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Starting lineup for Cup race at Richmond

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Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott will start on the front row for Saturday night’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway.

Truex won his third pole of the season.

The top five is completed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Kyle Busch, who is trying to win a third consecutive race, qualified 32nd.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Friday 5: Could further limit on Cup drivers in Xfinity take place?

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For the second week in a row, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will run a race without any drivers who score points in the Cup series.

Cup regulars are barred from competing in Dash 4 Cash races, which pay $100,000 to the top Xfinity drivers in each of four events.

The result last weekend at Bristol was a race where Xfinity drivers battled for the win and to be eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus tonight at Richmond Raceway. Ryan Preece won the race and the bonus at Bristol. He isn’t entered for tonight’s race. Competing for the Dash 4 Cash bonus will be Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler, Spencer Gallagher and Daniel Hemric.

Along with Dash 4 Cash races, any driver who scores Cup points is barred from competing in the final eight races of the Xfinity season (regular-season finale and seven playoff races). Cup drivers with more than five years of experience are limited to seven Xfinity races in a season.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, hinted earlier this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that more changes could be made to limit Cup driver participations in Xfinity races.

“We’ll continue to monitor what do our fans think, what do our partners think in terms of what they’re seeing on the race track and the storylines,’’ O’Donnell said.

“It’s one thing to say we like this, but fans need to turn out, ratings need to be there and those sorts of things. Only one race, but we saw some really good indictions in terms of the TV rating for that event. That’s something that we’ll continue to monitor, but our gut tells us that’s the direction we want to continue to go, even more so in 2019 and beyond.’’

2. Dominance

Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have ruled the beginning of the season, combining to win five of the first eight races and finishing runner-up four times.

The two also have combined to lead 37.2 percent of the 2,645 laps run this season.

Busch heads into Saturday night’s race at Richmond having scored six consecutive top-three finishes, including back-to-back wins at Texas and Bristol.

The last time two drivers won three Cup races in a row in the same season was 2015 when Busch won Daytona, New Hampshire and Indianapolis, and Joey Logano won Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega in the playoffs.

3. The race within the race

While multi-car teams garner much attention, single-car teams shouldn’t be ignored.

Here’s a look at how single-car teams have performed relative to each other in the first eight races of the season.

Not surprisingly, Furniture Row Racing and Martin Truex Jr. have been the top-finishing single-car team in five of the first eight races. Darrell Wallace Jr.’s Richard Petty Motorsports team has been the top finishing single-car team twice, and the Wood Brothers and Paul Menard have been the top-finishing car in class once.

Menard has finished second among single-car teams five times. Wallace, Leavine Family Racing’s Kasey Kahne and Germain Racing’s Ty Dillon have each finished second in class once.

The last two races have been good to single-car teams. Nine single-car teams finished in the top 22 at Texas, led by Wallace’s eighth-place finish, Dillon’s 13th-place finish and Matt DiBenedetto placing 16th for Go Fas Racing.

Three single-car teams placed in the top 20 at Bristol — Menard was 13th, Wallace 16th and Landon Cassill gave StarCom Racing its best career finish at 20th.

4. No need for announcement

When teams announce long-term sponsor extensions, it can come with news of an extension to the driver’s contract to match that time.

The news this week that Roush Fenway Racing had extended sponsor deals through 2021 with Fastenal, Fifth Third Bank and Sunny D didn’t include any news about Stenhouse’s contract.

Didn’t need to.

“Ricky’s contract was already extended that far and we didn’t need to do anything else on that front,’’ Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, told NBC Sports.

5. HUGE news!

Matt Tifft wrote those words in a tweet this week followed not by a sponsor announcement or anything related to racing but that doctors say the area of his brain where a low-grade tumor was removed in July 2016 is stable. He now only needs to have an MRI checkup every six months instead of sooner.

Tifft enters tonight’s Xfinity race at Richmond 11th in the points.

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List of songs from Bristol driver introductions

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It was a rainy morning at Bristol Motor Speedway and more could come this afternoon, but that didn’t keep the traditional driver introductions from taking place at the half-mile track before the Food City 500.

Here’s the complete list of songs drivers were introduced with. All songs were voted on by fans, who were given three options to choose from.

More than 100,000 votes were cast.

Here are the results and the percentage of the vote each song received.

Winning Fan Vote Songs

Kyle Busch – “All I Do is WIN” by DJ Khaled, 47 percent

Kurt Busch – “Outlaw State of Mind” by Chris Stapleton, 47 percent

Brad Keselowski  -“Little Deuce Coupe” by The Beach Boys, 40 percent

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – “People Back Home” by Florida Georgia Line, 44 percent

Ryan Blaney – “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash, 54 percent

Kyle Larson – “Dirt Road Anthem” by Jason Aldean, 56 percent

Paul Menard – “R.O.C.K. in the USA” by John Mellencamp, 50 percent

Alex Bowman – “Rise” by I Prevail, 60 percent

Michael McDowell – “Taken it to the Streets” by The Doobie Brothers, 66 percent

Joey Logano  -“Brass Monkey” by The Beastie Boys, 47 percent

William Byron – “Fan the Flames” by Liberty University, 41 percent

Daniel Suarez  – “Speedy Gonzalez” by Pat Boone, 50 percent

Erik Jones – “You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet” by Bachman Turner Overdrive, 37 percent

Clint Bowyer – “Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams Jr., 51 percent

Kasey Kahne – “5-1-5-0” by Dierks Bentley, 41 percent

Chase Elliott “A Crazy Racin’ Man” by Bill Elliott, 58 percent

Jimmie Johnson – “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, 50 percent

AJ Allmendinger – “I’m Alright” by Kenny Logins, 46 percent

Aric Almirola  – “Miami Vice” 50 percent

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. – “Into The Fire” by Asking Alexandria, 65 percent

Austin Dillon – “Cowboy” by Kid Rock, 58 percent

Chris Buescher -“Pork and Beans” by Weezer, 42 percent

David Ragan – “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band, 49 percent

Matt DiBenedetto – “John Cena Theme Song,” 41 percent

Denny Hamlin – “Forever” by Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem, 45 percent

Martin Truex Jr. “Nothing But The Taillights” by Clint Black, 57 percent

Ross Chastain – “Watermelon Crawl” by Tracy Byrd

Gray Gaulding – “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins

Landon Cassill – “Going to Mars” by Judah and the Lion

Ryan Newman – “Huntin, Fishin & Lovin Every Day” by Luke Bryan, 53 percent

Jamie McMurray – “One” by Metallica, 42 percent

Ty Dillon – “Walk it Like I Talk It” by Migos, 51 percent

Trevor Bayne – “Rocky Top” by the Pride of the Southland Marching Band, 60 percent

Corey LaJoie – “Walmart Yodeling Song”

DJ Kennington – “The Hockey Song”

Reed Sorenson – “Motorsport” by Migos

Harrison Rhodes – “Enter Sandman” by Metallica

Chad Finchum – “Where I Come From” by Alan Jackson, 49 percent

Kevin Harvick – “Happy” by Pharrell, 37 percent

 

Kyle Larson tops field in Saturday morning Cup practice at Bristol

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap in Saturday morning’s Cup practice session at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Larson led the way with a lap of 129.004 mph.

He was followed by Martin Truex Jr. (128.952 mph), Aric Almirola (128.943), pole-sitter Kyle Busch (128.934) and Kasey Kahne (128.830).

Erik Jones had the best 10 consecutive lap average at 127.292 mph. He was followed by Kurt Busch (127.260 mph), David Ragan (127.032 mph), Chase Elliott (127.012) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (126.932).

There were no incidents in the session.

Larson also ran the most laps with 70. Chase Elliott was next with 62 laps run. Darrell Wallace Jr. ran 61 laps.

Click here for practice report

Final Cup practice will be from 11:05 – 11:55 a.m. ET today.

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Kyle Busch wins pole for Food City 500; Kurt Busch qualifies second

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Kyle Busch qualified first for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway while brother Kurt Busch qualified second.

With a speed of 128.822 mph, Kyle Busch earned his second pole of the year (Atlanta) and his second at the half-mile track.

Kurt Busch qualified with a speed of 128.804 mph.

Kyle Busch has six Bristol wins, Kurt Busch has five. They are the active leaders in wins at Bristol.

It is the third time the brothers have started on the front row together. Kyle Busch has started first every time.

“He always told people, ‘If you think I’m good wait for my younger brother,’ I’m glad I’m living up to it,” Kyle Busch told Fox Sports 1. “It’s nice to come out here and grab a front row starting spot, but I’ve got to be careful and mindful. I’ve got to make sure I’ve got a good race car, because every time I’ve started up front I have not finished up front and every time I’ve started in the back, I finish up front. We’re trying to change things this time around this weekend.”

Kurt Busch will start on the front row for the second race in a row after being on the pole last weekend at Texas.

“I missed it a little bit in Turn 1, I got greedy and I drove in there too hard and it washed up just a smidge,” he told FS1. “I can’t believe it was two thousandths (of a second), it felt like an eternity. If at least you’re going to lose on Bush’s Beans Pole Day for a Busch (Beer) pole, you want to lose to a Busch.”

Completing the starting top five for Sunday’s race are Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Blaney.

Keselowski and Stenhouse’s results are their best of the season.

Michael McDowell qualified ninth.

Kasey Kahne qualified 15th for his best starting spot since Atlanta (14th).

Jimmie Johnson will start 17th and AJ Allmendinger qualified 18th after his team elected to repair its primary car following an incident in practice.

Denny Hamlin (25th), Martin Truex Jr. (26th), Ryan Newman (30th) and Jamie McMurray (31st) were among those who did not advance out of the first round.

Teams played a game of wait and see in every round. In Round 1, only five cars had made an attempt when the clock had five minutes remaining. In the second round (10 minutes long), no one made an attempt in the first seven minutes. Kyle Larson was the first to make an attempt. Only three cars had made an attempt with two minutes left in the round.

In the final round (five minutes long), Ryan Blaney was the first to start an attempt with 90 seconds left.

Kevin Harvick did not make a qualifying run after he went to a backup car following a practice crash. Going to a backup car results in starting from the rear.

Click here for qualifying results.