NASCAR: Ganassi, HScott team up on 1-car XFINITY Series program

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Chip Ganassi Racing will have a bigger role in NASCAR’s No. 2 national series next season.

CGR is joining forces with Harry Scott Jr.’s operation to field a single-car XFINITY Series program out of Ganassi’s North Carolina shop. The team’s No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro will run under the “HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi” banner.

Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and upcoming XFINITY Series sophomore Dylan Kwasniewski will be part of the driver lineup for the No. 42 team, which will have Mike Shiplett as its crew chief.

Last season, Larson and Kwasniewski were the primary XFINITY (Nationwide) drivers for Turner Scott Motorsports. Kwasniewski had a tough rookie campaign with just three Top-10 finishes over the full 33-race schedule, while Larson scored 2 wins, 14 Top-5s, and 21 Top-10s in 28 races.

“The HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi partnership formalizes a relationship that has been in the making for a couple of years,” Scott said in a release. “This is a first step of a partnership that will further develop drivers and provide even more excitement in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.”

“We have had a great relationship with Harry over the past couple of years and bringing this program into our shop is something that we feel benefits both teams,” said Ganassi. “We feel that our expertise on both the competition and the business side can help grow the program both on and off the track.”

CGR previously ran an NXS program from 2004 to 2008. Those teams earned six wins, nine poles, 32 Top-5s, and 60 Top-10s in that timespan.

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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