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.”
Kaulig Racing, Justin Haley will attempt to make Daytona 500
“I am eager to try and qualify for the Daytona 500,” Haley said in a press release. “It is an honor for me to compete for a starting spot in Kaulig Racing’s first NASCAR Cup Series race. The F.O.E. has been with me since 2016. The Eagles were on my car when I won in July at Daytona, so it’s a great fit for them to be back on my car as we try to lock ourselves into the Daytona 500.”
Kaulig Racing has been competing in the Xfinity Series since 2016. It will field three entries in the Xfinity Series season opener with Haley, Ross Chastain and A.J. Allmendinger. Chastain won last July’s Xfinity race at Daytona for the team’s first NASCAR victory.
”I am super excited to attempt not only our first NASCAR Cup Series race, but our first Daytona 500!” said team owner Matt Kaulig in a press release. “To be competing at the World Center of Racing on the main stage is incredible, especially for our team that began just four years ago. I have all the confidence in the world that Justin Haley will make everyone at Kaulig Racing proud and truly let everyone know that Kaulig Racing is here to compete.”
Stewart-Haas Racing announces 2020 Cup driver-crew chief lineup
Stewart-Haas Racing announced Wednesday it is shaking up its driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, with Rodney Childers the only crew chief staying in place.
Mike Shiplett will move up to the Cup Series to crew chief Cole Custer in his rookie season in the No. 41 Ford. Together, Custer and Shiplett won seven Xfinity Series races in 2019 and finished second to Tyler Reddick in the standings.
Shiplett returns to the Cup Series for the first time since 2011 when he was crew chief for A.J. Allmendinger in 19 races at Richard Petty Motorsports. He takes the place of Billy Scott, who was crew chief for Daniel Suarez‘ only season in the No. 41.
A team spokesperson confirmed to NBC Sports that Scott is no longer with SHR as he pursues other opportunities.
SHR is swapping crew chiefs on the No. 14 and No. 10 cars, with Mike Bugarewicz now paired with Aric Almirola on the No. 10 and John Klausmeier paired with Clint Bowyer on the No. 14.
Klausmeier worked with Almirola for the last two seasons as they earned one win (Talladega II, 2018) and made the playoffs both years.
Bugarewicz has led the No. 14 team since 2016, where he was Tony Stewart’s crew chief for his last NASCAR season before being paired with Bowyer in 2017. They won two races together in 2018 (Martinsville I, Michigan I) but went winless in 2019.
SHR also confirmed the No. 10 and No. 14 teams will be switching their crews, with the exception of their pit crews.
Childers will be paired with Kevin Harvick for a seventh year. Since 2014 they have produced 26 victories, one championship and have made the Championship 4 in five of six years.
“Our biggest asset at Stewart-Haas Racing is our people, and we strive to put each person in the best position to succeed,” said Greg Zipadelli, the team’s vice president of competition, in a press release. “Our driver/crew chief pairings for next season reflect this ideology, and we believe this lineup provides the best opportunity to win every time we unload our Ford Mustangs at the racetrack.”
PLANO, Texas — Kyle Busch will compete in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Toyota Racing announced Monday.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is scheduled for Jan. 25-26.
Busch will be one of the drivers for AIM Vasser Sullivan and drive the Lexus RC F GT3 car.
“I’d like to thank everyone at Lexus Motorsports and AIM Vasser Sullivan and Toyota for this opportunity,” Busch said. “To have the chance to run in such an iconic race as the Rolex 24 is certainly something I’ve thought about and wanted to do. My partnership with Toyota and the history we’ve had together has been incredible. I would love to continue that history and maybe get my Daytona Rolex to add to my trophy collection.”
This will mark Busch’s debut in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Rolex 24. He will compete in the GTD class.
“We’re thrilled to have a racer of Kyle’s caliber join AIM Vasser Sullivan to open our 2020 season at the Rolex 24 at Daytona,” said Jimmy Vasser, co-owner of the team. “Kyle has proved he can compete and win in many forms of motorsports and we look forward to having him drive the Lexus RC F GT3 at Daytona.”
Busch will participate in the 2020 Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 3-5 to prepare for the race.
The only other time Busch has competed on Daytona’s road course was in 2009 when he co-drove a Lexus with Scott Speed for Chip Ganassi Racing and finished 10th in the Brumos Porsche 250, the night before the July Cup race there.
Busch, the 2015 NASCAR Cup champion, seeks to advance to the championship race in the Cup Series for the fifth consecutive year.
Although one can’t see Bowman Gray Stadium from the roads that many teams, media and fans will take to Martinsville, its impact on the sport can’t be overlooked.
Bowman Gray Stadium, which recently completed its 71st season of racing, could be the most important track to NASCAR.
As the sport looks to 2020 and beyond, NASCAR is carving a schedule that increases the chance for conflict and controversy — exactly what made Bowman Gray Stadium a must-see for fans, inspired the TV show “Madhouse” and stocks Google searches with stories and videos of altercations and cars ramming each other.
This could be the future of the Cup Series.
Call it a return to its past.
Beating and banging is nothing new in NASCAR. It’s part of Dale Earnhardt’s legacy. It’s why fans long for North Wilkesboro. It’s how some measure the present.
But NASCAR is putting in motion a plan that could increase the likelihood that the chaos often seen at Bowman Gray could become more common in Cup.
While next year’s Cup schedule features the same six short track races as this year, those tracks will have greater significance in the playoffs.
The Bristol night race moves into the playoffs for the first time and is the opening round’s elimination race. It will be held the week after Richmond, marking back-to-back short track playoff events for the first time. Don’t think there won’t be some contact and tempers?
And to raise the intensity, NASCAR moved Martinsville Speedway to the final race before the championship race next year.
Aric Almirola said on NASCAR America’s MotorMouths this week that “Martinsville is always kind of a place where you have to get rough when you need, but I do feel like that Joey opened Pandora’s box there. … I think anybody else that is in the Round of 8 that saw that and sees that if they have an opportunity to win at Martinsville, don’t be nice. You have to take that opportunity.”
Imagine what it will be like next year when Martinsville is the last chance to get into championship race (which will be held at ISM Raceway, a track more conducive to beating and banging than Homestead-Miami Speedway).
Desperate times call for desperate measures. That could lead more contact on the track, which would could lead to an altercation with drivers and crew members on pit road after a race.
Isn’t that what many fans want to see? Drama, conflict and controversy.
Fans could see that again Sunday at Martinsville (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN) and even more likely next year with its place in the playoffs.
Yes, it could be just like a Saturday night at Bowman Gray Stadium.
“The first year moving here, I went to Bowman Gray,” AJ Allmendinger said on NASCAR America’s MotorMouths this week. “I was like what is this place? This is insanity … but this is awesome. I love this place.
“I love seeing the races there, the videos that go with it because it’s true passion and a little bit of craziness mixed in.”
And the future.
2. A faster approach
Although Corey LaJoie says he hasn’t signed anything with Go Fas Racing for next year — “we’re working toward making that happen,” he said last weekend at Kansas Speedway — he is seeking to add partners so the team can purchase better engines for some races next year.
“Faster you can make that horse that I sit on every week run a little faster, it hopefully puts me in the conversation the next couple of years for a race-winning ride,” he said.
“It costs money to go fast. It’s a matter of trying to get more and more of that money, because upgrading the engine package is substantial, especially stretched out for majority of the year.”
LaJoie said the focus is on upgrading engines with plans for the team to purchase some cars from Stewart-Haas Racing.
The key will be money. As it is for any driver and team.
“Bringing funding is the name of the game,” LaJoie said. “You can act like it doesn’t exist, but it does. The first thing they say is, ‘We’d love for you to drive for us.’ The second question is ‘How much you got? Because I’ve talked to this guy and he’s got $2 million and this guy has a million and a half. What are you bringing to the table?’ Bringing helmets and seats isn’t what moves the needle. You have to have actual cash money.”
3. Chasing a record
Joe Gibbs Racing’s 16 wins this season are two short of the modern-era record of 18 set by Hendrick Motorsports in 2007. NASCAR’s modern era is from 1972.
It seems likely JGR will tie the mark with four races left. JGR drivers have won the past four short track races: Kyle Busch won at Bristol in April, Martin Truex Jr. swept the two Richmond races this year, and Denny Hamlin won the Bristol night race in August.
Also, consider Joe Gibbs Racing’s dominance at short tracks since 2009.
JGR drivers have won 31 of the 65 races at short tracks since that time. The next three teams: Hendrick Motorsports (10 wins), Team Penske (10) and Stewart-Haas Racing (seven) combine for 27 wins in that stretch.
4. A new look
The Kannapolis Intimidators are no more. The minor league baseball team, which took its name from Dale Earnhardt, announced previously that this would be its last season with that name. A team official told NBC Sports in February why it was changing the name that it had used since 2001.