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Truex is Stage 1 leader of Kobalt 400 in Las Vegas; Harvick wrecks out

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Martin Truex Jr. is the leader after Stage 1 (Laps 1-80) of Sunday’s Kobalt 400 NASCAR Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Kyle Larson is running second, followed by Ryan Blaney, pole-sitter and defending race winner Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott.

The 267-lap, 400.5 mile race began with Keselowski leading the first 19 laps before Truex beat him out of the pits following stops under caution.

That didn’t stop Keselowski; he regained the lead on the ensuing restart on Lap 25 and once again put the rest of the 39-car field in his rearview mirror until teammate Joey Logano took the lead from Laps 71-75 and then Truex for the remainder of the stage.

There have been four lead changes thus far in the race, along with three caution periods.

On Lap 18, rookie Corey LaJoie incurred heavy damage when he bounced off the outside wall and across the track into the inside wall, ending his day.

On Lap 69, Kevin Harvick was running sixth when he appeared to have a right front tire blow out near the end of the front stretch heading into Turn, and the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford hit the wall hard. Harvick, who was the NASCAR Cup points leader coming into the race and had led the most laps this season, was also one of three drivers who had earned points in every stage in each of the first two races of the season.

“It started vibrating about four, five laps there before it blew out, and I was just trying to ride it to the end of the stage there and obviously it didn’t make it,” Harvick told Fox. “It either just cut the tire, came apart or melted the bead. I’m fine.”

Harvick was critical of the response of the safety team to reach him, telling Fox, “The worst part was the medical response took them forever to get to the car. I thought we had made that better, but obviously we haven’t.”

Logano did not pit during the ensuing caution following Harvick’s wreck and assumed the lead on Lap 71 but had a rough restart on Lap 75, allowing Truex to again regain the lead.

Stage 2 will be from Lap 81 through 160 and the final stage will be Laps 161 through 267.

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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 90: Roger Slack

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Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack joined the NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss his track’s past, present and possible future with NASCAR.

Slack detailed the run-up to the initial “secret” test with Tony Stewart and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon that led to scheduling a Camping World Truck Series race that recently completed its fifth edition.

Slack also discussed the storied history of Eldora, which opened in 1954 and was bought by Stewart 50 years later.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

NASCAR America: How Daniel Suarez found out he was replacing Carl Edwards (video)

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On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Daniel Suarez recalled the moment he got the call that he was being promoted to replace Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Cup Series at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Suarez was at dinner back home in Mexico with family and friends when JGR officials called and him to be ready for a teleconference in a few moments.

Suarez stepped away, telling his dinner partners he’d be back shortly — which ultimately lasted 40 minutes.

When he returned to the dinner table, he couldn’t tell anything about the phone call — JGR officials swore him to secrecy — but he eventually revealed that he had been promoted to the NASCAR Cup Series to replace Edwards, who had decided to take a hiatus from his racing career.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: What Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other (video)

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Daniel Suarez appeared on Wednesday’s live broadcast of NASCAR America from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina,

One of the funniest segments of Suarez’s visit was a video and verbal collage of how much he and his fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other — all in good humor, of course.

Check out the video above where Suarez, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch answer the “tough questions” about themselves, as well as how they feel about their fellow teammates.

NASCAR America: Daniel Suarez’s journey from Mexico and VW Beetles to NASCAR champion (video)

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In winning last year’s Xfinity Series championship, Mexican native Daniel Suarez became NASCAR’s first international champion.

It was the culmination of a journey that began with his father and, interestingly enough, Volkswagen Beetles.

Check out Suarez’s story and the thoughts about his success and prowess by our NASCAR America analysts in the video above.

Speaking of VW Beetles, Suarez’s father sold his restoration shop to fund his son’s racing dream. Years later, Daniel repaid his father by purchasing a new restoration shop for him. See the video below.