Kurt Busch fastest in Sprint Cup’s first Auto Club practice session

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For the second straight week, Kurt Busch led the first Sprint Cup practice session, this time at Auto Club Speedway.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver took the spot with a speed of 186.741 mph.

He was followed by Denny Hamlin at 185.385 mph and Martin Truex Jr. at 185.385 mph.

Brett Moffitt, substituting for Brian Vickers in the No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, finished 27th on the speed chart at 181.548 mph. Chris Buescher, Moffitt’s replacement driver in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, came in at 29th with a speed of 181.310 mph. His eight laps were the first he’s ever taken at Auto Club Speedway.

While Carl Edwards finished the session in 11th at 183.814 mph, the Joe Gibbs driver will go to a backup car after his No. 19 Toyota hit the frontstretch wall late in the session.

The red flag came out a few minutes into the session after Greg Biffle hit the outside wall coming out of Turn 4. Biffle finished the session 26th fastest at 181.892 mph.

1. Kurt Busch … 186.741 … 8 laps
2. Denny Hamlin … 185.385 … 5 laps
3. Martin Truex Jr. … 185.180 … 9 laps
4. Brad Keselowski. … 185.019 … 13 laps
5. Jimmie Johnson. … 185.000 … 7 laps
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. … 184.871 … 17 laps
7. Ryan Newman … 184.767 … 15 laps
8. David Ragan … 184.379 … 15 laps
9. Jeff Gordon … 184.280 … 22 laps
10. Danica Patrick … 184.058 … 12 laps
11. Carl Edwards … 183.814 … 9 laps
12. Kevin Harvick … 183.645 … 6 laps
13. Austin Dillon … 183.538 … 12 laps
14. Matt Kenseth … 183.486 … 9 laps
15. Kasey Kahne … 183.369 … 13 laps
16. Joey Logano … 183.253 … 12 laps
17. Jamie McMurray … 183.211 … 14 laps
18. AJ Allmendinger … 183.155 … 10 laps
19. Kyle Larson … 183.006 … 11 laps
20. Alex Bowman … 182.997 … 3 laps
21. Aric Almirola … 182.871 … 7 laps
22. Clint Bowyer … 182.857 … 10 laps
23. Tony Stewart … 182.514 … 11 laps
24. Brian Scott … 182.436 … 8 laps
25. Paul Menard … 182.380 … 12 laps
26. Greg Biffle … 181.892 … 6 laps
27. Brett Moffitt … 181.548 … 14 laps
28. Justin Allgaier … 181.420 … 12 laps
29. Chris Buescher … 181.310 … 8 laps
30. Casey Mears … 181.219 … 12 laps
31. Michael Annett … 180.800 … 14 laps
32. Sam Hornish Jr. … 180.777 … 8 laps
33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … 180.786 … 7 laps
34. Cole Whitt … 180.628 … 7 laps
35. Trevor Bayne … 179.847 … 7 laps
36. Jeb Burton … 179.641 … 11 laps
37. Josh Wise … 179.574 … 3 laps
38. Landon Cassill … 179.439 … 7 laps
39. Mike Bliss … 178.753 … 9 laps
40.David Gilliland … 178.713 … 8 laps
41. JJ Yeley … 178.625 … 7 laps
42. Reed Sorenson … 178.540 … 13 laps
43. Travis Kvapil … 177.940 … 9 laps

44. Matt DiBenedetto … 175.174 … 4 laps

45. Brendan Gaughan … 174.571 … 6 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.