Reed Sorenson

Photo courtesy Premium Motorsports

Tommy Baldwin Jr. joins Premium Motorsports as crew chief, competition director

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Veteran NASCAR crew chief and team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. will return atop the pit box, named Friday as crew chief for the No. 15 NASCAR Cup Toyota of Premium Motorsports.

Team owner Jay Robinson announced that Baldwin will serve both as crew chief for the No. 15, as well as competition director, effective immediately. Reed Sorenson is driving the No. 15 this weekend at Darlington.

“Tommy’s passion, experience and knowledge will serve Premium well in its quest to become more competitive in the future,” Robinson said in a statement.

Baldwin previously served as crew chief for Bill Davis Racing, Evernham Racing and Robert Yates Racing, working with several drivers including Ward Burton, Jimmy Spencer and Kasey Kahne. He has five wins as a NASCAR Cup crew chief, including the 2002 Daytona 500 with Burton.

Baldwin started a Cup team in 2009 that he ran full time until the end of 2016 when he sold its charter to Leavine Family Racing.

Scott Eggleston will remain as team manager at Premium Motorsports, while Pat Tryson will move to crew chief of the No. 55 car, driven primarily by Derrike Cope.

Robinson said additional changes will be coming to Premium.

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Five Cup teams to miss practice time at Darlington

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Reed Sorenson, Corey LaJoie and Michael McDowell each will miss 15 minutes of the opening Cup practice Friday at Darlington Raceway for being late to qualifying inspection at Bristol two weeks ago, NASCAR announced.

Rookie Erik Jones will miss 15 minutes in Friday’s final practice for failing inspection before the Bristol race two times.

David Ragan will miss 30 minutes in Friday’s final practice for failing inspection before the Bristol race three times.

Opening Cup practice is from 1 – 2:25 p.m. ET.

Final Cup practice is from 3:30 – 4:55 p.m. ET.

Both practices will be on NBCSN.

Weekend schedule: Xfinity Series at Road America

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While the NASCAR Cup Series is enjoying its last off-weekend of the season and the Camping World Truck Series is also off, there will still be racing this weekend.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Road America for Sunday’s Johnsonville 180.

This is the eighth Xfinity Series race to be held on Road America’s 4.048-mile road course.

The first six race winners there were Carl Edwards (2010), Reed Sorenson (2011), Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), A.J. Allmendinger (2013), Brendan Gaughan (2014) and Paul Menard (2015).

Michael McDowell won last year’s race, leading half (24 laps) of the 48-lap event. Gaughan finished second, followed by Brennan Poole.

This will be the third road course race for Xfinity drivers in the last four events, and the final one of the season for the series.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule (all times Eastern):

Saturday, August 26

11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

2 – 2:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4 – 4:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

Sunday, August 27

8 a.m. – Xfinity garage open

11:45 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying (multi-vehicle, two rounds) (CNBC)

1 p.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

2:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3 p.m. – Johnsonville 180 Xfinity race (45 laps, 182.16 miles) (NBC, Motor Racing Network/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

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Yes, there is NASCAR racing Sunday: Xfinity entry list for Road America

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Who says there’s no NASCAR racing this weekend?

Sure, the NASCAR Cup and Camping World Truck Series will enjoy the weekend off, but not the Xfinity Series.

Drivers in that series will be competing Sunday at what has become one of the most challenging and popular road courses on the Xfinity schedule: the twisting 4.048-mile road course at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

A total of 42 cars are listed on the preliminary entry list released Monday.

Only 40 cars will qualify to race in Sunday’s Johnsonville 180 (3 p.m. ET on NBC). This will be the third road course the series has raced on in the last four races.

Ryan Ellis announced Tuesday he will drive the No. 07 Chevrolet for SS Greenlight Racing, which is normally driven by Ray Black Jr. It will be Ellis’ first NASCAR start of the year.

In 2016, Ellis made four Cup starts, 16 Xfinity starts and four Truck Series starts.

One driver position and one crew chief position remain to be filled.

  • Team JD Motorsports has not named a driver for the No. 15 Chevrolet.
  • And the No. 72 Chevrolet, driven by John Jackson and owned by James Carter, has yet to name a crew chief for the race.

This will be the eighth Xfinity race at Road America since the series first visited there in 2010.

The winners since then have been Carl Edwards (2010), Reed Sorenson (2011), Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), A.J. Allmendinger (2013), Brendan Gaughan (2014), Paul Menard (2015) and Michael McDowell last year.

Click here for the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s Xfinity race at Road America.

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Eight Cup teams will miss practice time today for inspection issues

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NASCAR announced that eight teams will miss practice time Saturday because of inspection issues, and Matt DiBenedetto will start at the rear for Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

DiBenedetto qualified 27th but will start last in the 39-car field for failing inspection before qualifying four times Friday at Michigan.

DiBenedetto also will miss 30 minutes of final practice for his inspection issues Friday and being late to pre-qualifying inspection last weekend at Watkins Glen.

Jimmie Johnson, Reed Sorenson and Erik Jones each will miss 15 minutes of Saturday’s final practice for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice Friday at Michigan.

Kevin Harvick will miss 15 minutes of final practice for being late to pre-qualifying inspection last weekend at Watkins Glen.

Derrike Cope, Landon Cassill and AJ Allmendinger each will miss 15 minutes of Saturday’s opening Cup practice for being late to pre-qualifying inspection Friday at Michigan.

Saturday’s opening Cup practice goes from 8:30 – 9:25 a.m. ET on CNBC. Saturday’s final Cup practice is from 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. (NBC Sports App).

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