Kyle Busch

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Staff picks for today’s Cup race at New Hampshire

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Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Nate Ryan

Kyle Busch. He puts last week’s disappointment behind him with another fast car and (this time) a clean day in the pits.

Dustin Long

Denny Hamlin. He sweeps New Hampshire and Toyota continues its dominance at this track.

Daniel McFadin

Kyle Larson. After charging through the field from the rear in July and finishing second, the No. 42 team finishes the job today.

Jerry Bonkowski

Kevin Harvick. He hasn’t been heard from much recently, but this is the kind of track Harvick is at his best. He wins and moves on to the Round of 12.

Tonight Xfinity Series race at Kentucky: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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The Xfinity Series kicks off its seven-race playoff with tonight’s 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Twelve drivers will compete for the championship.

Here is all the important info you need ahead of the race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Carla Schuessler, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, 2018 Board Chair-Elect, will give the command to start engines at 8:07 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 1:30 p.m. Qualifying is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 6:45 p.m. Driver introductions are at 7:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Nashville recording artist and Kentucky native J.D. Shelburne will perform the Anthem at 8:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN’s coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green. NBCSN’s race broadcast begins at 8 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The site predicts a temperature of 79 degrees and a 2 percent chance of rain at race time.

LAST TIME: Elliott Sadler took the lead with four laps to go to win this event last year. Daniel Suarez was second, followed by Ryan Blaney. Kyle Busch won the July race this year.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.


Christopher Bell opens Truck playoffs by winning at New Hampshire

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LOUDON, New Hampshire — Christopher Bell passed Ryan Truex for the lead with 16 laps left and went on to win the opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff race Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The victory is the fifth of the season for Bell, the regular-season champion, and advances him to the second round. Bell, who started second, also won both stages Saturday.

“Now we can be more aggressive at Vegas and especially at Talladega and try to win the race,” Bell said of the next two races in the opening round of the playoffs.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points report 

Truex finished second to tie his career-best finish. Todd Gilliland placed a career-best third, overcoming a penalty for running over pit equipment early in the 175-lap race. Grant Enfinger was fourth. Stewart Friesen completed the top five. Four of the top five spots were taken by non-playoff drivers.

Defending series champion Johnny Sauter finished ninth. He was running seventh when he was struck in the passenger side door by a spinning Noah Gragson on Lap 64 and fought the truck’s handling after that.

“From there, it was try to fix it as best we could,” Sauter said. “Tailpipes were missing. You can’t compete at that level with that kind of damage. We’re just lucky it wasn’t something major. It could have been a spindle or a right front suspension.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Christopher Bell

STAGE 2 WINNER: Christopher Bell

HOW CHRISTOPHER BELL WON: He simply had the best truck. After battling Ryan Truex for the lead late, Bell pulled away for the easy win.

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Runner-up Ryan Truex scored his fifth top-five finish in the last six races. … Todd Gilliland, making his fourth career series start, finished a career-best third. … Grant Enfinger placed fourth to record his second consecutive top-five finish. … After Christopher Bell, Matt Crafton was the next highest-finishing playoff driver. Crafton placed sixth.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: John Hunter Nemechek started 14th (worst among playoff drivers) and went to the garage on Lap 44 for a gear change. He lost more than 30 laps for repairs and finished 20th. … Pole-sitter Noah Gragson led 40 laps before spinning and suffering damage when he hit Johnny Sauter’s truck. Gragson finished 15th in the 29-truck field.

NOTABLE: This marked the first time in the last six Truck races at New Hampshire that the pole winner didn’t win the race.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s an honor to drive for you guys,’’ Christopher Bell told his Kyle Busch Motorsports team on the radio.

NEXT: Saturday, Sept. 30 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1)

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Martin Truex Jr. leads final Cup practice at New Hampshire

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LOUDON, New Hampshire — Martin Truex Jr. posted the fastest lap in Saturday’s final practice after sitting out the first 30 minutes of the 50-minute session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Truex led the way with a lap of 131.647 mph.

He was followed by Kevin Harvick (131.633 mph), Kyle Busch (131.515), Daniel Suarez (131.506) and Kyle Larson (131.497).

After Larson was Ryan Blaney (131.302), Jimmie Johnson (131.121), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (131.112), Denny Hamlin (131.026) and Clint Bowyer (131.008).

Among the cars held during final Cup practice. (Photo: Dustin Long)

Click here for practice report

Ryan Blaney had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 130.937 mph. He was followed by Harvick (130.867 mph) and Truex (130.811).

Ty Dillon went to a backup car after contact with the wall during the session.

Joey Logano was among 14 drivers who were penalized practice time. He was the only driver forced to miss the entire session because his car failed to pass qualifying inspection Friday. The team failed to get through four times and never made a qualifying attempt.

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Starting lineup for Sunday’s ISM Connect 300 NASCAR Cup race at Loudon

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Up until this season, Kyle Busch wasn’t necessarily looked upon as a prolific qualifier.

He earned a career-best three poles in 2013 and 2014.

But that’s nothing compared to 2017, as Busch earned a career-best eighth pole Friday for Sunday’s ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It’s also his second consecutive pole, having won the pole for last weekend’s playoff-opening race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Kyle Larson was next and will join Busch on the front row Sunday.

As for the other 14 NASCAR Cup playoff contenders: Denny Hamlin (134.763) was third, followed by Ryan Blaney (134.720), Chicagoland winner Martin Truex Jr. (134.188), Kevin Harvick (134.108), Kurt Busch (133.985), Kasey Kahne (133.966), Matt Kenseth (133.589), Jamie McMurray (133.680) and Jimmie Johnson (131.989).

Of the top 12 qualifiers, 11 are playoff drivers. The only non-playoff driver was Erik Jones (eighth, 133.971).

As for the other five playoff contenders, Brad Keselowski was 13th (133.422), Chase Elliott (133.357) was 14th, Austin Dillon was 17th (133.133), Ryan Newman was 18th (133.007) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualified 24th (131.628).

Click here for the starting lineup.