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TC Daily Pit Stop: Johnson, Knaus Added to HOF Ballot; Goodyear Hosting Tire Test on Indy Oval; Elliott Adds Xfinity Series Event; and More
TC Daily Pit Stop: Thursday, July 13th, 2023
Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, a driver-crew chief pairing responsible for seven NASCAR Cup Series championships, are two of the new nominees on the NASCAR Hall of Fame Ballot for the Class of 2024.
Alongside them on the Modern Era Ballot are Neil Bonnett, Tim Brewer, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Harry Gant, Harry Hyde, Larry Phillips, and Ricky Rudd. Donnie Allison joins Sam Ard, AJ Foyt, Banjo Matthews, and Ralph Moody on the Pioneer Ballot.
After being present on the NASCAR Hall of Fame Ballot on three occasions, Les Richter, a long-time NASCAR executive responsible for bringing the sport to the West Coast, has been added to the Landmark Award Ballot.
Richter joins a five-person ballot for the Landmark Award which includes the likes of Janet Guthrie, Alvin Hawkins, Lesa France Kennedy, and Dr. Joseph Mattioli.
Brodie Kostecki, who sits second in championship standings in Australian Supercars, is reportedly set to travel to the United States in August, to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, according to AUTO ACTION.
Kostecki, who has a short stint in what is now the ARCA Menards Series East, is likely to pilot a Chevrolet-backed entry, although which car he’ll pilot is currently unknown.
Of note, Erebus Motorsport, the team in which Kostecki drives for in Supercars, has a relationship with Richard Childress Racing, an established team in the NASCAR Cup Series which fields entries for Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch.
According to the report, Kostecki was believed to have everything “well under control” prior to the stunning performance by Shane Van Gisbergen in the inaugural Grant Park 220 earlier this month.
Since July 2022, when Roger Penske made a point of mentioning the possibility of the NASCAR Cup Series returning to the oval configuration of Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2024, interest and speculation have continued to build.
Those discussions have apparently made their way directly into the ears of Goodyear, leading the tire manufacturer to plan a tire test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval later this year, per Greg Stucker, Director of Race Tire Sales.
But, as Stucker said in a SiriusXM NASCAR Radio interview on Wednesday, Goodyear having a tire test at the 2.5-mile oval, doesn’t reflect any decisions made by Roger Penske or NASCAR Cup Series officials about the track’s future.
“We’re going to go to Indy and run the oval,” said Stucker. “We just feel like there’s enough discussion around potentially going back to the oval in the future, let’s go ahead and get on that race track, the oval configuration, with the NextGen car. We haven’t run the NextGen car with the oval, we’ve only run the road course.”
Hendrick Motorsports has elected to add a fifth NASCAR Xfinity Series event to its schedule for the 2023 season, announcing Wednesday that the No. 17 Chevrolet Camaro would enter the July 22 event at Pocono Raceway.
Chase Elliott, 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion, will get behind the wheel of the HendrickCars.com-sponsored entry at the 2.5-mile triangle-shaped facility in Pocono, Pennsylvania.
The 27-year-old driver is currently on the hunt for his first NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, as he looks to lock himself into the post-season, after missing seven races in the first half of the season – six due to injury, one due to a suspension.
Elliott’s participation in the Explore The Pocono Mountains 225 will also mark the first Xfinity Series start for the Dawsonville, Georgia-native since he served as an interim driver for Michael Annett at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course in 2021.
NASCAR Xfinity Series full-timer Sheldon Creed has his NASCAR Cup Series debut on the books, announcing Wednesday he’ll join Live Fast Motorsports at Kansas Speedway in September.
Coming along for the ride with Creed will be Xfinity Series sponsor Whelen Engineering, which will adorn the No. 78 Chevrolet Camaro in a scheme similar to that of the one the 25-year-old carries for Richard Childress Racing.
“I’m excited to race a Cup [Series] race for the first time, as that’s been the dream for a long-time,” said Creed. “Whelen is a great company and I’m appreciative for their support in allowing us to do this with Live Fast Motorsports. We hope to have a good day at Kansas Speedway come September.”
Benebone, a leading USA brand of durable chew toys for dogs, has partnered with Michael McDowell, Zane Smith, and Front Row Motorsports ahead of the upcoming NASCAR National Series weekend at Pocono Raceway.
The company will serve as a primary sponsor of McDowell’s No. 34 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series Pocono 400, while also being an associate partner of Zane Smith’s No. 38 Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series CNC Brakleen 150.
For both McDowell and Smith, the partnership with benebone is an authentic connection, as both have dogs featured in their family unit. Smith and his fiancé have a Golden Retriever Roxy and a French Bulldog named Kygo. McDowell’s family has a white Labrador named Willow.
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