brendan gaughan

Bubba Wallace, Ty Dillon off to better 2020 starts than Cup champions

Leave a comment

We’re only two races into the the NASCAR Cup Series season and we’re already writing sentences that make us do a double take or spit takes depending on if we’re drinking liquids.

When the green flag dropped on the Daytona 500 last weekend, we were not expecting the following stat to be staring back at us after Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Through two races, Bubba Wallace, Ty Dillon, Corey LaJoie, the retired David Ragan and part-time driver Brendan Gaughan each have more top-10 finishes than defending champion Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, former champion Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Aric Almirola and William Byron.

Put simply, the second batch of drivers – which includes 3/4ths of Joe Gibbs Racing – has none, while a group of typically midpack cars and partially retired drivers have at least one apiece.

That’s due to a combination of DNFs, poor performances and wrecks among the latter group.

Busch hasn’t finished better than 15th. Elliott’s best finish was 17th in the Daytona 500. Truex’s best was 20th Sunday while Jones’ is 18th (Daytona) and Almirola’s is 21st (Las Vegas).

Not counting the 2015 season when he missed 11 races due to injury, Busch has failed to finish in the top 10 in the first two races five times in his full-time career (since 2005). The latest he’s earned a top 10 was in 2010 (Bristol, race No. 5).

Last year, Busch started the season with 11 straight top 10s.

He now heads to Auto Club Speedway, where he’s won three of the last six races – including last year – and he’s finished outside the top 10 just once in his last eight races there.

This is the sixth time Truex hasn’t earned a top 10 in the first two races of the season in his full-time career (since 2007). He goes to Auto Club Speedway having finished eighth or better in four of his last five starts at the 2-mile track (including one win).

After the chaos produced by the final round of pit stops and restart, Wallace placed sixth Sunday, earning his best finish on a 1.5-mile track and his fifth career top-10 finish. He was among the drivers who did not pit under the final caution.

“We had a shot at a good finish and we capitalized on that,” Wallace said. “All-in-all, it was a good day and a win for us. It was just a good gamble call. We were terrible on restarts. It would take us 10 or 15 laps just to get going and get the car underneath us. Then, we could start fighting our way up there.”

Wallace also credited new crew chief Jerry Baxter for the result. Baxter was Wallace’s crew chief in the Truck Series when he won multiple races.

“There were frustrating moments over the radio, just trying to make this Coke Energy Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE better,” Wallace said. “I know how I lose my cool a little bit, but one of the main reasons I brought Jerry Baxter in was to calm me down and show that light at the end of the tunnel. Every time I fired back, he said ‘I get it, you’re fine, we’re going to be fine’ and he was right. It was a good call by the team and everyone involved.”

Dillon pitted for four tires during the last caution and was able to snag a 10th-place finish after a “nuts” restart. It’s his first top 10 on a 1.5-mile track. Sunday was his 128th Cup Series start.

“I think I restarted 19th and went through the middle, and we ended up 10th,” Dillon said. “I don’t really know what happened, but we just started passing cars. You just had to find the lane, and you’re processing things at such a high rate of speed. You just had to be committed to where you were going.”

The result was Germain Racing’s first top 10 on a non-superspeedway oval.

“That’s what makes NASCAR fun,” Dillon added. “Nobody just dominates everything anymore. It was a really fun race and I hope the fans enjoyed it.”

and on Facebook.

Cup Series paint schemes for 2020

Getty Images
1 Comment

NASCAR’s Speedweeks has arrived and with it comes the first look at some of the paint schemes Cup Series teams will sport throughout the season.

Here’s a look at confirmed paint schemes for this year, including those that will be driven in Sunday’s Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox).

Quin Houff – StarCom Racing’s No. 00 Chevrolet

StarCom Racing

Kurt Busch – Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 1 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

 

Chip Ganassi Racing

Brad Keselowski – Team Penske’s No. 2 Ford

Team Penske
Team Penske

Austin Dillon – Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 Ford

Richard Childress Racing

Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 4 Ford

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ryan Newman – Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford

Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing

Tyler Reddick – Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Chase Elliott – Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 9 Chevrolet

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports

 

Hendrick Motorsports

Aric Almirola – Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 10 Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

Denny Hamlin – Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 11 Toyota

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ryan Blaney – Team Penske’s No. 12 Ford

Team Penske
(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Ty Dillon – Germain Racing’s No. 13 Chevrolet

Germain Racing

Clint Bowyer – Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 14 Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing
(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brennan Poole – Premium Motorsports’ No. 15 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Justin Haley – Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 Chevrolet (Daytona 500 only)

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Chris Buescher – Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 17 Ford

Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing
(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Lionel Racing

Martin Truex Jr. – Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 Toyota

 

Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing

Erik Jones – No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing

Matt DiBenedetto – Wood Brothers Racing’s No. 21 Ford

(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Joey Logano – Team Penske’s No.  22 Ford

Team Penske

William Byron – Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 24 Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports

Reed Sorenson – Premium Motorsports’ No. 27 Chevrolet

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Corey LaJoie – Go Fas Racing’s No. 32 Ford

Go Fas Racing
Go Fas Racing
Go Fas Racing

Michael McDowell – Front Row Motorsports’ No. 34 Ford

Michael McDowell
Front Row Motorsports

Ryan Preece – JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 37 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

 

John Hunter Nemechek – Front Row Motorsport’s No. 38 Ford

John Hunter Nemechek
Front Row Motorsports
Front Row Motorsports
Front Row Motorsports

Cole Custer – Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 41 Ford

Stewart-Haas Racing

Kyle Larson – Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevrolet

Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing
(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Bubba Wallace – Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 Chevrolet

Richard Petty Motorsports
Richard Petty Motorsports

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 Chevrolet

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Jimmie Johnson – Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports

Chad Finchum – MBM Motorsports’ No. 49 Toyota

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Joey Gase – Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

JJ Yeley – Rick Ware Racing’s No. 54 Ford

(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brendan Gaughan – Beard Motorsports’ No. 62 Chevrolet

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Timmy Hill – MBM Motorsports’ No. 66 Ford

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ross Chastain – Chip Ganassi Racing/Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Alex Bowman – Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 Chevrolet

Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports

Christopher Bell – Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 Toyota

Leavine Family Racing
Leavine Family Racing

Daniel Suarez – Gaunt Bros Racing’s No. 96 Toyota

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins Daytona 500 pole, Alex Bowman qualifies second

Leave a comment

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start from the pole in the 62nd Daytona 500 while Alex Bowman will start second.

Stenhouse qualified first Sunday with a speed of 194.582 mph and ended Hendrick Motorsports’ streak of five consecutive Daytona 500 poles. It is Stenhouse’s third Cup Series pole

Next Sunday’s Daytona 500 will be Stenhouse’s first start with JTG Daugherty Racing.

“It’s cool,” Stenhouse told Fox. “Tad (Geschickter, team owner) and (wife) Jodi are back at the shop with everybody. So. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be here and to bring guys with me like Brian (Pattie, crew chief). They’ve been working really hard. They’re in my corner. They’ve been behind me throughout all my career. Ernie (Cope, competition director) runs a great organization and a great shop.

“The Hendrick horsepower was amazing. Obviously we’ve got quite a few Hendrick cars right there behind us lined up. Our Camaro ZL1 1LE was really strong. And the winds started picking up there, down the back straightaway; a little headwind for the other guys, so I’m really proud to put our Kroger Chevy on the pole on Kroger pole day for the Daytona 500. That was our goal coming down here. Pattie was working really hard all off-season for that goal. And everybody chipped in, the whole shop. We cut bodies off. We put them back on. So this goes out to the whole shop and I’ve got to thank our other partners as well. I’m looking forward to hopefully continuing this momentum on Thursday.”

2020 is Stenhouse’s first season driving the No. 47 Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing after a decade with Roush Fenway Racing. This is the team’s third Cup pole. The first two were earned by AJ Allmendinger on road courses.

Bowman posted a speed of 194.363 mph. It is the third straight year Bowman has started on the front row of the Daytona 500. Bowman led a Hendrick effort that saw Chase Elliott post the third best speed and Jimmie Johnson post the fourth.

“There’s a flag at the end of the back straightaway that you can see and kind of see where the wind is at and what it’s doing, and the car kind of fell on its face off of Turn 2,” Bowman said. “You could see the flag was pointed straight at me, so I knew we had a really big headwind.  I wasn’t really aware of where the winds were for all the other guys, so I was a little worried about that, but obviously didn’t hurt us too bad.  Would have liked to have been a little better, but still pretty good.”

The rest of the field will be set through Thursday’s 150-mile qualifying races. Three cars will fail to make the 40-car field.

Justin Haley and Kaulig Racing locked their No. 16 Chevrolet into the 500 with the 31st best speed, which was the best among the seven “open” cars that don’t have charters, which guarantees a starting spot. It will be the first Cup Series start for the team that competes full-time in the Xfinity Series.

Brendan Gaughan also locked Beard Motorsports’ No. 62 Chevrolet into the 500 with the 33rd best speed, the second best speed among “open” cars.

Daniel Suarez, who is entering his first season with Gaunt Bros Racing, will have to race his way into the Daytona 500 after he posted the 36th best speed. Gaunt Bros Racing is one of the teams without a charter.

“We have to race hard,” Suarez said. “We knew that we would have a lot of challenges and that we didn’t also have the raw speed, but I know what I can do.  I just have to go out there … Thursday and get it done.”

Click here for the qualifying results.

43 cars entered for Daytona 500

Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Forty-three cars are entered for this year’s Daytona 500, meaning three cars will fail to make the race.

The 36 chartered teams are guaranteed starting spots.

Click here for Daytona 500 Entry List

Cars and drivers not guaranteed starting spots and vying for the four spots for non-chartered teams are:

No. 16: Justin Haley (Kaulig Racing)

No. 27: Reed Sorenson (Premium Motorsports)

No. 49: Chad Finchum (Motorsports Business Management)

No. 54: JJ Yeley (Rick Ware Racing)

No. 62: Brendan Gaughan (Beard Motorsports)

No. 66: Timmy Hill (Motorsports Business Management)

No. 96: Daniel Suarez (Gaunt Brothers Racing)

Daytona 500 qualifying takes place Sunday. The qualifying races will be Feb. 13. The Daytona 500 is Feb. 16.

 

 

Brendan Gaughan to run 4 final Cup races in 2020, including Daytona 500

Photo: Beard Motorsports' Twitter account
1 Comment

Brendan Gaughan will kick off his 23rd and final season of NASCAR racing in the 62nd Daytona 500 for Beard Motorsports.

Gaughan – who is using the hashtag #NotGaughanYet to symbolize his final season — will drive the No. 62 Chevrolet at Daytona. If he qualifies, it will be his fifth time in the 500 field, with his best finish coming in 2017 when he finished 11th.

The 44-year-old Gaughan is slated to drive four races this season in NASCAR Cup for Beard Motorsports. In addition to the Daytona 500, he’ll also race April 26 at Talladega Superspeedway, August 29 back at Daytona and will make the final start of his racing career on October 4 back at Talladega.

The Las Vegas native has made 12 previous starts for Beard Motorsports, all at either Daytona and Talladega.

“I love racing, and competing with Beard Motorsports these last few years have made for some of my most enjoyable moments in NASCAR,” Gaughan said in a media release. “We do a lot with a little, so when we run up front and lead laps, it’s very satisfying because you know all the work that went into it.”

Last April, Gaughan led five laps at Talladega and gave Beard Motorsports its second top-10 finish in the Cup Series, finishing eighth. Gaughan also finished seventh at Daytona for Beard Motorsports in July 2017.

“I wouldn’t want my last races as a NASCAR driver to be with any other team,” Gaughan said. “(Team owner) Mark Beard Sr., and his entire family are passionate about racing, and NASCAR in particular. We’re all competitive and want to perform, but we’re going to have fun doing it. That’s how we all got started in the sport – because it was fun. And as I wrap up my career, I’m going to make sure it stays fun.”

Gaughan has made 62 prior starts in the Cup Series dating back to his rookie season in 2004, when he earned his best career finish in the series (fourth at Talladega).

He also has made 219 starts in the Xfinity Series with two wins, and 217 starts in the Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series with eight wins.

Gaughan’s effort at Daytona will be in a chassis built by Richard Childress Racing and powered by a motor from ECR Engines. He’ll be sponsored by Beard Oil Distributing, South Point Hotel & Casino and City Lights Shine whiskey moonshine.

He begins his quest to qualify for the 40-car field with Daytona 500 qualifying on February 9. His lap will determine his starting spot in the Feb. 13 Duel – twin 150-mile heat races that set the rest of the field for the Great American Race.

Follow @JerryBonkowski