NASCAR America: Introducing new composite body for Xfinity Series (video)

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NASCAR on Thursday unveiled its car of the future for the Xfinity Series, introducing a composite-laminate body that is designed to result in better racing and lower costs for teams.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the car’s advantages:

* Teams have the option to use it for three upcoming races this season: Richmond, Dover and Phoenix.

* It will be completely optional at all tracks in 2018 except for Daytona and Talladega.

* The new body will likely be mandatory in 2019, although NASCAR has not yet mandated such.

* The key to the new car are 13 “flanges,” which essentially are like interlocking puzzle pieces that can be quickly removed and replaced if the chassis is not damaged in on-track incidents.

* Current steel cars are about 150 lbs heavier and must use welding and other procedures to manipulate the body.

* The new bodies are composite laminate, which is similar to carbon fiber. They are also more aerodynamic than current steel bodies.

* It takes only 1-2 days to hand a body on a chassis with the new style; it takes up to two weeks to hang a body with the current style of car.

* The goal of the new composite bodies is to reduce time to repair damage and also the number of chassis teams have to build in the course of a season. It also is expected to be a significant cost-saving measure.

Here’s what NASCAR On NBC analysts Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan had to say about the new bodies on Thursday’s NASCAR America:

Ryan: “The hope is it will level the playing field. NASCAR always trying to do that, but in this case they’re already going to have 80 to 85 percent of the field will be running them at Richmond. NASCAR is hopeful that in the future … it will get more mid-level and lower-level teams involved because it doesn’t cost as much to produce the cars.”

Jarrett: “I really like this idea. There’s so many advantages to it. When it was first talked about, I wasn’t sure, this is getting more to like IROC or other lower level series. But when it was explained, I really liked the idea because I do believe it’s going to bring things a little bit closer.

“When you have metal that someone can manipulate and do things with, that’s going to give people with more money and more resources opportunities to do things, which makes for an advantage.

“This is not going to be much of an advantage for anyone. You’re going to have what you have there, plus the turnaround: if you happen to crash a car and don’t mess up the chassis too much at a race track, you literally can put pretty much a whole body on a race car there in a short period of time.

“There’s really all kinds of positive things. When you talk about lightening the body that much, the cars are going to drive better and I think we’re going to see better racing in that respect, also. There’s not really a negative to it at this point.”

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Martin Truex Jr. wins Stage 1 of New Hampshire playoff race

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Martin Truex Jr. won the first stage of the NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his 19th stage win of the season.

Pole-sitter Kyle Busch led the race until Truex passed him coming to the start-finish line to start Lap 41. Truex led the final 36 laps of the 75-lap stage.

The top 10 after 75 laps is Truex, Kyle Larson, Busch, Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.

Jones was the only non-playoff driver in the top 10.

There were no cautions in the stage.

Joey Logano, who started last after multiple inspection failures kept him from qualifying, finished the stage in 13th.

Playoff driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made contact with the wall during the first 10 laps and finished the stage in 22nd.

Stage 2 will end on Lap 150 of the 300-lap race.

 

Don’t stand for anthem? Richard Childress says get on the bus afterward

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LOUDON, New Hampshire — While many NFL players kneeled during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games Sunday, NASCAR crews stood along pit road for the national anthem.

More attention has been paid to the issue since President Donald Trump said in a speech Friday that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner.’’

Several NFL players have not stood for the anthem before games to protest the treatment of blacks by police. Former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the trend last year when he played with the San Francisco 49ers.

Car owner Richard Childress was asked before Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway what the policy was for his team if someone kneeled for the anthem.

“Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,’’ Childress said on pit road. “Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.’’

Richard Petty told USA Today: “Anybody that don’t stand up for (the anthem) ought to be out of the country. Period. If they don’t appreciate where they’re at … what got them where they’re at? The United States.”

Car owner Joe Gibbs said he didn’t talk about the issue with his team before the race.

“You’ve got an athletic event and that’s what we’re going to have,’’ Gibbs said.

Car owner Chip Ganassi said: “I like Mike Tomlin’s answer.’’

Tomlin is the coach of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. All but one of his team’s players stayed off the field for the anthem before its game Sunday.

Tomlin told CBS Sports before the game: “We’re not going to play politics. We’re football players, we’re football coaches. We’re not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, to remove ourselves from the circumstance. People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something he shouldn’t be separated from his teammates who chooses not to. So we’re not participating today. That’s our decision.”

Last year, Austin Dillon talked about how the sport displays patriotism.

“I don’t know how it would go over with the fans – we’re a very patriotic sport,” Dillon said if someone in NASCAR would kneel during the anthem. “I think our sport does a good job of showing that every Saturday, Sunday of showing patriotism and what the flag means. Not only that, we have a lot of military out here each and every weekend.

“I’ve got SEAL guys that will personally text me and say, ‘Hey, thank you for not moving around (during the anthem). … It means a lot to them just to stand at attention.”

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Joey Logano looks to rebound from rough weekend, Chase Elliott eyes win (videos)

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It’s been a rough weekend already for Joey Logano.

He failed pre-qualifying inspection four times and was not allowed to make a qualifying attempt, as a result.

Then, NASCAR kept Logano from participating in the final practice Saturday, also being penalized because of failing qualifying inspection.

We caught up with Logano before Sunday’s ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Check out his thoughts for today’s race in the video above, as well as Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett’s thoughts.

Also, check out Chase Elliott, who finished second at Chicgaoland, and his thoughts about today’s race as he once again chases his first potential win for 2017 in the video below.

Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman at New Hampshire: It’s all about getting a win (video)

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Matt Kenseth remains winless thus far in 2017.

A few hours later today, Kenseth hopes to break that winless streak with a visit to victory lane at the conclusion of the ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Kenseth was interviewed before the race by NBCSN and admits that while earning points is important, winning is much more important today.

Will he be able to do it?

Check what Kenseth had to say in the video above.

And then there’s Ryan Newman, who had a disappointing 23rd place finish at Chicagoland and looks to get back on track today.

Check out what Newman had to say in a pre-race interview on NBCSN below.