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Corey LaJoie to drive Dale Jarrett Xfinity throwback in Southern 500

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Corey LaJoie and GoFas Racing will pay tribute to Dale Jarrett’s Xfinity Series career with their throwback paint scheme for this year’s Southern 500 (Sept. 1 on NBCSN).

LaJoie’s No. 32 Ford will be made to look like the No. 32 Nestle Crunch car Jarrett drove from 1990-91 in the Xfinity Series (then the Busch Series).

Jarrett won five times in that time, including twice at Darlington Raceway.

The Crunch-inspired scheme will have sponsorship from Keen Parts/CorvetteParts.net.

“The car looks great and I’ve always been a fan of Dale, so to carry this scheme around Darlington is awesome,” LaJoie said in a press release. “I think we did a great job keeping the scheme as close to the original as possible while incorporating the CorvetteParts.net logos into it. I can’t thank Tom and TJ Keen enough for allowing us to run this design – it’s one of my favorite schemes. I might even have to shave myself a mustache so I don’t do the car a disservice.”

GoFas Racing, Roush Fenway win fourth round of eNASCAR Heat Pro League

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The eNASCAR Heat Pro League saw its first repeat winners Wednesday night for its event held on the digital Watkins Glen International road course.

The PlayStation 4 race was won by Hunter Mullins (@Fedex_rcn_11_) for GoFas Racing.

Nicholas Walker (@wowTHATSgarbage) won the XBox One race for Roush Fenway Racing.

Both Mullins and Walker were the victors in the Round 2 races on the digital Auto Club Speedway.

The fifth round of the Pro League will be held July 10th on the digital Chicagoland Speedway. There are four rounds left in the regular season.

Here are the points standings through four rounds.

You can watch both races in the video below.

 

Matt DiBenedetto: No ‘ill will’ toward Aric Almirola after ‘overreaction’ at Pocono

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Matt DiBenedetto said he and Aric Almirola have talked via text messages and are “fine” with each other in the days following their run-in after the checkered flag at Pocono and DiBenedetto’s heated confrontation with Almirola on pit road.

In an interview Wednesday night on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Dialed In,” DiBenedetto said he has “no ill will toward Aric” and that his intentional spin of Almirola after the checkered flag was an “overreaction” fueled by a disappointing finish.

“The only bad news that I have for everybody is that Aric and I have talked,” DiBenedetto said. “We texted back and forth after he did that interview (Tuesday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). … We talked and we’re fine. No problem with Aric. Honestly a week or two before, he was racing for the lead and I was actually pulling for him to win. So I have no ill will toward Aric.”

Almirola had said he was “baffled” by DiBenedetto’s actions.

“I was blown away after the race when he come and run into the side of me and spun me out,” Almirola said. “I couldn’t wrap my head around what he was so upset about.

“I understand. I guess when you’re running back there and you’re fighting to stay on the lead lap week in and week out, racing like that, 25th is a big deal. But I was racing. I caught him off Turn 1 and drove underneath of him and passed him in the Tunnel Turn and we came back to the checkered. I finished 25th and he finished behind me (in 27th) and apparently was pretty upset about it.”

The driver of GoFas Racing’s No. 32 Ford blamed “testosterone and adrenaline all mixed together” and “a bad sequence of events” for both him and Almirola for what happened.

DiBenedetto shared his side of the story.

“We were both frustrated, because obviously (Almirola) had a strong car and he ended up with some damage, had to go to the back,” DiBenedetto said. “And our team, we’re a small team … we were probably going to finish 16th, 18th, at least top 20 at worst. The last two restarts for me worked out very, very poorly. The second to last restart the line that I was in, turned out really bad. So we stacked up and I lost a couple of spots. But on the green-white-checkered, I was going into Turn 3 and (the field) stacked up really bad. I ran into the back of (Paul Menard), we all checked up and I lost like five more spots, four or five more spots and I was absolutely furious. Just out of being passionate, because that would have been a really good run for us if we finished where I thought we deserved to run.

“So I’m all ready, really mad. On the white flag Aric and I were side-by-side and as he said, 25th, and every spot matters. … So we went into Turn 2 and he went up the race track and we were side-by-side and he kind of cleared himself, he thought he was clear, whatever happened. If I wouldn’t have checked up, I was going to hit the wall.”

After the checkered flag, DiBenedetto said he gave Almirola “a little bump” on the backstretch and then Almirola “tried to brake check me.”

“I started it,” DiBenedetto said. “Whatever, I’m not mad about that. That sparked me again and then he came back up beside me and slammed into my right-side door and then I reacted by crashing him on the back straightaway, or spinning him out. It was just an overreaction and way too much adrenaline and testosterone mixed together and … in hindsight I would never race him like that nor would he and it was a crazy situation.”

The 27-year-old driver said the incident “was more of a thing that’s conversational for after the race” and “That’s how it should have been handled after the race by me. But when all that happened, he’s frustrated, I’m frustrated. I was too angry and after the race I went up beside him and expressed my displeasure.”

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NASCAR America: Chris Buescher, Matt DiBenedetto run well in the pack

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While most eyes are focused at the front of the pack, some incredible performances often go unnoticed outside of the top 10. On Tuesday, NASCAR America showcased three drivers who had outstanding runs in the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

“I’m going to go with Chris Buescher and his 12th-place finish,” Landon Cassill said. “I thought he had a solid day. You know, his teammate is AJ Allmendinger … is an animal at these road courses, but Chris just put together a solid day and he’s a good driver at Sonoma. I worked with Chris when we both drove for Front Row Motorsports and I can tell you that I’m pretty sure he still holds the record in the Ford simulator for the fastest lap at Sonoma. … I used to use his car as a Chase car in the sim to help my laps at Sonoma.”

That was Buescher’s third consecutive top 20 on a road course and it comes on the heels of an 11th last August at Watkins Glen International.

Matt DiBenedetto has never been known as a road racer. In six previous starts on this type of track, he had never cracked the top 20 – until Sunday’s race at Sonoma when he scored a career-best 17th.

“My ‘Running with the Pack’ guy’s also not a road course guy: Matt DiBenedetto finished 17th at Sonoma after starting 30th and that is the ninth time in 16 races that he’s outperformed where he qualified,” Nate Ryan said. “I think that’s significant, I think that tells you how good GoFas Racing is, making the most of what they have.”

Dale Jarrett went a little deeper in the field.

“I’m going with somebody, who his team has only ran their seventh race at Sonoma and that’s our colleague Parker Kligerman. … He’s an outstanding road racer. He has that background, but he’s a good racer everywhere he goes. He ran inside the top 20 most of the day.”

For more, watch the video above.

Zynga Poker to sponsor Matt DiBenedetto in seven more races

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GoFas Racing announced Saturday it has partnered with Zynga Poker as a primary sponsor on Matt DiBenedetto‘s No. 32 Ford for seven more races this year.

Zynga, a social game developer, first sponsored DiBenedetto in the March race at ISM Raceway after a social media campaign by the driver to attract sponsorship.

Zynga Poker will sponsor DiBenedetto during All-Star Weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 19th, Pocono (June 3), Daytona (July 7), Watkins Glen (Aug. 5), Bristol (Aug. 18), Las Vegas (Sept. 16), and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 18).

“We are inspired by Matt’s fans and excited to join the rally to keep No. 32 in the race,” said Monty Kerr, senior vice president for Zynga Poker in a press release. “Over the past 10 years, Zynga Poker players have shown the same passion and enthusiasm so we’re proud to partner with a team that loves their fans as much as we do.”

In a press conference Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, the team said it has four unsponsored races remaining this season.

“I know we say it a lot, but it really has been a lot of fun working with and getting to know the Zynga Poker team,” team manager Mason St. Hilaire said in the press release. “Being able to put together a partnership just two days prior to the Phoenix race in March and to be able to turn it into what it has become today really speaks volumes for how perfect of a partnership this really is. With Zynga Poker’s global audience, we’re excited to engage a new generation of poker players and introduce them to NASCAR racing.”