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Ray Black Jr. to make Xfinity Series debut this weekend at Texas

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While the Xfinity Series season is starting to wind down, Ray Black Jr. will just be getting started this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 24-year-old Black will make his Xfinity Series debut at the 1.5-mile track in Fort Worth in Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.

“I’ve been to Texas a couple of times now and know the track’s racing style and characteristics, so I think it’s a great place for me to take this next step,” said Black, who will drive the No. 15 Burnie Grill Chevy Camaro

Black will be pulling double duty at TMS. He’ll also be racing in the Camping World Truck Series event there, piloting the No. 7 ScubaLife.com Chevrolet in the WinStar World Casino 350.

“I think running both races and getting all that extra seat time will be extremely beneficial for me,” the Palm Coast, Fla. native said. “I’ll get to experience different speeds and different racing lines throughout the weekend, which will really help me strengthen my driving skills.”

Black is in his first full-time season in the Truck Series. In 20 starts, his best finish was a fifth-place showing in the season opener at Daytona.

“I’ll be interested to see if there is anything I can learn from the XFINITY side that I could bring back to the truck series to help give me just a little bit more of an edge on the competition,” Black said.

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What drivers said about Bristol Motor Speedway

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Comments from drivers after Monday’s rain-postponed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, where Jimmie Johnson won for the second time:

JIMMIE JOHNSON Winner: “Yeah, it was kind of interesting because when the No. 42 (Kyle Larson) was there, it just created an environment to run the top, and I wasn’t as good on the top. The No. 42, not being up there and that first couple of cars; the bottom was really where it was at for the short run. This Lowe’s Chevrolet was flying.

“… This track has been difficult over the years, and we really hit on something Saturday afternoon in that last practice session around the bottom, and honestly, it’s what I’ve been looking for here for 16 years, and we finally figured it out. So, I’m very very happy.”

Clint Bowyer – Finished second: “Yeah, what a day. Starting off, I was way too loose and fell way back, just missed it. You know, heck, last car on the lead lap. (Crew chief) Mike (Bugarewicz) made some great adjustments all day long. The pit crew was on their game all day long and gained spots almost every time, and then I lost them all back on pit road speeding. Went to the back again, and then drove back up through them and got ourselves some position there. Mike made a good call of putting me in a position of one of the first cars on four tires there. I think (Jimmie Johnson) was the other one, and he won the race, so the right strategy was there. The team effort was there. You know, that’s what a weekend is all about. It’s just been this long since I’ve won a race, and here is pretty special. It would have been pretty cool to be over there in Victory Lane.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished third: “I thought our Jimmy Johns Ford was the fastest car, we just needed track position. I think we showed how fast it was there on no tires and kind of able to hold our own. You just never know where you’re going to come out on those restarts. I felt like we had a couple cautions and we were in control of the race with the 11 on two tires and we might have had a chance. A good weekend and we’ll just keep going.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished fourth: “Well we haven’t had a top five in a long, long time. We got better there at the end and got a little bit of track position finally. It was an uphill battle all day without qualifying, and then I sped on pit road and got us to the back. At the end, we had a car that was good – most of the day it wasn’t very good, but the last two runs we were fairly competitive.”

Joey Logano – Finished fifth: “Yeah, we weren’t a restarter today. Kind of non-typical for the 22. It’s usually a short-run speed car. I started out hitting the splitter, up the race track, I was all over the place. I couldn’t even retain the lead when we had it. That probably cost us the race when we lost the lead to (Jimmie Johnson). Good long-run car, just didn’t have enough long runs. We have another top five, I think that’s four straight. We got some good stage points which we haven’t done all year. I just want to win when we come to this race track.”

KYLE LARSON – Finished sixth: “I don’t know if we had the car to beat. I thought early on in the race before all the rubber got laid down we were really good. In the middle part of the race, I didn’t think we were very good. And then there at the end, I got the top going really good. And then I got that speeding penalty and set us back. We had to gamble there for that last stop and take two lefts, and we hadn’t done that all day. The balance honestly wasn’t that bad with our Credit One Bank Chevy on two tires. Four tires just had a little more grip around the bottom for a little bit longer than we did. And I had to get to the top early and was just following Kevin (Harvick) hoping that he’d make a mistake because I knew I couldn’t go down to the bottom and get by him. So I had to kind of ride. But it was another good run for us.”

Chase Elliott – Finished seventh: “It was all right. We just kind of got behind through those stages and fought back a little bit, just not enough.”

MARTIN TRUEX, JR. – Finished eighth: “We were going for it you know. Wish we could have had a shot there just to see if we could have won. … This is the best run we’ve had here in a long time. It’s bittersweet, I wish we could have seen if we could have beat the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). We were close there before that last caution, but it is what it is and you try to get what you can get and sometimes you cross the line and today we crossed the line. All in all, it was an awesome day and a lot of fun. Had the VHT not worn out quite as bad then we would have really killed them. The top lane came in, and some guys could run that better than I could, but overall it was a good day and a lot of fun all day.”

RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – Finished ninth: “I just couldn’t keep our track position the way we needed to with some mishaps on pit road, but the car wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. For as bad as we were Saturday, I was really happy with our Sunny D Ford. We got the top working and we actually got the bottom working some, but we just couldn’t keep our track position the way we needed to, and then I got behind some cars that were slower a lot of the restarts and I’d lose some positions. But as long as I had clear track in front of me I could really go and felt like I could pass whoever I wanted to.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 10th: “We were average. We were about a fifth- to 10th-place car most of the day. Just kind of where we ended up. We just haven’t had the speed to run with those guys, so we have to keep gambling with our strategy to try to make something happen and steal a win because we just don’t have a car fast enough to do it right now.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 11th: “Today was a solid day. We just got tight toward the end, but today was another consistent day. I’m really proud of all my guys on this AdvoCare Ford for their work this weekend. We keep improving each week and knocking on that door to turn those top 15s into top 10s. We’ll keep making gains and get after it again next weekend in Richmond.”

Austin Dillon– Finished 13th: “Our New Era Caps Chevrolet was probably better than where we ended up finishing. We couldn’t do a whole lot on the track today, mainly because we struggled on the bottom. We lost some track position in the middle of the race, but once we got it back, we ran smart and minimized any mistakes. Overall, it was a decent day for our team at Bristol. It wasn’t the finish we wanted, but we needed a solid day, and that’s what we ended up with here.”

Ryan Newman – Finished 14th: “The speeding penalty is on me. I pushed it to get all I could, and unfortunately, it bit us, and we went from sixth to 17th. We gambled on the final stop and took two left-side tires with 50 to go to restart sixth. It didn’t work out as well as we had hoped. We had a top 10 Grainger Chevrolet and despite our race, I’m happy to see the speed and handling potential is there. We had no idea what to expect with the addition of VHT on the lower portion of the track, and I think we fared well considering.”

Ty Dillon – Finished 15th: “It was definitely a battle for our No. 13 GEICO Chevy team today. We got damage to the right rear at the end of the first stage that really hurt our speed through the rest of the day. So, our race really became about getting track position any way that we could. My spotter did great getting me through traffic, and crew chief Bootie Barker and my guys on pit road did everything that could to keep us where we needed to be. We had to fight for all that we could, and I gave it everything that I had. It was a good day to come out of Bristol with a 15th-place finish.”

Paul Menard – Finished 16th: “Our No. 27 Libman/Menards Chevy was good all weekend. We really didn’t need to adjust on it much during the race. The pit crew had good stops and kept us where we needed to be all day. We got screwed out of a top-10 finish there at the end. After we got into the back of the No. 5 car, we didn’t have time to fix the nose damage, and that kept me from moving forward. Bristol is always a fun race, and it was interesting today with the different grooves.”

Erik Jones – Finished 17th: “(Gray Gaulding), we were side-by-side passing him and I don’t know if he got loose, but he got down into us about halfway down the backstretch and must have cut a tire – cut the right front. Pretty unfortunate, I thought we had a really good car and a car that if we could have got some track position and maybe got up front, I think we could have led some laps and had a shot at the win. I thought we were just as good as (Jimmie Johnson) for the majority of the day. We’ll keep working on it, and we have a good package to come back in the fall.”

David Ragan – Finished 23rd: “We had a great Jacob Companies Ford today. We were able to pass some cars and stay on the lead lap for a lot of the race. We just got caught up in a little skirmish with our teammate and Danica. I think that Landon (Cassill) had a suspension part break. I was trying to get out of his way and Danica squeezed us a little bit, just one of those racing things. Three wide at Bristol is hard to get through.”

Landon Cassill – Finished 32nd: “Yeah, we had a loose wheel that led to broken wheel studs. A real bummer. I thought that we had a real good car.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 33rd – On power steering issues: “I didn’t think that was ever gonna end. We had to come in and fix it, which stinks because when we went back out we were actually really fast, but you’re not racing for anything, which is unfortunate. It’s something to look forward to in the fall race because I felt like that was one of the best cars I’ve had at Bristol. It stinks that it happened. I know it happened to us and (Brad Keselowski), the same problem, so we’ll have to figure out what happened and what was different (with Joey Logano) to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Kyle Busch– Finished 35th: “I was the fastest one out there those last two runs picking cars off and driving from the back to the front after we lost our track position the first time. We had our issues, and we were trying to march our way back up toward the front and get there and thought we were doing a good job of that and trying to be conservative with the tires because obviously they can’t make it through a full distance for us for some reason. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s fundamentally wrong what we’re doing, but it seems like all the rest of our five JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars are fine.”

Danica Patrick – Finished 36th: “I’m just frustrated it was so miserable after I right-reared it. I thought to myself, ‘I’m catching cars and passing them.’ I was starting to pass lead-lap cars and thought that we were on track to climb our way back up there. With the yellows and the competition cautions and stuff, it was maybe going to work out, so I’m mostly just thinking it was kind of just miserable for half the time out there after I right-reared it. But it’s not from a lack of effort, and it wasn’t that I wasn’t trying after that all happened, it was just kind of one thing after another, including pitting for a second time before the green came back out. I’m a half-a-lap down and the car is super-loose still, and just kind of a dumb decision with 18 laps to go to come and put tape on it like we did. I know there was a hole in the grille from all the stuff that happened, but it was one thing after another. I had about 30 laps of hope today.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR– Finished 38th: “I don’t know (if) we broke something in the oil system under caution. The guys said there was some oil in the pit stall after our pit stop. I noticed when I was getting lined up double file for the restart, the car was smoking. I just thought maybe we had a tire rub for some reason, but I couldn’t remember what might have caused that. And went into Turn 1 on the restart, and the car went straight into the wall with oil all over the tires. Came into the garage there, and they are working on where the hole in the system is. Just something is messed up, but that is going to be the finish for us. It’s unfortunate. We weren’t running that great, but we were working on our car and trying to figure out how to get it to run better. And get something out of today, but we are going to have another bad finish. We have had a lot of them this year. It’s going to be tough.”

Chris Buescher – Finished 39th: “We started at the back, and we were making really good headway. And was really happy with the balance of it, and it was looking to be a good start to a race. I am honestly not really sure what happened. Came off (Turn) 4 there and fighting for the (free pass) and trying to get in that spot. Everybody starts checking up, and I locked the brakes up and just couldn’t get slowed down in time. I think I ended up tearing the radiator out of the car and pretty much it just ends our day now.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. drops four spots in the points standings after Bristol crash

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With his fourth finish of 30th or worse in the first eight races of the 2017 season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped to 24th in the Cup points standings.

The 14-time most popular driver finished 38th in Monday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, crashing on a Lap 218 restart after an apparent problem with his oil cooler under caution. He lost four spots in the rankings and is 50 points behind the current cutoff for qualiyfing for the 16-driver playoff on points.

Earnhardt had finished a season-best fifth two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway before the off week, his best finish in 10 months. He returned to the No. 88 Chevrolet this season after missing the last 18 races of 2o16 while recovering from concussion symptoms. He is in the final year of his contract at Hendrick Motorsports.

Kyle Larson, who led every lap to claim the opening stage at the 0.533-mile oval, remained first atop the standings and widened his lead to 27 points over Chase Elliott.

Click here for the points standings after Bristol.

NASCAR America live at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN: Bristol rewind, 50 States schedule

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Carolyn Manno hosts from Stamford, Connecticut, along with Kyle Petty and Greg Biffle. Kelli Stavast and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett will join us from NBC Charlotte.

Here’s what’s on today’s show:

* The rain finally stopped and NASCAR was able to get in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. We’ll give you a complete rundown of what happened.

* My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows: NBCSN’s Steve Letarte, who will tell us all about racing in his home state, Maine, and his home racetrack, Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine.

* NASCAR America released the rest of the schedule for My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows. Here’s what the remaining schedule looks like:

REMAINING NASCAR AMERICA MY HOME TRACK: 50 STATES IN 50 SHOWS SEGMENTS

Date Track Location
Monday, April 24 Oxford Plains Speedway* Oxford, ME
Tuesday, April 25 Potomac Speedway* Mechanicsville, MD
Wednesday, April 26 Seekonk Speedway* Seekonk, MA
Thursday, April 27 Dixie Speedway* Birch Run, MI
Monday, May 1 Deer Creek Speedway* Spring Valley, MN
Tuesday, May 2 Whynot Motorsports Park* Meridian, MS
Wednesday, May 3 Lebanon I-44 Speedway* Lebanon, MO
Monday, May 8 Gallatin Speedway Belgrade, MT
Tuesday, May 9 Junction Motor Speedway McCool Junction, NE
Wednesday, May 10 Lovelock Speedway Lovelock, NV
Thursday, May 11 Speedway 51 Groveton, NH
Monday, May 22 Wall Stadium Speedway Wall Township, NJ
Tuesday, May 23 Cardinal Speedway Eunice, NM
Wednesday, May 24 Chemung Speedrome Chemung, NY
Thursday, May 25 Caraway Speedway Sophia, NC
Monday, May 29 Nodak Speedway Minot, ND
Tuesday, May 30 Midvale Speedway Midvale, OH
Wednesday, May 31 Southern Oklahoma Speedway Ardmore, OK
Thursday, June 1 Sunset Speedway Banks, OR
Monday, June 5 McKean County Raceway Smethport, PA
Tuesday, June 6 R1 Indoor Karting Lincoln, RI
Wednesday, June 7 Anderson Motor Speedway Williamston, SC
Monday, June 12 Badlands Motor Speedway Brandon, SD
Tuesday, June 13 Newport Speedway Newport, TN
Wednesday, June 14 Devil’s Bowl Speedway Mesquite, TX
Thursday, June 15 Rocky Mountain Raceway West Valley City, UT
Monday, June 19 Thunder Road International SpeedBowl Barre, VT
Tuesday, June 20 Dominion Raceway Woodford, VA
Wednesday, June 21 Deming Speedway Everson, WA
Ona Speedway Ona, WV
Thursday, June 22 State Park Speedway Wausau, WI
Sweetwater Speedway Rock Springs, WY

Dates are subject to change

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you also can watch it via the online stream at http://nascarstream.nbcsports.com

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you plug-in that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5:30 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

 

Results, stats for Food City 500 at Bristol; Jimmie Johnson scores second consecutive victory

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Jimmie Johnson led the final 21 laps Monday of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, winning his second consecutive Cup Series race.

It was the 82nd career victory for the seven-time series champion, who is one behind Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time list.

Clint Bowyer finished second, followed by Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.

Kyle Larson started from the pole position in the race (which was postponed a day by rain) and led a race-high 202 laps but was hampered by a late speeding penalty.

Click here for the results Monday at Bristol.