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

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The Sprint Cup Series runs the final race of the Round of 8 today. Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards have each clinched a spot in the championship round next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, meaning the final two spots remain among six drivers.

Here is all the information for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Five-time world boxing champion Vinny Paz, inspiration for the new motion picture “Bleed for This,” will give the command to start engines at 2:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 2:45 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 312 laps (312 miles) around the 1-mile track.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Sprint Cup garage opens at 8:30 a.m.. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 12:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: SFC Dana Fischl, a member of the Military Intelligence Corps Band, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, will perform the National Anthem at 2:31 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBC will broadcast the race with its coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. with NASCAR America. Countdown to Green follows at 2 p.m. Race coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 81 degrees with a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kevin Harvick nipped Carl Edwards by 0.010 seconds to win in March. Denny Hamlin was third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won this event, which was shortened by rain, last fall. Harvick was second and Joey Logano was third.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for Sprint Cup starting lineup

NASCAR America: Is there cause for concern with Jimmie Johnson’s performance thus far?

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It’s no secret that Jimmie Johnson is off to a slow start in 2017.

The defending and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has a starting average of 21.8 and a finishing average of 18.8 in the first five races of this season.

He has just one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix), along with 34th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta, 11th at Las Vegas and 21st Sunday at Fontana.

And let’s not forget he’s 17th in the NASCAR Cup standings heading to one of his strongest tracks, Martinsville Speedway, this Sunday.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we discussed this: After such a slow start to the season, is there a cause for concern over Johnson’s performance?

NASCAR America: Mark Martin is definitely a Kyle Larson fan

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin shared his experience of racing in his home state of Arkansas, as well as the excitement he feels watching  Kyle Larson compete in the Cup series.

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson involved in minor fender bender while leaving Fontana

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Kyle Larson‘s spectacular weekend at Auto Club Speedway — winning both Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Cup event — left him feeling good.

But shortly upon exiting the facility, Larson and several others were involved in a fender-bender right outside the Speedway. Larson was a passenger, not the driver.

No one was injured, Larson tweeted.

But somehow, isn’t that strange fate?

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson’s Fontana win shows continued maturing as a driver

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Kyle Larson finally broke his streak of three straight runner-up finishes with his win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, the crew discussed his win as well as his maturation as a driver.