xfinity series

Kaulig Racing
Kaulig Racing

Kaulig Racing announces crew chiefs for full-time Xfinity teams

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Kaulig Racing announced Friday the crew chief lineup for its two full-time Xfinity Series teams this year.

Bruce Schlicker, a former race engineer for Stewart-Haas Racing, will lead Ross Chastain and the No. 10 team.

Alex Yontz returns as crew chief on Justin Haley‘s No. 11 Chevrolet. Yontz led Haley’s team in 14 races last year following the death of Nick Harrison in July.

More: Kaulig Racing to attempt to make Daytona 500 with Justin Haley

Schlicker was a race engineer at Richard Childress Racing from 2012-2016 before joining Stewart-Haas Racing.

“I’m excited for the opportunity at Kaulig Racing,” Schlicker said in a press release. “It’s a great team with great resources and even better drivers. We’ve got some great support from Nutrien Ag Solutions, who will be on the No. 10 car for the majority of the races in 2020. I’m looking forward to running a full season in the Xfinity Series with Ross Chastain, winning races and chasing after the championship.”

Yontz served as a crew chief for Kaulig Racing in 24 races in 2019, also working with Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler, A.J. Allmendinger and Chastain in addition to Haley. He was on the pit box when Chastain earned Kaulig Racing’s first NASCAR victory in the July race at Daytona.

“I’m excited to be back with Justin Haley this season full time,” Yontz said in the press release. “We have a few races under our belts together from the end of last season, and we built a really good relationship. I’m looking forward to winning races with him in 2020.”

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.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. set for Xfinity Series start at Miami in March

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. will compete in the March 21 Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, JR Motorsports made official Tuesday.

Earnhardt will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet with sponsorship from Hellmann’s. Since he retired from full-time Cup Series racing after the 2017 season, Earnhardt’s two Xfinity starts – in 2018 (Richmond) and 2019 (Darlington) – have been with Hellmann’s as his primary sponsor. Now a NBC Sports analyst, Earnhardt finished in the top five in both races.

Daniel Hemric and Jeb Burton will pilot the No. 8 the rest of the season.

JR Motorsports

Earnhardt’s last Cup Series start came at Miami. His last Xfinity start at the 1.5-mile track was in 2008. In five Xfinity starts there his best result is second in 1999 before the track was changed to its current banked configuration.

The confirmation of Earnhardt’s race for 2020 is part of an extension between JR Motorsports and Unilever, JRM’s longest-tenured partnership, which enters its 12th season.

As part of the deal, Justin Allgaier and the No. 7 Chevrolet will have sponsorship from Unilever in five Xfinity races.

“In our sport, partnerships are everything,” Kelley Earnhardt Miller, JRM’s general manager said in a press release. “We don’t throw the words ‘cornerstone partner’ around a lot, but when we do, Unilever exemplifies its meaning.”

Menards returns as sponsor for Brandon Jones in Xfinity Series

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Menards will remain a primary sponsor of Brandon Jones in the Xfinity Series this season, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday.

The home improvement store chain will be on Jones’ No. 19 Toyota in 15 races with one partner-specific brand on the hood of the car for each of the Menards races.

Menards, which is also a sponsor at Team Penske and Wood Brothers Racing, has been a sponsor of Jones since he raced at Richard Childress Racing in 2015. It was on Jones’ car for 13 races in 2019.

“I am proud and very excited to be a partner again with a great sponsor like Menards,” Jones said in a press release.  “Our No. 19 team is focused on the 2020 Xfinity Series Championship and having Menards as part of our team makes us even stronger in our run for the championship.”

Jones, who is entering his fifth full-time Xfinity season and has 137 starts, broke through for his first career win last year with a victory in the October playoff race at Kansas Speedway.

Additional sponsorship for Jones will be announced later.

Colby Howard to drive for JD Motorsports for majority of Xfinity season

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JD Motorsports has tapped 18-year-old Colby Howard to drive one of its cars for the majority of the upcoming Xfinity Series season.

Howard, a native of Simpsonville, South Carolina, will make his first start in the March 7 race at Phoenix Raceway.

Howard started in the final two Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races last year, earning a best finish of 21st at Phoenix. He also has four ARCA Menards Series starts over the last two years, with a best finish of eighth at Salem (Indiana) Speedway in 2018.

“I am really looking forward to starting this season with JDM,” Howard said in a press release. “It’s going to be a steep learning curve for sure with all the new tracks on my schedule, but I’m sure we can handle it. My goal is to go out there and learn as much as I possibly can, all while aiming for solid top 20 runs. This is a big step in my career, and I am excited to show what I am capable of.”

Howard will be sponsored by the Project Hope Foundation, which aims to help children cope with autism difficulties in daily life activities. Other sponsors will be announced at a later date, along with Howard’s car number.

Howard will have Jesse Little as a full-time teammate this season.