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Truck race will move to Thursday, Aug. 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Bristol Motor Speedway will move its traditional Wednesday night Camping World Truck Series race back a day this season.

Track officials announced Tuesday that the UNOH 200 truck race and the Bush’s Beans 150 Whelen Modified race will be run on Thursday, Aug. 16.

The Xfinity and Cup series will run the next two nights at the 0.533-mile oval.

The truck race will begin at 8:30 p.m. and will be televised on Fox. The Xfinity race will be at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17 on NBCSN, and the Cup race will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 on NBCSN.

“Moving the Camping World Truck Series race to Thursday allows for three consecutive nights of NASCAR action, making it easier for fans to attend each race of this can’t-miss weekend,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series general manager. “We appreciate the effort from our partners at Bristol Motor Speedway, FOX and the race teams in putting the fans’ interest first.”

Said Jerry Caldwell, Bristol’s executive vice president and general manager: “We’re blessed to work with so many quality partners who pulled together for the fans to make this schedule change happen. We have received a lot of feedback over the years suggesting this change and through a number of meetings with NASCAR, television and sponsor partners, we all agreed that this move was in the best interest of the fans. We’re looking forward to showcasing the best three consecutive summer nights of racing in all of motorsports this August.”

Examining what’s next for NASCAR after Monster deal ends in 2019

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — NASCAR announced Tuesday that Monster Energy will return as Cup Series sponsor through the 2019 season but is not expected to be in that role after that.

So what does that all mean?

Let us explain.

What happened Tuesday?

Monster Energy’s contract to be the Cup sponsor was set to end after the 2018 season. There was an option for Monster Energy to extend the deal. Monster was to have notified NASCAR before Jan. 1 of its decision. Instead, Monster asked for an extension. Both sides agreed to extend the sponsorship through the 2019 season only.

Why only a one-year extension?

Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s chief operating officer, said both sides wanted it that way.

“For Monster, I think it would be highly unlikely that they would come back,’’ Phelps said. “Both NASCAR and Monster, I believe, are on the same page on that. I wouldn’t say there is anything there hard and fast, but it is highly unlikely that they would return or we would have them return. That is not one-sided. That’s a decision that has been made by both companies. It will give us an opportunity to explore what this new (sponsorship) model looks like.’’

Wait, what is this new sponsorship model?

NASCAR wants to change the structure in how sponsorship would look. The plan would be to bundle the sanctioning body, tracks and media partners instead of having to do separate deals with each.

After NASCAR agreed to a deal with Monster Energy in December 2016, Monster then had to work out agreements with the tracks for signage and such. That took additional time.

Under NASCAR’s new sponsorship model, that shouldn’t be as big an issue.

“What we’re talking about here,” Phelps said, “is looking at combining assets and creating a new sponsorship model.’’

Such a model, though, would not include teams.

“It’s a little more difficult given the number of entities that are out there that are teams to make sure all the teams are participating in one fashion,’’ Phelps said.

So what will the name of the series be after 2019?

Good chance there will be no sponsor name tied to the Cup Series. That way it can be called the NASCAR Cup Series or NASCAR Premier Series or whatever NASCAR chooses to call.

One benefit is that fans don’t have to go through name changes as they have in going from Nextel Cup to Sprint Cup to Monster Energy Cup.

The Premier League did a similar thing in 2016 when Barclays did not renew its deal with the soccer league. There’s no sponsor of the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball, but all those leagues have categories of sponsors. That’s the approach NASCAR wants to take.

What if the new model doesn’t work?

“We want to keep our options open,” Phelps said. “There’s some benefit to trying to go all in on something. I think the stakeholders will be in a good place. If the sponsors come back and say, ‘you know what, we’re not sure this is the best avenue to partner with this sport,’ then we’ll have to pivot and go in a different direction. Could we go back to an entitlement model for our top series? We could. Again, I think that’s not our intention. I don’t think we’ll get there, but we certainly want to keep our options open.’’

How does all this impact the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series?

It does not for now. Xfinity signed a 10-year deal to be the entitlement sponsor of that series through the 2024 season. Camping World has a deal in place to be the Truck Series sponsor through 2022.

What happens with Monster Energy after 2019?

Phelps said NASCAR expects Monster Energy to remain in the sport. Monster Energy was aligned with drivers and teams before becoming series sponsor. That avenue would remain for Monster if it chose to do so.

A Monster Energy spokesperson told the Sports Business Journal that the company “wants to continue to be a part of the sport one way or the other.”

What about the sport using a sponsor to build a younger fan base? What happens now?

NASCAR continues to tout efforts to reach a younger fan base. That includes, among other things, children 12 and younger getting in free for Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races.

Phelps said it was challenging to say if one thing over another was the overriding factor in reaching a younger demographic.

“It’s very difficult to isolate one particular thing vs. another in terms of it being the cause of something,’’ Phelps said. “There are other things that this industry has done over the past couple of years to increase the Millennial audience of NASCAR. That’s a journey we’re going to continue on.

“We have to continue to make sure our content is as strong as it can be that we’re pushing through the digital and social channels. We need to make sure that we continue to cater to kids and to make sure that our Millennial audience is happy. We have to continue the gains we’ve made with our Hispanic fans, which has been significant over the last three years. That journey doesn’t end. And, by the way, we have to make sure that we’re nurturing the existing fan base that we’ve had for many, many years. They’re incredibly important.’’

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ThorSport Racing’s final appeal of Daytona penalty denied

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The National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, Bryan Moss, upheld NASCAR’s L1 penalty against ThorSport Racing’s No. 41 team from the Camping World Truck Series’ season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.

The appeal heard by Moss was the last one available to the team.

NASCAR penalized Ben Rhodes‘ No. 41 team for post-race body inspection heights being outside allowable tolerances.

Crew chief Eddie Troconis will be fined $5,000 and suspended for the May 4 race at Dover. NASCAR also docked Rhodes 10 points and the team 10 owner points.

With the point penalty, Rhodes will drop from fourth to fifth in the standings, behind Noah Gragson.

John Hunter Nemechek wins postponed Truck race at Martinsville

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MARTINSVILLE, Virginia —  John Hunter Nemechek won the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway after a seven-lap shootout at the half-mile track.

Nemechek held off Kyle Benjamin to earn his sixth Camping World Truck Series win. He led the final 31 laps.

The top five was completed by Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger and Noah Gragson.

Nemechek took the lead on a restart with 31 laps to go when he passed Benjamin and Todd Gilliland three wide on the backstretch.

Nemechek was in position to take the lead because of miscommunication with his crew during the previous caution kept him out of the pits.

“(Crew chief) Gere (Kennon) came on the radio and said ‘pit,'” Nemechek told Fox Sports 1. “I didn’t hear exactly what he said because of static and we had to stay out there. I didn’t know if we were going to be able to do it. … I can’t thank everyone enough, Dad, everyone that puts their heart and soul into this deal. There’s only four guys at our shop this year, so it’s really cool to be able come back over here to the Truck Series.”

Nemechek had to survive four restarts in the closing laps. The win comes after he had three top-three finishes in his previous nine starts at the track.

Nemechek is competing for points in the Xfinity Series with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Benjamin finished second in his first Truck Series start. He was driving the No. 54 Toyota owned by David Gilliland and led 74 laps.

The race began on Saturday but was red flagged after 23 laps due to precipitation. It continued at 11 a.m. ET Monday.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ben Rhodes

STAGE 2 WINNER: Ben Rhodes

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Brett Moffitt earned his third consecutive top five … Timothy Peters finished seventh in his first start of the season … Harrison Burton finished eighth for his second top 10 in eight starts. Both are at Martinsville.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Ben Rhodes finished 12th despite winning the first two stages. The No. 41 Toyota was plagued by two slow pit stops in the final stage … Stewart Friesen finished 20th after being involved in two accidents, on Lap 87 and Lap 118 … Matt Crafton rammed into the back of Johnny Sauter out of Turn 2 with 27 laps to go. Sauter appeared to lose power before the accident. Sauter finished 19th, Crafton finished 15th … Todd Gilliland finished 14th after having to pit under caution late.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Tick tock we finally got a clock.” – John Hunter Nemechek

WHAT’S NEXT: Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway at 5 p.m. ET on May 4 on Fox Sports 1.

 

Martinsville Truck race postponed to Monday morning

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UPDATE: The Alpha Energy Solutions 250 Truck race at Martinsville Speedway has been postponed until 11 a.m. Monday following overnight snow.

Ben Rhodes led the field to green 2:05 p.m. Saturday and held the lead until Mike Senica stalled on the track. Rhodes led the first 23 laps until precipitation red flagged the event at 2:17.

The race will be televised on FS1.