JGR to hold ‘unprecedented announcement’ on Tuesday; will Carl Edwards’ signing be revealed?

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The long-awaited confirmation of Carl Edwards’ move to Joe Gibbs Racing is expected to occur next Tuesday, August 19.

A press conference has been scheduled at JGR’s headquarters in Huntersville, N.C. that, according to a team media release, “this unprecedented announcement will have impact across four NASCAR racing series.”

If Edwards is indeed announced as the newest member of the JGR Sprint Cup team, he would join former Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth, along with Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch to make up a monster talent lineup.

It would also mark the finalization of several years of planning and hoping by JGR to become a four-car team.

It’s unclear who will be Edwards’ primary sponsors in 2015.

Also expected to be announced at the same press conference, according to Motorsport.com, is the naming of Daniel Suarez to drive for JGR in the successor to the Nationwide Series next season.

(Nationwide Insurance is leaving as series sponsor after this season; a new series sponsor has yet to be named.)

Suarez, 22, is a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Suarez is the current leader of the NASCAR Toyota Series in his native country. He’s earned four wins in nine starts this season.

Last season, Suarez won three of 15 races and finished second in the Toyota Series, preceded by finishing third in 2012, winning two of 14 races.

He’s also competed in 12 of 13 races this season on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, with two wins and is currently ranked 13th (he finished third in the K&N Series last season).

Suarez made his first NNS start earlier this year at Richmond, qualifying 12th and finishing 19th.

Given JGR’s announcement that Tuesday’s press conference will impact four NASCAR racing series, Edwards will obviously cover the Sprint Car aspect of it, while Suarez will impact the Mexico Toyota, K&N East and NNS.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

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Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

Follow @JerryBonkowski