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NASCAR weekend schedule at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Get ready for plenty of fender banging and close racing this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Food City 300 Xfinity Series race is Friday, and the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is Saturday.

This will be the 114th Cup race held at Bristol. Kevin Harvick won this race last summer, while Jimmie Johnson won there last August.

This will be the 71st race in Xfinity Series history at Bristol. Austin Dillon won this race last August. Erik Jones won the spring race.

Here’s the weekend schedule at Bristol Motor Speedway:

(All times Eastern)

Thursday

10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

1 – 1:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

3 – 3:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

Friday

7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. – Cup garage open

9:30 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

10 – 11:25 a.m. – Cup practice (NBC Sports App)

12:30 – 1:55 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN)

3:40 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (NBCSN)

5:15 p.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

5:45 p.m. – Cup qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (NBCSN, Performance Racing Network)

7 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

7:30 p.m. – Food City 300 Xfinity race (300 laps, 159.9 miles) (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday

11 a.m. – Cup garage opens

5:30 p.m. – Cup driver/crew chief meeting

6:50 p.m. – Cup driver introductions

7:30 p.m. – NASCAR Cup Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (500 laps, 266.5 miles) (NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

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Saturday schedule at IMS includes Xfinity qualifying and race, Cup qualifying

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The racing action heats up today  at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR Cup cars take to the track three different times: twice in the morning for practice and will wrap up the day’s action with qualifying for Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

There also will be racing action today as the Xfinity Series holds qualifying, followed by the Lilly Diabetes 250 race at 3:30 p.m. ET. Kyle Busch has won the last two Xfinity races at Indy, as well as the last two races of the current Xfinity season.

Here’s today’s full schedule (all times Eastern):

6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

9 – 9:55 a.m. – Cup practice (CNBC)

9 a.m. – Xfinity garage open

11 – 11:55 a.m.—Final Cup practice (CNBC)

12:45 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying (single vehicle/two rounds) (NBCSN)

2:15 p.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

3 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3:30 p.m. – Lilly Diabetes 250 Xfinity race (100 laps, 250 miles) (NBCSN, IMS Radio/PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

6:15 p.m. – Cup qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (NBCSN, IMS Radio/PRN)

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NASCAR America: Looking back at Cup winners this year (video)

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The NASCAR Cup Series is through 19 racers. There are 17 more races to be contested, including seven before the Cup playoffs.

It’s been a rough time for many and a successful time for a select few.

There’s still plenty of racing to go. Who will see their name added to the list of winners in 2017 and, more importantly, who still wins a race to make it in the playoffs?

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Cup series experiencing significant parity of late (video)

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The 2017 NASCAR Cup season has been an interesting study to date.

Not only have there been three first-time winners – Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Dillon – the last eight races in particular have marked a period of incredible parity and diversity in the series.

There have been eight different winners in the stretch of races from the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte to this past Sunday’s Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

During Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, analysts Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman discussed their thoughts on what has made the last eight races so competitive – yet disparate when it comes to the end results.

First, let’s hear from Petty:

“There’s no dominant driver. We haven’t seen a Jimmie Johnson, a Jeff Gordon, a Matt Kenseth winning six or seven races a few years ago, just dominating everywhere you go.

“We’ve not had that this year. We’ve had a few guys who’ve run upfront, have won a few races and won a lot of stages – the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.), we can say that – but at the end of a day, not a dominant driver.

“No. 2, the different style racetracks we’ve had. We’ve had a 600-mile race (Charlotte), a banked mile race (Dover), a triangle (Pocono), a 2-mile track (Michigan), a road course (Sonoma) and a speedway (Daytona). When you throw that many different tracks at teams, some teams are going to perform better than others.

“The other part of it for me is penalties, mistakes and stage racing. Stage racing has changed how some of these guys approach the day. We saw that this past weekend at New Hampshire. Kyle Busch gave up points in that first stage to win the second stage.

“We also see penalties and mistakes by pit crews and drivers and penalties on pit road have taken drivers out of winning one or two races.

“I think this is a great part of the season for teams. When you look back over these races and see maybe not the guys that won races, but those that led races and run in the top four or five, they’re the guys that are going to be the four guys (challenging for the Cup championship) at Homestead.”

Kligerman essentially agreed with Petty but with one exception – while Petty put the advent of stage racing last on his list of the three major differences this season, Kligerman put stage racing at the top of his list.

Here’s what Kligerman said:

“Stage racing and the strategy that has shown up, you have drivers solely who care about winning the stage so they get that playoff point because they’re locked into the playoffs and want to pad their points for the playoffs. You have other drivers that are trying to point themselves into the playoffs, they care about every stage point possible. That has really mixed things up.

“Young drivers within these different organizations. They’re going out there and competing and showing they have different skills, that they brought to organizations that maybe weren’t the best. Young drivers are bringing up those organizations up to the front at those types of tracks.

“Schedule diversity, the vast amount of tracks, that’s where we both agree. That diversity of the schedule has certainly added up.”

Petty summed it all up by adding, “We are in a stage where there’s a transition from the older and established drivers to these younger drivers, and they’re going to have an impact on the sport.

“With these eight organizations winning these last eight races, that’s an impact already. … We are in that transition, we’re seeing it and these are the initial results of it.”

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Kyle Busch fastest in first Cup practice at Daytona; eight Fords in top 10

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Kyle Busch was fastest in the first of two NASCAR Cup practice sessions Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch had a top lap of 197.438 mph around the 2.5-mile high banked superspeedway in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota as teams begin preparations for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 (televised on NBC).

Brad Keselowski, who won last year’s Coke Zero 400, was second-fastest (197.230 mph). In fact, Keselowski led a phalanx of six straight Ford drivers that included Kevin Harvick (197.200), Joey Logano (197.165), Ryan Blaney (also 197.165), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (197.161) and Matt DiBenedetto (197.148).

Austin Dillon and his Chevrolet broke up the Ford onslaught with the eighth-fastest speed (197.131 mph), followed by two additional Fords: Trevor Bayne (197.109) and Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch was 10th-fastest (197.100), meaning Fords took eight of the 10 fastest spots.

Today’s second and final practice of the weekend is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.