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Todd Gilliland to drive No. 4 for Kyle Busch Motorsports; father to fill-in at Daytona

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Todd Gilliland will get a helping hand driving Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota this season before he turns 18 on May 15.

The two-time K&N Pro Series West champion will miss four of the first six races to start the year because of NASCAR’s rule that drivers under 18 years old are restricted to tracks 1.25 miles or less in length or road courses.

Gilliland will miss the season-opener at Daytona (Feb. 16), Atlanta (Feb. 24), Las Vegas (March 2) and Kansas (May 11).

After starts at Martinsville (March 24) and Dover (May 4) to begin his Rookie of the Year campaign, his first race on a 1.5-mile track will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18.

Team owner Kyle Busch will drive the No. 4 at Atlanta and Kansas.

In a video released by the team on Twitter, it announced that Gilliland’s dad, David Gilliland, will open the season at Daytona.

The former Cup driver will make his first NASCAR start since 2016 in the NextEra Energy Resources 250.

A veteran of 398 national NASCAR races, David Gilliland’s last Truck Series start was in 2015. He has 10 Truck starts. One of those was at a restrictor-plate track (Daytona, 2015).

That’s not the only race the elder Gilliland will try to be part of that weekend.

He will attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 with Ricky Benton Racing, which has fielded the No. 92 in the Truck Series since 2010.

Gilliland will attempt to qualify the No. 92 Black’s Tire and Auto Service/Carquest Auto Parts Ford into the “Great American Race.” If he’s successful, it will mark the Cup debut for the team.

Gilliland made seven starts for the team in 2015.

“After talking with our partners, we felt the time was right to make a move into the Cup Series,” team owner Ricky Benton said in a press release. “Getting David back on board was also key. Having a veteran driver with his experience and success on restrictor-plate tracks – with whom (crew chief Mike) Hester has familiarity – gives us a leg up as we try to make the race.”
Gilliland has made 16 starts at Daytona in the Cup Series, including seven in the Daytona 500. His best finish was third in the 2011 Daytona 500.
UPDATE: KBM has also announced its crew chief lineup for this season.
Ryan Fugle will be paired with Noah Gragson on the No. 18 truck.
Mike Hillman Jr. will work with Harrison Burton, Busch and other drivers on the No. 51 truck.
Marcus Richmond will be on the No. 4 truck.

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Sunday’s Atlanta race moved to 1:06 p.m. ET start with threat of weather

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HAMPTON, Georgia – The threat of inclement weather has moved up the start of Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway by an hour.

NASCAR announced Saturday morning that the green flag will fall on the second race of the 2018 season at 1:06 p.m. ET.

Races become official after the second stage. The second stage of Sunday’s 500-mile race will end on Lap 170 of 325.

The wunderground.com site calls for an 80 percent chance of rain Sunday with the forecast worsening from 10 a.m.

Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson top list of drivers docked practice

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HAMPTON, Georgia — Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson both will be held during the final Cup Series practice Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Because his No. 78 Toyota failed to clear prequalifying inspection three times Friday, Truex will miss the final 30 minutes of the 80-minute session that will begin at noon ET. Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet will be out for the last 15 minutes because it failed the new Optical Scanning Station twice.

Harrison Rhodes also will miss 15 minutes for failing inspection twice. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Gray Gaulding Jr., Michael McDowell and Cole Whitt each will miss 15 minutes because they were late to qualifying inspection.

NASCAR changed its policy on how practice holds will be conducted this season. Instead of serving the penalty in the pits at the start of the session, drivers will park their cars for the length of the penalty up until the end of the session.

Today’s Xfinity race at Atlanta: Start time, lineup and more

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A week after Tyler Reddick‘s victory over Elliott Sadler by 0.0004 seconds to win at Daytona, the Xfinity Series is back in action at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Today’s race is the first in a doubleheader. The Camping World Truck Series will race after the Xfinity Series event.

Here are the details for today’s Xfinity race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Larry “The Cable Guy” will give the command to start engines at 2:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:16 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 163 laps (251 miles) around the 1.54-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 40. Stage 2 ends on Lap 80.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 11:45 a.m. Driver introductions are at 1:35 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. Race coverage begins at 2 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for mostly cloudy skies with a high of 77 degrees and a 15 chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kyle Busch led the final 19 laps to win this race last year. Brad Keselowski was second. Kyle Larson placed third.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying is at 9:10 a.m. ET

Atlanta team rosters: Who is working the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

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HAMPTON, Georgia — NASCAR has released the weekend team rosters for the 36 teams competing in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Under a new initiative to limit at-track personnel in 2018, NASCAR is providing a list of team rosters before each race this season. In addition to the crew chief, Cup teams will be permitted 12 road crew members each weekend and a five-member pit crew (which is down a person from last year and also under new regulations).

Click here for the Cup team rosters provided by NASCAR at Atlanta.

Teams fielding one to two cars also are allowed three management-style spots (competition vice president, technical director, IT support). Teams fielding three to four cars get those spots plus a fourth staff member for IT.

NASCAR will monitor the rosters by scanning identification chips. It also will use rosters in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series.

Cup teams presented the idea of having a defined number of team members to NASCAR, which helped formalize the structure.