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Layne Riggs joins Kaulig Racing for three Xfinity starts

Short track ace Layne Riggs is hoping to see how his prowess will translate to larger tracks in a more powerful vehicle than his late model or truck. On Monday, Kaulig Racing announced he will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series début at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in the #11 Chevrolet Camaro. Further starts will take place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway on 14 October and 28 October, respectively.

The son of NASCAR veteran Scott Riggs, the 21-year-old won the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship in 2022 with sixteen wins across four tracks. He is the series’ youngest national champion at the age of twenty.

During the title campaign, Riggs began racing in the Craftsman Truck Series with three starts for Halmar Friesen Racing, including a seventh on debut at IRP. He has run three more Truck races in 2023, each with a different team: he finished twenty-eighth at Atlanta for TRICON Garage before migrating to Chevrolet for Nashville (twenty-seventh with Young’s Motorsports) and IRP (third with Spire Motorsports).

“I’ve been watching Layne on the short-track circuit for a couple of years now and I am impressed what he has earned so far in his young career,” said Kaulig Racing president Chris Rice. “He’s had a couple of starts in the truck series and I look forward to seeing what he can do in one of our cars.”

Kaulig’s #11 is the team’s multi-driver car for the Xfinity Series playoffs; the role was originally held by the #10 until Daniel Hemric became its driver for the postseason as he is in driver’s championship contention while the #10 is such for the owner’s title. The quirk arose as the #10 has three wins courtesy of A.J. Allmendinger and Kyle Larson while Hemric qualified for the playoffs on points in the #11.

Daniel Dye entering Xfinity Series with Alpha Prime

Daniel Dye will run three NASCAR Xfinity Series races in the #44 Chevrolet Camaro for Alpha Prime Racing starting at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday. Further starts are planned for Las Vegas Motor Speedway on 14 October and the season finale at Phoenix Raceway on 4 November.

“I’m really looking forward to making my Xfinity debut with Tommy Joe Martins and everyone at Alpha Prime,” said Dye. “It’s a great opportunity to compete at the next level and get a feel for what the Xfinity car is like before hopefully getting more opportunities in the future.”

Dye is currently a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rookie, sitting eighteenth in points with a best finish of eleventh at Gateway. He moved up to the Trucks after placing runner-up in the 2022 ARCA Menards Series standings.

With his Truck team GMS Racing closing down at the end of 2023, Dye has not revealed his 2024 plans beyond confirming that he already had a new ride lined up.

He finished twenty-fifth in the Truck race at Texas in April and nineteenth at Las Vegas two months prior. While he has never raced at Phoenix in a truck as its lone date is the season ender in November, Dye placed second there during his 2022 ARCA campaign.

Penalties turn Baja 400 upside down

When Nick Lapaglia reached the Baja 400 finish in Ensenada, Ciaran Naran and the #3X team celebrated their second Moto overall win of the 2023 SCORE International season while the #11X’s Arturo Salas Jr. and Clayton Roberts cherished a runner-up in their début with GasGas. By the next day, however, neither team was even on the podium for their class.

The #11X’s victory was taken away by an hour-long penalty for conducting a pit stop too close to the road; SCORE rules stipulate stops must be on the right side of the pavement between thirty and fifty feet (9.1 to 15.24 meters) away from the course. The #3X received two minutes for speeding, which greatly paled in comparison to the hour they got for having a chase truck on the course that kicked up dust which impeded the progress of riders behind it.

The penalties dropped Salas and Naran to fourth and fifth in Pro Moto Unlimited, respectively, while reigning bike champion Juan Carlos Salvatierra notched his first win of 2023. Even his #1X team, consisting of Shane Logan, Diego Llanos, and Justin Carnes, was not spared SCORE’s wrath as they got eighteen seconds for speeding.

On four wheels, Pablo Jauregui went from having Tecate beer cases on his Class 1/2-1600 car to seeing his name at the bottom of the results sheet. He initially beat Eric Pavolka by over two hours but was automatically disqualified for using an illegal racing line. Likewise, Aaron Celiceo was the lone finisher in Class 7F only to receive a DSQ for encroaching on an rancher’s graded road after taking a turn too early and ending up off the course.

Either other class winners also had time added for various infractions throughout the race on Saturday. Bryce Menzies was not one of those as he avoided penalties to win the Four-Wheeler overall for the third year in a row, beating Luke McMillin by three minutes as he has since the 2021 race.

Dodge Charger Daytona

The Dodge Charger Daytona is a legendary and iconic American race car, known for its distinctive aerodynamic design, powerful performance, and success in NASCAR racing during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Here are some key details about the Dodge Charger Daytona:

  1. Introduction: The Dodge Charger Daytona was introduced in 1969 as a high-performance version of the Dodge Charger, specifically designed for NASCAR racing. It was part of a "aero wars" competition among automakers to create the most aerodynamic and fastest cars for NASCAR's high-speed tracks.

  2. Aerodynamic Design: The most distinctive feature of the Charger Daytona is its aerodynamic styling. It featured a pointed, extended nose and a massive rear wing that extended from the trunk. These design elements were aimed at reducing drag and increasing stability at high speeds.

  3. Racing Success: The Dodge Charger Daytona made an immediate impact on the NASCAR circuit. It achieved its most significant success during the 1969 season when it won numerous races, including the inaugural Talladega 500, and helped Dodge secure the NASCAR Manufacturer's Cup that year.

  4. Plymouth Superbird: The success of the Charger Daytona led to the development of a sibling car, the Plymouth Superbird, which shared the same aerodynamic design. Both cars were powered by high-performance V8 engines.

NBC touts record-breaking IndyCar viewership amidst media rights negotiations

The fifth campaign of full-season IndyCar Series coverage on the NBC family of networks and streaming platforms has concluded, and according to a Wednesday morning press release by the corporation, it was a good one.

According to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics data, 2023 was the most-watched IndyCar season since 2011, when Television coverage was split between ABC and Versus (later known as NBCSN, now USA). The 17-race season was also the most watched since NBC took full broadcasting rights of the series in 2019. Peacock, NBC’s subscription-based streaming service also broke viewership records, airing a full race, most qualifying sessions, and all practice sessions from March through September, despite viewer complaints about commercials.

The Indianapolis market unsurprisingly led all markets nationwide in viewership with an average rating of 3.26 across the season. May’s Indianapolis 500 broadcast showed a slight bounce back from 2022 (4.93 million viewers compared to 4.84) but joined 2020 and 2018 as the only races to see less than 5 million average viewers since reunification in 2008.

Credit: Chris Jones/Penske Entertainment/Courtesy of IndyCar

Despite the relatively low viewership numbers, 13% of eligible households tuned in to the race, matching 2008’s record.

The announcement comes in the middle of negotiations between the series and broadcasters for media rights after the conclusion of the 2024 season, the last of IndyCar’s current contract with NBC. Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal reported earlier this month that Penske Entertainment, the parent company of IndyCar, has hired Endeavor, a Nashville-based media company to consult in the upcoming negotiations. Endeavor recently assisted the NCAA and NWSL in a similar role.

Busch Light Clash returns to LA in 2024 with Mexico Series

The NASCAR Cup Series‘ Busch Light Clash will return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 2024, but it will have some company for its third foray as the NASCAR México Series is also tagging along. It will take place on 4 February, once again serving as the first race of the 2024 Cup season despite being an exhibition.

“This is a tremendous win for our fans and our sport,” commented Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing development and strategy and the mastermind of the Clash at the Coliseum. “Not only will the fans see the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series in action, they will also bear witness to the talent and skill that is found within the NASCAR Mexico Series. I can’t think of a better way to begin our 2024 season.”

The Clash was moved from its birthplace of Daytona International Speedway to Los Angeles in 2022 in an effort to stimulate racing interest for an increasingly unpopular exhibition in a unique market. Although the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a historic venue known for American football and hosting the Olympics, NASCAR transformed the playing surface into a quarter-mile oval to mixed but mostly positive reception. It was the first time that NASCAR competed at a stadium track since 1958 at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, while the last at an American ballpark was Chicago’s Soldier Field in 1956.

With what is formerly Auto Club Speedway not on the 2024 calendar as it prepares for reconfiguration, Southern California will be without a points race until its reopening. This sparked rumours about the Clash becoming a points-paying race for 2024, though Sunday’s reveal put an end to that possibility.

The México Series, one of NASCAR’s four international championships, last raced in the United States from 2013 to 2015 at Phoenix Raceway. 2014 winner Daniel Suárez is currently a Cup Series driver.

Honda to debut new Talon at Baja 1000

Honda Factory Off-Road Racing will bring a new and improved Honda Talon to the Baja 1000 on 13–18 November. Revealed on Friday at the Sand Sports Super Show in Costa Mesa, the new “Gen-2” Talon is based on the consumer-model 2023 Honda Talon 1000R’s two-seater version.

The new Talon’s platform is a contrast to its predecessor that used the four-seater model. Although the first-generation car has enjoyed success with eight major victories, its larger size clashed with driver Zach Sizelove‘s more reflexive driving style. The original Talon has 77 inches of track width with a 35-gallon fuel cell, while the Gen 2’s track width is narrower at 72 inches and its fuel cell holds 28 gallons.

On the rear, the car features rear-mounted radiators and a dual exhaust arrangement; the latter is inspired by Honda’s CRF250R dirt bikes with exhaust piping that travels up and out the back to lower the centre of gravity for the spare tyre along the rear. The smaller fuel cell sits below the driver’s seat and also assists in dropping the centre of gravity.

“It was really built to stay on top of the whoops and run long races down in Baja was built to win the Baja 1000,” team principal Jeff Proctor stated about the first-generation car. “With [the Gen-2] car, with our driver Zach Sizelove, he’s a driver that drives with a lot of finesse. He’s an incredible driver, extremely skilled driver, and we thought that we could take the platform and lighten it up a little bit.”

The new car features a naturally-aspirated 999-cc engine, making it eligible for competition in SCORE International‘s Pro UTV Normally Aspirated category like the previous one. As such, Proctor stressed the need to “be fast corner to corner. We spent a lot of time trying to lighten up the platform and just make sure we’re lightning fast without sacrificing the durability.”

X44 closes Island X Prix II with Sunday victory

After a disastrous Saturday in which they bowed out of the Redemption Race to finish a measly ninth in the classification, X44 Vida Carbon Racing rebounded Sunday to win the Island X Prix II‘s second Grand Final.

Fraser McConnell and Cristina Gutiérrez edged out Rosberg X Racing, who swept the first Island X Prix in July, in the Grand Final to score their second win of 2023. ABT CUPRA XE, whose driver Sébastien Loeb won the 2022 championship for X44, joined them on the podium.

“Cristina and I had our heads down and drove four strong clean laps in the final,” said McConnell. “As always, the team worked tirelessly to make sure the car was in top shape.”

JBXE retired from the Grand Final with a front end failure, ending an otherwise dramatic run to the feature after losing a sprint to the finish with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Veloce Racing claimed the Redemption Race after a messy qualifying plagued by electrical issues.

Denny Hamlin speeds to Bristol Night Race win

Denny Hamlin speeding on pit road seems to be a recurring event. Him winning races is also just as frequent.

Despite being ordered to the rear for a speeding penalty following a lap 70 caution for Austin Cindric getting airbourne after hitting A.J. Allmendinger, Hamlin had plenty of time to make up lost ground. After spending the rest of the first and second stages catching up, he took the lead from his Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Ty Gibbs on lap 354 and led 142 laps to clinch his third win of the year and third at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“It’s our year. I just feel like we’ve got it all put together. We’ve got the speed every single type of race track. Nothing to stop us at this point,” Hamlin said in his post-race interview before declaring to the jeering fans, “I beat your favourite driver. All of them.”

Fellow JGR driver Christopher Bell dominated the first two stages and led a race-high 187 laps, meaning the trio combined to lead 481 of 500 laps. The team’s fourth driver Martin Truex Jr. struggled mightily and brought out a caution for hitting the wall. Although he finished two laps down, he squeezed into the Round of 12 by just four points thanks to bonuses as the regular season champion; the latter caveat means he is tied for the points lead with William Byron.

Hamlin’s 23XI Racing employee Bubba Wallace claimed the twelfth and final spot in the next round. While Bristol is one of his weaker tracks and he finished a lap down, a third-place Stage #1 finish helped boost him over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by seven points.

Zane Smith joins Trackhouse/Spire alliance for 2024

Ford’s top prospect Zane Smith is heading back to Chevrolet in 2024. On Saturday, Trackhouse Racing Team announced Smith will join them for a special arrangement in which he will drive a third NASCAR Cup Series car full-time for Spire Motorsports.

“I truly do believe I’m ready now,” Smith commented. “I’m excited for next year with Spire, to learn. Sunday is a whole different ballgame. I’m just ready to attack it and take advantage of the opportunity I have in front of me.”

Spire already fields the #7 and #77 but will open a third car for Smith using a charter they acquired from Live Fast Motorsports for USD$40 million (€37,476,000). Live Fast, co-owned by B.J. McLeod, Matt Tifft, and Joe Falk, intends to continue racing part-time in 2024 as an open team without a charter.

Smith previously raced Chevrolets in the Craftsman Truck Series, finishing second in points in 2020 and 2021 with GMS Racing, before joining Ford and Front Row Motorsports for 2022. It did not take long for him to adjust to his new home as he won in his début race with the Blue Oval before claiming the championship. He is currently fifth in points with two wins.

Besides his Truck campaign, he also made select starts in the Cup Series for FRM, scoring a tenth at the Coca-Cola 600 in May.

ACCIONA Sainz survives for Island X Prix 2 Saturday win

ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team had a perfect Saturday as Mattias Ekström and Laia Sanz won both heat races and the Grand Final, but the latter was not exactly the cleanest affair.

Nearly everyone in the Grand Final ended the race with some sort of damage, with ACCIONA | Sainz being the exception as they cruised to the win. Carl Cox Motorsport‘s Timo Scheider had the early advantage entering the first corner only for Ekström to overtake him along the outside line and pull away. CCM would eventually retire.

Behind him and Sanz, ABT CUPRA XE stole second from Veloce Racing after the latter struggled with correcting broken windshield wipers in the switch bay. Although a dry day, the second Island X Prix course featured water crossings not present for the first in July, making wipers an imperative feature. Rosberg X Racing, who has dominated in Sardinia since its introduction including sweeping the July rounds, briefly stopped with a mechanical issue but crawled to the finish.

Andretti XE won the Redemption Race to bounce back from missing the second round of qualifying due to a crash in the first heat. On the other hand, McLaren XE‘s difficult weekend continued after Tamara Molinaro flipped to start the Redemption Race; Molinaro was driving in relief for Emma Gilmour, who fractured her rib in a practice crash on Friday.

Molinaro was not injured in her crash.

Grand Final results

FinishNumberTeamTotal TimeDriver #1Driver #2
155ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team9:47.173Mattias EkströmLaia Sanz
2125ABT CUPRA XE10:29.939Sébastien LoebKlara Andersson
35Veloce Racing10:53.149*Kevin HansenMolly Taylor
46Rosberg X Racing13:29.1298Johan KristofferssonMikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky
58Carl Cox MotorsportDNFTimo ScheiderLia Block
* – Received a penalty

Redemption Race results

FinishNumberTeamTotal TimeDriver #1Driver #2
123Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E10:35.722Timmy HansenCatie Munnings
222JBXE10:43.214Andreas BakkerudHedda Hosås
399GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing10:47.720RJ AndersonAmanda Sorensen
444X44 Vida Carbon RacingDNFFraser McConnellCristina Gutiérrez
558NEOM McLaren XEDNFTamara MolinaroTanner Foust

Qualifying results

Round #1

Heat #1

FinishNumberTeamTotal TimeDriver #1Driver #2
155ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team9:50.643Mattias EkströmLaia Sanz
28Carl Cox Motorsport9:52.578Timo ScheiderLia Block
399GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing9:56.670RJ AndersonAmanda Sorensen
422JBXE9:59.519Hedda HosåsAndreas Bakkerud
558NEOM McLaren XE10:30.303Tamara MolinaroTanner Foust

Heat #2

FinishNumberTeamTotal TimeDriver #1Driver #2
1125ABT CUPRA XE10:02.949Sébastien LoebKlara Andersson
25Veloce Racing10:06.263Kevin HansenMolly Taylor
36Rosberg X Racing10:13.782Johan KristofferssonMikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky
444X44 Vida Carbon RacingDNFFraser McConnellCristina Gutiérrez
523Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme EDNFTimmy HansenCatie Munnings

Round #2

Heat #1

FinishNumberTeamTotal TimeDriver #1Driver #2
155ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team9:37.429Laia SanzMattias Ekström
25Veloce Racing9:41.834Molly TaylorKevin Hansen
344X44 Vida Carbon Racing9:49.383*Cristina GutiérrezFraser McConnell
499GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing10:06.702Amanda SorensenRJ Anderson
558NEOM McLaren XEDNFTanner FoustTamara Molinaro

Heat #2

FinishNumberTeamTotal TimeDriver #1Driver #2
16Rosberg X Racing9:55.156Johan KristofferssonMikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky
2125ABT CUPRA XE10:09.762Klara AnderssonSébastien Loeb
38Carl Cox Motorsport10:25.965*Lia BlockTimo Scheider
422JBXEDNFAndreas BakkerudHedda Hosås
523Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme EDNSCatie MunningsTimmy Hansen

Carlos Sainz takes second consecutive pole position after unpredictable qualifying in Singapore

Carlos Sainz took pole position under the lights of Marina Bay Circuit at the Singapore Grand Prix after a qualifying session with plenty of surprises and shock results. 

Q1 – Major crash for Stroll red flags session

With the championship leaders of Red Bull Racing somewhat off the pace during practice, the door was open for an unexpected polesitter to take charge of qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix. 

After the drivers completed their first push laps, Mercedes AMG-Petronas F1 Team’s George Russell was leading the timing table with a 1:32.478, followed closely by Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and Sergio Pérez, all within a tenth of a second of the fastest time. 

The elimination zone consisted of Liam Lawson, stepping in for a third race weekend on account of Daniel Ricciardo’s injury, Alex Albon, both Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers and Lance Stroll. Stroll was impeded during his first flyer by Logan Sargeant, which was cause for frustration for the Canadian driver in the first minutes of qualifying. 

Norris’ second lap saw him inch closer to Russell’s time, just five thousandths of a second from taking the lead time. Soon after with just under seven minutes to go, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen captured the lead from Russell with a time of 1:32.398. The lead was then passed to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, setting a time of 1:32.339 in a session that was seeing rapid hand-offs of the lead between the top drivers. 

Justin Allgaier kicks off Xfinity playoffs with Bristol win

JR Motorsports has had better nights than Friday but at least one of their drivers and owner left in a good mood, even if the latter’s night literally went down in flames. All of Justin Allgaier‘s team-mates retired from Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff opener at Bristol Motor Speedway including his boss Dale Earnhardt Jr., while Allgaier led the final thirteen laps to begin the postseason on a strong note.

The win was his first at Bristol since 2010. To make the victory even sweeter, Allgaier announced he had signed a contract extension with JRM for 2024 following the race.

Allgaier’s #7 team played their cards to perfection. After a caution came out for Josh Bilicki‘s spin on lap 248, Allgaier was told to pit while everyone else stayed out. While a risky move as it dropped him down the order, the newer tyres and added fuel gave him the advantage that he used to the fullest to catch Daniel Hemric—who had his own 2024 announcement earlier in the day—with thirteen to go.

“This team has done an amazing job at this race track since I started at JR Motorsports,” said Allgaier. “We led a lot of laps, and the monkey was definitely on our back. The pit strategy there, coming down pit road by myself was nerve wracking, right?”

While Allgaier celebrated with Earnhardt in Victory Lane, it was a bittersweet night for the latter. All three of JRM’s other drivers Sam Mayer, Josh Berry, and Brandon Jones crashed out together coming to the end of Stage #2, which also collected Ryan Sieg. Earnhardt himself was knocked out by a fire in the cockpit on lap 271 that burned the leg on his firesuit. He will try to bounce back in his second scheduled start at Homestead in October.

Romain Bouzigon running Rallye du Maroc in 2025 Dakar Rally quest

Romain Bouzigon has watched his friend Benjamin Melot race the Dakar Rally and World Rally-Raid Championship, and now wants a piece of the action himself. On Thursday, Bouzigon announced his plans of competing at the 2025 Dakar Rally, and his first step towards earning a spot there will be the Rallye du Maroc in October.

“CRAZY, you have to be CRAZY to pursue your dreams! Well crazy, we are, and not just half,” began Bouzigon on social media. “Thanks to you, thanks to the strength and determination that you have awakened in us on the Dakar 2023, we will make these dreams come true! I am very proud to announce that I am embarking on the DAKAR 2025 motorcycle adventure! A childhood dream that would come true!

“I found out last week that all the planets were aligning for me to participate. There is only one thing missing today, and that is to URGENTLY complete the budget that would allow me to get started. So today I am looking for patrons, companies or private individuals, and I am selling boxes of wine to help me finance this rally, the first step on the road to DAKAR 2025. Friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, enthusiasts, fake accounts, etc., if you want to follow me on this adventure, you are welcome.”

Bouzigon has competed in motocross for over fifteen years. In 2017, he and French Motocross Championship competitor Gaëtan Cadot co-founded the MX Performance Academy in Franche-Comté to train young motocross competitors. Melot, who has raced at Dakar since 2019, is an instructor at the school; Bouzigon accompanied Melot to Saudi Arabia for the 2023 Rally as a physical trainer, where Melot finished thirteenth in Rally2.

Outside of racing, he is the director of COPS 25, a facility focusing on cryotherapy and athletic recovery. A doctor in sports science from the University of Franche-Comté, he has published various academic journals such as an April 2020 piece discussing the potential use of cryotherapy for motocross riders between heat races.

No Pite Havsbad for 2024 Race of Champions

In 2022, the Race of Champions decided to break from the usual pavement courses by racing on the snowy and icy surfaces of Pite Havsbad in Sweden. Although the new terrain proved to be a hit among competitors, the experiment has come to a rather abrupt end after just two years. On Friday, ROC announced that disputes pertaining to the land on which the event is held are preventing a return for 2024.

Located in Piteå near the Arctic Circle, Pite Havsbad is a resort often used for conferences and family activities. It sits by the Pitsundet strait, with beaches lining the coast, and ROC was held along this strip that is now under debate.

“Due to recent uncertainties regarding how the land area by the beach and the sea can be used, Pite Havsbad is unable to host the Race of Champions in 2024,” reads an ROC statement. “These unexpected challenges come after two hugely successful ROC events on Snow and Ice in Pite Havsbad.

“The 2023 Race Of Champions event at Pite Havsbad was watched by 21.5% of all viewers in Sweden on SVT1, and independent specialist agency Nielsen measured the Global TV exposure in 100+ countries to a value of over 44 million Euros.”

In a testament to their rally prowesses, Sébastien Loeb and Mattias Ekström won the two individual Races of Champions on the snow/ice while Petter and Oliver Solberg claimed the Nations Cup in both years for Team Norway.