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TC Daily Pit Stop: Noah Gragson Reinstated; NASCAR Adding Stage Cautions for ROVAL; Sam Mayer Re-Signs with JRM; Elliott Takes Blames for Kansas Frustrations, and More
TC Daily Pit Stop: Wednesday, September 13th, 2023
On Tuesday, NASCAR officially announced that Noah Gragson - who was suspended by his team and NASCAR on August 5th for liking an insensitive meme on Instagram - had been reinstated by the sanctioning body.
Gragson, 25, is now eligible to compete in all NASCAR-sanctioned events, but at this time, has no direct plans to do so. The Las Vegas, Nevada-native will compete in the ASA STARS National Tour event at Toledo, though.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to NASCAR for reinstating me,” Gragson said. “Over the past several weeks, I have dedicated myself to personal growth and reflection, and I believe I have become a better person because of it.”
On Tuesday, Senior Vice President of Competition for NASCAR, Elton Sawyer, confirmed that the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series events at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL would have end-of-stage cautions thrown.
Speaking on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday, Sawyer explained NASCAR’s thought process behind the seemingly-unpopular move, saying that series officials are wanting to ensure that the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are officiated in the same way.
Additionally, NASCAR will alter the restart zone at the makeshift road course, moving it into the frontstretch chicane, rather than having it on the first-half of the dogleg on the frontstretch. Sawyer says this will allow the field to get more spread out on the initial restarts.
Sam Mayer will return to JR Motorsports for the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, where he will pilot the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro, the organization confirmed on Tuesday.
The Franklin, Wisconsin-native, who scored two victories in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season at Road America and Watkins Glen, will return for a third season in the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro, as the driver looks to score his first championship this year.
“We’ve seen so much potential in Sam and we’re proud of all he’s accomplished this year,” said JRM CEO Kelley Earnhardt Miller. “The victory at Road America was huge for him and his family. Getting things solidified for next year will allow him to focus on the remainder of 2023 as he competes for the championship.”
Chase Elliott Takes Blames For Frustrations; Didn’t Have Full Picture of Pit Road Incident With Larson
One of the hot topics exiting the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Kansas Speedway, was something that brewed between Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson while exiting pit road.
Elliott spoke to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday, and maintained his position that there is nothing to talk about as far as feud between he and Larson is concerned, but apologized for showcasing frustration before fully understanding the situation on Sunday.
“We obviously ran into each other on pit road, and I didn’t have the full picture of what went on. I was frustrated. That stuff happens, for sure. But at the end of the day, I’ll certainly take the blame for my frustrations on that front,” Elliott explained.
Ryan Vargas and aspiring NASCAR Cup Series team, 3F Racing, will enter a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series event in Germany later this month, as the organization’s on-track debut in a NASCAR-sanctioned series.
The campaign will be a joint effort between 3F Racing and Team FJ, owned by Jerome Galpin, Series Director of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, in order to promote 3F Racing’s Driver Development in the United States.
Vargas, 22, serves as the Head of Driver and Team Development for the organization, and will drive the No. 30 Chevrolet Camaro, with sponsorship form loyal partner Critical Path Security.
“I am incredibly humbled to make the trip to Germany to run in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Race with my friends at 3F Racing,” said Vargas. “It’s always been a dream of mine to race overseas and to do that with the support of my friends at Critical Path Security makes it all the more special. I’ve been a fan of the series for quite some time and the idea of taking on a new challenge in a whole different car and track is an exciting one.”
Derek Kraus has added three NASCAR Xfinity Series events to his schedule with Kaulig Racing, starting with Friday’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The Stratford, Wisconsin-native will pilot the No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro in Friday’s event, while also adding races at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix Raceway to his schedule with Kaulig Racing for the 2023 season.
Kraus has five prior starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, with a career-best of eighth-place being matched last weekend at Kansas Speedway, when he drove the team’s No. 11 Chevrolet for the first time.
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