The battle of the Chase bubble: Logano in for now, Dillon just outside

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After finishing sixth Sunday at Kansas, Austin Dillon feels confident that he can finish well enough at Talladega Superspeedway next weekend and advance to the Round of 8 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

“I’m just proud of my guys, we did a good job,” Dillon told NBC after the race. “The last four-tire call was really good. I really wanted a top-five there, that was our goal or a win, and just missed it by one.

“We have a shot to make it to the next round at Talladega, and that’s all you can ask for. … We’re just going to have some fun at Talladega and see if we can make it to the next round.”

But Dillon will have to worry not only about how well he finishes at Talladega, he’ll also have to worry about how Joey Logano does.

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Logano and Dillon enter the final elimination race of the Round of 12 tied, 37 points behind points leader Jimmie Johnson. Logano is scored in eighth place in the standings after Kansas, while Dillon is scored ninth. The tiebreaker is best finish in the round. Logano finished third at Kansas to hold the tiebreaker on Dillon for now.

“We did what we had to do today, went and were flawless on execution, just need to be a little faster to win,” Logano told NBC. “It was a good recovery (from last week’s wreck at Charlotte), but I wouldn’t say it’s a full recovery yet. We’re going to be needed the race pretty hard at Talladega and try to get a few more points there.”

Logano said Talladega is “not a must win, either. We’re in (a transfer spot) right now, but it’s obviously a little bit too close for comfort. We have to push harder next week.”

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch questions Xfinity rules package at Indy

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Kyle Busch isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and he certainly did so after Saturday’s  Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR implemented a number of changes to make the racing closer, tighter and more exciting — including restrictor plates, a larger rear spoiler, aero ducts, and a smaller splitter — and achieved all that on many fronts.

But not for the younger Busch brother, who wasn’t pleased with the rules package. Was it actually designed to specifically slow him down rather than to even out things for the entire field?

Or was he just simply upset because he didn’t win a third Xfinity race in a row at IMS?

Check out how our NASCAR America analysts gauged the Xfinity changes in the above video.

 

TriStar Motorsports team owner Mark Smith passes away

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Mark Smith, owner of TriStar Motorsports, died Saturday at his home, after a long battle with cancer, the team announced Monday. He was 63.

He began his racing career building engines for his brother Jack’s drag car in the 1970s. He moved his family from the West Coast in the early 1990s to pursue a career in NASCAR. He was the owner of TriStar Motorsports and Pro Motor Engines.

TriStar Motorsports fields the No. 14 in the Xfinty Series with JJ Yeley and the No. 72 in the Cup Series with Cole Whitt. The team stated the team will continue operations under the management of Bryan Smith, son of Mark Smith.

“It was dad’s dream to own and operate a NASCAR team,” Bryan Smith said. “He devoted his life to that dream and his family plans to honor his wishes by continuing our efforts in his memory.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Victory Junction Gang victoryjunction.org or NOVA (National Organization for Vehicle Access, part of the BraunAbility) novafunding.org.

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. ET, Aug. 1 at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, North Carolina. They have created a Facebook page where you are encouraged to leave a story for the family to enjoy. (facebook.com/Remembering-Mark-Smith-301261653675224)

NASCAR America: Analysts break down Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. wreck (video)

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Given how wild the Brickyard 400 played out, the big wreck between race leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t exactly surprising.

Rather, with the way the race transpired from the opening lap, was the Busch/Truex wreck almost inevitable?

Truex got loose and washed up into the left rear of Busch’s car, sending both drivers and their respective cars into the outside retaining walls, hitting hard and ending their respective days.

Check out what our NASCAR America analysts had to say about the wreck from Monday’s show in the above video.

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. recaps wild Brickyard 400 (video)

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, Dale Earnhardt Jr. — who will become part of our NBC Sports Group in 2018 — looked back on a wild and intense Brickyard 400.

Earnhardt was one of several drivers whose day came to an early ending — in Junior’s case when he ran into the back of Trevor Bayne‘s car, destroying his radiator in the process.

All the mayhem and mishaps could be linked to over-aggressive driving, Earnhardt said, saying that every driver was in “attack mode,” especially on restarts.

Check out Junior in the video above.