Conor Daly will run the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Mid-Ohio for Niece Motorsports on July 8. WWEX Racing Unishippers will serve as the primary sponsor.
“I can’t wait to work with everyone at Niece Motorsports again,” said Daly. “Even though we’ve only done a few races together, it feels like I’m part of their family. I have a lot of respect for Al Niece and the supportive partners of the team like Unishippers and Worldwide Express. It means a lot to get to represent for them as well as Chevrolet. Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite tracks and with the experience I have there I think it will be really beneficial in getting me up to speed quickly.”
Daly has seven starts at Mid-Ohio, all in an IndyCar. His best finish of sixth came in 2016.
“We’ve enjoyed working with Conor in the past and are excited to have him join our team again this season,” said Niece Motorsports General Manager Cody Efaw. “Conor’s experience on road courses, especially at Mid-Ohio, should be a big benefit for him this weekend. We’re looking forward to getting on track with the Unishippers Chevrolet.”
Spire Motorsports announced today Austin Hill will drive the No. 7 Chevrolet Silverado in the CRC Brakleen 150 at Pocono Raceway on July 22. ARCO Design/Build will serve as the primary sponsor.
Hill is a veteran of the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series with 121 starts since 2014. He has amassed eight wins, 27 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes.
“I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the No. 7 ARCO Design/Build Silverado at Pocono Raceway,” said Hill. “Last year with practice and qualifying getting rained out, we had to start in back, but the Spire Motorsports team brought a fast truck, and we were able to get a top-five finish. I’ve had success and a chance to win in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series at Pocono in the past, so I feel confident that we will have a shot to contend for the win.”
The No. 7 team is led by Kevin “Bono” Manion and Mike Greci. Hill and Greci worked together for three years at Hattori Racing Enterprises.
“Spire Motorsports is thrilled to have a driver of Austin’s caliber behind the wheel this weekend at Pocono Raceway,” said Greci. “It’s no secret that Austin and I have some history together, so I know, first hand, what kind of talent he is. His Xfinity Series results this season speak for themselves. I’m confident anytime Austin is in our truck, we’re fuly capable of running up front and winning races.”
18 races into his second full-time Xfinity season driving for Richard Childress Racing, Hill has earned three wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes.
Three of the four Stewart-Haas Cup Series cars have a driver for 2023.
Jenna Fryer with the Associated Press talked with Stewart-Haas co-owner Gene Haas at this weekends race at Las Vegas. Haas noted he would like to give Cole Custer another year while his co-owner Tony Stewart wants Ryan Preece to drive the No. 41.
The driver line-up for 2023 is very important in determining the future of Stewart-Haas. Haas expects to lose both Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola at the end of 2023.
In 2014 Custer entered the Camping World Truck Series as a Haas development driver. He would drive for JR Motorsports full-time in the truck series in 2016.
Custer has drove for Stewart-Haas since 2017, where he would drive full-time for the team in the Xfinity series. He scored one win and finished fifth in the final standings. In 2018 Custer scored one win and finished second in the final standings. 2019 was a break-out year for Custer as he won seven times and finished second in the final points standings.
Custer moved to the Cup Series in 2020 driving for Stewart-Haas. He scored his first Cup Series victory at Kentucky, qualified for the Playoffs and would finish 16th of the 16 drivers.
2021 proved difficult for Custer in the Cup Series. He scored two top-tens and finished 26th in the point standings.
2022 looks a lot like 2021 for Custer. He has three top-tens to his name this season and missed the playoffs. He is currently 26th in the point standings.
Cole Custer’s father is Joe Custer, the president of Stewart-Haas Racing. Gene Haas’ company Haas Automation has been a longtime sponsor of Custer throughout his NASCAR career.
Ryan Preece signed with Stewart-Haas Racing as a reserve driver for the 2022 season. Many expected he would be the replacement to Aric Almirola who stated he would retire at the end of the 2022 season.
Almirola announced that he would return for the 2023 season, postponing his retirement a few more years. This postponement leaves Preece in limbo.
This past season Preece has drove across all three NASCAR series with a variety of teams. Preece ran two Cup Series races for Rick Ware Racing, at Dover and Charlotte where he finished 25th and 37th.
In the Xfinity Series, Preece started three races for B.J. Mcleod Motorsports with a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas. He finished 16th at Richmond, fifth at Charlotte, and sixth at Nashville.
Preece ran nine Truck Series races for David Gilliand Racing. He won at Nashville Superspeedway and scored six top-five and eight top-tens finishes.
The future of Custer and Preece is yet to be determined. Check Podium Report for further updates.
Riley Herbst ran a clean race until he had contact with James Davidson on a restart. This would be the beginning of the end for Herbst playoff hopes. He would later be involved in a massive pile up. The nail in the coffin came when Herbst made major contact with an inside wall.
Herbst ended the round of 12 20 points below the cut line.
Ryan Sieg had a solid top-ten run, finishing ninth. Even with a good finish, Sieg missed the round of eight by just two points.
The Xfinity Series Playoff picture looks like this heading into the Round of 8:
Alex Bowman will miss Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway due to concussion-like symptoms.
Bowman is currently 12th of 12 in the playoff standings. Talladega and the Charlotte Roval are the remaining races in the round of 12.
Noah Gragson, driver for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, will drive the No.48 Ally Chevrolet at Talladega. Gragson was already entered for the race driving the No.62 Beard Motorsports entry. Justin Allgaier will be driving the No.62 in place of Gragson.
Bowman crashed at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. Many drivers crashed in the same spot as Bowman throughout the race.
Bowman is the second driver this season to be sidelined because of a concussion. Kurt Busch, who wrecked at Pocono on July 23 in qualifying, is still sidelined.
Bowman and Busch’s wrecks are very similar. Both drivers spun out with the rear-end hitting the wall.
The two-time Camping World Truck Series runner-up Zane Smith will be back in the series for his fourth year. This will be his second year with Front Row Motorsports.
Along with running full-time in the Camping World Truck Series, Smith will also compete in the Daytona 500. The team noted this will be his first start among others in the Cup Series in 2023.
The team has no plans to field its own Xfinity Series entry, but races “in collaboration with FRM” is an option for Smith.
“We have been thrilled with the performance by Zane this season,” said Bob Jenkins, Owner, Front Row Motorsports in a team release. “We always felt that he was the next breakthrough star in the sport, and he has been proving that this season. We have a plan laid out for him and our next step will be to put Zane and that team in NASCAR Cup Series races where we know we can be successful. We also want to give Zane the opportunity to win more races and a championship with our truck series program, and we are excited to see what he will do next season.”
In their first year together, Smith and FRM have three wins, 10 top-five and 15 top-ten finishes along with the regular season title so far this year.
“Front Row Motorsports has a lot of great momentum now, not only with their Truck Series program, but also with their Cup Series program,” said Smith in a team release. “While I’m 100 percent focused now on the Truck Series playoffs and racing to win a championship for our partners, I’m excited for what the future holds next season as I get the opportunity to also compete at the next level and continue to grow as a race car driver.”
In a press conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Kyle Busch announced he would be leaving Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of 2022 to drive for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in 2023 and beyond.
This news comes after Mars, Busch’s longtime sponsor at Joe Gibbs Racing, announced they would be leaving the sport at the end of 2022.
“I looked at him in his eye and I seen that look in Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s eye, he’s hungry and we’re going to win,” said Richard Childress when discussing the signing of new recruit Kyle Busch. Busch was visibly moved by the comparison to Earnhardt Sr. “It’s flattering, it’s a great honor, Dale Earnhardt is Dale Earnhardt though” said Busch.
“The second I sat down with him I knew his company and his people and the culture around there had the ability to compete for championships from day one,” Busch said, moments before the grand reveal.
With a smirk on his face, a moment “Rowdy Nation” has been waiting for all summer, Busch finally revealed who he would race for in 2023, “I’ll be taking my talents to Welcome, North Carolina to drive the No.8 car for Richard Childress Racing starting in 2023”.
The Past Is The Past
Busch and Richard Childress are no strangers. The two tangled in 2011 at Kansas after Busch had an on-track dispute with one of Childress’ drivers. Childress infamously told his grandson and fellow-racer Austin Dillon to “hold his watch” before he punched Busch multiple times in the face. The same words were heard at the press conference.
“There was something I forgot to give you was your signing bonus, so I got to give you your signing bonus, will you hold my watch?” Childress chuckled as he handed Busch a Rolex box with a large watch inside.
Over a decade has passed since the two sparred, and Childress has moved on, “And that’s all we’re going to talk about that, it’s history,” he said.
The New No.8 Team
Busch spent 15 years at Joe Gibbs Racing. Over this time the pairing won two championships and earned 56 Cup Series victories in the Cup Series. During this same time, RCR as an organization found victory lane 26 times with seven different drivers and no championships, but a season best 2nd in final points standings with driver Ryan Newman in 2014.
RCR’s current lineup includes Richard Childress’ grandson, Austin Dillon who drives the No.3 and Tyler Reddick who drives the No.8. However, in a surprise announcement earlier this year, Reddick announced he would be leaving RCR… in 2024, leaving both RCR and Reddick with an awkward season together in 2023. This makes Busch’s move to Reddick’s No.8 car no surprise.
The No.8 team has been the star performing at RCR, consistently outperforming Dillon’s No.3. Not only will Busch drive the No.8, but Randall Burnett, Reddick’s current crew chief, will work with Busch as well. Childress noted he wants to build a future not a “one year deal” in regards to splitting up Reddick and Burnett.The pairing of Burnett and Reddick have won two races this season and made the playoffs.
Reddicks will drive a chartered car, but car number and crew chief are yet to be announced.
In a touching moment, Childress beckoned Samantha and Brexton Busch, Kyle Busch’s wife and son, to the stage. Like his father, Brexton is a racer. Childress offered Brexton, who is seven years-old, an option to drive for RCR in the years to come.
Brandon Jones will leave Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the JR Motorsports‘ Xfinity Series No.9 in 2023. Jones, a veteran of the Xfinity Series, is in his seventh full time season.
Jones Looking For Championship Winning Car
“To watch how competitive JRM has been over the years is really impressive,” Jones said in a team release. “They’re a threat to win every week, and one of the premier teams in our series. I’m so thankful to Dale (Earnhardt Jr.), Kelley and Mr. Hendrick for allowing me to be part of it.”
Over his career, Jones has 229 Xfinity Series starts with five wins, 36 top-five and 98 top-ten finishes, 49 Camping World Truck series starts with one win, 14 top-five and 24 top-ten finishes.
“Brandon’s been a tough competitor over the years, and he’s a talented addition to JR Motorsports,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, JRM co-owner, in a team release. “He’s a series veteran that brings a lot of experience, and we’re going to see big things from Brandon and the 9 team in 2023.”
Jones’ raced for Richard Childress Racing in his first two Xfinity Series seasons driving the No.33 Chevrolet Camaro before joining Joe Gibbs in 2018.
“Reuniting with Chevrolet again is awesome, too. They were a big part of my career early on, and I’m looking forward to building on those relationships and driving a Camaro in 2023,” Jones said in a team release.
Menards has been a long-time partner of Jones, however nothing has been announced as of yet.
JR Motorsports’ No. 9 – The Team To Beat
JR Motorsports No.9 team has been a Xfinity Series powerhouse over the past decade. The No. 9 won the Xfinity Series Championship in 2014 (Chase Elliott), 2017 (William Byron) and 2018 (Tyler Reddick). Of the 69 victories JR Motorsports has earned, 20 of them are thanks to the No.9 car.
2014 saw the introduction of the No.9 Chevrolet Camaro, driven by rookie Chase Elliott. Elliott would score three wins, 16 top-fives and 26 top-tens in route to the Xfinity Series Championship, the first for JR Motorsports.
Elliott piloted the No.9 again in 2015 with one win, 11 top-fives and 27 top-10s and would finish second in the final points standings behind Chris Buesher.
In 2016 Elliott moved to the Cup Series and the No.9 took a break this year.
William Byron would take over the No.9 car in 2017. Byron’s rookie season was impressive to say the least. He scored four wins, 12 top-fives and 22 top-tens and the Xfinity Series Championship.
Two championships in four years, not too bad.
Tyler Reddick took over the No.9 car in 2018 as Byron moved to the Cup Series.
Reddick amassed two wins, seven top-fives and 20 top-tens. He won the season opener at Daytona to secure his spot in the playoffs and the final race of the season to secure the Xfinity Series Championship.
Another one and done season, Reddick left the team to drive for Richard Childress Racing and JR Motorsports signed rookie Noah Gragson for the 2019 season.
Since 2019, Gragson and the No.9 team have found victory lane 11 times, and scored 54 top-fives and 86 top-tens. Gragson finished third in the Xfinity Series Championship in 2021, his best playoff performance yet.
Gragson will leave JR Motorsports after four seasons at the end of 2022 to drive for Petty GMS in the Cup Series in 2023.
Jesse Little announced on Twitter that the upcoming Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol will be his last. Little has made 13 starts in the Truck Series in 2022, with 1 top-10 coming at Daytona.
“I’m excited to begin a new career after this weekend’s race at Bristol. And while I won’t be climbing in race cars anymore, I’ll still be at the track, and I look forward to see you all there,” Little stated in his release.
Little found the most success driving for his family team, Team Little Racing/JJL Motorsports, in the K&N Pro Series East (now know as the ARCA Menards East Series) and NASCAR Truck series.
Over his career, Little has two Cup series starts, 56 Xfinity series starts with two top-10’s and 47 Truck series starts with eight top-10s.