Alex Bowman leads fourth Daytona 500 practice; Danica 19th-fastest in backup car

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In a Daytona 500 practice session that largely featured single-car runs, second-year Sprint Cup driver Alex Bowman earned top honors with a lap of 200.495 miles per hour in the No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet.

Two drivers that were near the top in today’s earlier practice stayed there for this session. Kasey Kahne, P4 in the earlier practice, was second-fastest with a lap of 200.459 mph, while Trevor Bayne was third again but slightly quicker in this session at 200.387 mph.

Paul Menard was fourth on the time sheets at 200.374 mph, and was followed by Richard Childress Racing teammate Brian Scott (fifth, 200.285).

After sustaining some damage in a five-car incident earlier today, Denny Hamlin was sixth in this session at 199.309 mph. Danica Patrick was forced to go to a backup car as a result of that crash, but got out again and logged 13 laps. Her best lap at 192.835 mph was good enough for 19th.

Jeb Burton and Michael Annett, the other two drivers that must go to a backup following the crash, were among those that did not appear in this session.

Tomorrow sees Speedweeks kick into high gear with another 500 practice session (12 Noon – 1:25 p.m. ET), two Camping World Truck Series practices (1:30-2:25 and 3:30-4:55 p.m. ET), and the day’s main event – the two, 60-lap Budweiser Duels (Duel 1 at 7 p.m. ET; Duel 2 at approx. 8:30 p.m. ET) that will help set the 500 field.

Daytona 500 Practice 4
Daytona International Speedway
1. Alex Bowman, 200.495 mph … 12 laps run
2. Kasey Kahne, 200.459 mph … 18 laps run
3. Trevor Bayne, 200.387 … 5 laps run
4. Paul Menard, 200.374 … 12 laps run
5. Brian Scott, 200.285 … 10 laps run
6. Denny Hamlin, 199.309 … 11 laps run
7. Kyle Busch, 198.487 … 10 laps run
8. Ty Dillon, 198.382 … 20 laps run
9. Justin Marks, 198.334 … 17 laps run
10. Michael McDowell, 198.216 … 10 laps run
11. Jeff Gordon, 198.181 … 18 laps run
12. Kevin Harvick, 196.113 … 5 laps run
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 195.695 … 13 laps run
14. Jamie McMurray, 194.271 … 11 laps run
15. Joey Logano, 194.028 … 10 laps run
16. Ryan Blaney, 194.020 … 4 laps run
17. Jimmie Jonson, 193.849 … 13 laps run
18. Brad Keselowski, 193.295 … 18 laps run
19. Danica Patrick, 192.835 … 13 laps run
20. Ryan Newman, 192.406 … 1 lap run
21. Greg Biffle, 192.230 … 3 laps run
22. Casey Mears, 192.094 … 5 laps run
23. Aric Almirola, 191.832 … 6 laps run
24. Martin Truex Jr., 191.657 … 3 laps run
25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 191.644 … 8 laps run
26. Cole Whitt, 191.624 … 5 laps run
27. Bobby Labonte, 191.018 … 6 laps run
28. Josh Wise, 189.785 … 3 laps run
29. David Ragan, 189.661 … 2 laps run
30. Matt Kenseth, 21.413 … 1 lap run
31. Landon Cassill … 0 laps run
32. Sam Hornish Jr. … 0 laps run

Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average
1. Kasey Kahne, 198.008 … Laps 1-10
2. Brian Scott, 197.802 … Laps 1-10
3. Jeff Gordon, 197.464 … Laps 2-11
4. Ty Dillon, 197.368 … Laps 1-10
5. Kyle Busch, 197.334 … Laps 1-10
6. Denny Hamlin, 196.940 … Laps 2-11
7. Alex Bowman, 196.876 … Laps 3-12
8. Justin Marks, 195.257 … Laps 1-10

Shane Lee to drive for new Xfinity team with Circuit City sponsorship

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former Richard Childress Racing driver Shane Lee will compete for a new Xfinity Series team, H2 Motorsports, the team announced Thursday at Charlotte Motor speedway

Owned by 23-year-old entrepreneur and venture capitalist Matt Hurley, the team will be sponsored by Circuit City and will field Lee in the No. 28 Toyota with support from Toyota Racing Development. They’ll debut June 16 at Iowa Speedway with plans to compete for the rest of the season.

Circuit City, which is primarily an online store now, was notably a sponsor of Hut Stricklin from 1996-98 in the Cup Series.

“I grew up an avid race fan, my parents are from the Midwest and I’ve followed the sport very, very closely since I was a young kid,” Hurley said. “More recently felt like there was an opportunity to go into the sport and bring some of our invested brands back into the sport. I’ve really taken an interest in kind of trying to find a way in.

“We felt like now is the right time to enter the sport, to come in in a competitive way. … Felt like TRD was the right partner to help us do that in a competitive way.”

Lee, 25, competed in the Xfinity Series last year, making 13 starts in RCR’s No. 3 Chevrolet. His best result and only top five was a fourth-place finish at Kansas Speedway in October.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Lee said. “I met Matt at a couple races last year. We actually became pretty good races and we weren’t really even working on a racing deal. Probably January or February we started talking about the race deal and wanting to get into racing. We sort of went from there and he got himself figured out and he really went down the line and hired some really good people.”

Lee will be paired with crew chief Pete Rondeau. Rondeau has 103 Cup races to his name, including as crew chief for Regan Smith’s 2011 Southern 500 win.

Rondeau also has one Xfinity Series win with Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Bristol in 2004.

“I’ve had a history of accepting challenges,” Rondeau said. “As we did with Furniture Row team, we worked hard and … it ended up flourishing into a championship-caliber team. To me this is no different right here. We have a good core group and I’m happy to work with them. It’s going to be fun and a whole lot of work at the same time.”

Gallery: Coca-Cola 600 patriotic paint schemes

Photos by Daniel McFadin
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With Memorial Day weekend here, many NASCAR teams will be racing patriotic paint schemes in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Here’s a look at the unique schemes that will compete in NASCAR’s longest race.

All photos by Daniel McFadin.

Landon Cassill – No. 00 Chevrolet

Brad Keselowski – No. 2 Ford

Ryan Newman – No. 6 Ford

Aric Almirola – No. 10 Ford

Ty Dillon – No. 13 Chevrolet

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – No. 17 Ford

William Byron – No. 24 Chevrolet

Corey LaJoie – No. 32 Ford

 

Michael McDowell – No. 34 Ford

Matt Tifft – No. 36 Ford

David Ragan – No. 36 Ford

Ryan Preece – No. 47 Chevrolet

Jimmie Johnson – No. 48 Chevrolet

Cody Ware – No. 51 Ford

Bayley Currey – No. 52 Ford

BJ McLeod – No. 53 Chevrolet

Alex Bowman – No. 88 Chevrolet

 

Kyle Larson wins Speed 51 Open kart race

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Kyle Larson kept his winning ways going Wednesday night when he won an Outlaw Kart race at Millbridge Speedway in Salisbury, North Carolina.

Four days after his win in the Monster Energy All-Star Race, Larson took the lead on Lap 2 of the 51-lap Speed 51 Open and led the rest of the way.

Larson held off Chase Majdic for the win, his second in the event.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver won despite losing his muffler in the middle of the race and having to replace his left side upper wing earlier in the night after a qualifying event.

Larson has a busy weekend ahead of him with World of Outlaws races at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Friday and Saturday night, the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, and the Word of Outlaws’ Memorial Day Classic at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana on Monday.

Coca-Cola 600 weekend schedule

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The longest race of the year arrives with Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Cup and Xfinity Series teams will be in action this weekend. Track activity starts today and is highlighted by Cup qualifying.

The wunderground.com forecast for Thursday calls for cloudy skies and a high 84 degrees.

Saturday’s forecast is for sunny skies and a high of 90 degrees. The early forecast for Sunday’s race is for sunny skies and a high of 92 degrees with a 0% chance of rain for the start of the race.

Here’s the full weekend schedule, with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

Thursday, May 23

11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. – Cup garage open

1  – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

2:35 – 3:25 p.m. – Cup practice (FS1 coverage begins at 3 p.m.)

4:05 – 4:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (FS1)

6:05 – 6:55 p.m – Final Xfinity practice (FS1)

7:05 p.m. – Cup qualifying; single car/one lap (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Friday, May 24

No track activity

Saturday, May 25

6 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

8:35 – 9:25 a.m. – Cup practice (FS1)

9:35 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying; single car/one lap (FS1)

10:45 a.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. – Final Cup practice (FS1)

12:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

1 p.m. – Alsco 300; 200 laps/300 miles (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, May 26

12:30 p.m. – Cup garage opens

4 p.m. – Driver-crew chief meeting

5:30 p.m. – Driver introductions

6 p.m. – Coca-Cola 600; 400 laps/600 miles (Fox, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)