Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fastest in first Daytona 500 practice

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The Ford teams of Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports took the top four positions in Saturday morning’s opening practice for the 57th Daytona 500.

Roush driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the session with a lap of 202.643 mph in the No. 17 Fastenal Ford. Petty newcomer Sam Hornish Jr. was next at 202.193 mph.

Former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne was third for Roush with the same speed as Hornish. Fourth belonged to Petty’s Aric Almirola (201.979), who won at Daytona in the Coke Zero 400 last July.

The third Roush driver, veteran Greg Biffle, was sixth (201.762) just behind the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of defending 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. (201.767).

With group qualifying for the 500 coming up tomorrow afternoon, top speeds took a noticeable jump as teams ran in line with multiple cars in addition to doing single-car runs by themselves.

Martin Truex Jr., driving the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, was the only entry that did not turn a lap in the first practice.

A second 500 practice will take place from 1:30-3:25 p.m. ET later today. Here’s the speed chart from Practice 1:

Daytona 500 Practice 1
Daytona International Speedway

1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 202.643 mph … 19 laps run
2. Sam Hornish Jr., 202.193 … 20 laps
3. Trevor Bayne, 202.193 … 11 laps
4. Aric Almirola, 201.979 … 18 laps
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 201.767 … 29 laps
6. Greg Biffle, 201.762 … 11 laps
7. Denny Hamlin, 201.441 … 26 laps
8. David Gilliland, 200.642 … 15 laps
9. Danica Patrick, 200.356 … 31 laps
10. Carl Edwards, 200.312 … 24 laps
11. Kasey Kahne, 199.982 … 30 laps
12. Clint Bowyer, 199.663 … 18 laps (had best 10-consecutive lap average; 196.804, Laps 2-11)
13. Kevin Harvick, 199.146 … 28 laps
14. Justin Allgaier, 199.102 … 40 laps
15. Tony Stewart, 199.093 … 22 laps
16. Kurt Busch, 199.089 … 35 laps
17. Jamie McMurray, 199.031 … 24 laps
18. Michael Annett, 198.913 … 38 laps
19. Kyle Busch, 198.855 … 29 laps
20. Kyle Larson, 198.816 … 39 laps
21. Matt Kenseth, 198.570 … 24 laps
22. Austin Dillon, 198.509 … 26 laps
23. Paul Menard, 198.395 … 10 laps
24. Brian Scott, 198.382 … 10 laps
25. Ty Dillon, 198.330 … 5 laps
26. Ryan Newman, 198.277 … 5 laps
27. David Ragan, 198.220 … 16 laps
28. Michael McDowell, 198.129 … 22 laps
29. Ryan Blaney, 197.650 … 17 laps
30. Casey Mears, 197.546 … 17 laps
31. Joey Logano, 197.278 … 18 laps
32. Brad Keselowski, 197.256 … 25 laps
33. Justin Marks, 197.204 … 31 laps
34. Landon Cassill, 196.846 … 17 laps
35. Alex Bowman, 196.674 … 12 laps
36. Cole Whitt, 196.524 … 17 laps
37. A.J. Allmendinger, 195.997 … 16 laps
38. Mike Wallace, 195.874 … 5 laps
39. Jimmie Johnson, 194.839 … 28 laps
40. Jeff Gordon, 194.675 … 24 laps
41. Jeb Burton, 194.321 … 20 laps
42. Johnny Sauter, 194.263 … 7 laps
43. Michael Waltrip, 193.403 … 19 laps
44. J.J. Yeley, 191.738 … 13 laps
45. Bobby Labonte, 191.026 … 12 laps
46. Josh Wise, 189.390 … 3 laps
47. Ron Hornaday Jr. 189.290 … 11 laps
48. Reed Sorenson, 186.831 … 13 laps

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Kansas preview, Kevin Meendering interview

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continues to preview this weekend’s races at Kansas Speedway.

Marty Snider hosts with Steve Letarte and Landon Cassill from Charlotte.

On today’s show:

  • We’ll react to the penalty handed down to Kyle Larson that makes advancing to the Round of 8 even more challenging.
  • As cut-down day approaches in the Round of 12 for the Cup Series, we’ll look back at drivers who kept their title hopes alive with victories in elimination races.
  • Dillon Welch talks to crew chief Kevin Meendering, who is set to become Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief in 2019.
  • Joey Logano may be racing for a championship, but one of his other main goals is a far more important one: helping the lives of others, especially children. We’ll look at the story behind the Joey Logano Foundation.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Bubba Wallace named to Ebony Power 100

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Bubba Wallace has been named to Ebony Magazine’s Ebony Power 100 for his accomplishments as a NASCAR Cup series driver.

Listed as an “MVP,” Wallace joins other athletes such as Antonio Brown, Stephen Curry and Venus Williams as well as former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. 

The list was created to recognize leaders of color who have positively impacted their community.

“This is quite an honor to be recognized with others in the African-American community,” Wallace said in a press release. “It’s humbling to join a list of the other star athletes, artists and community and national leaders. I’m just trying to be the best driver that I can be and focus on winning races for Richard Petty Motorsports and our partners. To be recognized for some of our accomplishments this season is an honor and I’d like to thank Ebony for the recognition.”

Wallace gained the honor based on his on track performance early in the year, including a second-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway.

His off-track accomplishments also played a role in the selection. Wallace has been a notable influencer on social media. Earlier this year, Facebook posted a “Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace” docu-series that earned more than five million views.

“We are proud of what Bubba is doing both on and off the track for our race team and our partners,” said Brian Moffitt, CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports, in a press release. “We know that we have something very special with him and he continues to break barriers outside our sport to be a first-class athlete, spokesperson and inspiration to many.”

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K&N East champion to make Truck Series debut at Martinsville

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Tyler Ankrum, who won the NASCAR K&N East Pro Series title on Oct. 6, will make his Camping World Truck Series debut next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

Ankrum, 17, will drive for DGR-Crosley’s No. 54 truck. Ankrum drove for the team co-owned by David Gilliland in the K&N East series.

Driving the No. 17, Ankrum earned four wins and nine top fives and led the standings for the final 12 races of the season.

The native of San Bernadino, California, had an average finish of 4.8.

Next Saturday’s race will be Ankrum’s second at Martinsville. He competed in a Late Model Stock Car race there in 2014.

“Making my Truck Series debut at Martinsville is huge. So many big names in the sport have made their national series debut at Martinsville,” Ankrum said in a press release. “I’ve been dreaming of this day for so long now, I can’t believe it’s actually happening. It’s going to be really cool having (crew chief) Seth (Smith) and my K&N guys there with me.”

Kyle Larson loses 10 points, car chief suspended for Talladega penalty

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Kyle Larson‘s Cup team has been penalized 10 driver and owner points and loses car chief David Bryant to a one-race suspension for a L1 penalty at Talladega Superspeedway.

Crew chief Chad Johnston was also fined $25,000.

The No. 42 team violated Section 10.9.9.d in the rulebook, which notes “Damaged vehicle repair, regardless of how the damage occurred, is permitted to have original body parts removed or reattached in their original location with fasteners and/or tape only.”

Larson spun with seven laps left in Stage 2 due to a flat tire.

Larson, who finished 11th in Sunday’s race and called it “embarrassing at times”, is now 36 points behind the cutoff spot on the playoff grid, making this weekend’s elimination race at Kansas Speedway a must win for Larson.

This is Bryant’s second suspension this season. He missed two races in May for a rear-window violation at Kansas.

NBC Sports has asked Chip Ganassi Racing if it will appeal;there was no immediate response from the team.

John Klausmeier, crew chief on Aric Almirola‘s No. 10 Ford, was fined $10,000 for an unsecured lug nut on the race-winning car.

NASCAR also issued three fines to crew chiefs in the Camping World Truck Series for the same L1 penalty.

Chad Kendrick (Austin Hill‘s No. 02 Chevrolet), Graham Bruce (Stewart Friesen‘s No. 52 Chevrolet) and Joel Shear Jr. (Johnny Sauter‘s No. 21 Chevrolet) were fined $5,000 for violating Section 20.4, which notes “Air is not allowed to pass from one area of the interior of the vehicle to another or to the outside of the vehicle.”

NASCAR also issued an indefinite suspension to Christopher Justin Chase for violating Sections 12.1.a and 2.11.a in the rulebook, a behavioral level violation.