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Ernie Cope takes over as crew chief for A.J. Allmendinger

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Ernie Cope is the new crew chief of the No. 47 Chevrolet driven by A.J. Allmendinger effective immediately, JTG Daugherty confirmed to NBC Sports.

Motorsport.com first reported the move.

Cope takes over for Randall Burnett, who will be reassigned within the organization. Burnett has been Allmendinger’s crew chief since the start of the 2016 season.

Cope, who led Chase Elliott to his 2014 Xfinity Series championship, had also joined the team as competition director at the start of 2016.

Allmendinger gets a new crew chief as he sits 30th in the point standings. He finished 19th in 2016.

Allmendinger’s best result through 11 races this year is third in the Daytona 500. His only other top 10 finish was sixth at Martinsville.

Burnett was suspended three races and fined $65,000 earlier this year for three unsecured lug nuts on the No. 47 after the Atlanta race. Cope filled in for a fourth race in addition to the races Burnett was suspended for.

NASCAR America: Parker Kligerman takes to simulator to show Xfinity changes at Indy (video)

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While Saturday will mark the sixth straight year the NASCAR Xfinity Series will race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there will be significant changes. 

Among the changes: the use of restrictor plates, as well as adding aero ducts to aid cars with the draft.

On Tbursday’s edition of NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman took a spin around the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway — on the NBCSN iRacing Simulator, that is — to show how some of those changes will impact the cars and potentially the race.

Check it out in the video above.

Friday’s NASCAR schedule at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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Friday will be somewhat of an easy, relaxing day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cars will only take to the track twice in the afternoon — both being Xfinity Series practice sessions, which will be on the NBC Sports App.

IMS will host the NASCAR Cup Fan Fest from 4:30 – 8 p.m. ET, followed by the NASCAR Cup hauler parade that will see transporters enter the Speedway around 9 p.m. ET.

Here’s the rest of Friday’s schedule (all times Eastern):

FRIDAY, JULY 21

9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

1 – 1:55 p.m. – First Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

3 – 3:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

NASCAR America: Pit crew members share their hidden talents

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What does a sky diver and Olympic-caliber swimmer have in common?

They make their living on NASCAR’s pit road, that’s what.

Check out two of this week’s pit crew all-star nominees, as seen on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America.

NASCAR America: Xfinity drivers react to restrictor plates at Indy (video)

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On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, several of the stars of the NASCAR Xfinity Series tried to explain in three words what to expect with the use of restrictor plates in this Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

See what they said and what they’re thinking about Saturday’s race in the video above.