ‘The Great American Race.’

“I got chewed up pretty good about that. Hadn’t I ever heard of Indy? I sure as the dickens had. This was coming from a different place. Sure enough in 1959, when those three cars came across wheel‑to‑wheel at the end of 500 miles, that was The Great American Race.’’

3. Revamped pit stops

Martin Truex Jr. was asked this week about his thoughts on the changes to pit road with five people going over the wall to service the car instead of six this season.

Truex had an interesting take on what pit crew position might grow in importance with the change.

“I think there’s a lot of question marks from all teams, and I know there’s a lot of talk throughout teams and in the industry of how much different it is,’’ he said during a break in the Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway. “Everybody is going to think they have a handle on it and then somebody is going to do it different on pit road and whip everybody’s butt in Daytona, so then you’re going to have to re-learn everything and try and figure it out.

“From what I understand, it’s been really difficult. A lot of the weight falls on the jackman as far as making the stops go fast and when all that pressure gets put on one position it makes that one position really important and really different than it’s been in the past.’’

4. Las Vegas test

NASCAR has an organizational test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. That means that one team per organization is permitted at the test.

Among those scheduled to test are William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports), Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Brad Keselowski (Team Penske), Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing).

5. January racing

While the return of NASCAR can’t come soon enough for many, did you know the last time the Cup Series raced in January was 1981? Bobby Allison won at Riverside, California. That was the season-opening race and the Daytona 500 followed. Riverside opened the Cup season from 1970-81.

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