Carlos Contreras

(Provided by Contreras Motorsports)

Team from Mexico looks to make history in Camping World Truck Series

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A team from Mexico is slated to make history in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season.

Although it will be based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Contreras Motorsports will become the first team with roots in Mexico, thanks to brothers and team co-owners Enrique and Carlos Contreras.

Carlos Contreras will drive the No. 71 Chevrolet Silverado in the season-opening Nextera Energy Resources 250 Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 19. It will be Contreras’ seventh career start at Daytona.

Contreras will be sponsored in that race by Bellator MMA, a mixed martial arts promoter.

Crew chief for the team will be Tim Andrews, son of NASCAR championship crew chief Paul Andrews.

A veteran of over 100 NASCAR starts in the Xfinity, Truck, Mexico and K&N series, Carlos Contreras will be behind the wheel for the team’s debut at Daytona.

But the team said in a media release it anticipates “providing opportunities for (other) up-and-coming drivers looking to break into NASCAR.”

“My brother and I have worked with many great people and teams over the many years we’ve been in NASCAR, and the many more years racing with my brother in Mexico and Latin America,” Carlos Contreras said. “We know it’s a process, and we are working to build an organization that will be competitive for many years to come. Bringing in the young and talented Tim Andrews was definitely a great start.”

Added Enrique Contreras, who will serve as team president, “Competing on behalf of Hispanics within the NCWTS is a new challenge in my life and it is a great opportunity to share it with my family.”

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Canadian driver Cameron Haley steadily improving as rookie in Truck Series

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Look at a list of drivers competing in NASCAR’s three national series and you’ll soon notice why Cameron Hayley is unique.

Most hail from the United States with a few exceptions. Daniel Suarez and Carlos Contreras are from Mexico and primarily compete in the Xfinity Series, but when it comes to drivers that call Canada home, only three drivers can make that claim.

One of those is Hayley.

While Mario Gosselin and Derek White race in Xfinity, Hayley, a native of Calgary, Alberta, is the only Canadian competing in the Camping World Truck Series.

Hayley, 18, is in his rookie season in the Truck series, having driven the No. 13 Toyota for ThorSport Racing in the first four races of the year.

“Obviously we don’t have almost any drivers coming up from Canada into the national series,” Hayley told media Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “It was difficult for me coming up, moving up through the ranks.”

Hayley said his fortunes began to change when he won the 2013 K&N Pro Series’ UNOH Battle at the Beach in Daytona. Driving for Gene Price, Hayley was one of six Canadians in the race that also featured Kyle Larson, John Hunter Nemechek and Ben Kennedy.

Hayley won on a last-lap pass in Turn 4 as he banged against the door of Gray Gaulding crossing the finish line. It was the only lap he led. Combine the win with a move to the K&N Pro East Series and people started to know who the Canadian driver was.

In June of that year, Hayley was announced as a member of the 2013-14 NASCAR Next class, which included Suarez, Dylan Kwasniewski, Kennedy,  Brett Moffitt, Ryan Gifford and Gaulding.

“It does seem like a long time ago now,” said Hayley, who recently moved to Sandusky, Ohio, where ThorSport Racing is headquartered. “I mean, it was only two years ago, but when it comes down to it – I’ve done so much since then. I’ve done so many races since then that it seems like a long time ago for sure.”

Now Hayley is in a prime position to make his name even more recognizable.

Through four races, Hayley’s best finish came last week at Kansas Speedway. He claimed fifth position for his first top five in seven CWTS races. Since finishing 23rd at Daytona International Speedway due to a wreck, Hayley has steadily improved, finishing 14th at Atlanta Motor Speedway and 11th at Martinsville Speedway.

All four races were Hayley’s first at those tracks and Friday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will continue that trend.

“Adjusting to all the different tracks and having all the tracks being new has definitely been difficult, but ThorSport has given me great trucks week in and week out,” Hayley said. “We’ve had great trucks and had some bad luck, and I think Charlotte is going to be another one where I have lots to learn, but I think we have a great truck here and can do well.”

It also helps to have two veteran teammates, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter, in the ThorSport Racing stable.

Crafton, a native of Tulare, Calif., is the two-time defending series champion, and Sauter, a native of Necedah, Wisc., is a 10-time Truck race winner.

“I don’t really know him, he’s a rookie new to the deal – but I think he’s got a pretty good head on his shoulders,” Sauter said. “I see him doing things that maybe necessarily don’t see from a lot of rookie drivers and I think he’s taking care of his equipment and showing speed at the same time.”

Said Hayley: “I can study race tapes, videos all I want, but until to you talk to a driver you don’t really know a first-hand account of what’s happening,” Hayley said. “I haven’t been quite quick enough to run up beside them during races yet, but I think we’re getting there, and I think I can learn a lot from that as well.”

Dillon brothers claim front row in qualifying for Xfinity race at Talladega

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Brothers Austin and Ty Dillon made it a family affair during Xfinity Series qualifying Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Austin earned his first career Xfinity pole at the 2.66-mile track, while younger brother Ty will start the Winn Dixie 300 race later Saturday afternoon alongside his sibling.

Austin’s speed was 180.540 mph, while Ty’s was 179.892 mph. It’s also Austin Dillon’s third Xfinity Series pole of the season, having also taken the green flag first at Daytona (finished 4th) and Las Vegas (won).

It was an outstanding qualifying session for Richard Childress Racing, which not only put the two Dillon brothers on the front row, but fellow RCR drivers Brian Scott (179.538 mph) and Brendan Gaughan (178.600 mph) also had strong runs, qualifying third and seventh, respectively.

“ECR engines obviously 1-2-3 right there, it says a lot about us,” Austin Dillon said.

Here’s how Saturday’s Xfinity Series qualifying played out:

1 Austin Dillon … 180.540 mph

2 Ty Dillon … 179.892

3 Brian Scott … 179.538

4 Erik Jones … 179.316

5 Boris Said … 179.312

6 Daniel Suarez … 179.054

7 Brendan Gaughan … 178.600

8 Darrell Wallace Jr. … 178.587

9 Ryan Reed … 178.587

10 Elliott Sadler … 178.384

11 Regan Smith … 178.357

12 Chris Buescher … 177.999

13 Dakoda Armstrong … 178.311

14 Chase Elliott … 178.085

15 Aric Almirola … 177.897

16 Joey Logano … 177.761

17 Kasey Kahne … 177.669

18 David Starr … 177.511

19 Jeffrey Earnhardt … 177.471

20 Brennan Poole … 177.445

21 John Wes Townley … 177.258

22 Kenny Wallace … 176.907

23 Mike Bliss … 176.666

24 Blake Koch … 176.659

25 Benny Gordon … 176.601

26 Cale Conley … 176.578

27 JJ Yeley … 176.438

28 Derek White … 176.104

29 Ryan Sieg … 176.084

30 Jeff Green … 175.832

31 Chad Boat … 175.581

32 Mark Thompson … 175.401

33 Mario Gosselin … 175.275

34 Eric McClure … Owner Points

35 Landon Cassill … Owner Points

36 Harrison Rhodes … Owner Points

37 Jeremy Clements … Owner Points

38 Ross Chastain … Owner Points

39 Joey Gase … Owner Points

40 Peyton Sellers … Owner Points

DID NOT QUALIFY: Chris Cockrum, Mike Harmon, Bobby Gerhart, Derrike Cope, Carlos Contreras

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Talladega newcomer Erik Jones is fastest in sole Xfinity practice

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Erik Jones didn’t let the fact he’s never driven an Xfinity Series car at Talladega Superspeedway affect him during Friday’s lone practice session.

Jones, 18, shot to the top of the speed charts – not an easy thing to do for a veteran driver, let alone a relative newcomer to both ‘Dega and the Xfinity Series – with a speed of 188.861 mph.

Darrell Wallace Jr., an Xfinity Series rookie, was second-fastest at 188.727 mph, followed by Daytona winner Ryan Reed (188.727) and Regan Smith (188.086).

Here’s how the only Xfinity practice session of the weekend played out:

1 Erik Jones … 188.861 mph … 19 laps

2 Darrell Wallace Jr. … 188.727 … 21 laps

3 Ryan Reed … 188.727 … 20 laps

4 Regan Smith … 188.086 … 23 laps

5 Daniel Suarez … 187.621 … 23 laps

6 Kasey Kahne … 187.141 … 18 laps

7 Aric Almirola … 187.053 … 35 laps

8 John Wes Townley … 187.017 … 41 laps

9 Brian Scott … 186.903 … 19 laps

10 Chris Buescher … 186.827 … 26 laps

11 Brendan Gaughan … 186.758 …12 laps

12 JJ Yeley … 186.362 … 17 laps

13 Elliott Sadler … 186.180 … 18 laps

14 Brennan Poole … 185.989 … 33 laps

15 Chase Elliott … 185.924 … 14 laps

16 Dakoda Armstrong … 185.902 … 29 laps

17 Boris Said … 185.895 … 23 laps

18 Jeffrey Earnhardt … 185.823 … 20 laps

19 Eric McClure … 185.635 … 17 laps

20 Joey Logano … 185.366 … 21 laps

21 Kenny Wallace … 185.051 … 21 laps

22 Blake Koch … 181.618 … 33 laps

23 Cale Conley … 181.604 … 26 laps

24 Jeremy Clements … 181.594 … 28 laps

25 David Starr … 181.446 … 25 laps

26 Ty Dillon … 181.069 … 23 laps

27 Austin Dillon … 180.870 … 23 laps

28 Mario Gosselin … 179.168 … 15 laps

29 Mark Thompson … 178.964 … 2 laps

30 Benny Gordon … 178.961 … 25 laps

31 Chris Cockrum … 178.543 … 29 laps

32 Chad Boat … 176.627 … 21 laps

33 Ryan Sieg … 176.601 … 20 laps

34 Mike Bliss … 176.523 … 12 laps

35 Bobby Gerhart … 176.026 … 26 laps

36 Derek White … 175.955 … 12 laps

37 Jeff Green … 175.761 … 17 laps

38 Landon Cassill … 175.080 … 6 laps

39 Peyton Sellers … 174.499 … 13 laps

40 Harrison Rhodes … 174.328 … 8 laps

41 Derrike Cope … 174.258 … 18 laps

42 Mike Harmon … 173.945 … 17 laps

43 Ross Chastain … 173.929 … 7 laps

44 Joey Gase … 173.724 … 10 laps

45 Carlos Contreras … 172.864 … 23 laps

Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average:

1 Chris Buescher … 179.246 mph

2 John Wes Townley … 169.106 mph

3 Mark Thompson … 162.614 mph

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Entry list for NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway

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There are 44 cars entered into the Xfinity Series’ 24th annual Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway, the series’ only race at the 2.66-mile track.

Boris Said makes his season debut in the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. This is the first seven Xfinity races Said is scheduled to make in the car this season.

Entry list for the Winn Dixie 300:

0-Harrison Rhodes (Chevrolet/TeamJDMotorsports.com)
01-Landon Cassill (Chevrolet/GK Services)
1-Elliott Sadler (Ford/OneMain Financial)
2-Brian Scott (Chevrolet/Shore Ledge)
3-Ty Dillon (Chevrolet/Bass Pro Shops)
4-Ross Chastain (Chevrolet/TeamJDMdmotorsports.com)
6-Darrell Wallace Jr. (Ford/SpongeBob SquarePants)
7-Regan Smith (Chevrolet/Hellmann’s)
8-Blake Koch (Toyota/LeafFilter Gutter Protection)
9-Chase Elliott (Chevrolet/NAPA Auto Parts)
10-Jeff Green (Toyota/TriStar Motorsports)
13-Mark Thompson (Toyota/Braille Battery + Grafoid)
14-Cale Conley (Toyota/IAVA)
15-Carlos Contreras (Chevrolet/BYB Extreme Fighting Series)
16-Ryan Reed (Ford/Lilly + American Diabetes Association)
18-Daniel Suarez (Toyota/Arris)
19-Mike Bliss (Toyota/TBD)
20-Erik Jones (Toyota/Sports Clips)
22-Joey Logano (Ford/Discount Tire)
24-Eric McClure (Toyota/Hefty Reynolds Wrap)
25-John Wes Townley (Chevrolet/Zaxby’s)
28-JJ Yeley (Toyota/Texas 28 Spirits Stage)
33-Austin Dillon (Chevrolet/Rheem)
35-Chris Cockrum (Chevrolet/Advanced Communications Group)
39-Ryan Sieg (Chevrolet/Vuzix)
40-Derek White (Dodge/Braille Battery + Grafoid)
42-Brennan Poole (Chevrolet/DC Solar)
43-Dakoda Armstrong (Ford/WinField)
44-David Starr (Toyota/Zachry)
51-Jeremy Clements (Chevrolet/RepairableVehicles.com + AllSouthElectric.com)
52-Joey Gase (Chevrolet/TBA)
54-Boris Said (Toyota/Monster Energy)
55-Jeffrey Earnhardt (Chevrolet/FW1 + Viva Auto Group)
60-Chris Buescher (Ford/Bit-O-Honey)
62-Brendan Gaughan (Chevrolet/South Point)
70-Derrike Cope (Chevrolet/Nature Nate’s Honey Company)
74-Mike Harmon (Dodge/TBA)
84-Chad Boat (Chevrolet/CorvetteParts.net)
85-Bobby Gerhart (Chevrolet/Lucas Oil)
88-Kasey Kahne (Chevrolet/Armour Vienna Sausage)
90-Mario Gosselin (Chevrolet/CrashClaimsR.us)
97-Peyton Sellers (Chevrolet/VroomBrands)
98-Aric Almirola (Ford/Carroll Shelby Engine Co.)