Kyle Busch Motorsports

Chandler Smith ready for first intermediate Truck Series start

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You might say Chandler Smith is growing up a little bit more this weekend.

Having turned 18 years old less than two weeks ago, the Talking Rock, Georgia native will compete in his first career 1.5-mile NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series race Saturday at Kentucky Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FS1). It will also be his first Truck start of 2020.

Smith, who made four Truck Series starts last season, with three top five finishes and one other top 10 showing, will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra once again.

“Overall I’m really excited,” Smith said in a Wednesday video conference call. “I’ve gotten a bit of (simulator) time in and my new crew chief, Danny Stockman, we’ve done a lot of studying together and the whole team feels like we’re gonna go there and we’re gonna be really hard to beat even though it’s my first time on an intermediate (track).”

Smith — who already has two wins this season in the ARCA Menards Series — is going to Kentucky to win.

“My No. 51 JBL crew has already won three races this season (including two wins by Busch),” Smith said. “So I don’t see any problem on making it a fourth win for these guys.

“They’re a very good team. Danny’s a very good crew chief, the chemistry and everything between me and the team is just as good as it was last year when I was with the 51. So I think we’re going to be really tough to beat. But I think the ultimate goal is I’m a rookie and let’s get all 150 laps in and gain experience.”

That may be easier said than done. Not only is this Smith’s first career Truck Series start on an intermediate length track, he also will take the green flag with no actual on-track practice or qualifying time.

“I’m not as nervous about it as I was before yesterday,” Smith said. “I had a meeting yesterday with Danny, my engineer and I told them I think I’m gonna be fine, the only thing to worry about is air. I mean, I’ve been struggling a lot on these bigger tracks (via the simulator) and we’ve been racing around people and getting in dirty air and getting too tight and so forth.

“They kind of helped me there and described a little more and kind of helped me with situations and finding out stuff and I think we’ll be really good now.”

Now that he’s of legal age at least in NASCAR terms to race on all sizes of tracks, Smith is ready for his career to move ahead even further.

“This opens up running for championships potentially now and actually be able to run every single racetrack,” he said. “That’s big for me because anything I’ve ever done before was short tracks, a mile tops like I ran Iowa last year, for instance. So this is gonna be big for me. I’m really excited for it.

“I have expectations for myself and I set my expectations a lot higher than other people do for myself, honestly. And I feel like that’s kind of why I am where I am today because I set those expectations and I’m going to work twice as hard to meet those expectations.

“I’m with the 51 JBL team with Kyle Busch Motorsports and that’s definitely one of the best teams out there right now in the trucks. So yes, there’s a little pressure because how much success the 51 team runs with, but I think with my getting in there and Dany working together, I think the chemistry between me and Danny … is going to be really hard to beat.”

The big boss, Kyle Busch, has also been a key influence upon Smith.

“Kyle treats me great,” Smith said. “I loaded him up with a bunch of questions about Kentucky and he was free handed and we talked for about 30 minutes. He’s a very good dude for me, always been right for me, always put a lot of trust in me and he thinks I’m worthy enough to get into the truck that he’s in. That puts a lot of relief and also pressure on me, somebody else believes in me like that.”

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NASCAR teams, groups approved for millions in federal COVID-19 loans

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Several NASCAR teams and related organizations were approved for between $150,000 and $10 million in loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPE), according to data provided Monday.

The U.S. Small Business Administration posted a list of PPP loan data on the U.S. Department of the Treasury website. The Paycheck Protection Program was included in the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was established to help businesses weather the financial stress of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Among the many NASCAR teams, racetracks and related organizations (with data including the range of the loan and the number of jobs retained):

* Richard Childress Racing ($5-$10 million, 334 jobs)

* Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates ($2-5 million, 179 jobs)

* Roush Fenway Racing ($2-5 million, 179 jobs)

* Roush & Yates Racing Engines ($2-5 million, 192 jobs)

* JTG Daugherty Racing ($1-2 million, 88 jobs)

* GMS Racing ($1-$2 million, 89 jobs)

* Kyle Busch Motorsports ($1-$2 million, 71 jobs)

* JR Motorsports ($1-$2 million, 88 jobs)

* Germain Racing ($350,000-$1 million, 41 jobs)

* Richard Petty Motorsports ($350,000-$1 million, 43 jobs)

* Dale Earnhardt Inc. ($350,000-$1 million, 55 jobs)

* DGR-Crosley ($350,000-$1 million, 67 jobs)

* Premium Motorsports ($350,000-$1 million, 46 jobs)

* Pocono International Raceway ($350,000-$1 million, 142 jobs)

* Hattori Racing ($150,000-$350,000, 16 jobs)

* Jimmie Johnson Racing ($150,00-$350,000, 8 jobs)

* Motor Racing Outreach ($150,000-$350,000, 9 jobs)

* Rev Racing ($150,000-$350,000, 12 jobs)

* Starcom Racing ($150,000-$350,000, 20 jobs)

* Kaulig Racing ($350,000-$1 million, 36 jobs)

* Mesa Marin Raceway ($150,000-$350,000, 16 jobs)

* Bill McAnally Racing ($150,000-$350,000, 19 jobs)

* Young’s Motorsports ($150,000-$350,000, 0 jobs)

* JD Motorsports ($150,000-$350,000, 0 jobs)

In a statement accompanying the data, the SBA said the data was for businesses that were approved for PPP loans but “does not reflect a determination by SBA that the borrower is eligible for a PPP loan or entitled to loan forgiveness. All PPP loans are subject to SBA review, and all loans over $2 million will automatically be reviewed.”

Contributing: Nate Ryan

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NASCAR Penalty report from Miami

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Six crew chiefs across the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series were fined for not having properly installed lug nuts.

In the Cup series, crew chiefs James Small (for the No. 19 team of Martin Truex Jr.) and Chad Johnston (No. 42 Matt Kenseth team) each were fined $10,000 for the lug nut infraction.

In the Xfinity Series, crew chiefs Alexander Yontz (No. 11 Justin Haley team), Jeff Meendering (No. 19 Brandon Jones team) and Bryan Smith (No. 26 Colin Garrett team) each were fined $5,000 for the lug nut infraction.

In the Truck Series, crew chief Paul Clapprood (No. 44 Ross Chastain team) was fined $2,500 for the infraction.

NASCAR previously announced that crew chief Richard Boswell, car chief Nicholas Hutchins and engineer Daren Vanderley were suspended four races each after ballast fell out of Chase Briscoe‘s car.

NASCAR also previously announced that the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports team was docked 10 owner points for the track bar mount and support not meeting specifications.

Kyle Busch, team penalized for failing pre-race inspection

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After winning Saturday night’s Truck Series race, Kyle Busch had this to say about the infraction and penalties he and his team incurred for failing pre-race inspection:

“I guess some rules were changed over the offseason and the truck we ran tonight I think we ran here at Homestead last year and they just put it off to the side, knowing I’d be in it in March and now it’s June,” Busch said after the race. “Still, it never made its way to the fab shop for some updates or to have some bars cut out due to NASCAR changing the rules.

“We missed it, came down here with that bar in there, and I guess they wanted to prove a point. So we had a big penalty, bigger probably than there would have been if there was another driver in the truck, so we’ll take it and move on. We kicked everybody’s ass anyways.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

Kyle Busch will start from the rear of the field and serve a pass-through penalty at the start of Saturday night’s Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway because of an infraction discovered in inspection before the race.

Busch was to have started second.

The L1 violation, per the NASCAR Rule Book, is:

20.3.2.3 Rear Sub-Frame Assembly I-4 Track Bar Supports a. A maximum of one track bar mount frame support and a maximum of one track bar mount lateral support must be used.

Additionally, Kyle Busch Motorsports will incur a loss of 10 Gander Trucks championship team owner points. There will likely be other penalties assessed.

There were no other multiple failures in pre-race inspection.

In addition, NASCAR announced the No. 03 truck driven by Tim Viens has withdrawn from the race, making it a 38-truck field.

Kyle Busch Motorsports ‘half business as usual’ during racing pause

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The COVID-19 pandemic has put a pause on the entire NASCAR community and Kyle Busch Motorsports is no different.

Without any Gander RV & Outdoors Series races scheduled until May 15 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, life for the team is “half business as usual” according to Busch in an appearance on Kevin Harvick‘s SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show “Happy Hours.”

The status of his Truck Series team was one of the subjects Busch discussed during his appearance on Wednesday’s show.

Busch said everyone that works at the team’s shop is being kept on payroll for the time being, but that work shifts have been split in two.

“What we did is we took our shop guys, our fab shop, body shop, assembly area and all that sort of stuff, there’s probably about 45 people in that, but they’re all spread out through the 77,000-square foot building and we cut them in half,” Busch said. “There’s a 4 a.m. to noon sector, then there’s a noon to 8 p.m. sector of guys that are working. We kind of just split them. We’ve definitely got stuff we can do, there’s cleaning to do, there’s straightening up to do, there’s also building to do and getting ahead.”

They have to get ahead on a schedule that they don’t know will look like when racing returns.

‘We know as soon as we get back going again, they’re going to want to get all the races in and that’s pretty much going to mean 13 straight weeks if we did the calendar right,” Busch said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We have no idea, we just guessed (at the format). That’s 13 straight weeks for our truck guys. I don’t know how the other teams are going do it with people and equipment and that sort of stuff.

“We’re planning ahead in the regard, so we’re keeping everybody on payroll. Nothing’s happening in that regard yet. Hopefully, we get through with the CDC’s recommendation on a May time frame of getting back to business here, so I think we’ll be fine if that’s the case and we can get back racing in May.”

His Truck Series team isn’t the only business that Busch has on his mind.

Earlier this year the two-time Cup champion launched his own energy drink brand, Rowdy Energy.

That comes after Busch’s long relationship with Monster Energy and NOS Energy.

“I had my own energy drink with previous companies I’ve worked with and … they took my name off the can because they said it wasn’t selling, the flavor wasn’t selling,” Busch said. “So they took my name off the can, but yet they still sell the same flavor. So I’m kind of like, ‘Oh, ok, you guys just didn’t want to pay me my royalties. I get it, whatever.'”

Busch said this “sparked” his interest to make a healthier energy drink that gives “an option for people to be able to go out there and buy something that is a better option for you to put in your body.”

While the drink has been rolled out at NASCAR tracks early this season and online, Busch said it’s been a “nightmare” placing it in physical stores.

“Everybody kind of forewarned me about that early on,” Busch told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “It’s certainly coming true. Let’s just say there’s 200,000 convenience stores across the country, well we hope to be in about 2,000 stores by the year’s end and then hopefully by eight or 10,000 stores by next year.

“That’s only chipping the ice, that isn’t even breaking the ice … we’ve got a long way to go.”