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Joe Gibbs Racing 2018 Xfinity lineup: Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, Ryan Preece

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Joe Gibbs Racing announced Wednesday it will campaign three full-timeXfinity cars in 2018:

Bell will drive the No. 20 Toyota Camry. His crew chief will be Jason Ratcliff, whose final stint with Matt Kenseth in the Cup Series is Sunday in Miami.

Bell has made seven Xfinity starts this season, scoring his first series win Oct. 21 at Kansas.

Bell is still in contention for the Truck championship, which will be decided in Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

  • After two-plus full-time Xfinity seasons with Richard Childress Racing, Brandon Jones moves to a similar full-time ride with JGR.

Brandon Jones will drive the No. 19 Toyota Camry. Chris Gabehart will be his crew chief.

Eric Phillips will serve as crew chief for Preece and the other drivers when they are behind the wheel of the No. 18.

Preece has made three Xfinity starts this season, with top-five finishes in each, including his first career win July 29 at Iowa Speedway. He will race in Saturday’s season-ending event.

Preece will drive an undetermined number of races in 2018. Busch, the all-time Xfinity wins leader with 91, will start a maximum of seven races. Fellow Cup drivers Hamlin, Erik Jones and Suarez will fill out the remaining races.

Six Cup teams docked practice time at Phoenix

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AVONDALE, Arizona – Six Cup cars, three Xfinity cars and two trucks will miss practice time this weekend at Phoenix Raceway for inspection issues, NASCAR announced Friday.

The Cup cars of Trevor Bayne, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chris Buescher and Cole Whitt will miss 15 minutes of Friday’s Cup practice because those cars each were late to inspection at Texas. That session goes from 1 – 2:25 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The cars of Buescher, Joey Logano and playoff contender Chase Elliott will miss 15 minutes of Saturday’s final practice for failing inspection before last weekend’s race at Texas.

In the Xfinity Series, the car of playoff contender Matt Tifft will miss 30 minutes of final practice for failing inspection three times before last weekend’s race at Texas. The cars of Ryan Blaney and playoff contender Daniel Hemric will each miss 15 minutes of final practice for failing inspection twice before last weekend’s race. That session is from 4:30 – 5:25 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In the Camping World Truck Series, the vehicles of Ray Ciccarelli and Ted Minor will each miss 15 minutes of final practice for failing inspection twice before last weekend’s race at Texas. That session is from 11 a.m. – 12:50 p.m. on Fox Sports 2.

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Stats, results for Cup playoff elimination race at Kansas

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Martin Truex Jr. led 91 laps and bounced back from an early restart violation to win his seventh Cup race of the year in the playoff elimination race at Kansas Speedway.

The win by Truex in the Hollywood Casino 400 is a Cup record sixth win this year on a 1.5-mile track.

Truex was followed by Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.

Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were eliminated from the playoffs.

Click here for the full results.

MORE: Martin Truex Jr. wins at Kansas; Kenseth, Larson, McMurray, Stenhouse Jr. eliminated

MORE: Martin Truex Jr. remains at top of heap as NASCAR Cup playoffs advance to Round of 8

Brad Keselowski wins Stage 1 of Alabama 500 at Talladega

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Brad Keselowski won Stage 1 of the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in a one-lap sprint following a late caution.

Keselowski edged out his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano to lead his only lap in the stage. The shootout was caused by a caution when Paul Menard hit the wall with five laps left in the stage.

The top 10 through 55 laps is Keselowski, Logano, Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Michael McDowell, Kurt Busch, Trevor Bayne and Kasey Kahne.

Logano led 37 laps.

There were two cautions for accidents in the stage.

The first caution came out on Lap 26 as a number of Chevrolet cars attempted to pit in a group. Jamie McMurray, a playoff driver, was slowing down to move to the apron when he was hit from behind by Erik Jones. The impact sent McMurray shooting to the outside wall where he collided with Jeffrey Earnhardt.

The impact with Earnhardt caused McMurray’s No. 1 Chevrolet to become briefly airborne. McMurray,  Earnhardt and Jones were eliminated. Kyle Busch was also involved. McMurray will finish in 37th.

“We wanted to pit a couple of laps earlier, and you’re somewhat dependent on the spotters to tell you when you’re going to pit,” McMurray told NBC. “You assume everyone is working as a group. It was my fault. I assumed that they said the 18 was going to let me in, so I thought we were all going to pit. I didn’t even know where the 77 was. When I got on the brakes, I thought we were all coming to pit road as a group. I’ll take the blame for that. I just kind of assumed we were coming to pit road right there. Obviously not everyone was.”

Mark Thompson was also involved and eliminated from the race.

Six drivers, including pole-sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon and Michael McDowell, were penalized for pitting too early.

Earnhardt, who led seven laps in the stage, was penalized again during the caution for Menard for speeding on pit road. He finished the stage in 27th.

The second incident was Menard hitting the wall with five laps left in the stage.

Stage 2 of the 188-lap race will end on Lap 110.

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.”