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Jamie McMurray is of a different ‘state’ of mind than Carl Edwards

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Missouri is known as the “Show Me State,” but Jamie McMurray says that only extends so far.

As in Carl Edward’s recent sudden retirement.

Both McMurray and Edwards are Missouri natives, Jamie Mac from Joplin and Cousin Carl from Columbia, about 235 miles away to the northeast.

During Tuesday’s NASCAR Media Day, McMurray was asked if would ever follow his fellow statesman’s lead and abruptly walk away from the sport.

“Um, I don’t know if the state you’re born in really has anything to do with the retirement factor – seems like a pretty big stretch,” McMurray said with a big laugh. “I’m going to try to link those, but I don’t think I can.”

But like pretty much everyone else in the sport, McMurray admitted he “was completely taken aback” by his fellow Missourian’s decision. “Maybe there is someone in here that knew, but I was blindsided by that.

“Honestly, I hope that more comes of that story. I didn’t actually watch the press conference. I read some quotes from it just because I was curious, right? I don’t really know Carl enough to call him and ask him outright. My gut tells me that maybe we’ll hear more later on. But, yeah, I was pretty taken back by that.”

One thing McMurray was not taken back by was Monday’s announcement of the enhancements to the points system in NASCAR’s three premier race series.

“Not completely surprised,” McMurray said. “Over the past two or three years we’ve made a lot of changes to the cars and we’ve kind of worn that dial out.

“This, to me, was just the next step. From what I understand and from what I have been told, I think all of the teams that were involved with NASCAR in making the decisions; everyone was kind of pulling the rope in the same direction.

“So, I’m not completely shocked by that because I think you had a large group of grown-ups in a room that all were trying to get the same thing accomplished.”

The driver of the No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS is looking forward to the new points format.

“I like the strategy that’s going to come from the format,” McMurray said. “And the best way to describe that is if we go to a track that it rains a lot and they have to have a competition caution, it’s great when the caution happens to fall 10 laps before that because you get some strategy.

“You get people that put tires on. Sometimes the leaders don’t. If it’s a track where the tires are really important, it creates a little bit of excitement, right? You have a lot of passing going on. Then the caution comes out 10 laps later and you get to see if those guys all pit. Did they make up enough ground?  So, I like the fact that we’re going to have that every week.

“I also like the fact that at the plate races (where) I have been on the side of riding in the back. It might be one of the most boring things in your life to ride seven seconds behind a pack at Daytona or Talladega, just to get in a wreck at the end. Even though you’ve done all the right things, you still get caught up in the wreck.

“I like that the Duels (at Daytona) and the races are going to pay for the segments. I also like the fact that at any track that we go to, if you run really well all day long, you’re rewarded for that. And if for some reason your engine does blow up or you get caught-up in a wreck at the end, if you ran well all day long you’re going to get something out of that. I can’t find any negative side to it.”

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Kyle Busch wins pole for Truck Series race at Atlanta

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Kyle Busch won the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his second Truck Series pole at the track.

Driving his No 4. Toyota, Busch put down a top speed of 179.743 mph.

Matt Crafton qualified second with a speed of 179.220 mph.

“My lap was pretty good, certainly felt more stuck (to the track) the first time around than the second time around,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “We even picked up a little bit of time on that second one. … We were really, really tight here last year and made some good changes to it through the offseason with notes and things and coming back here better prepared.”

The top five is completed by Noah Gragson (179.214), Spencer Davis (178.862) and Justin Haley (178.775).

Gragson and Davis give Kyle Busch Motorsports three of the first four starting spots.

Johnny Sauter, who won last week at Daytona, will start ninth.

Busch’s pole is his second of the weekend. He also won the pole for Sunday’s Cup Series race.

The Active Pest Control 200 begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Christopher Bell on Xfinity pole at Atlanta

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HAMPTON, Georgia — Rookie Christopher Bell qualified first for Saturday’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a 181.176-mph lap in his No. 20 Toyota.

it’s the second pole in 10 starts for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

Joey Logano was second in his No. 22 Ford, followed by John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer and Kevin Harvick.

Click here for the Xfinity Series qualifying results and click here for the Xfinity lineup by row.

The Xfinity race will start at 2:16 p.m. ET, starting a doubleheader with the truck series at Atlanta.

Sunday’s Atlanta race moved to 1:06 p.m. ET start with threat of weather

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HAMPTON, Georgia – The threat of inclement weather has moved up the start of Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway by an hour.

NASCAR announced Saturday morning that the green flag will fall on the second race of the 2018 season at 1:06 p.m. ET.

Races become official after the second stage. The second stage of Sunday’s 500-mile race will end on Lap 170 of 325.

The wunderground.com site calls for an 80 percent chance of rain Sunday with the forecast worsening from 10 a.m.

Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson top list of drivers docked practice

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HAMPTON, Georgia — Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson both will be held during the final Cup Series practice Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Because his No. 78 Toyota failed to clear prequalifying inspection three times Friday, Truex will miss the final 30 minutes of the 80-minute session that will begin at noon ET. Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet will be out for the last 15 minutes because it failed the new Optical Scanning Station twice.

Harrison Rhodes also will miss 15 minutes for failing inspection twice. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Gray Gaulding Jr., Michael McDowell and Cole Whitt each will miss 15 minutes because they were late to qualifying inspection.

NASCAR changed its policy on how practice holds will be conducted this season. Instead of serving the penalty in the pits at the start of the session, drivers will park their cars for the length of the penalty up until the end of the session.