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Staff picks for today’s Sprint Cup race at Martinsville

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NASCAR’s final race of the season at a short track should feature plenty of action in 500 laps, but who will win?

NBC Sports’ writers can’t agree. Some have picked title contenders and some have picked those no longer eligible for the crown.

Here are today’s picks:

Nate Ryan (@nateryan)

Kyle Busch

Fastest of the title contenders on 10-lap averages in final practice, the defending series champion sweeps Martinsville Speedway in 2016 to ensure a shot at a repeat crown in Miami.

Dustin Long (@dustinlong)

Brad Keselowski

Although no longer eligible for the championship, Keselowski will make an impact by taking this race and preventing a Chase driver from automatically qualifying for the Miami finale.

Daniel McFadin (@danielmcfadin)

Kyle Larson

In Jeff Gordon‘s last (?) Sprint Cup race, the kid who has been called the next Gordon will earn his first grandfather clock, leaving Larson eight shy of Gordon’s mark.

Kelly Crandall (@KellyCrandall)

Jimmie Johnson

The 48 team are sharks who smell blood in the water when it comes to getting back to victory lane at Martinsville and giving themselves their first real shot at a seventh championship.

Jerry Bonkowski (@JerryBonkowski)

Matt Kenseth

Kenseth will pick up where he left off at last year’s Chase race at Martinsville. Instead of wrecking Joey Logano again, he’ll be the first Joe Gibbs Racing driver to advance to the final round of the Chase.

Kyle Larson fastest in final practice for Coca-Cola 600

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CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Larson topped the final practice session for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 with a speed at 186.400 mph.

The Cup points leader, Larson will start 39th in the race because his No. 42 Chevrolet didn’t clear inspection in time to qualify.

Ryan Blaney (185.861), Matt Kenseth (185.046), Kurt Busch (184.856) and Erik Jones (184.818) rounded out the top five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was seventh fastest at 184.433 mph. Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick was 20th fastest at 182.648 mph.

Jimmie Johnson recorded the most laps in the session with 47.

Jamie McMurray had the best 10-lap average at 180.914 mph.

The session was stopped for a caution once after Brad Keselowski spun exiting Turn 4.

Click here for the full practice report.

Justin Allgaier wins pole for Charlotte Xfinity race

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CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won the pole for the Xfinity Series’ Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With a speed at 182.488 mph, Allgaier earned his fifth Xfinity pole and his first since the March 2013 race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Allgaier is joined on the front row by Austin Dillon (181.519).

The top five was completed by Ryan Blaney (181.378), Daniel Hemric (181.324) and Kevin Harvick (181.245).

Christopher Bell will start seventh in his first Xfinity race.

Brad Keselowski and Dakoda Armstrong will start from the rear after not passing inspection in time to qualify.

Click here for full qualifying results.

Ryan Blaney leads second Coke 600 practice

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CONCORD, N.C. — Ryan Blaney posted the top speed in the second practice session for the Coca-Cola 600.

Blaney’s No. 21 Ford produced a speed of 188.055 mph Saturday morning around Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The top five was filled out by Erik Jones (187.598 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (187.084), Daniel Suarez (186.838) and Trevor Bayne (186.239).

Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick was ninth fastest at 185.567 mph. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 14th quickest at 185.141 mph.

Kyle Busch recorded the most laps in the session with 48.

Click here for the full practice report.

Eight teams lose 15 minutes of Coke 600 practice for failing pre-qualifying inspection

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CONCORD, N.C. — Eight Cup teams were held 15 minutes during Coca-Cola 600 practice today for failing pre-qualifying inspection on Thursday

Drivers include Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Corey LaJoie and Chris Buescher.

Buescher’s team also loses pit selection for Sunday’s race because it failed inspection three times.

Larson and LaJoie’s loss of practice time comes after neither qualified Thuraday because their cars didn’t clear inspection in time.