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Tires could play a key role in championship finale

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Goodyear will have the same tire this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway that has been used at both Texas races and the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway for Sprint Cup teams.

Here’s how each of the four title contenders fared in those three previous races (Texas I was in April and Texas II was in November):

Kyle Busch 

Texas I – 1st … 34 laps led

Chicago – 8th … 21 laps led

Texas II – 5th … 2 laps led

Average finish for three races: 4.7

Carl Edwards

Texas I – 7th … 124 laps led

Chicago – 15th … no laps led

Texas II – 1st … 36 laps led

Average finish: 7.7

Jimmie Johnson

Texas I  – 4th … no laps led

Chicago – 12th … 118 laps led

Texas II – 11th … no laps led

Average finish: 9.0

Joey Logano

Texas I – 3rd … no laps led

Chicago – 2nd … 1 lap led

Texas II – 2nd … 178 laps led

Average finish: 2.3

Here is the information on the tires Goodyear will bring this weekend to Miami for the Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series finales:

Set limits:

Sprint Cup: Five sets for practice/qualifying and 12 sets for the race;

Xfinity: Eight sets for the event;

Camping World Truck: Six sets for the event 

Tire Codes: Left-side — D-4684; Right-side — D-4686

Tire Circumference: Left-side — 87.24 in. (2,216 mm); Right-side — 88.35 in. (2,244 mm) 

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 19 psi; Left Rear — 19 psi;

Right Front — 49 psi; Right Rear — 45 psi 

Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same combination of left- and right-side tires at Homestead this weekend . . . this is the first time these teams have run this tire set-up at Homestead, though they have run it at both Texas and Chicagoland this season . . . similar to what was run at Homestead last year, this right-side tire code (D-4686) employs Goodyear’s multi-zone tread technology, which combines two distinct tread compounds on the same tire — the outboard 10 inches of the tread (Traction Zone) features a compound that is designed for grip, while the inboard two inches of the tread (Endurance Zone) is toughened to enhance durability on the part of the tire sees the most heat and takes the most abuse . . . different from Homestead 2015, this right-side tire features a construction change, and a compound change on the outboard 10 inches to give the cars and trucks more grip . . . compared to Homestead last year, this left-side tire code (D-4684) features an updated construction and mold shape, as well as a compound change for more grip . . . this tire set-up came out of a Goodyear test at Homestead December 14 . . . drivers participating in that test were Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Brian Scott and Martin Truex Jr. . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Homestead . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.

NASCAR America: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. talks Phoenix finish, racing roots

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joins NASCAR America to go over his fourth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver also shares his racing origins in Mississippi and the hobbies he and girlfriend Danica Patrick share with each other.

Stenhouse is in his fifth full-time year competing in the NASCAR Cup Series with Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: Alaska

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NASCAR America continues its journey through the United States with the second chapter in “50 States in 50 Shows.”

Following South Alabama Speedway, the show features Capitol Speedway and Alaska Raceway Park in Alaska.

Owned by Nancy and Wes Wallace, Capitol Speedway is a 3/8th-mile oval and features sprint car racing and demolition derbies.

 

Kevin Harvick crew chief fined, suspended one race for encumbered finish

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Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, has been suspended for one NASCAR Cup Series race and fined $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalty, a L1 infraction, results in an encumbered finish. Harvick placed sixth in the Camping World 500.

The No. 4 team has also been docked 10 driver and owner points. Harvick was seventh in the standings after four races. He trailed leader Kyle Larson by 61 points. The loss of points drops Harvick one spot to eighth behind Jamie McMurray.

Harvick has not won a race yet, which would qualify him for the playoffs.

MORE: Brad Keselowski closes crew chief for three races, team docked 35 driver points

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NASCAR docks Brad Keselowski, Team Penske 35 points; suspends crew chief Paul Wolfe

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NASCAR docked Brad Keselowski 35 points, suspended crew chief Paul Wolfe three races and fined Wolfe $65,000 because Keselowski’s car failed inspection after finishing fifth in last weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR also docked the team 35 owner points for the L1 infraction. NASCAR stated that Keselowski’s result is an encumbered finish.

NASCAR cited Keselowski’s car for failing weights and measurements on the laser platform. NASCAR stated in Wednesday’s penalty report that the team failed the rear wheel steer on the Laser Inspection Station. 

MORE: NASCAR suspends crew chief Rodney Childers one race

Team Penske issued a statement Wednesday:

“We have acknowledged the penalties levied against the No. 2 team following last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.  The race cars returned to the race shop today and we are in the process of evaluating the area in question. In the meantime, we have decided Brian Wilson will serve as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief at Auto Club Speedway while we evaluate our approach relative to today’s penalties.”

The penalty drops Keselowski from second in the standings to fourth heading into this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

The more significant issue is how this could impact Keselowski, who already has a win, in the playoffs.

The top 10 in points before the playoffs begin earn additional points. The points leader earns 15 playoff points. The driver second in the standings earns 10 playoff points, the driver third in the standings earns eight playoff points, the driver fourth in the standings earns seven playoff points. It goes down to the driver 10th in the standings earning one playoff point.

Those playoff points carry through the first three rounds, which is different from last year. Falling behind in the regular season – or losing points because of a penalty – could have ramifications in the playoffs. 

“I think it’s real important to explain why points matter this year,” Keselowski said on Fox Sports 1’s “Race Hub” on Wednesday night. “Last year, you got a win and you locked in and you got to the next round. This year with points, you still lock in with wins. The difference is there’s a huge points bonus for having the most points at the end of the season that carries all the way through the playoffs, and you only get that bonus if you’re one of the best cars and leading up front at the end of the regular season, which requires having a lot of points. Thirty-five points is a pretty big deal, and so is 10 points for Kevin (Harvick) and his team.”

 

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