Timothy Peters

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John Hunter Nemechek fastest in final Truck Series practice in Miami

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John Hunter Nemechek posted the fastest speed in the final Camping World Truck Series practice session of the season.

The NEMCO Motorsports driver recorded a speed of 165.239 mph around Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Nemechek was followed by Grant Enfinger (164.971), Kaz Grala (164.845), Noah Gragson (164.534) and championship driver Christopher Bell (164.414).

The three remaining championship drivers:

9th – Austin Cindric, 161.968 mph

13th – Matt Crafton, 160.839

14th – Johnny Sauter, 160.762

Myatt Snider, who was ninth fastest, recorded the most laps with 28.

Justin Haley had the best 10-lap average at 159.992 mph.

Cindric was the only playoff driver to make a 10-lap run. He had the fourth best 10-lap average at 159.441 mph.

Three drivers – Timothy Peters, Austin Wayne Self and Robby Lyons – experienced engine failures during the session.

The Truck Series will qualify for the Ford EcoBoost 200 at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Click here for the practice report.

Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Talladega

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NASCAR makes its return trip to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend with the Cup and Camping World Truck Series.

The Xfinity Series is off this week.

The Cup Series holds the Alabama 500, the second race of the Round of 12 in the playoffs. The Truck Series competes in the Fred’s 250, its first playoff elimination race.

Here are the entry lists for both races.

Cup – Alabama 500

Forty cars are entered.

J.J. Yeley will driver the No. 7 Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing. Brendan Gaughan is entered in the No. 75 Chevrolet for Beard Motorsports.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the last race at Talladega in May after a last-lap pass of Kyle Busch. He beat Jamie McMurray and Busch to the finish.

This race was won last year by Joey Logano after he led 45 laps. He beat Brian Scott and Denny Hamlin.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Fred’s 250

There are 32 trucks entered. No full-time Cup drivers are entered.

This race was won last year by Alabama native Grant Enfinger, who led 45 of that race’s 94 laps.

He beat Spencer Gallagher, Timothy Peters and Rico Abreu.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity Series Spotlight: Q&A with Christopher Bell

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In Norman, Oklahoma, the Sooners are king.

Growing up in the city 30 minutes south of Oklahoma City, the Sooners were a regular part of Christopher Bell‘s life, especially since his father, David, was a high school basketball coach when he was a little.

“As a kid I guess that’s what I dreamed of doing, was playing football and basketball,” Christopher Bell told NBC Sports. “Obviously that got derailed at a very young age once I got introduced to racing.”

Bell was 4 or 5 years old when he was invited by the family of one of his father’s players to watch him compete in a micro-sprint car race.

Christopher Bell drives his No. 4 Toyota at Michigan International Speedway in August. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

“I was hooked ever since,” Bell said. “From then on, I started racing when I was 6. Haven’t missed a weekend since.”

The most recent race weekend saw Bell, 22, win his seventh Camping World Truck Series race and his fifth of the year. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver leads the playoff standings after one race. It’s been almost a year since he made it to the championship race, the only driver out of four born after 1980.

This year has seen Bell get his feet wet in the Xfinity Series, making four starts for Joe Gibbs Racing. He’ll also compete in the final four races of the year.

The following Q&A has been edited and condensed.

NBC Sports: Do you have a favorite basketball team?

Bell: I used to love the Hornets. Whenever the Hornets, they were in New Orleans and then I think Hurricane Katrina got them. Then they moved to Oklahoma City (temporarily). So whenever the Hornets were in Oklahoma City (in 2005-06), I don’t think I ever missed a game. I loved the Hornets, so that was really cool. I have a lot of memories of going to Hornets games with my father as a kid.

NBC Sports: What’s the most fun race you’ve ever been part of?

Bell: Homestead last year was a ton of fun. I don’t know if that’s the most fun I’ve ever had. But the last 20 laps of the truck race at Homestead last year was really, really intense. Homestead races really well. There’s a bunch of different grooves there. Me, Matt Crafton and Timothy Peters were all racing for second place in the championship and it was a heck of a race and that was a ton of fun.

NBC Sports: If you were competing in the Cup Bristol night race, what would you choose as your intro song?

Bell: “Hall of Fame” by The Script. … As a race car driver, your dream is to be the greatest. … I want to be in the Hall of Fame one day.

NBC Sports: Which phone app do you use the most that’s not social media related?

Bell: I don’t ever really use my phone that much. I use “Sleep Man” a lot, which is a fan that I can use in hotels because I sleep with a fan on. That would be my No. 1. … Basically it just makes noise like a fan would. Because I always sleep with fans, but in hotels you don’t have a fan.

NBC Sports: In your career, what’s the best advice or criticism you’ve received?
Bell: Recently, it would have to be from Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch’s best piece of advice he gave me was ‘to let it happen.’ If it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. Don’t try and force it. So that sank in really hard because Kyle Busch has won so many races and he said ‘if you try too hard, it’s not going to happen. You can’t force it to happen. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.’ That’s really sunk in.

NBC Sports: How did you meet Kyle Busch?

Bell: We were actually going to a Snowball Derby test (in 2014) and he went with us.

Christopher Bell talks with Kyle Busch at Martinsville Speedway in 2016. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

NBC Sports: What were your initial impression of him?

Bell: I was shocked how he was just another, I don’t know. We flew on a plane from Concord, (North Carolina), to Pensacola, (Florida). I didn’t even know he was on the plane with us`and then all of a sudden we get off the plane and I end up riding in the car with him. We get to the race track and he was just in a T-shirt laying on the ground, working on his late model harder than any of his employees. It was cool to see how involved he was and how he was working on the car. He was on the radio asking what the car needed, then he was the one making changes to the car. I was blown away by how hands-on he was about the whole thing.

NBC Sports: You’ve got four more Xfinity races at the end of the year. If you could pick a track to race in Xfinity at, what would it be?

Bell: Bristol. Bristol is badass. The way the banking is, the short track. It’s a short track that races with speed like a mile-and-a-half. To me that’s just a recipe for awesomeness, man. It’s just one of the coolest races ever, because of all the stands wrapped around the race track. You’re basically racing in a coliseum. It’s one of my favorite tracks we go to.

NBC Sports: What’s been your highest high and the lowest low of our career?

Bell: The highest high was definitely winning the Chili Bowl. That was my dream race … that’s kind of what racing means to me is the Chili Bowl. So to win it was something that was incredible. My lowest low was probably wrecking last year at (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) while qualifying. I wrecked a lot of trucks last year and then I went to Canada. Me and my crew chief (Jerry Baxter) sat down and we realized we can’t wreck. We had a big conversation about not wrecking and then I went out and wrecked in qualifying. So that hurt really bad. That stung.

Previous Spotlights

Justin Allgaier

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Michael Annett

Ryan Reed

Brandon Jones

Daniel Hemric

William Byron

Spencer Gallagher

Cole Custer

Ross Chastain

Elliott Sadler

Ben Kennedy

Blake Koch

Brennan Poole

Matt Tifft

Tyler Reddick

Kyle Benjamin

Ty Majeski

Ryan Sieg

Dakoda Armstrong

Brendan Gaughan

Garrett Smithley

J.J. Yeley

Harrison Rhodes

James Davison

Jeremy Clements

David Starr

Austin Cindric

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Social Roundup: Sights from first Martinsville night race

Marty Snider
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The wait is over.

Night racing at Martinsville Speedway is now a reality.

After tests and practice sessions, the half-mile track in Virginia hosted the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 and its qualifying races Saturday night for the NASCAR Late Model Series, which was won by Timothy Peters.

In attendance at the race were Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez, as well as NBCSN’s Marty Snider, who watched his son Myatt compete in the race.

Here’s a look at some of the sights and sounds from the historic night for NASCAR’s oldest track.

 

Entry lists for NASCAR at Michigan, Mid-Ohio (Updated)

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All three of NASCAR’s national series will be in action this weekend, but they will be in neighboring states.

Monster Energy Cup and Camping World Truck Series teams will race at Michigan International Speedway. Meanwhile, the Xfinity Series takes part in it second road course race of the season at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for all three races.

Cup – Pure Michigan 400

There are 39 cars on the entry list for the race. No driver is attached to the No. 51 Chevrolet owned by Rick Ware Racing.

Brett Moffitt will be in BK Racing’s No. 83 Toyota for his second start of the year.

Last year Kyle Larson claimed his first career win in this race after leading the final 10 laps following a late restart.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Mid-Ohio Challenge

There are 42 cars entered into the fifth annual Xfinity race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

No Cup regulars are entered.

Defending race-winner Justin Marks will make his first start of the year in the No. 42 Chevrolet owned by Chip Ganassi Racing.

Regan Smith, the 2015 Mid-Ohio winner, will drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota in his first start of the year. James Davison will drive JGR’s No. 20 Toyota.

Sam Hornish Jr. will drive Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford and Scott Lagasse Jr. will pilot Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 Chevrolet.

Sheldon Creed will drive JD Motorsports No. 01 Chevrolet usually piloted by Harrison Rhodes.

Click here for the full entry list.

Truck – LTI Printing 200

There are 30 trucks entered into the race, including Kyle Busch in the No. 54 Toyota.

Joe Nemechek is entered in the No. 87 Chevrolet. It’s the eighth race he has been entered.

The No. 57 truck will be driven by Mike Senica and the No. 99 truck will be driven by Darrell Wallace Jr. in his first series start since 2014.

Last year Brett Moffitt earned his first national NASCAR win with a last-lap pass of teammate Timothy Peters coming to the checkered flag.

Click here for the full entry list.

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