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Chip Ganassi discusses chances of Kyle Larson racing in Indy 500

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Don’t count on Kyle Larson competing in this year’s Indianapolis 500, but car owner Chip Ganassi doesn’t discount the idea for the future.

Ganassi addressed the matter with reporters this weekend in Long Beach, California, where the IndyCar Series races today.

The idea of Larson driving a fifth car for Ganassi at Indy next month has become more popular since Larson’s Cup win last month at Auto Club Speedway, which all but guarantees Larson a spot in NASCAR’s playoffs.

Asked about Larson driving in this year’s Indy 500, Ganassi said: “I think it’s just a matter of us having the right timing. Obviously, it takes sponsorship. What happens is every time this gets talked about it’s always in April and May. Nobody wants to talk about it in June, July and August for the following year. All these social media people want to blow me up in April, ‘Let’s do it.’ It takes a little planning.

“He knows I’m open to it if we want to sit down and make a plan and do it the right way.

Does Ganassi think Larson could be a natural to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day?

“Yes,’’ Ganassi said. “I think there are other guys it’s a natural for, too.

“We’re in an enviable position. When you have good cars and a good manufacturer, you’ve got a lot of people who want to drive your cars. Not that Larson wouldn’t be at or near the top of the list. There’s opportunities out there.

“I think Kyle understands we have to weigh what’s good for Kyle and what’s good for the business. If it’s a great thing for Kyle and a bad thing for the business, he know that doesn’t work and vice versa. Right now there are some other things going on in the team that we need to be focused on, so as of this May it’s going to be pretty much status quo.’’

Larson enters today’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway leading the points.

The last NASCAR driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day was Kurt Busch in 2014. Busch finished sixth in the Indy 500 to earn rookie of the year honors and placed 40th in the Coca-Cola 600 after his engine blew. Other drivers who have competed in both events in the same day are Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti, who was the first to accomplish the feat in 1994.

Tony DiZinno contributed to this report

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NASCAR America: Should penalty for failing inspection be more severe?


After 13 cars failed qualifying inspection last Friday at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR America’s analysts addressed the current state of rules that resulted in all thirteen teams not getting to make a qualifying attempt.

While Kyle Busch said the issues are “not that big deal,” especially with the new scanning system still in its infancy, Jeff Burton disagrees. Burton points to how much engineering has become involved in the sport and trying make cars better with NASCAR’s rules.

“It’s snowballed into this great big bag of rules,” Burton said. “We have all these rules that the teams have forced NASCAR to create. I don’t know the way out of it. There’s two ways to do it. You make the penalties harsher, with the theory being they won’t do it if the penalty is so harsh, or you have less rules. The problem is if you have less rules you’re going to have more cars that aren’t within those rules as they are.”

After the issues in Cup qualifying, NASCAR told Xfinity Series teams on Saturday that any team that did not attempt a lap in qualifying would start from the rear of the field and be required to serve a pass-through penalty once the green flag waved.

“It is a mess, but I disagree with Kyle (Busch), it is a big deal,” Burton said, citing fans who don’t get to see their favorite driver qualifying. “That’s not good. That’s not good for sponsors, that’s mainly not good for mainly race fans. If race fans tune in and their guy isn’t on track, why are they going to tune in next week? They deserve to see their guy on track. It’s got to get fixed.”

NASCAR announced Monday that inspection this weekend at Martinsville Speedway would take place after qualifying and would also serve as pre-race inspection.

Jarrett, who said there are too many rules, agreed with Burton.

“The only way of fixing this is making the penalty so severe that these teams aren’t going to take any chances,” Jarrett said.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Auto Club Speedway recap, West Coast Awards

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and looks back at the weekend’s racing at Auto Club Speedway.

Rutledge Wood hosts with Jeff Burton, Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett from the “Big Oak Table” at NBC Charlotte.

What to expect from the show.

  • Martin Truex Jr. flashed his championship form from last year and earned his first win of the 2018 season Sunday in Fontana. We’ll recap the last race of NASCAR Goes West from around the “Big Oak Table” at our NBC Sports studios in Charlotte. Plus, Rut and the gang will hand out the West Coast awards, honoring the best moments from the Vegas-Phoenix-Fontana run.
  • NASCAR is a sport built on families, and it’s seen lots of kids grow up at the track through the years. We’ll spend time discussing the next generation to catch the racing bug – including Harrison Burton, son of our Jeff Burton.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you also can watch it via the online stream at http:/

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Landon Cassill gets Cup ride for Martinsville, Texas

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Landon Cassill will drive the No. 00 for StarCom Racing in the next two races, Martinsville and Texas, the team announced Monday.

Cassill replaces Jeffrey Earnhardt. StarCom Racing and Earnhardt parted ways after Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway will mark Cassill’s first Cup race of the year. The 28-year-old has 259 career Cup starts and a career-best finish of fourth at Talladega in October 2014. He drove for Front Row Motorsports the past two seasons but was not retained after last year.

Cassill’s sponsor the next two races will be the United States First Responders Association, a non-profit, professional and social network of fire, EMS, rescue, law enforcement and military personnel, as well as civilian support teams.

StarCom Racing was privileged to acquire a new partnership with USFRA and Landon Cassill behind the wheel,” said Derrike Cope, team manager, in a statement. “I’m optimistic that his knowledge and experience will only help our efforts as well as the growth of our team.”

Said Cassill in a statement: “I love working with new teams. I feel like that is one of my strengths. StarCom Racing looks like they are in it for the long haul, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.” 

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Hendrick Motorsports withdraws appeal of Phoenix penalties against No. 9 team

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Hendrick Motorsports has withdrawn its appeal of penalties against Chase Elliott‘s N0. 9 team from last weekend’s race in Phoenix, NBC Sports confirmed.

NASCAR found a L1 infraction on Elliott’s car in the rear-suspension after the race at ISM Raceway.

NASCAR stated that the team’s truck trailing arm spacer/pinion angle shim mounting surfaces must be planar and in complete contact with corresponding mating surfaces at all points and at all times.

NASCAR fined crew chief Alan Gustafson $50,000, suspended car chief Josh Kirk two races and docked Elliott 25 points and the team 25 owner points. Elliott’s third-place finish in the race will not count toward any tiebreakers.

Following Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway, where Elliott finished 16th, he is 21st in the point standings.

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