Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Petty suspends operations of #43 NXS team

Richard Petty Motorsports announced that the team suspended operations of the #43 Xfinity team due to financial issues with the team's primary sponsor, J. Streicher. Due to missed payments, Richard Petty Motorsports is forced to cut back the originally-planned full-time schedule for the NASCAR Xfinity Series #43 Ford Mustang driven by Jeb Burton. J. Streicher joined Richard Petty Motorsports late in the off-season for their first sponsorship in NASCAR supporting Burton's first full-time season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Burton
and the team got to work, and just days after signing the agreement with J. Streicher, the team competed in the season opener at Daytona. The team tallied one Top-10 and four Top-15 finishes in the first 10 races of the season and currently is in position to compete for the Chase in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. "This is an unfortunate situation," said Richard Petty Motorsports CEO Brian Moffitt. "We make commitments to both our employees and vendors that are based on sponsor commitments, and we take those commitments seriously. We will pursue every avenue to ensure the contractual obligations between RPM and our sponsor are met. We'll take each week as it comes and do our best to get the #43 Ford Mustang on track as much as possible this season." Richard Petty Motorsports and Burton will continue their relationship and work to get Burton on track as much as possible this year. This weekend at Pocono Raceway, Burton will compete in the #32 Ford for GO FAS Racing in the Sprint Cup Series.(Richard Petty Motorsports)

JD Motorsports Pocono Preview

Chastain Strong at Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. – Although Saturday’s Pocono Green 250 will be the first Xfinity Series race at the triangular track, Ross Chastain is no stranger there.
       Chastain has driven in two Camping World Truck Series races at Pocono – and done well in each. In 2012, he finished 10th, then followed that run with a fifth-place finish in 2013.
       “The track is very fast and tricky, but I feel like I know it well,” Chastain said. “The Xfinity cars should run well there. I hope all the laps I have on the track will give us a boost.”
       Chastain, who will drive the Dream Water No. 4 Chevrolet in Saturday’s race, rides 14th in Xfinity driver points entering the weekend.
Because this will be Pocono’s first Xfinity race, practice has been extended. Practice sessions are scheduled at 2 and 4 p.m. Thursday and 12:30 and 3 p.m. Friday. Qualifying is set for 9:05 a.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 1 p.m.

Smithley Prepared for Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. – Garrett Smithley is perhaps more excited to race at Pocono Raceway than any other Xfinity Series track.
       The so-called Tricky Triangle will host the series for the first time in Saturday’s Pocono Green 250.
“When I found out the Xfinity Series was going to Pocono for the first time this year, I knew I wanted to be in that race,” Smithley said. “Though I didn't have much experience racing these cars going into this season, Pocono Raceway is one of the tracks I've raced at several times. I made my stock car debut at Pocono in 2013 in the ARCA Racing Series, and raced in the Camping World Truck Series last year.
“I love the Tricky Triangle. We have a lot of momentum going into this weekend, so I hope that mixed with my experience there will make for a great weekend.”
Smithley raced in the ARCA series twice and the Truck series once at Pocono.
Smithley finished 15th with a great run last week at Charlotte, lifting himself to 17th in Xfinity points.
Because this will be Pocono’s first Xfinity race, practice has been extended. Practice sessions are scheduled at 2 and 4 p.m. Thursday and 12:30 and 3 p.m. Friday. Qualifying is set for 9:05 a.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 1 p.m.

Preece Challenges Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. – Ryan Preece faces another new frontier this weekend as the Xfinity Series races at Pocono Raceway in Saturday’s Pocono Green 250.
       Fortunately for Preece, much of the rest of the field also will see “new” at Pocono. The Xfinity Series is racing at the difficult triangular track for the first time.
       “I’ve never raced there, but a lot of the other guys are new to it, too,” Preece said. “I’m lucky that my teammates (Ross Chastain and Garrett Smithley) have some experience there, and that will help. It should be a fun race.”
       Preece finished 22nd in last week’s race at Charlotte and is 18th in Xfinity driver points heading to Pocono.
Because this will be Pocono’s first Xfinity race, practice has been extended. Practice sessions are scheduled at 2 and 4 p.m. Thursday and 12:30 and 3 p.m. Friday. Qualifying is set for 9:05 a.m. Saturday, with the race to follow at 1 p.m.

Ray Black Jr. Ready to Master Tricky Triangle

FLAGLER BEACH, Fla.  (June 1, 2016) – It may be the first NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at Pocono Raceway, but NXS competitor Ray Black Jr. is ready to make his third NASCAR career start at the 2.5-mile triangle track this weekend in the Pocono Green 250.

Known to the racing community as the “Tricky Triangle,” Black understands the challenges that come with competing at such a complicated track. His first start at the track came in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) in 2014 where he finished 28th. His second start at the track during his 2015 NCWTS season resulted in a Top-25 finish, as he came home 24th. Black now looks to take his finish to the next level with a Top-20 finish this weekend in the NXS.

“Pocono is a tough one for me, but I’m up for the challenge,” said Black. “It was the third track I ever competed at in my NASCAR career, so my first time out there was difficult but I feel more prepared for it now. We have three completely different turns with three completely different levels of banking that we need to have our setup be able to master and that can be really tough. But I’m looking forward to having another chance to figure this track out and come out with a solid Top-20 finish for the team!”

The trip to Pocono also brings Black and his SS Green Light Racing team the opportunity to get outdoors and explore more than some of the other more city-based tracks on the circuit. When not on the racetrack, Black spends much of his free time outdoors and can be found doing anything from scuba diving, hiking, and white water rafting, to surfing, golfing and fishing. While Pocono isn’t close enough to the ocean for some of these activities, Black does enjoy the opportunities the track’s location does offer.

“I like being outdoors any chance I can be,” explained Black. “I’m always looking to do something and enjoy the time out there whenever I can. Pocono is cool because they have some neat hiking trails available close by that we are planning to check out. There’s also a great go-kart track out there that the team and I went to last year that I know we are hoping to go to again this time.”

The Pocono Green 250 will take place on Saturday, June 4 at 1:00 p.m. ET at Pocono Raceway. Fans can tune in via FOX or MRN Radio for live coverage.

Fans can keep up with Ray Black Jr. by following him and his sponsor, ScubaLife, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @RayBlackJr and @TeamScubaRacing. Learn more about Ray Black Jr. and Team Scuba by visiting and (SS-Greenlight Racing)

Running With Giants - Underfunded Teams Look to Make Impact

While listening to a Thousand Foot Krutch song entitled "Running With Giants" and it made me think of the Underfunded teams within all of NASCAR's Series. These teams with the lower budgets and older equipment. These teams are seriously Running with Giants. These cars are running in packs with the higher drivers like Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson.
When it comes to Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott both have something in Common and that's the fact that they have the money behind them and they have some of the newest and best equipment they can possibly have. Drivers like Michael McDowell, Josh Wise, Derrike Cope, B.J. McLeod, Jordan Anderson, Tommy Joe Martins, among many many more who are the drivers who fill the field each and every week and these teams are running with giants just because they have the love for racing.
Each weekend these drivers try their absolute hardest to show they matter, This song from Thousand Foot Krutch called Running with Giants is one that could be entitled the theme to the Underfunded Teams and when they land in victory lane they defeated those giants. It's like David beat Goliath. This is what fans in the long term want to see and when these teams win more sponsors come to NASCAR. (Koelle,2016)

Germain Racing Honors Army Ranger PFC Christopher Wright and Perseveres Through Long Night in Charlotte

Returning to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the second time in as many weeks, the GEICO Racing team looked to turn in a solid performance at the longest race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Casey Mears posted the 14th fastest time in the first round of qualifying on Friday before advancing to the second round where he would notch a 17th place starting position in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. After posting the seventh fastest time in final practice on Saturday, the No. 13 GEICO Military Chevrolet looked primed for an impressive finish. However, once the green flag dropped on Sunday evening, a tight handling condition plagued the Germain Racing team for all 400 laps and left Mears with a 30th-place finish.

After a moving military tribute honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country, Mears and the GEICO Racing team were ready for battle at the 1.5-mile oval. Mears and Germain Racing featured the name of U.S. Army Ranger, Specialist Christopher Wright,  who lost his life in Afghanistan, on the windshield of the No. 13 GEICO Military Chevy. On-hand for the race were members of Wright's family, along with four of his fellow Army Rangers who served alongside him in the Army's 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA.

When the race went green, Mears quickly reported to his crew the GEICO Military Chevrolet was an "8 out of 10 tight" which hindered his ability to turn through the corners. As a scheduled competition caution slowed the pace on lap 25, crew chief Bootie Barker brought his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and "big adjustments." Mears restarted from the 27th position on lap 31.

A long caution-free run saw the field pit under green flag conditions while Mears continued to report "plowing tight" handling. The second yellow flag was displayed on lap 113 and the GEICO Military pit crew took the opportunity to make adjustments underneath the hood of the No. 13 Chevrolet. After spending a little extra time on pit road to complete the service, Mears restarted from 35th-place on lap 121. In just 10 laps, the veteran driver picked up four positions as the field began to spread out once again.

Another lengthy green flag run ensued and at the halfway mark of the 600-mile event, Mears reported he wanted to run in the top groove but the car wouldn't turn up high. The third caution came four laps later, allowing the Bakersfield, California native to return to pit road for additional adjustments. The GEICO crew once again popped the hood and made adjustments, while changing four tires and adding fuel to the No. 13 machine. Mears continued to run inside the top-30 for the remaining laps and crossed the finish line in the 30th position.

"We were just way too tight tonight," Mears said after the race. "When we practiced in the heat of the day on Saturday, the GEICO Military Chevrolet was good. But when it came to the race, it just plowed and nothing seemed to fix it. I'm proud we were able to honor U.S. Army Ranger Christopher Wright on the windshield and have his family at the track with us today."

The Sprint Cup Series now heads to Long Pond, Pennsylvania for racing at Pocono Raceway. Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet will hit the track on Friday, June 3rd for opening practice at 11:00AM ET.

The Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400 will take place on Sunday, June 5th, with FS1 carrying live television coverage beginning at 1:00PM ET. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio channel 90 will also have the live radio broadcast.(Germain Racing)

Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing Raising Awareness For Special Needs Individuals

CONCORD, N.C. (June 1, 2016) – A young businessman from Sanger, Texas will have his snow cone business alongside Fortune 500 companies in the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, as the No. 95 Chevrolet of Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing will showcase two small businesses with causes close to their hearts this weekend.

Blake Pyron became the youngest business owner in Sanger, Texas when he opened Blake’s Snow Shack in early May of this year.  Blake, who has Down Syndrome, made national headlines and has been featured on ABC News, Huffington Post and USA Today.

The story reached the desk of Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing team owner Bob Leavine, who calls Tyler, Texas home, along with his wife, Sharon and daughter, Melynda both of whom hold roles with the race team.  The Leavine family connected with the story not only due to their Texas roots, but also on a much more personal level.

“We learned about this great young man from Sanger, Texas and his family and his story really
related to us,” explained Leavine.  “Tanner, our grandson, is autistic.  He is 21 and after graduating high school in 2015 he is now looking to that next step in his life – similar to Blake and his story.”

“There is a place in Tyler, Texas – Breckenridge Village of Tyler – that our family has supported for a long time because of the work they do and the people there,” Leavine continued.  “We never thought about Tanner going there – but they have taken that young man and helped him grow and contribute.  Tanner has learned skills from cooking to making candles and selling them.  And now he’s on the waiting list to live there.”

Blake’s story and Tanner’s involvement at Breckenridge Village put the Leavine family into action.
 Within just a few days, they had created a new paint scheme for the No. 95 Chevrolet at Pocono that will promote these two companies and elevate the stories behind them.

“These are great stories that people need to be aware of and we had an opportunity to do that on our Pocono car,” said Bob Leavine.  “We wanted to put it on the car so we could make a statement and say, ‘hey we are behind this.’  We need to help our special kids because it takes a lot of resources.  People need to know about this because they can help.  Breckenridge takes donations for support. They have financial aid for those that need monetary help to attend there.”

Mary Ann Pyron, Blake’s mother, was thrilled when she received the call with the opportunity to showcase Blake’s Snow Shack on a NASCAR race car.

“The Leavine family – they touched our hearts,” said Mary Ann Pyron.  “We have tried to show other
people that you can believe in yourself and your child can do anything that they want to.  There is no limit for my child.  And I feel that the Leavine family reaching out and for them to share us with 'NASCAR Nation' is great.  We feel beyond blessed!”

Blake and his father will attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Pocono on Sunday, June 5.  The No. 95 crew will wear purple Blake’s Snow Shack t-shirts during the race weekend – the same t-shirts that Blake wears for his business.

“We are 30 minutes north of Texas Motor Speedway so we know all about NASCAR -- we love NASCAR and we love the fans.  NASCAR fans are your every day, hard-working families, and that’s what we are.  This will be our first race.  We’ve never been able to attend one before so this is a dream come true.  Blake is ecstatic – he loves all sports.”

Melynda Leavine Hensley and her son Tanner will also attend the Pocono race along with representatives from Breckenridge Village.

“It is such an honor to have Breckenridge and Blake's Snow Shack on the car,” said Melynda Hensley.  “To bring recognition to these young men and so many more like them is such a wonderful thing. We are grateful that we have this opportunity to bring attention to the things that people with special needs accomplish, to show NASCAR and its fans that there are no boundaries to what they can do.”

“People with special needs are not that much different than the rest of us. They have the same wants, needs and desires as we do,” continued Melynda.  “They only need a little more accommodation and understanding. I would love to encourage everyone to find an opportunity to support people with special needs in their hometowns.”

The AXALTA 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway will take place on Sunday, June 5 at 1:00 p.m. ET.  Ty Dillon will pilot the No. 95 Chevrolet for Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing at this event.

Race fans can support Blake’s Snow Shack ( and Breckenridge Village ( by purchasing items or donating.  (Circle-Sport Leavine Family Racing)