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Ty Dillon’s best Cup race yet ends in overtime crash


A week after seeing his brother Austin Dillon win his first Cup race in the Coca-Cola 600, Ty Dillon did what he could to upstage him in Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway.

Though it didn’t work out, the Germain Racing driver produced his best race yet through 31 starts in NASCAR’s premier series.

Dillon and his No. 13 Chevrolet finished 14th after being involved in the overtime crash on the backstretch of the 1-mile track.

The result matches Dillon’s best this season on a non-restrictor plate (Kansas). He finished 13th at Talladega.

Dillon was fourth on the final restart in the outside lane behind Kyle Larson when he got loose exiting Turn 2. His car broke left and got into Ryan Newman, which set off a chain reaction and collected nine cars.

“We had to restart fourth on old tires and I just think the air off (Newman) got me a little loose and they left a bunch of sand there off Turn 2 and as soon as I got loose and hit that sand it was all over,” Dillon said. “I feel bad for all the cars that got torn up, but, really, I don’t know what (Newman) or myself could have done any different to stay out of that crash.”

The accident didn’t dampen Dillon’s mood, who up to that point had produced the best race of the year by a Cup rookie.

Dillon began the day in 21st and his average running spot during the 406-lap race was 15.01.

The 25-year-old driver’s prospects improved on Lap 331. Dillon and seven other cars stayed out just long enough during green flag pit stops to benefit from a caution caused by Regan Smith.

In the pits, Dillon beat Newman, Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson out.

Dillon would lead the next 27 laps, which included another restart on Lap 349. Dillon was finally overtaken by Larson on Lap 361 with a pass on the outside.

“To lead laps like that meant a lot to me,” Dillon said. “I’m proud of our effort today. We proved to ourselves as a team that we can run up front with the big boys and just proud of our effort by our GEICO team overall.”

Those 27 laps give Dillon 33 laps led for the year, which leads all Cup rookies. Erik Jones has only led two laps. Daniel Suarez, Gray Gaulding and Corey LaJoie haven’t led any.

Dillon’s 33 laps led also are more than his predecessor, Casey Mears, had in last four seasons driving the No. 13 Chevrolet (24 laps).

After 13 races, Dillon is 22nd in the point standings. Jones and Suarez are 18th and 19th respectively.

NASCAR America: The challenges of Martinsville Speedway

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What Martinsville Speedway lacks in size compared to other tracks it makes up in difficulty say drivers and NASCAR America’s analysts.

Landon Cassill joined Carolyn Manno, Parker Kligerman and Jeff Burton on Thursday’s show and discussed the challenges of the half-mile paperclip track.

“It can be fun when it’s going well,’’ said Cassill, who will make his Cup season debut this weekend in the No. 00 for StarCom Racing. “That place, if you’re car is not handling well, you can end up going backwards and just by the time you’ve got some clear race track the leader is right behind you. So it can be frustration. I tend to like Martinsville.’’

Kligerman calls racing in the pack at Martinsville Speedway “the most aggressive racing I’ve ever been a part of in my life.’’

Jeff Burton said: “It’s … one of the hardest race tracks we go to period because you have to do it lap after lap after lap and it’s so easy to get, quite simply, just really, really mad at the guy you’re racing with because he’s hitting you and he’s banging on you.’’

Cup drivers have their description of the track. See what NASCAR America’s analysts and Cup drivers have to say about the track that hosts Sunday’s Cup race in the video above.

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Richard Childress Racing reinstates Xfinity crew chief Nick Harrison

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Richard Childress Racing has reinstated Nick Harrison to crew chief  of the No. 3 Xfinity team after he served a five-race suspension for a violation at Daytona International Speedway. 

Harrison’s first race back will be April 8 at Texas.

Harrison was suspended after the No. 3 car of Austin Dillon had a rear suspension violation in pre-qualifying inspection. Harrison and the team’s car chief were ejected by NASCAR after the violation. RCR imposed the suspension.

“I’m looking forward to being back with my team and winning races after my five-race suspension,” Harrison said in a statement from the team.

Brandon Thomas served as the interim crew chief while Harrison was out. Austin Dillon finished a season-best fourth for the team last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

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NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Martinsville breakdown, Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and features host Carolyn Manno and Parker Kligerman in Stamford, Connecticut, and Jeff Burton and Landon Cassill from Burton’s Garage.

Among the topics today:

  •  Prepare for paint swapping, bent fenders, and bruised egos. It’s time to go short-track racing at Martinsville Speedway! Jeff, Parker and Landon will tell you what to expect this weekend at the famous half-mile. We’ll also see what it takes to succeed there, as Parker takes us for some quick laps in the NBCSN iRacing Simulator.
  • After making the switch to Stewart-Haas Racing in the offseason, Aric Almirola is off to the best start of his Cup Series career. Currently 10th in the standings, he’ll tell Marty Snider about his early season success.
  • Since finishing second at the Daytona 500, rookie driver Bubba Wallace has cooled off. Now he faces his first Cup Series start at Martinsville in the iconic No. 43 car, and he’s feeling confident — it’s where Wallace scored his first truck series win nearly five years ago. We’ll examine the struggles he might have to work through this season and also hear his reflections on his early years of racing in the latest edition of “A Driver’s Drive.”

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also 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.

Weekend schedule for NASCAR at Martinsville Speedway

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NASCAR returns to its backyard this weekend after the three week West Coast swing.

The Cup and Camping World Truck Series visit Martinsville Speedway in Southern Virginia.

The weekend is capped off by Sunday’s STP 500. It will be the first Cup race broadcast on Fox Sports 1 this year.

Here’s the full weekend schedule complete with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

Friday, March 23

8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. — Truck garage opens

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. — Truck practice (No TV)

1:05 – 1:55 p.m. — Truck practice (Fox Sports 1)

3:05 – 3:55 p.m. — Final Truck practice (FS1)

Saturday, March 24

7 a.m. – 8 p.m. — Cup garage open

7:30 a.m. — Truck garage opens

10:05 – 10:55 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

11:05 a.m. — Truck qualifying; multi-truck/three rounds (FS1)

12:15 p.m. — Truck driver-crew chief meeting

12:30 – 1:20 p.m. — Final Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

1:30 p.m. — Truck driver introductions

2 p.m. — Alpha Energy Solutions 250; 250 laps/131.5 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

5:10 p.m. — Cup qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, March 25

9:30 a.m. — Cup garage opens

Noon — Driver-crew chief meeting

1:20 p.m. — Driver introductions

2 p.m. — STP 500; 500 laps/263 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)