UPDATED: Lawyer threatens seizure of race car from NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner reportedly wanted on arrest warrant

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UPDATED (5:50 pm ET): 

In addition to a reported bench warrant that has been issued for his arrest, NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner John Cohen may soon have a lien placed against his assets, according to a report by USA Today Sports.

Attorney Elliott Malone told the news outlet Thursday afternoon that he is pursuing a lien against Cohen (in photo) that could include the Cohen-owned Team Xtreme and its race cars.

It was reported earlier Thursday by NJ.com that a judge in Essex County, N.J., had issued a warrant for Cohen’s arrest after he failed to pay back an $85,000 court-ordered judgment dating back to last August.

When contacted by NASCAR Talk later Thursday morning, Cohen said Malone was trying to extort him and said there was confusion over the name on the warrant.

USA TODAY Sports reported that court documents indicated Cohen was aware of a pending arrest warrant against him as early as January.

With the No. 44 race car being stolen two weeks ago in suburban Atlanta, Malone said the race car’s value of $250,000 cited by Cohen at the time of the theft prompted him to begin placing a lien on any insurance claims Cohen made on the car.

“That actually works out better because if he doesn’t pay the judgment then I’ll start the process of seizing assets, including the car,” Malone said in an email to USA Today Sports.​

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

An arrest warrant reportedly has been issued for NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner John Cohen, whose team made national news when its race car was stolen in suburban Atlanta two weeks ago.

According to a report Thursday by NJ Advance Media (also known as NJ.com), a bench warrant seeking Cohen’s arrest has been issued in Essex County, N.J.

The warrant states Cohen, of Union, N.J., has failed to abide by a August 2014 court order from a civil lawsuit settlement that he repay two former business partners $55,000 from a failed Manhattan night club venture.

Cohen told NJ.com Thursday morning, “It’s a story that’s not true. I didn’t make the settlement.”

As for the warrant, Cohen told NJ.com, “That’s not me. That’s my father. That has nothing to do with me.”

Later Thursday morning, Cohen spoke with NASCAR Talk, denying the allegations made by Elliott Malone, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the civil case.

“The lawyer is trying to extort me,” Cohen said. “He knew everything that happened last week. He’s using this to make himself look good.”

As for the lawsuit settlement, Cohen said, “My lawyer handled that. I don’t know what the situation is.”

Cohen also told NASCAR Talk that the bench warrant is for a “John Cohen,” but that his full legal name is really “Jonathan Cohen,” and that “John Cohen” lives “at an address I don’t live at.”

When told Cohen denies the charges that resulted in the bench warrant, Malone told NJ.com, “My response is one word: Typical.”

Cohen’s two former partners in the failed night club, Anthony Santucci and Jeff Rezink, reportedly invested a combined $85,000 with Cohen. They allege the money was never used for the club and that Cohen never returned the funds to them.

“He obviously just pocketed the money,” Santucci told NJ.com. “We believe he used the money to fund his NASCAR team.”

Santucci added that the loss of his investment “completely crushed me. It was my first $50,000 I’ve saved. I still haven’t really recovered. It completely wiped me out.”

Cohen owns the Team Xtreme Sprint Cup team, based in Mooresville, N.C.

The organization made national news when its race car was stolen from a hotel parking lot in Morrow, Ga., only to be found abandoned and undamaged on the side of a road less than 24 hours later and about 40 miles from where it was stolen.

A pickup truck used to pull the trailer that transported the race car from Team Xtreme’s headquarters to Atlanta for a race that weekend was found nearly two days later.

The trailer itself, as well as a race engine and assorted parts reportedly worth over $100,000, remain missing.

Despite the bench warrant, the team will be in Phoenix for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race, the CampingWorld.com 500, Cohen told NASCAR Talk.

According to NJ.com, Cohen also is being sued for using “unfair and deceptive trade practices” in the purchase of a race car last year from the now defunct Swan Racing.

The suit is seeking $200,000 in damages from Cohen, according to court documents cited by NJ.com.

Contributing: @DustinLong

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Xfinity race results, point standings after Bristol

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Chase Briscoe led the final six laps and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol for his seventh win of the season.

Briscoe beat Ross Chastain for the win. The top five was completed by Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the race results.

Playoff standings

The 12-driver field for the playoffs has been set with Briscoe’s win in the regular-season finale.

Brandon Brown placed 12th and clinched the 12th and final spot.

Here are the re-seeded point standings entering the playoffs.

Chase Briscoe – 2,050 points

Austin Cindric – 2,050

Justin Allgaier – 2,033

Noah Gragson – 2,025

Brandon Jones – 2,020

Justin Haley – 2,018

Harrison Burton – 2,014

Ross Chastain – 2,010

Ryan Sieg – 2,002

Michael Annett – 2,002

Riley Herbst – 2,001

Brandon Brown – 2,000

Click here for the re-seeded standings.

Click here for the normal point standings.

Chase Briscoe wins Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Chase Briscoe took the lead with six laps to go and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which marked the end of the regular season.

Briscoe passed Austin Cindric to assume the lead and went unchallenged to the checkered flag. The victory is his series-leading seventh of the season.

“I was so mad after last week (at Richmond),” Briscoe told NBCSN. “I told all the guys there ain’t no way we’re getting beat today. I was so mad after how we ran last week and I get on the internet all the time and see guys count us out after one bad race and I know what this team is capable. … I finished second here the last two races and I wanted to win here so bad and it’s awesome that I can actually celebrate it with all these race fans.”

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain, Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

More: Race results, playoff standings

Allgaier dominated the early portion of the race, leading 126 laps and winning the first two stages. But he lost the lead for good in the pits during the Stage 2 break.

Brandon Brown finished 12th and clinched the 12th and final playoff spot.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ross Chastain led three times for 117 laps, but had to settle for his fifth runner-up finish of the season without a win … Austin Cindric earned his 13th top-10 finish in the last 14 races … Harrison Burton earned his 13th top five of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brett Moffitt finished 27th after he had to pit three times in the opening laps and was penalized for taking fuel before the competition caution … BJ McLeod finished 34th after he was eliminated in a multi-car wreck that began when he made contact with teammate Jeffrey EarnhardtMichael Annett finished 31st and Joe Graf Jr. placed 27th after they were involved in an incident on Lap 120.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “I hit pit road and I wanted to cry.” – Ross Chastain after he finished second for the fifth time this year. He is winless entering the playoffs.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity playoffs open at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 26 on NBCSN.

 

Fans not allowed at Las Vegas races

Fans not allowed
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Spectators will be not be allowed for any of the NASCAR playoff races next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the track announced Friday night.

A press release said only essential personnel will be allowed to attend the Cup, Xfinity and Truck playoff races there.

“To say we’re disappointed that we will conduct the South Point 400 playoff weekend without fans would be a gross understatement,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell. “Our staff has been working – many of them remotely – since the February Pennzoil 400 to prepare the speedway for our playoff tripleheader.

“But we must adhere to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive that limits gatherings due to COVID-19.  While we disagree with this policy, we have no choice but to oblige.  We certainly regret this situation for the thousands of race fans who won’t be able to attend our NASCAR-weekend events.”

Nevada’s re-opening plan does not permit fans at sporting events, concerts. Groups are limited to 50 or fewer people.

The Las Vegas Raiders announced last month that they would not have fans at any of the team’s home games in its inaugural season there.

The Truck playoff race will be at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 on FS1. The Xfinity playoff opener will be at  7:30 p.m. ET Sept. 26 on NBCSN. The Cup playoff race will be 7 p.m. ET Sept. 27 on NBCSN.

Fans holding tickets for those events will be contacted by the speedway ticket services department to discuss credits for future races or refunds.

Pit crew change for Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson teams

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Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson each will have a pit crew change for Saturday night’s playoff race at Bristol.

The change is the result of an injury to one pit crew member.

Dustin Lineback, jackman for Bowman’s team is out with an injury, the team stated. Kyle Tudor, who has been Johnson’s jackman, moves over to that role for Bowman’s team. Eric Ludwig, a backup for Hendrick Motorsports, moves up to be the jackman for Johnson.

MORE: Saturday Cup race at Bristol: Start time, forecast, lineup

Bowman enters the elimination race 27 points ahead of teammate William Byron, the first driver outside a transfer spot to the second round. Bowman opened the playoffs by finishing sixth in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He followed that by placing ninth at Richmond. Bowman was collected in a crash and finished 37th in the May Bristol race.

Johnson, who is in his final full-time Cup season, seeks his first victory of the season. He finished third at Bristol in May.