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Who is hot, not ahead of Xfinity race at Road America

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When it comes to road courses in the Xfinity Series there’s just no consistency.

In the last seven events held at road courses, all of them have been won by a different driver.

This weekend at Road America in the Johnsonville 180, chances are there will be a new face in victory lane or one that hasn’t been to it in a long time. The only road course winner from the last three seasons that’s entered into Sunday’s race is Justin Marks, won last season at Mid-Ohio.

There’s also the chance the most successful team in Xfinity history, Joe Gibbs Racing, could win at Road America for the first time. Despite having 140 series wins, Road America is one of three tracks it has not won at, including Pocono and Mid-Ohio.

If Matt Tifft, James Davison or Christopher Bell win, it would be their first Xfinity Series win.

Here’s a look at who is hot and not ahead of the Johnsonville 180, which airs at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday on NBC.

Who is hot

Elliott Sadler
• Seventeen top-10 finishes and nine top-five finishes, leads all drivers.
• Five stage wins and 30 stage finishes in the top 10.
•Clinched playoff spot at Bristol.
• Leads all drivers at Road America with four top-10 finishes.
• Finished in top 10 in 13 of the last 15 road course races.
Brennan Poole
• Finished in top 10 in five of the last six races, 10 times total.
• Finished 17th (Watkins Glen) and eighth (Mid-Ohio) in the two races on road courses this season.
• Finished Xfinity best third at Road America last year in his only start there.
• Four top-10 finishes in five Xfinity road course starts
Daniel Hemric
• Finished in top 10 in 10 of his 22 starts with a best finish of second at Mid-Ohio.
• Finished in top 10 in four of the last five races.
• Three DNFs in 2017, all three were accidents on restrictor-plate tracks.
• Finished 11th at Watkins Glen and second at Mid-Ohio in his two Xfinity road course starts.

Who is not

Michael Annett
• Finished 12th or worse in 12 of the last 13 races (sixth at Iowa I)
• Finished seventh at Road America in 2011, his only top-10 finish in 16Xfinity road course starts
Spencer Gallagher
• Finished 10th at Richmond, his second career top-10 finish, but has only three top-15 finishes this
season.
• Finished 28th or worse in the last six races.
• Finished 22nd or worse in all three Xfinity road course starts. Has never raced at Road America.
Brandon Jones
• Only three top-10 finishes in 2017 and none in the last three races.
• Had nine top-10 finishes after 22 races in 2017.
• Best Xfinity road course finish of 13th came at Watkins Glen in 2016.
• Finished 16th in this race last year in his only Road America start.

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.