Keselowski, Logano wreck together early at Bristol, and now race is halted due to rain

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Team Penske’s hopes of a second consecutive 1-2 finish at Bristol Motor Speedway ended early in Sunday’s Food City 500 In Support of Steve Byrnes.

And to add insult to injury, shortly after an incident between teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, heavy rain returned to cause a red flag.

Just 19 laps into the scheduled 500-lap event, Keselowski lost control off Turn 4 while trying to lap Alex Kennedy’s car. Logano was trailing his teammate and when Keselowski turned sideways, Logano had nowhere to go, and their Ford Fusions collided.

“It just took off on me,” Keselowski told his team over the radio. “Sorry about that guys.”

Keselowski’s car suffered heavy left-rear damage, and Logano’s car had significant front-end damage. Keselowski’s crew began to make repairs on pit road before the red flag, while Logano took his car to the garage area.

“It’s been raining since we started the race; it was a really light sprinkle, the track was barely dry, the car just took off on me,” Keselowski told Fox Sports. “I’d like to blame the rain. Usually when a car gets that far sideway, and it’s out of nowhere, there’s a reason behind it. I really hate I tore up my teammate in the process. It’s really a bummer. I felt like I had a normal line, and it just moved crazy sideways.”

Logano and Keselowski finished 1-2 in last August’s Saturday night race at BMS and were looking to repeat in the first Sprint Cup race of 2015 at the half-mile bullring.

This likely will be Logano’s worst finish of the season, ending his streak of top 10 finishes to start the season. Logano’s worst finish to date prior to Sunday was 10th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He entered Sunday’s race as one of three drivers with consecutive top 10s in each of the first seven races; Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. are the others.

“You think early in this race you just want to settle in, and I was just trying to get the top working,” Logano said on the Fox Sports broadcast. “Brad got loose trying to pass a lapped car. It looked like he had saved it. He checked up more than I expected and I got into him. We’ll try to do what we can and get what we can today.”

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Brad Keselowski’s wife due with couple’s second child

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CONCORD, N.C. – Brad Keselowski says wife Paige is due with the couple’s second child the week of the NASCAR banquet, which is scheduled Dec. 5.

Keselowski announced Wednesday that his wife is pregnant.

Their daughter, Scarlett, was born May 19, 2015. Keselowski later detailed the health scare the family had with Scarlett a month after she was born. Keselowski stated that they had been told at one point that Scarlett could die. They took her to the Mayo Clinic and she was diagnosed with laryngomalacia, a congenital softening of the tissues of the larynx above the vocal cords.

Emergency surgery was performed and she recovered.

“It definitely weighs on you,” Keselowski said of what Scarlett went through as he and his wife prepare for their second child. “Obviously, my wife hasn’t been at the track the last few months. That’s intentional because, one, the strain on her, (and) two we didn’t want a bunch of people asking her about it because of those things that can happen.

“Just trying to be as supportive as I can. The realistic part is she is doing most of the work. They say ‘we’re having a baby,’ it’s more she’s having the baby and I’m cheering. It’s still a great time and I’m grateful for the lesson I’ve had in my life.

“I’m just going to do the best I can to be a responsible, great parent and show the most amount of love I know how to show and realize that it can all be taken away from you at a moment’s notice but hope and believe that it won’t.”

Christopher Bell’s car damaged by man-hole cover

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CONCORD, N.C. — There is a slightly different traffic pattern in the Xfinity Series garage this weekend after Christopher Bell‘s front end was damaged by a man-hole cover early in practice Thursday.

The splitter on Bell’s No. 20 Toyota was damaged by the man-hole cover, which is located at the end of the garage where the cars run through as they exit the garage.

Bell’s team made repairs quickly and he was able to continue.

As a result, NASCAR has placed traffic cones in the area to divert traffic around the area.

The man-hole cover that damaged Christopher Bell’s car (Daniel McFadin)
The traffic cones set up to keep cars from running over the man-hole cover (middle cone) (Daniel McFadin)

Daniel Hemric fastest in first Coca-Cola 600 practice

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CONCORD, N.C. — Daniel Hemric was fastest in the first Cup Series practice session for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

Hemric posted a top speed of 182.791 mph around Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He was followed by Chase Elliott (182.340 mph), William Byron (182.211), Kyle Busch (182.168) and Jimmie Johnson (182.008).

Alex Bowman was seventh to put all four Hendrick Motorsports cars in the top 10.

Austin Dillon in eighth gave Chevrolet six cars in the top 10.

Landon Cassill recorded the most laps in the session with 37. He was 32nd on the speed chart.

Click here for the speed chart.

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

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CONCORD, 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 friends 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.”