NASCAR: GameStop in for 10 races on Erik Jones’ XFINITY ride with Gibbs

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Erik Jones’ part-time drive this year for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series will feature a familiar sponsor.

After supporting Sprint Cup veteran Matt Kenseth over the last two years of NXS competition, GameStop will now back Jones and the No. 20 JGR Toyota Camry in 2015 for 10 events.

Those events include the NXS season opener at Daytona on Feb. 21, the two races at both Texas and Charlotte, and single races at Fontana, Bristol, Richmond, Phoenix, and Homestead-Miami.

Along with his NXS schedule, Jones will also compete full-time this year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He made three NXS starts in the No. 20 Toyota last year with finishes of seventh at Chicago, eighth at Bristol, and sixth at Phoenix.

“As a gamer, I’ve always followed the cars GameStop puts on the track each year,” Jones said in a release. “It’s so cool that they change their paint scheme for every race, and they’ve featured many of my favorite games. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to combine my love for gaming with my career as a NASCAR driver.

“I know we’ll be competitive each week with the GameStop Toyota, and I’m confident we’ll be able to get us a win, or a few, this season.”

Mike Wheeler, former race engineer for Denny Hamlin on JGR’s No. 11 Sprint Cup team, will now take over as Jones’ crew chief on the team’s No. 20 NXS program.

“Erik is a great addition to our program and will be a great representative of GameStop,” team president J.D. Gibbs said in the same release. “We also have Mike Wheeler stepping up to lead the No. 20 Toyota team as crew chief. It will be exciting to watch those two together as they run up front and contend for wins each time Erik is in the No. 20 Camry.”

Lucas Oil Late Models, All Star Sprints postpone April events

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In separate press releases, the Lucas Oil Late Model series and the All Star Circuit of Champions announced the postponement of their April schedules.

Both releases cite extended federal social distancing guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the postponements and cancelations.

For the Lucas Oil Late Model series, the extension affects races at Hagerstown Speedway (originally scheduled for April 18), Port Royal Speedway (April 19), Tri-City Speedway (April 24), and Macon Speedway (April 25). The series hopes to resume the original schedule on May 1st at Ponderosa Speedway and May 2nd at Florence Speedway.

Port Royal Speedway’s Rumble by the River, originally scheduled for April 19th, has been postponed until Thursday, August 27th.

The Nininger Tribute at Hagerstown Speedway, scheduled for April 18th, has now been canceled. Also canceled are the Budweiser 50 at Tri-City Speedway scheduled for April 24th and the April 25th event at Macon Speedway.

At this time, races are set to resume on May 1 at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Kentucky. Backup dates have been announced for Ponderosa (September 4) and Florence Speedway (August 12) should they be needed.

The events affected for the All Star Circuit of Champions include Attica Raceway Park’s Spring Nationals (April 10-11), Thursday Night Thunder at Virginia Motor Speedway (April 16), the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic at Williams Grove Speedway (April 17), the Keith Kauffman Classic at Port Royal Speedway (April 18), the Johnny Grum Classic at Bedford Speedway (April 19) and the season’s first visit to Wayne County Speedway (April 25).

Series and track officials are working together to find suitable make-up dates.

“We are all in the same boat with every other sanctioning body and sports league in America right now and we want to be part of the solution and abide by state orders and federal guidelines,” said Tony Stewart, owner of the All Stars in a press release. “Originally, we were going to take a week-to-week approach, but with the stay at home orders in certain states and social distancing guidelines, it made sense to postpone the month of April. We aren’t going to put anyone on the road and at risk until we are given the green light by state and federal officials. Thank you to the tracks for the open lines of communication over the past few weeks. We hope to reschedule as many dates as possible once we are able to return to racing.”

Conditions permitting, the All Star Circuit of Champions will begin their 2020 championship point season on Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, with visits to Lernerville Speedway and Sharon Speedway, respectively.

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