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NASCAR announces 2018 schedules for Cup, Xfinity, Camping World Trucks

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NASCAR announced the 2018 schedules for its three national series and they include significant changes in Cup.

The season will begin with the Clash and Daytona 500 qualifying taking place on Feb. 11. Previously, those events were held on separate dates. The Clash moves to from a Saturday night to Sunday afternoon. Daytona 500 qualifying will precede it.

The Daytona 500 moves to Feb. 18 – its earliest date since 2010.

The Richmond spring race moves back to a Saturday night race after having been run on Sunday this year.

The playoffs will see a big change.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host the cutoff race for the playoffs on Sept. 9. The playoffs will open Sept. 16 at Las Vegas. Richmond, which had been the cutoff race since 2004, moves into the playoffs and will be on Sept. 22, a Saturday night. The first round ends Sept. 30 at Charlotte on the track’s oval and infield road course. Dover moves to the first race in the second round. The final six races of the playoffs remain unchanged from this year.

2018 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES SCHEDULE

Date                 Site

2/11                  Daytona International Speedway (Clash / Daytona 500 Qualifying)

2/15                  Daytona International Speedway (Duel)

2/18                  Daytona 500

2/25                  Atlanta Motor Speedway

3/4                    Las Vegas Motor Speedway

3/11                  Phoenix International Raceway

3/18                  Auto Club Speedway

3/25                  Martinsville Speedway

4/8                    Texas Motor Speedway

4/15                  Bristol Motor Speedway

4/21                  Richmond International Raceway

4/29                  Talladega Superspeedway

5/6                    Dover International Speedway

5/12                  Kansas Speedway

5/19                  Charlotte Motor Speedway (Monster Energy All-Star Race)

5/27                  Charlotte Motor Speedway

6/3                    Pocono Raceway

6/10                  Michigan International Speedway

6/24                  Sonoma Raceway

7/1                    Chicagoland Speedway

7/7                    Daytona International Speedway

7/14                  Kentucky Speedway

7/22                  New Hampshire Motor Speedway

7/29                  Pocono Raceway

8/5                    Watkins Glen International

8/12                  Michigan International Speedway

8/18                  Bristol Motor Speedway

9/2                    Darlington Raceway

9/9                    Indianapolis Motor Speedway

9/16                  Las Vegas Motor Speedway

9/22                  Richmond International Raceway

9/30                  Charlotte Motor Speedway

10/7                  Dover International Speedway

10/14                Talladega Superspeedway

10/21                Kansas Speedway

10/28                Martinsville Speedway

11/4                  Texas Motor Speedway

11/11                Phoenix International Raceway

11/18                Homestead-Miami Speedway

  

2018 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES SCHEDULE

Date                 Site

2/17                  Daytona International Speedway

2/24                  Atlanta Motor Speedway

3/3                    Las Vegas Motor Speedway

3/10                  Phoenix International Raceway

3/17                  Auto Club Speedway

4/7                    Texas Motor Speedway

4/14                  Bristol Motor Speedway

4/20                  Richmond International Raceway

4/28                  Talladega Superspeedway

5/5                    Dover International Speedway

5/26                  Charlotte Motor Speedway

6/2                    Pocono Raceway

6/9                    Michigan International Speedway

6/17                  Iowa Speedway

6/30                  Chicagoland Speedway

7/6                    Daytona International Speedway

7/13                  Kentucky Speedway

7/21                  New Hampshire Motor Speedway

7/28                  Iowa Speedway

8/4                    Watkins Glen International

8/11                  Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

8/17                  Bristol Motor Speedway

8/25                  Road America

9/1                    Darlington Raceway

9/8                    Indianapolis Motor Speedway

9/15                  Las Vegas Motor Speedway

9/21                  Richmond International Raceway

9/29                  Charlotte Motor Speedway

10/6                  Dover International Speedway

10/20                Kansas Speedway

11/3                  Texas Motor Speedway

11/10                Phoenix International Raceway

11/17                Homestead-Miami Speedway

  

2018 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES SCHEDULE 

Date                 Site

2/16                  Daytona International Speedway

2/24                  Atlanta Motor Speedway

3/2                    Las Vegas Motor Speedway

3/24                  Martinsville Speedway

5/4                    Dover International Speedway

5/11                  Kansas Speedway

5/18                  Charlotte Motor Speedway

6/8                    Texas Motor Speedway

6/16                  Iowa Speedway

6/23                  Gateway Motorsports Park

6/29                  Chicagoland Speedway

7/12                  Kentucky Speedway

7/18                  Eldora Speedway

7/28                  Pocono Raceway                     

8/11                  Michigan International Speedway

8/15                  Bristol Motor Speedway

8/26                  Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

9/14                  Las Vegas Motor Speedway

10/13                Talladega Superspeedway

10/27                Martinsville Speedway

11/2                  Texas Motor Speedway

11/9                  Phoenix International Raceway

11/16                Homestead-Miami Speedway

 

 

Today’s Xfinity race at Bristol: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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After an off-weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series gets back at it today with the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300.

And there’s an added bonus — this will also be a Dash 4 Cash race.

Justin Allgaier won the first Dash 4 Cash race last month at Phoenix, earning a $100,000 prize.

If Allgaier can win today’s race and the Dash races at Dover and Richmond, he would earn $1 million in total.

Here are the particulars for today’s Xfinity race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command for drivers to start engines will take place at 12:57 p.m. ET. The green flag is scheduled for 1:03 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 300 laps (159.9 miles) around the .533-mile, high-banked speedway.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Xfinity garage opens at 6 a.m. The drivers meeting is at 10:40 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:20 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Jonathan Richards will perform the Anthem at 12:51 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race at 1 p.m. Its coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at goprn.com. PRN’s coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 71 degrees at race time with a 15 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Kyle Larson led the most laps (94), but fell short at the end to winner Erik Jones, ending up third. Kyle Busch finished second. Austin Dillon won at Bristol last August. Once again, Larson led the most laps (200), but finished third, as Dillon led just four laps, including the final lap. Justin Allgaier finished second.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting grid.

Using restrictor plates at Indianapolis dovetails with aerodynamics, team official says

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NASCAR’s efforts to improve the racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway stretch well beyond the restrictor plates that will be used for the Xfinity race July 22.

In an interview with SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s NASCAR channel Tuesday morning, Richard Childress Racing director of competition Dr. Eric Warren said NASCAR has been working with teams on aerodynamic enhancements for the 2.5-mile track.

“There’s been a lot of work with the teams, the aero guys with all the teams, and working with NASCAR on different things,” Warren said on “The Morning Drive” program. “Lots of collaboration. Different aero items of how you create drag and an intermediate-type car at Indy to kind of draft almost. How can you make that work?”

Kyle Busch led 62 of 63 laps in last July’s Xfinity Series main event at IMS, highlighting the difficulty in passing at the front.

“The way the cars are, the rules are, it’s a single-groove racetrack,” Warren said. “The speed of that track and the entry and layout with stock cars, it’s really difficult to pass. Even with the perfect situation. Even 15 years ago, it was difficult to pass.”

NASCAR held a test with the Xfinity cars of RCR, JR Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing to try the restrictor plates after last year’s race.

“We were trying different aero devices and things,” Warren said. “It certainly is an alternate view of what can be done. Time will tell with getting into Turn 1 and what other problems get created. You can say, ‘We’re going to do restrictor-plate racing and bunch everybody up.’ There are other items to consider. You have to get a feel for how this works out. I’m more on the interest side than convinced either way.”

A high-drag package was tried at Indianapolis in 2015 with suboptimal results.

“Unfortunately, everyone learned lessons there that were undesirable features,” Warren said. “You add a lot of drag, but the aero behavior didn’t make it easier to bunch the cars up and draft. You have to address both at the same time. They’ve done a really good job of combining the two. The question is going to be when the end product happens, is the race better or do you end up with something like Daytona with a lot of wrecks and crashes, which maybe is exciting for some but not for others.”

In a separate interview, JRM driver William Byron said using the restrictor plates, which reduce horsepower by cutting airflow to the engine, is “worth a try.

“I really kind of race whatever we’re given, especially being a rookie,” he said. “I’m trying to adapt to whatever it is. I think restrictor-plate racing there is going to be an interesting thing. I think that when they don’t have restrictor plates, it seems like it’s gotten really spread out, and it’s tough to pass. It’s worth a try. I don’t know if it is the right thing. We’ll see what happens. It could be a really good race.”

NASCAR to meet with Austin Dillon, Cole Custer after Xfinity incident

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NASCAR plans to meet with Austin Dillon and Cole Custer this weekend at Auto Club Speedway after their incident in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Phoenix Raceway.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Monday on “The Morning Drive” that officials parked Dillon after his actions in the Xfinity race and met with Dillon, his crew chief and spotter.

Custer got into Dillon’s car in the final laps of the race, causing it to hit the wall. Dillon slowly drove away and waited for Custer to get near him. Dillon then slowly cut across Custer’s path and they made light contact.

“We made sure Austin understood where we were and where we stood on his actions that took place,’’ O’Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We plan on meeting with both drivers prior to practice out in California. We’ll continue to look at the videos, but, at this point, feel like we are where we are in terms of that conversation, but again leave the door open as we continue to review. It was a really short night coming back from Phoenix, so we’ll take our time from that.’’

After the race, Custer tweeted the incident was his fault and Dillon responded.

Dillon is not scheduled to drive in this weekend’s Xfinity race at Auto Club Speedway.

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Erik Jones paces opening Xfinity practice at Phoenix

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Erik Jones posted the fastest lap (131.521 mph) in the first Xfinity practice session Friday at Phoenix Raceway.

Jones was followed by Ryan Blaney (131.353), rookie William Byron (131.305), Brandon Jones (131.234) and Justin Allgaier (131.176).

Click here for full practice report

The Xfinity series has two other practice sessions Friday.