Furniture Row Racing aims to rebound from Talladega DNFs at Kansas Speedway

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Things didn’t go well for Furniture Row Racing last week in Talladega.

Both Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones began the day next to each other on the starting grid in 13th and 14th.

But their day ended together as well. The No. 78 and No. 77 Toyotas were both collected in an 18-car crash on Lap 168. Truex finished a season-worst 35th with his first DNF, while Jones left Alabama in 33rd with his third DNF and second in a row.

Now their attention turns to Kansas Speedway, a track Jones has some experience at and one Truex has done everything but win at.

In 17 starts at the track, Truex has five top 10s and four top fives. Since 2012, he has led in four races for a total of 486 laps.

Despite finishing runner-up in both races therein 2012 and leading over 90 laps three times, the eight-time Cup winner has never visited Victory Lane in Kansas.

“No matter how many heartbreaks we had at Kansas, I have all the confidence that our team will provide me with another fast race car and we will once again be competing for the win,” Truex said in a press release.

The latest heartbreak came in last years’ Go Bowling 400 when Truex led 172 laps from the pole and saw his hopes fade in the pits.

Following a stop on Lap 210, Truex reported a loose wheel was causing the car to shake. It turned out a broken head bolt off a brake caliper that landed on the stud. It eventually shredded the tire. After pitting again, Truex finished 14th.

“Why that tiny bolt didn’t fall off the stud was beyond me,” Truex said.

Truex went on to win his first race of the year two weeks later in the Coke 600. He wound up winning four times in 2016.

Through 10 races this season, Truex has one race win (Las Vegas) and leads the series in stage wins (five).

As for Jones, the 20-year-old driver is still looking to catch a break in his rookie season. Through 10 races, he’s finished in the top 10 once (eighth, Phoenix) and had an average running spot of 17.1.

Jones hopes to finally leave his mark on the season at a track he made his official first Cup start at in 2015. He drove Kyle Busch‘s No. 18 Toyota as the last substitute driver for Busch as he recovered from leg injuries.

In that race, Jones started 12th and led a lap before he crashed with 75 laps to go.

Now, making a start in a car built specifically for him, Jones hopes to take advantage of a mid-week tire test at Kentucky Speedway.

“This week’s test at Kentucky Speedway was really good for the 5-hour ENERGY team,” Jones said in a press release. “We learned some things that we think will benefit us this weekend as well as the upcoming one-and-a-half-mile tracks like Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was nice to get some data on a repaved track like what Kansas Speedway is as well. The goal is to use that information to get our season going back in the right direction.”

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Today’s Xfinity race at Charlotte: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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After two weekends off, the Xfinity Series is back in action today at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Elliott Sadler enters as the points leader with a 29-point advantage on JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier. William Byron, who also drives for JR. Motorsports, is third in the standings. Byron and Sadler are going for their first victory of the season, while Allgaier seeks his second win this year.

Here are the particulars for today’s Xfinity race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The Evil Genius’ Halo ESports Team will give the command for drivers to start engines at 1:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 1:18 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Xfinity garage opens at 6:30 a.m. The drivers meeting is at 11:15 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Star Swain will perform the Anthem at 1:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race at 1 p.m. Its coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at gorpn.com. PRN’s coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 85 degrees at race time with a 15 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Denny Hamlin led 76 laps to win this even a year ago. Austin Dillon was second and Joey Logano third. Logano led the final 12 laps to win at Charlotte in October. Elliott Sadler was second and Daniel Suarez was third.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying is at 10:05 a.m.

Today’s schedule at Charlotte: Cup practice, Xfinity qualifying and race

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NASCAR goes racing today with the Hisense 4K TV 300 Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Denny Hamlin won this race last year.

Here is today’s track schedule, as the countdown to Sunday’s main event of the weekend, the Coca-Cola 600, ticks closer:

(All times Eastern)

6:30 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Cup garage open

9 – 9:55 a.m. – Cup practice (FS1)

10:05 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (FS1)

11:15 a.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. – Cup final practice (FS1)

12:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

1 p.m. – Xfinity Hisense 4K TV 300 (200 laps, 300 miles) (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

My Home Track: North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway (video)

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Sure, NASCAR is synonymous with Daytona Beach, the state of Florida and Daytona International Speedway.

But there is no other state that is so linked to NASCAR than the Tar Heel state, North Carolina.

Numerous racetracks, from the smallest grassroots short track to Charlotte Motor Speedway dot the state, offering a plethora of race action from amateur all the way to the best of the best.

On Friday’s My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows segment, NASCAR America’s Kyle Petty shared some of his fondest memories of one of his favorite short tracks, Caraway Speedway.

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Steve Letarte reflects on mentor Ray Evernham’s Hall of Fame selection

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Steve Letarte learned the sport of NASCAR from a number of different individuals.

But no one compares to Letarte’s greatest mentor, Ray Evernham, who was selected earlier this week as one of five individuals that will enter the NASCAR Hall of Fame in its 2018 class.

Evernham, who led Jeff Gordon to three of his four NASCAR Cup championships as Gordon’s crew chief, was not only an innovator in the sport, but also a leader, mentor and team owner.

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Letarte, an Evernham protege, discussed what made his former boss, teacher and close friend so special.  Check out the video above.