Mark Thompson

Jamie McMurray takes big hit to playoff advancement hopes in Talladega wreck

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Jamie McMurray came into today’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in the final transfer spot for the upcoming Round of 8.

Unfortunately, McMurray will likely leave Talladega below the transfer line heading to the cutoff race next Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

McMurray was involved in a five-car wreck on Lap 27. He was attempting to come to pit road when he was pushed from behind by Erik Jones, turned hard right into the wall and collected Jeffrey Earnhardt, Mark Thompson and Chris Buescher.

“It was my fault, I had assumed (Kyle Busch) was going to let me in, I didn’t even know where (Jones) was,” McMurray said. “We were all coming to pit road as a group and I’ll take the blame for that.

“There’s nothing you can do about it, right? It’s part of Talladega and we know you can come out of here with a lot of points and be a winner, or come out in the position we’re in now, go to Kansas and do our best.”

Added Erik Jones:  “(Kyle Busch) started checking up in front of me and swerved, and (McMurray) was basically stopped on the track, it looked like he was trying to get from the top of the racetrack to the bottom. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we could really do. It’s just one of those things that happens here.”

 

66-year-old Mark Thompson to make first Cup start in 25 years Sunday at Talladega

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Veteran race car driver Mark Thompson will make his first start in a NASCAR Cup race in more than a quarter-century in Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

The 66-year-old Thompson, of Cartersville, Georgia, will drive the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet. Veteran crew chief Tommy Baldwin will be atop the pit box.

It will be Thompson’s second career Cup start. In his Cup debut, he finished 39th at Pocono in 1992

“Talladega is my most favorite track in all of NASCAR,” Thompson said. “It’s convenient to my home which is in Cartersville, Ga., and it’s only about 75 miles from my home.

“As a pilot, I can fly over there quite quickly and easily. I like the track, it’s just an enjoyable place to drive. I’ve driven about 20 to 30 races at Talladega over my career in the ARCA and Xfinity Series and I’m looking forward to getting in the 15 Cup car this weekend”.

The U.S. Army veteran and pilot will be sponsored by Phoenix Air, an international charter flight service, which is based in Cartersville.

Thompson, a veteran of the ARCA Series, became the oldest pole winner (63 years old) at Daytona International Speedway for the season-opening ARCA race there in 2015.

The Alabama 500 takes the green flag Sunday at 2 pm ET and will be televised on NBC.

Daniel Suarez earns first Xfinity Series pole in Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona

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Daniel Suarez made history Saturday with a qualifying speed of 180.256 mph, claiming his first career pole for the Xfinity Series’ Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Suarez is the first Mexico native to earn a pole in a Xfinity Series pole in the Unites States.

Suarez is now the second driver from Mexico to win an Xfinity  pole, joining Jorge Goeters, who did it in Mexico City in 2005.

“To be honest, I can’t describe with words what I’m feeling right now,” said Suarez. “First of all, I want to thank everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s unbelievable. I mean, my car is super-fast. We felt that speed in the first practice yesterday. We knew that we had a fast car in traffic in the draft, but we didn’t know exactly what to expect with a single-car run, and the car was as fast or even better.”

Suarez and his No. 18 Toyota will be joined on the front row by Brian Scott (179.827) in the No. 2. Suarez and Scott has the fastest cars in both rounds of qualifying.

The top five is filled out by Suarez’ Joe Gibbs Racing teammate David Ragan (179.497), Joey Logano (179.412) and Erik Jones (179.308).

Mark Thompson’s No. 13 car failed post-race inspection, meaning his qualifying time will be disallowed and that Derrike Cope (No. 70) will now start the Firecracker 250.

The race is scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Qualifying results:

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Ty Dillon fastest in final Xfinity practice at Daytona

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Ty Dillon and his No. 3 Richard Childress Chevrolet needed just one lap to be the fastest in the Xfinity Series’ final practice for the Subway Firecracker 250.

Dillon recorded a speed of 179.978 mph around Daytona International Speedway after being 28th fastest in the first session.

In a session that saw only 23 cars take the track, Dillon was followed by Mark Thompson (179.759), Derek White (179.759), Joey Logano (179.576) and Timmy Hill (178.324).

Saturday’s qualifying for the Subway Firecracker 250 is scheduled for 2:35 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The race starts at 7:35 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Speed chart

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Joey Logano throws blocks at right time, holds on to win Xfinity race at Talladega

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Joey Logano made a picture-perfect move on the final lap, blocking to hold off late surges by Brian Scott, Chris Buescher and Austin Dillon, to win Saturday’s Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.

“That was intense,” Logano said over his team radio after taking the checkered flag.

It was Logano’s second career Xfinity win at Talladega (also won in 2012), his second victory in NASCAR’s junior league this season and 24th career triumph.

“It’s a combination of the old school draft and cars hooking up and bumping,” Logano said. “It’s so intense out there and your mind is looking at everything in the mirror the whole time. It’s just so cool to get to Victory Lane.”

Brian Scott rallied to finish second, followed by Dillon, JJ Yeley and Joey Gase. Buescher placed sixth,

There were six cautions, and four involved multiple cars.

On Lap 39, defending Xfinity champion Chase Elliott cut a right front tire while leading, and his car slammed into the outside wall. Elliott’s car suffered significant damage and finished 37th.

On Lap 73, a 10-car wreck occurred as several cars tried to reach pit road, bringing out a red flag for cleanup.

Among those involved were Daniel Suarez, Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg, Kenny Wallace, Gase, Brendan Gaughan and Ty Dillon. Gaughan lost control after the wreck and slammed hard into the pit wall after bouncing off teammate Ty Dillon.

Gaughan’s car struck the pit sign for Aric Almirola’s team when he hit the wall, whipping the sign into the crew. Two crew members were injured. One was treated and released from the infield care center, while the other was sent to a local hospital by ambulance for evaluation and treatment.

UPDATE: Troy Ward, was released from Trinity Medical Center, a team spokesman confirmed Saturday night.

How Logano won: Logano actually made three different moves on the final lap to keep Elliott Sadler at bay, as well as to make a couple of late blocks to hold off the late surge by Buescher and Ty Dillon.

Who else had a good day: Scott was just one position from earning his first career Xfinity Series win after 184 starts. Scott rallied from sixth to second on the last lap. “I wanted it so bad,” Scott told FOX Sports. “These things always seem to kind of snakebite me, so I’ll take it.”

Who had a bad day: Because of wrecks, several drivers saw what appeared to be promising days end prematurely. Among those: Brendan Gaughan (finished 39th), Chase Elliott (37th), Kasey Kahne (33rd), Daniel Suarez (31st) and Erik Jones (30th).

Notables: Also having a good day was JJ Yeley, who finished fourth, and Joey Gase, who recorded a career-best fifth-place finish. … Aric Almirola also had a strong day, consistently in the top 10 before finishing 10th.

Quote of the day: “I don’t know if they don’t pay attention or don’t realize it, but when you’re pitting and start sliding up, get the hell out of the way and get down. Talladega’s easy to get down on to pit road, just get out of the way. People don’t get out of the way or try to come from the outside and chaos happens. … It just pisses me off, it’s not that tough to get onto pit road here, and for some reason, guys can’t figure it out.” – Brendan Gaughan, who got caught up in a multi-car wreck on Lap 73.

Standings: Ty Dillon remains in first in the Xfinity Series point standings, Chris Buescher (nine points out of the lead) gained one place to once again take over second place, Chase Elliott (-37) dropped one position to third place, Darrell Wallace Jr. (-37) and Regan Smith (-43) remained unchanged in fourth and fifth place respectively, Brian Scott (-44) gained three spots up to sixth, Elliott Sadler (-48) and Ryan Reed (-75) remained in seventh and eighth respectively, Daniel Suarez (-760 moved up one spot to ninth, and Brendan Gaughan (-81) dropped four spots to 10th.

Next race: Sunday, May 17, Iowa Speedway.

FINAL RESULTS:

1 Joey Logano … 113 laps

2 Brian Scott … 113 laps

3 Austin Dillon … 113 laps

4 JJ Yeley … 113 laps

5 Joey Gase … 113 laps

6 Chris Buescher … 113 laps

7 Elliott Sadler … 113 laps

8 Ty Dillon … 113 laps

9 Regan Smith … 113 laps

10 Aric Almirola … 113 laps

11 Landon Cassill … 113 laps

12 Jeffrey Earnhardt … 113 laps

13 Benny Gordon … 113 laps

14 David Starr … 113 laps

15 John Wes Townley … 113 laps

16 Boris Said … 113 laps

17 Jeremy Clements … 113 laps

18 Peyton Sellers … 113 laps

19 Mario Gosselin … 113 laps

20 Darrell Wallace Jr. … 113 laps

21 Eric McClure … 113 laps

22 Dakoda Armstrong … 113 laps

23 Blake Koch … 113 laps

24 Cale Conley … 113 laps

25 Ross Chastain … 111 laps

26 Derek White … 111 laps

27 Mark Thompson … 111 laps

28 Brennan Poole … 110 laps

29 Ryan Sieg … 107 laps

30 Erik Jones … 105 laps

31 Daniel Suarez … 101 laps

32 Ryan Reed … 99 laps

33 Kasey Kahne … 98 laps

34 Mike Bliss … 98 laps

35 Chad Boat … 97 laps

36 Harrison Rhodes … 84 laps

37 Chase Elliott … 84 laps

38 Kenny Wallace … 72 laps

39 Brendan Gaughan … 72 laps

40 Charles Lewandoski … 3 laps

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