Scott Zipadelli

Four crew chiefs fined for lug nut violations

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NASCAR has fined four crew chiefs for lug nut violations from last weekend’s races at Richmond Raceway.

In Cup, NASCAR fined Denny Hamlin‘s crew chief, Chris Gabehart, and Ryan Blaney‘s crew chief, Todd Gordon, $10,000 each because their cars had a lug nut not secure after Saturday night’s race.

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NASCAR fined Xfinity crew chief Bruce Schlicker $5,000 after Ross Chastain‘s car had a lug nut not secure after the first of two Xfinity races last weekend at Richmond.

In the Truck Series, NASCAR fined crew chief Scott Zipadelli $2,500 after Austin Hill‘s truck had a lug nut not secure after the Richmond race.

 

Truck Series doubleheader at Kansas all about ‘balancing aggression’

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Austin Hill is thinking about his rear bumper.

Todd Gilliland is concerned about scraping up the right side of his truck.

These may seem like normal things to worry about damaging during a NASCAR race, but they take on more significance when the Truck Series is preparing for its first ever doubleheader.

After the Cup and Xfinity Series each got shots at doubleheaders this year, the Truck Series gets the opportunity at Kansas Speedway with races Friday night (7 p.m. ET on FS1) and Saturday afternoon (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Gilliland said “balancing aggression” will be one of the biggest challenges for drivers in Friday’s race.

“Obviously, we want to race the same truck the second day to maintain our starting position and also it’s just a better truck,” Gilliland said Wednesday in a Zoom press conference. “That’s what the guys have spent more time on. That’s what we plan to do is race that truck two times. It’s a balance and last year the groove was pretty close to the wall. If you scrape up the right-side of the truck, it’s a little tougher to get that back to exactly perfect as an Xfinity car is with the composite body.”

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Hill, who leads the point standings through eight races, wants to get through Friday’s 134-lap race without forcing his team to have to fix a bashed in rear bumper.

“I’ve been doing everything I can on restarts to not get my bumper knocked off,” Hill said Wednesday in a Zoom press conference. “It seems like every race we come in and the bumper’s caved in really bad. So your first race you really want to just try to keep the truck clean, but we also want to go fight for a win. So it’s gonna be tough to kind of balance that aggressiveness on restarts.”

Hill’s crew chief, Scott Zipadelli, said “a lot of lists, a lot of notes (and) a lot of parts” have gone into getting ready for the two races. That includes bringing tools to the track he wouldn’t normally.

“(With) only two hours post race to work on your truck and then two hours the next morning … I’m just taking some of my tools out of my fab shop just to be more prepared and more organized and just to be able to repair things quicker and faster,” Zipadelli said. “We have everything we need in the hauler, I’m just bringing extra stuff that I work with every single day so that I can be more efficient.”

Teams and drivers are also having to prepare for two races ran in different parts of the day. But the doubleheader is also being held in July. The Truck Series hasn’t competed at Kansas later than May since 2006.

“A lot of these places that we’ve ran so far are usually run the end of February or the beginning of March, the beginning of May, which is way cooler (temperatures),” Gilliland said. “I remember practicing at Kansas (in 2019) and it being freezing. … Places like Kansas are places that put on really great racing, you can run from the bottom to the top. I feel like the warmer the weather, probably the more you’ll see people trying to move around and search for grip. I think it’s a balance. …

“I think the temperature swing is definitely going to change the race track a lot. It’s probably going to be two completely different races for the Truck Series. That’s the fun part. Really, no one knows. We’re going to guess the best we can and pretty much that’s what we’ve been doing all year. We have pretty good notes to go off of at this point and just guess our best.”

Austin Hill joins Hattori Racing Enterprises in Truck Series

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Austin Hill will drive for Hattori Racing Enterprises in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series this season, the team announced Tuesday.

Hill takes over the No. 16 Toyota from Brett Moffitt, who won six races and the series title for the team last year. Moffitt revealed in early December that he would not be returning to the team due to a lack of sponsorship.

Moffitt has not announced any plans for 2019.

A native of Winston, Georgia, Hill is a former member of the NASCAR Next program who competed full-time for Young’s Motorsports in the Truck Series last year and finished 11th in the standings.

Hill has 51 Truck starts since 2014 with one top five in last November’s race at Texas Motor Speedway

He also earned five K&N Pro Series East wins from 2013-15.

The No. 16 will be sponsored by Toyota autodealer Chiba Toyopet in the season opener at Daytona. United Rentals will be a sponsor in multiple races. The team was sponsored by Ibaraki Toyopet and Kobe Toyopet in one race each in 2018.

“I’m thrilled to join HRE this season,” Hill said a press release. “(Owner) Shige (Hattori) has built a great team and what they accomplished last season has me extremely optimistic heading to Daytona. I’ve had the pleasure to work with great teams in the past, including my family’s team in the K&N Series, but this is an opportunity of a lifetime at HRE. Scott and the team proved what they’re capable of last season, and I can’t wait to get to work and see what we can accomplish this season.”

Scott Zipadelli will return as the team’s crew chief.

“I’m really looking forward to racing with Austin and continuing our team’s success,” Zipadelli said in the press release. “Austin is a great kid and has a lot of potential. He has a great track record in the K&N Series and put together a strong year last season with Young’s Motorsports. I think he’ll transition well into our program and fit right in with our group.”

Hattori also announced this week it will return to competition in the K&N Pro Series East with Max McLaughlin in the No. 1 Toyota.

McLaughlin’s team will run engines prepared by students from NASCAR Technical Institute’s (NTI) Spec Engine Program.

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2018 Truck Season in Review: Brett Moffitt

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Brett Moffitt

CREW CHIEF: Scott Zipadelli

TEAM: Hattori Racing Enterprises

POINTS: First (Won championship in his first full season)

WINS: Six (Atlanta, Iowa, Chicagoland, Michigan, Phoenix and Homestead)

LAPS LED:  269

TOP 5s: 13 (Career-best; earned three top fives in six races in 2016)

TOP 10s: 13 (Every top 10 was a top five)

POLES: None (Best starting position was fourth at Texas II)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: His Atlanta win put Moffitt in the playoffs early as long as the team attempted to qualify for all of the races … Six wins tied for the most during the season with Johnny Sauter; no one else had more than three … Won the final two races of the season.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Sponsorship woes plagued the team all season. In Week 11, they considered missing the race at Chicagoland before a sponsor was found at the 11th hour with Fr8Auctions.com. Moffitt won that race … Most often was forced to overcome poor starting position. Qualified on the first two rows only once and the first three rows six times; notably his last three races began in the top five.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2019: Despite winning the championship, Moffitt will not return to Hattori Racing and no other plans have been announced.

Germán Quiroga steps in for Matt Tifft, Red Horse Racing in Iowa Truck race

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An issue with a disc in Matt Tifft‘s back resulted in Sam Hornish Jr. replacing the driver in this weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway.

Now Red Horse Racing has announced Germán Quiroga will drive its No. 11 truck in Tifft’s place in the Camping World Series race in Iowa.

The move comes after Quiroga started second and drove to an eighth-place finish for the team last Friday at Texas Motor Speedway in his first Truck race since 2014. The native of Mexico City raced for Red Horse Racing in 2013 and ’14 and was scheduled to drive the No. 11 Toyota again June 25 at Gateway Motorsports Park.

“I’m really excited to have the chance to race at Iowa this weekend,” Quiroga said in a press release. “It wasn’t originally in the plan, so I’m thankful to Tom DeLoach and Red Horse Racing for giving me this opportunity. I’ve been successful at Iowa in the past, so I’m confident that we’ll have a good Toyota Tundra and be able to pick up a good result.”

In three previous starts at Iowa, the 36-year-old driver has one pole (2014), one top five and two top 10s.

Quiroga will make the start without crew chief Scott Zipadelli, who was suspended for one race weekend for the No. 11 truck violating NASCAR’s lug nut rule at Texas. Zipadelli also was fined $5,000 and put on probation through the end of the calendar year.