NASCAR changes tire policy for teams that miss qualifying at Atlanta

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HAMPTON, Ga. – NASCAR has clarified its policy for teams that miss qualifying today at Atlanta Motor Speedway because of inspection problems.

After initially telling teams they would be required to start on scuffed tires, NASCAR now will allow teams that miss qualifying to start Sunday’s 500-mile race on new tires (commonly referred to as “stickers” because the Goodyear sticker hasn’t been scuffed off yet).

The QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500 will be the last race run on the 1.54-mile oval before a repaving project that will begin in late March. The surface has been in place for nearly 20 years, making fresh tires extremely advantageous for turning fast laps on the abrasive track.

NASCAR made the change after receiving feedback from crew chiefs during a monthly competition conference call Tuesday.

Atlanta traditionally has been a tough track for teams to clear inspection because it’s the first unrestricted race of the season. Two years ago, 13 drivers didn’t make qualifying laps because their cars didn’t pass inspection (including an angry Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth).

Drivers who fail to make a qualifying attempt will start at the rear of the field and also forfeit their choice of pit stalls.

NASCAR has said it will be more stringent in prerace inspection this season and has abolished its warnings system in favor of at-track penalties.

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 of 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 is 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 Bush 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 will be 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 due to failing pre-qualifying inspection three ties.

Larson and LaJoie’s loss of practice time comes on top of them not making qualifying runs on Thursday after neither of their cars passed inspection in time.


NASCAR America: How much risk should drivers take in the Coca-Cola 600?

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As in many things in life, whether something is worth doing comes down to risk vs. reward.

Such will be the case in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. How much are drivers willing to risk? Will that risk be worth reward, particularly with the additional stage to the race?

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman jumped into the iRacing simulator and showed the greatest strategies to employ in Sunday’s race, especially with the traction compound up top.

Check out the above video.