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#pounditSunday, January 29, 2023

Auto Racing

Martin Truex Jr. makes big personal announcement

Martin Truex Jr in sunglasses

May 2, 2022; Dover, Delaware, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr stands on pit road prior to the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Martin Truex Jr. announced some big personal news via Instagram on Friday.

The 42-year-old said on his Instagram Story that he and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex have broken up.

“To my fans and partners… Sherry and I have made the decision to end our relationship. I will continue supporting Sherry moving forward. I would ask that you respect our privacy as there will be no further comment about this matter,” Truex said in his statement.

Truex and Pollex have been together since 2005. Pollex was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer in 2014. She has been battling cancer ever since.

“I had a less than 30% chance of surviving five years. As I continue to battle my own illness in my eighth year – I’m back in weekly chemotherapy now – it still motivates me everyday,” Pollex said to Forbes for a story in November 2022.

Together, the two have raised money to fight ovarian cancer and pediatric cancer.

In a July 2022 story by The Athletic, Pollex said that her cancer had spread to her right lung, diaphragm and parts of her lymph nodes.

Truex is entering his fifth season with Joe Gibbs Racing. He won the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Motocross legend will attempt to qualify for Daytona 500

Travis Pastrana in sunglasses

Nov 16, 2013; Homestead, FL, USA; NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Travis Pastrana prior to the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Pastrana is a RallyCross and motocross legend. He’s also known for driving both Pastrana 199 and Nitro Circus for Monster Jam, as well as taking part in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series over the years.

Pastrana quit NASCAR back in 2013 citing the lack of sponsorship but left the door open to a future return. At the time, he expressed a desire to run in the Daytona 500, which is one of the few automotive events that have eluded him.

Fast forward 10 years, and Pastrana may finally have that opportunity.

Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic reports that Pastrana will attempt to enter the 2023 Daytona 500. In order to do so, he’ll need to claim one of four available spots open to drivers who do not run the Cup Series full-time. That means he would need to finish with one of the two fastest qualifying times among drivers with non-guaranteed spots, or finish one of the two qualifying races ahead of all other drivers who are not guaranteed starting spots.

Pastrana will run as part of the 23XI team, which is co-owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.

In addition to Pastrana, 23XI team members include Bubba Wallace, Kurt Busch, and Tyler Reddick. Both Wallace and Reddick and guaranteed starting spots in the Daytona 500. Busch will miss the race due to injury.

The Duels at Daytona qualifying races will be run on Thursday, February 16. The Dayton 500 will be run on Sunday, February 19 at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Family shares update on Ashton Torgerson following terrifying crash

Ashton Torgerson gives an interview

The driver who was involved in a terrifying crash at the Chili Bowl Nationals on Wednesday night appears to be on the road to recovery, according to the latest update from his family.

Ashton Torgerson suffered serious injuries at the Wednesday preliminary race of the Chili Bowl Nationals when he was ejected from his car after it flipped several times. The 16-year-old’s family offered an update on Thursday morning.

Ricky Abreu is the driver who won the race. He expressed concern for Torgerson after the victory and apparently called Torgerson’s family to check on his fellow driver.

Torgerson’s crash occurred on the 11th lap. You can see the video below, but beware that it could be disturbing:

Torgerson’s family said on Wednesday night that Ashton had “passed back, neck tests” and the first thing he asked was what place he was in.

The Chili Bowl Nationals is the biggest midget racing event of the year. It was the first midget race of Torgerson’s young career. He spoke beforehand about how nervous and excited he was for it.

Hopefully Torgerson makes a full and speedy recovery.

Kyle Busch’s wife Samantha shares emotional statement on departure from JGR

Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha

Nov 17, 2019; Homestead, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) celebrates after winning the NASCAR Series Cup Championship with his wife Samantha Busch after the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday marked the end of an era for Kyle Busch.

Busch had driven the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing since 2008, but his time with JGR ended after Sunday’s Cup Series finale in Phoenix.

Busch’s wife Samantha shared an emotional statement over social media Sunday evening regarding the family’s departure from JGR. Kyle’s final ride in the No. 18 came the same day that JGR announced the death of co-owner Coy Gibbs.

“The emotions of today are overwhelming,” she began. “Still in utter disbelief that Coy is no longer with us. Our hearts hurt so much for [Joe Gibbs] and Pat having to lay another son to rest, Heather, Ty and the rest of the kids for such a sudden and devastating loss. To know Coy was to understand that much like Kyle he would always shoot you straight and didn’t sugarcoat anything but then would have a different side where he would come take his time to talk racing with Brexton and swap track stories.

“Closing the books on this final race and understanding that all we’ve known for 15 years will never be the same is hard to wrap your head around. It’s difficult to really put into words the relationships we’ve built over the years and how much we will miss those folks.

“A big congrats to Joey and Brittany on their second Championship, it’s always awesome when your kids are old enough to understand what’s going on and be a part of the celebration.

“Kyle and myself thank you for your continued love and support over the years and especially this one. We see the messages, the words of encouragement, the kind acknowledgments that help soften a hard day. The way you rally around our family makes our hearts so full.

“New beginnings and change is scary but we are ready,” she concluded.

Samantha referenced her son Brexton, as well as Joey Logano and his wife Brittany.

She also shared a video compilation of many moments from her family’s time with JGR.

Kyle had a disappointing end of the year with JGR, but he did record four top-10 finishes in the last five races of the Cup Series season, including a 7th-place finish at Phoenix.

Busch is now moving to begin a chapter with Richard Childress Racing.

Joey Logano apologizes for 1 thing after winning Cup Series championship

Joey Logano with sunglasses on

Oct 15, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) during qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Logano on Sunday won the Cup Series race at Phoenix to clinch his second Cup Series championship. The victory was a big reason for celebration, but Logano acknowledged that area is not his strong suit.

He recognized that he doesn’t party as well as some others and therefore is less entertaining.

“This isn’t as entertaining as Ben (Rhodes) was last year. I’m sorry,” Logano said at his champion’s press conference.

Logano was making a reference to Ben Rhodes, who was drunk and hilarious in his champion’s press conference after winning the Camping World Truck Series last year.

Logano may never become that fun, but Sunday also wasn’t his first time drinking beer either.

Now, the greatest thing since sliced bread has won the 2018 and 2022 Cup Series championships in the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske.

Chase Elliott has telling response to Ross Chastain question

Chase Elliott with a hat on

Mar 20, 2022; Hampton, Georgia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Elliott had a telling response to a question he received Sunday after his disappointing 28th-place finish at Phoenix Raceaway in the final race of the season.

The Championship 4 contender was spun out by Ross Chastain on lap 200 of the race. Elliott had to pit to repair the No. 9 Chevrolet, setting him a lap behind his competition.

Elliott never made up the lost ground and finished last among the Championship 4 contenders.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver was asked in a post-race interview with NBC how he saw the incident with Chastain. Elliott was nonplussed by the question. He paused for a few seconds and decided to ignore the matter and instead praise Joey Logano for the win.

It was evident that Elliott had no interest in discussing the matter. Further, he did not seem impressed by Chastain’s explanation that the No. 1 car already had position.

“I feel like I had position on him and he tried to cover it late,” Chastain said of the incident with Elliott.

Chastain drew all sorts of headlines and attention for his ballsy maneuver at Martinsville last weekend to qualify for the Championship 4. But that doesn’t change that he still has plenty of enemies over his driving style. Still, it’s hard to blame him for the incident and his decision not to lift.

Jackson Gibbs pays tribute to late uncle Coy Gibbs during race

Jackson Gibbs smiles

Jackson Gibbs continued to work on Sunday despite the tragedy in his family.

Gibbs’ uncle Coy died on Saturday night at the age of 49. The death was a shock as Coy had just celebrated his son, Ty, winning the Xfinity Series in Phoenix earlier that night.

Ty was scheduled to drive the No. 23 Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD for Sunday’s Cup Series race, but 23XI Racing announced he would be replaced by Daniel Hemric.

Jackson Gibbs works for Joe Gibbs Racing as a tire changer for Christopher Bell. He continued to work for the No. 20 Toyota’s pit crew, but he paid tribute to his late uncle by writing “Uncle Coy” on some tape placed across his helmet.

No cause of death was given for Coy Gibbs. His death comes three years after the death of J.D., who was Joe Gibbs’ other son, and the father of four children, including Jackson.

Several drivers paid tribute to Coy.

Joe Gibbs Racing announces Coy Gibbs has died – dead at 49

Coy Gibbs smiles

Joe Gibbs Racing co-owner Coy Gibbs died in his sleep on Saturday night at the age of 49, the racing team announced on Sunday.

“It is with great sorrow that Joe Gibbs Racing confirms that Coy Gibbs went to be with the Lord in his sleep last night,” the team statement said. “The family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers and asks for privacy at this time.”

Coy Gibbs was a former NASCAR driver in the Xfinity Series and Truck Series. He played college football at Stanford as a linebacker from 1991-1994.

The son of former Redskins coach and JGR owner Joe Gibbs, Coy had four children. He had just celebrated his son, Ty, winning the Xfinity championship in Phoenix on Saturday night.

No cause of death has been released.

Coy leaves behind his wife Heather and four children — Case, Jett and Elle, and the aforementioned Ty. Now, both of Joe Gibbs’ sons have died, as son J.D. died in 2019 from a neurological brain disease.

In addition to being a co-owner, Coy served as vice chairman and chief operating officer for the company.

Rick Hendrick shares his thoughts on Jimmie Johnson’s return to Cup Series

Rick Hendrick in a hat

May 23, 2019; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Cup Series car owner Rick Hendrick during qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Hendrick shared his thoughts on Friday about Jimmie Johnson’s return to NASCAR’s Cup Series.

Johnson announced on Friday that he is returning to the Cup Series as a part-owner and part-time driver for Petty GMS.

The team switch is a big change for Johnson, who drove the No. 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports from 2002-2020.

Hendrick shared a statement about Johnson’s return. He said he supports Johnson’s return but acknowledged how different it will be competing against the 47-year-old.

“This is a tremendous day for our sport. Jimmie is one of the all-time great champions on the racetrack, and I know he’ll apply the same mentality to his role as a team owner. When he sets his mind to something, the level of commitment and work ethic he brings is unsurpassed,” Hendrick said.

“Seeing Jimmie in a firesuit with his name on the roof of a Chevrolet at the DAYTONA 500 is going to be very special for a lot of people. Competing against him will certainly be a change, and a big challenge, but we welcome his return to NASCAR and look forward to the next chapter of a truly remarkable career.”

Johnson has not shared details about the part-time schedule he will be driving, but he did say he will be racing in the Daytona 500.

Hendrick Motorsports fields four cars full-time in the Cup Series. Those cars are: the No. 5. driven by Kyle Larson, the No. 9 driven by Chase Elliott, the No. 24 driven by William Byron, and the 48 driven by Alex Bowman and Noah Gragson.

Kyle Busch shares the 1 issue he is most concerned about with NASCAR

Kyle Busch in a hat

Jul 23, 2022; Long Pond, Pennsylvania, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch walks on pit road during practice and qualifying for the M&Ms Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Busch is prepared for a big transition after this season ends and has a lot of new matters to face. But that’s not actually what is his biggest issue of concern when it comes to NASCAR.

Busch participated in a survey with The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck, who has been asking drivers the same 12 questions. One of the questions is: “When you think about NASCAR five years from now, what are you the most optimistic about and what worries you the most?”

Busch shared that the revenue sharing issue is his biggest concern and simultaneously something about which he is optimistic. He shared why it’s so vital.

“We have got to fix our sport in its ability for survival. We are in survival mode right now,” Busch said.

Busch noted how he ended up leaving Joe Gibbs Racing after his car lost its key sponsor.

Busch also mentioned that beyond revenue sharing, the future of the actual cars is a serious issue. He noted how the cars are already too heavy for the tires. If they go to electric cars in the future, that will make things even more difficult.

As far as the revenue sharing issue goes, representatives for several teams have met with NASCAR to share their proposals for revenue sharing.

Currently, the teams get 25 percent of the TV revenue, the tracks get 65 percent, and NASCAR gets 10 percent. Teams currently make 60-80 percent of their money from sponsorships, which makes it difficult to have stability. Such a system can leave teams one lost sponsorship deal away from major problems, like what happened with Busch and JGR.