NASCAR executive hints at rule to limit Sprint Cup drivers in Xfinity, Camping World Truck Series

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For fans who don’t like Sprint Cup drivers competing in Xfinity and Camping World Truck races, a NASCAR executive says “stay tuned’’ for an announcement “fairly soon’’ on the issue.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, uttered those words Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio when asked about limiting Cup drivers in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.

“It certainly is on our radar,’’ O’Donnell said. “We’ve heard the fans. It’s interesting, it’s been a balance throughout the years. We’ve always had Sprint Cup drivers come into the Xfinity Series and sometimes dominate, back in the Mark Martin days.

“As the sport has evolved one of the great things is we’ve got more of a fan following in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. They like seeing those drivers come up through the ranks and it’s our job to make sure that Xfinity is where names are made. We’ve got to do on that on the racetrack.

“That is something we’re taking a really hard look at for next year, I’d say stay tuned. We’re going to look at and probably have something to announce fairly soon.’’

NASCAR prohibits any Cup driver who was in last year’s Chase from competing in this year’s season finale for the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

One possibility could be for NASCAR to extend such a ban for all future Chase races in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.

This issue was raised after Kyle Busch won Saturday’s Xfinity race at Kansas Speedway for his ninth victory of the season.

Since 2011, Cup regulars have won 138 of the 196 Xfinity races (70.4 percent).

Nineteen of the 30 Xfintiy races this season have been won by a driver who competes regularly in the Sprint Cup Series. While that is nearly two-thirds of the races won by a Cup regular, the total is down from recent years.

Last year, Cup regulars won 23 of 33 Xfinity races (69.7 percent)

In 2014, Cup regulars won 22 of 33 Xfintiy races (66.7 percent)

In 2013, Cup regulars won 28 of 33 Xfinity races (84.8 percent)

In 2012, Cup regulars won 18 of 33 Xfinity races (54.5 percent)

In 2011, Cup regulars won 28 of 34 Xfinity races (82.4 percent)

Here’s a look at the most wins by a Cup regular in the Xfinity Series since 2011

42 – Kyle Busch

22 – Brad Keselowski

19 – Joey Logano

9 – Carl Edwards

9 – Kevin Harvick

Jimmie Johnson to start in the rear after gear change

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INDIANAPOLIS – Jimmie Johnson‘s bid for a record-tying fifth Brickyard 400 will have to begin at the back of the 40-car field.

Johnson qualified fourth Saturday but stated on Twitter that he’ll have to go to the rear of the field because they had to change the rear gear.

Although track position is pivotal at Indianapolis Motor Speedway because passing is difficult, optimists can view Johnson’s woes as a good sign. He has scored two of his three wins this season – Texas and Dover – after starting in the rear.

Also starting at the rear today is Cole Whitt (rear gear change) and Joey Gase (engine change). Whitt qualified 34th. Gase qualified 38th.

Today’s race is on NBC. Coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET with Countdown to Green.

 

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Today’s Cup race at Indianapolis: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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The NASCAR Cup Series takes part in the 24th annual Brickyard 400 today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It marks one year since Kyle Busch earned his last Cup win, when he claimed his second Brickyard 400 in a row. Busch starts from the pole for the second year in a row.

Here’s all the important info you need ahead of the race, which airs on NBC.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 2:32 p.m. Green flag is set for 2:44 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 160 laps (400 miles) around the 2.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 50. Stage 2 ends on Lap 100.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Cup garage opens at 9 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 12:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 1:55 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Carly Pearce will perform the Anthem at 2:26 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBC will broadcast the race. Coverage begins at 2 p.m. with Countdown to Green. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network will broadcast on radio and the Performance Racing Network at 1:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the IMSRN/PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 89 degrees at race time with a 15 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Kyle Busch started from the pole and led 149 of the race’s 170 total laps. It was his second win in a row in the race. Matt Kenseth finished second, Jimmie Johnson finished third.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the full starting lineup.

Get a humorous look at life in the pits in, what else, ‘The Pits’ on NBC livestream

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Life in the pits can sometimes, well … really be the pits.

But it can also be a hilarious look at life in NASCAR, as well.

That’s the premise behind “The Pits,” a three-part “mockumentary-style series” that spoofs the life of the fictitious SONIC pit crew in NASCAR.

“The Pits” debuts Sunday on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. After each 2-3 minute episode airs, replays will be available on NBCSports.com and also the NASCAR on NBC Facebook page.

The first episode airs during this Sunday’s live stream of the Brickyard 400, which will be televised on NBC.

Episode 1 follows pit pro Rita, who falls for tire specialist Max, but Max’s only affection is for SONIC Pretzel Dogs.

The other two episodes of The Pits will livestream Saturday night, August 19, during the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway, and during the Sunday, October 15 race at Talladega Superspeedway.

“The Pits” is produced for NBC Sports Group and SONIC Drive-In by The Kicker, with shareable content running across NBC Sports Digital assets.

Starting lineup for 24th annual Brickyard 400

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Kyle Busch will lead the Brickyard 400 to the green flag Sunday for the second year in a row.

He earned his fourth pole of the year and is seeking his first Cup win since the 2016 Brickyard 400.

Following Busch in the starting lineup is Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin is the only driver in the top five who hasn’t won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Click here for the full starting lineup.