Regan Smith to drive the #43 at AllStar Race

Aric Almirola, who suffered a fractured vertebra in his back in an accident Saturday at Kansas Speedway, will be replaced by Regan Smith this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Smith, competing in NASCAR’s truck series, will compete in his first Cup event of 2017 in the NASCAR All-Star night Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He will pilot the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 car, which Almirola would have driven. Smith, who was eligible to compete in All-Star festivities because he was in the top 50 in the standings last year, will not be eligible to get in through the fan vote.

Almirola, who suffered a compression fracture to the T5 vertebra (middle back), was released from the hospital Sunday. Almirola said Wednesday at the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation gala that he has a half-crushed vertebra in his middle back and will have more tests Thursday that will help determine his rehab and recovery time.

“[My doctor] preferred me stay home and lay on the couch, but I can walk a little bit,” Almirola said on the red carpet. “The doctors told me just be careful and don’t let anybody give me a hug and all that kind of thing.

“For the most part, I’m OK. I’ve got a broken back and one of my vertebrae is crushed in half, but besides that, I’ll live.”

Almirola’s crash occurred when Joey Logano spun into Danica Patrick and Almirola came sliding hard into Logano, picking his back wheels up high off the ground.

“I’m doing the best I can with a broken back,” Almirola said. “It was important for me to be here. … I had promised Devin that I was going to be here to walk with him. I wasn’t going to let him down.

“I’m in a little bit of pain but with the pain meds and maybe I’ll have a drink to care of it. I think all in all, I’m pretty lucky. It’s a lot easier to think about coming here and dealing with the pain knowing what all these kids are going through.”

Bob Pockrass (ESPN)

Edwards declines RPM’s offer to drive the #43

With Aric Almirola sidelined indefinitely with a compression fracture in his back following Saturday’s fiery crash at Kansas Speedway, his team is seeking a replacement driver in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.

Unfortunately for many NASCAR fans, the replacement driver isn’t going to be Carl Edwards.

Richard Petty Motorsports reached out to Edwards to drive the No. 43 through Sonoma (June 25). Edwards told Fox Sports he was honored by the offer, but respectfully declined.

Along with confirming that Edwards is really done driving in the Cup Series, the update also sheds light on how long Richard Petty Motorsports expects Almirola to be sidelined.

Almirola suffered a compression fracture in the T5 vertebra in the crash involving Danica Patrick and Joey Logano on Lap 199 of the 267-lap Go Bowling 400 at Kansas. Almirola had to be cut out of his car and was airlifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he spent the night Saturday into Sunday.

According to ESPN, Almirola’s injury isn’t as serious as Denny Hamlin’s L1 compression fracture in his back during the 2013 season, which forced him to miss four races. Richard Petty Motorsports is going to be cautious with Almirola and give him at least six weeks to heal.

CCS to host Carolina Mini Stock Challenge this Weekend

Article By: Josh Parrish

The Carolina Mini Stock Challenge presented by Accent Imaging will take to the track for the first time in the 2017 season at Carteret County Speedway located in Swansboro, NC. This race will be a non-points race, but the winner has a chance to walk away with over $3000. This will be race #1 of the 5 race series. Other tracks the series will visit include Dillon Motor Speedway, East Carolina Motor Speedway, and Wake County Speedway.

The race will consist of two 30 lap races paying $1000 to win each. There will be a fast qualifier award worth $1000 along with a Hard Charger and Longest Haul award both paying $100 each. Not only will we see racing from the mini stocks, but the Legends running Twin 30’s along with Bandos, UCARS, Bangers and Mini Cups.

Who To Watch:

#7 Brandon Clements – Clements who is from Swansboro is a local favorite and is always a contender at any track he visits. He holds the most wins at CCS with a total of 5 and recently grabbed wins at both Wake County Speedway in Raleigh, NC and at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina.

#53 Michael Rouse – Rouse is another threat for the win, as he has notched a total of 4 Wins at Carteret County Speedway. He was the winner of the most recent Mini Stock race at CCS.

#01 Kris Hetu – Hetu has 4 top 5 finishes at CCS, with 3 of those being 2nd Place finishes. He hopes to finally break through and get a win which he has been so close to doing many times at the speedway.

BJ Thrasher, who is a regular at Anderson Speedway, will also be making the Haul this weekend to CCS where he has a Top 5 finish that came back in September of 2015.

For more info about the series, visit them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Carolina-Mini-Stock-Challenge-329731720774669/

Outlaw Fasteners to Sponsor Kaz Grala at Charlotte

Making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) debut this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kaz Grala will welcome a new sponsor along for the journey on his #33 Chevrolet Silverado, Outlaw Fasteners.

Transforming the construction industry, Outlaw Fasteners prides itself on having a screw and drive system that allows for no stripping or dropped screws and a “one bit fits all” ability. This technology makes Outlaw Fasteners’ screws “The World’s Best Screw.”

“We are excited to have teamed up with Kaz and the No. 33,” said David Sitton, a representative of Outlaw Fasteners’ distributor. “The NCWTS is ideally aligned with our product, and we believe that both Kaz and Outlaw are emerging standouts in their respective fields. We look forward to the growth ahead for both Kaz and Outlaw Fasteners’ in NASCAR.”

While this may be the NCWTS rookie’s first start at the 1.5-mile track, he has a long racing history at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Before he was old enough to race in NASCAR, Kaz cut his teeth in the Summer Shootout Series and Winter Heat, winning championships in both bandeleros and legend cars at the quarter-mile oval and road course in the track’s infield. Now Kaz has graduated through the ranks and finds himself returning to his roots, but this time in the NCWTS.

“I’m very excited to have Outlaw Fasteners on board this weekend in Charlotte,” said Kaz. “Their company is a great fit in the racing industry and I’m proud to be a part of their introduction to NASCAR. After the test at Charlotte a few weeks ago, I feel better about my first race there. Between that and an awesome new paint scheme, hopefully we can put on a good show for Outlaw Fasteners.”

Earlier this year, Kaz made history by becoming the youngest pole award and race winner in series history at the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Since then, Kaz has collected one top-10 and two top-15 finishes and sits sixth in the NCWTS driver point standings.

-GMS Racing Press Release

NASCAR will investigate Almirola’s accident

NASCAR officials will do a thorough inspection of the #43 Ford of driver Aric Almirola following the Richard Petty Motorsports driver’s fiery crash during Saturday’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. Car can be seen below…

AA Car

“It’s currently at the (NASCAR) R&D Center, and our safety experts will … look for anything that might give us clues or some indication of exactly what the challenge was there with Aric and his back,” Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, said Monday morning on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR.

“I’m certain they’ll interview him and ask him about all the particulars of how tight his belts were and all the rest of that.

“When we have these situations or even situations where someone doesn’t get hurt, we really like to investigate as best as possible into the accident and see how we can get better.”

Miller praised the work of the safety crews and medical personnel.

“To take the precautions that they did, fortunately Aric was able to talk with them over there and explain the situation so they acted accordingly and we were really happy with the way all that went,” he said.

Article via NASCAR.com

Gilliland makes it 4 in a row at Spokane County Raceway

Starting from pole for the sixth consecutive week, Gilliland went on to lead every one of 150 laps to score his 11th career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory as well as his fourth consecutive win.

It was the second straight race the 16-year-old from Ford Sherrills, North Carolina, has led flag-to-flag after a dominating performance last time out at California’s Irwindale Event Center.

His teammate Derek Kraus was his closest competitor of the night, having multiple runs at the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota after the first half of the 150-lap feature. Despite the potential, the 15-year-old Rookie of the Year candidate came home second, tying his best career finish in the series.

Though it didn’t affect Gilliland, the weather had quite the impact on the day’s on-track events. Delaying the start of the race by nearly two hours, the race did not go green until the cars turned 102 laps behind the pace truck as an effort to dry the racing surface.

Stopping for fuel before the green, it was the Gilliland show from there on.

Behind the reigning champion, however, was some close competition and tough breaks for his competitors. A crash on Lap 14 with Blaine Perkins and Rich DeLong III brought out the race’s first of two red flag periods.

Following the lengthy rain delay, the race didn’t see the checkered flag until well after midnight on the West Coast.

Chris Eggleston came home third with Michael Self and Nicole Behar rounding out the top five.

Matt Levin ties his career-best K&N Pro Series West effort in sixth followed by Garret Archer, Owen Riddle, Julia Landauer and Braeden Havens completing the top 10.

The Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 from Spokane County Raceway will air on NBCSN Thursday, May 18 at 10 p.m. PT.

Conley joins JGL Racing’s “Young Guns” Lineup

JGL Racing has announced Cale Conley as the latest addition to their popular “Young Guns” program. Conley will be behind the wheel of the teams No. 24 Toyota at the Hisense 300 on May 27th at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“The time I have spent out of a car has helped me appreciate this opportunity more than ever,” said Conley. “I am glad to be partnered with JGL Racing as our goals of speed and performance are the same. I have had to learn patience and how to trust the process while I have been away from NASCAR. I am very happy to make my return with JGL Racing and James Whitener (team owner).”

Conley has 41 career NASCAR XFINITY Series starts to go along with 36 starts in the NASCAR K&N Series. He has a career best XFINITY Series finish of sixth which came at Kentucky Speedway in 2014

“The addition of Cale to our Young Guns program makes for a great compliment to the drivers we already have”, added JGL Racing team owner James Whitener. “I watched Cale closely when he competed in the XFINITY Series a few years ago and he has proven he is a very talented driver when given the right equipment. We aim to give him just that and let him shine in this No. 24 Toyota.”

Conley and JGL Racing are working on additional races beyond the May 27th event at Charlotte Motor Speedway and expect a future announcement on that expanded schedule as well as sponsors.