Gray Gaulding

SS Greenlight Racing

Joe Graf Jr. set for full-time Xfinity season with SS Greenlight Racing

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Joe Graf Jr. will compete in his first full-time Xfinity Series season this year with SS Greenlight Racing, the team announced Thursday.

Graf, 21, will drive the team’s No. 08 Chevrolet, which Gray Gaulding raced in 2019.

Patrick Donahue will serve as Graf’s crew chief. He will be sponsored by the EAT SLEEP RACE clothing line.

A native of Mahwah, New Jersey, Graf competed part-time for Richard Childress Racing last year, making three starts and failed to qualify for two others. His best finish was 14th in the fall race at Richmond. Graf raced full-time in the ARCA Menards Racing Series the last two years. He earned one win, seven top fives and 21 top 10s.

“To be racing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is super cool,” Graf said in a press release. “My boys at EAT SLEEP RACE are really pumped and I am looking forward to having them back on the car.

“Bobby (Dotter, team owner) and Patrick prepare solid cars. To have the chance to get into a competitive race car for a full season is exactly what I need to continue developing at this level.

“My goal is to learn as much as possible, contend for strong finishes and maybe even earn a berth into the Xfinity Series playoffs. I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m eager for the challenge and am ready to get to Daytona and getting the season underway.”

As an owner, Dotter has 220 Xfinity Series starts since 1995 and 305 in the Truck Series since 2004. Gaulding earned Dotter’s best Xfinity result last year when he placed second at Talladega.

“I’ve been watching Joe for a little while now, especially when he ran a few NASCAR Xfinity Series races last season and I’ve seen he’s eager to learn and perform,” Dotter said in a press release. “This is a big step for him, but he is determined to put the effort in and have a good rookie season.

“With Patrick’s leadership and the strength that our team has shown in recent seasons, there’s no reason that we can’t go out there and do the same with Joe in 2020. I’m looking forward to getting the year started.”

During his 2019 season at RCR, Graf served as a marketing and communications intern through New York University, where he attends school. He will continue in that role this year.

Gray Gaulding out Friday after suspected allergic reaction

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Stewart-Haas Racing plane made an unscheduled stop in St. Louis on Friday after Gray Gaulding had a suspected allergic reaction.

SS Green Light Racing confirmed Gaulding had an issue en route to Kansas City. A Stewart-Haas Racing spokesperson confirmed that its plane made the unscheduled stop, and that emergency personnel came on board after the plane landed. Gaulding remained in St. Louis while the plane continued to Kansas City.

SS Green Light Racing stated that after arriving at the track, Gaulding went to the infield care center and was not cleared to drive Friday. Gaulding will be re-evaluated Saturday. J.J. Yeley drove the car for Gaulding in practice Friday.

Xfinity practice report from Dover International Speedway

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Cole Custer was fastest in the final Xfinity Series practice Friday at Dover International Speedway.

Custer led a Stewart-Haas Racing sweep of the top two spots with a speed of 151.292 mph.

Teammate Chase Briscoe followed at 150.558 mph.

The top five was completed by Harrison Burton (150.521 mph), Noah Gragson (150.194) and Justin Allgaier (150.194).

Gragson recorded the most laps in the session with 75.

Custer had the best 10-lap average at 149.737 mph.

Click here for the practice report.

First Practice

Briscoe had the fastest lap with a top speed of 152.394 mph.

The top five was completed by Christopher Bell (151.656 mph), Tyler Reddick (151.649), Cole Custer (151.560) and Justin Allgaier (151.407).

Zane Smith recorded the most laps in the session with 39.

The session was red flagged once for Gray Gaulding having a mechanical issue and possibly putting down fluid.

Click here for the practice report.

 

Austin Cindric wins pole for Xfinity playoff opener at Richmond

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Austin Cindric will start from the pole in tonight’s Xfinity Series playoff opener at Richmond Raceway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Cindric earned his fourth pole of the year with a speed of 118.901 mph after he brushed the backstretch wall on his run.

He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff driver Justin Allgaier (118.286 mph).

The top five is completed by Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Chase Briscoe.

The highest qualifying non-playoff driver was Harrison Burton in sixth.

Gray Gaulding qualified ninth for his best-career start on a non-superspeedway track.

Playoff driver John Hunter Nemechek had an ignition issue that kept him from making his qualifying run. He will start at the rear.

Click here for the starting lineup.

 

Richmond Xfinity practice report

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RICHMOND, Va. – Gray Gaulding posted the fastest lap in Friday morning’s Xfinity practice at Richmond Raceway.

Gaulding topped the field with a lap of 121.397 mph. He was followed by Cole Custer (121.342 mph), Christopher Bell (121.000), Noah Gragson (120.621) and Harrison Burton (120.128).

“It feels good for the little guys to beat the big guys,” Gaulding told NBCSN at the end of the session.

Click here for practice results

Burton had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 118.644 mph. He was followed by Michael Annett (118.041 mph), Austin Cindric (117.897), Ryan Sieg (117.314) and Justin Allgaier (116.279).

Joe Graf Jr., driving the No. 21 for Richard Childress Racing, ran the most laps in the 80-minute session with 106 laps. He was 29th on the speed chart with a top lap of 116.109 mph.

Qualifying will be at 4:35 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The series races at 7:30 p.m. ET today on NBCSN. This is the series’ playoff opener.