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Roush Fenway Racing downsizing to two-car operation in Sprint Cup

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Roush Fenway Racing will reduce its Sprint Cup program from a three-car operation to two full-time cars in 2017.

Following the departure of Greg Biffle on Nov. 21, Roush will field the No. 6 of Trevor Bayne and No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

This will be the fewest cars Roush has fielded since 1995, when Mark Martin and Ted Musgrave were with the team.

At its peak, organization fielded five teams in 2009 after being grandfathered in on NASCAR’s four-team limit. Roush fielded four teams from 2010-12, cutting back to three teams after Matt Kenseth left for Joe Gibbs Racing.

The charter that belonged to Biffle’s team will be leased to JTG Daugherty Racing in 2017 as it fields Chris Buescher.

“We have been able to shore up our plans for 2017 and we feel that this will continue to move us in a direction that will yield improved performance and results,” said Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush in a press release. “We saw improvement in our cars and made substantial gains in our performance at times last season, and we will continue to build on that by maintaining a robust engineering group in order to take the next step by consistently running up front.”

The team, which has not won a Cup race since 2014, also announced that Kevin Kidd and Tommy Wheeler will lead the team, with Kidd as competition director and Wheeler as operations manager.

Matt Puccia will continue in his role as crew chief on the No. 6 team. Brian Pattie, who was Biffle’s crew chief, will move into the same role on the No. 17, with Nick Sandler transitioning into the role of director of engineering.

Robbie Reiser, who has been the general manager of Roush since 2007, will remain with the team in a role that has not been determined yet.

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.