Erik Jones, 18, is fastest in final Sprint Cup practice at Kansas

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In only the second Sprint Cup practice of the day – and his career – 18-year-old Erik Jones was the fastest in Friday’s final session at Kansas Speedway.

The Michigan native, who is also making his first appearance at the 1.5-mile track, waited until the session was almost over to clock the fastest speed of the 43 drivers that took the track 191.306 mph.

“There’s been a lot of people that have been involved over the past few weeks to get me ready for this,” Jones told Fox Sports 1. “I think a lot of it was preparing mentally, watching videos, watching tape, talking to Kyle (Busch) and my teammates and just trying to get the best information I could out of everybody.

“It’s pretty cool to be fastest in practice. I know it’s only practice, but it’s still pretty cool. … There’s a lot of great race car drivers. It’s just really an honor to be fastest this practice.”

Earlier in the day in the first practice session, Jones gave a preview of what might be to come, recording the ninth-fastest speed. He also had the best 10-lap average in that session.

Four-time Cup champ Jeff Gordon was second-fastest at 191.184 mph, followed by Joey Logano (190.732), Martin Truex Jr. (190.490) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (190.396).

In a strange oddity, Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart were 35th and 38th fastest in practice, but were 1st and 5th in the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average.

Here’s how the final Sprint Cup practice played out:

1 Erik Jones … 191.306 mph … 26 laps

2 Jeff Gordon … 191.184 … 5 laps

3 Joey Logano … 190.732 … 29 laps

4 Martin Truex Jr. … 190.490 … 9 laps

5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. … 190.396 … 9 laps

6 Jamie McMurray … 190.141 … 18 laps

7 Jamie Johnson … 190.127 … 9 laps

8 Clint Bowyer … 189.900 … 7 laps

9 Brad Keselowski … 189.853 … 25 laps

10 Aric Almirola … 189.853 … 15 laps

11 Greg Biffle … 189.633 … 17 laps

12 Matt Kenseth … 189.633 … 28 laps

13 Kasey Kahne … 189.454 … 27 laps

14 Austin Dillon … 189.374 … 18 laps

15 Ryan Newman … 189.288 … 8 laps

16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … 189.255 … 16 laps

17 Kurt Busch … 189.102 … 27 laps

18 Denny Hamlin … 189.009 … 15 laps

19 David Ragan … 188.679 … 12 laps

20 Ty Dillon … 188.679 … 12 laps

21 Kyle Larson … 188.541 … 10 laps

22 AJ Allmendinger … 188.442 … 21 laps

23 Jeb Burton … 188.311 … 7 laps

24 Paul Menard … 188.278 .. 15 laps

25 Casey Mears … 188.147 … 20 laps

26 Carl Edwards … 187.689 … 29 laps

27 Justin Allgaier … 187.630 … 18 laps

28 Sam Hornish Jr. … 187.448 … 18 laps

29 Danica Patrick … 187.298 … 14 laps

30 Michael McDowell … 186.922 … 9 laps

31 Trevor Bayne … 186.761 … 12 laps

32 Josh Wise … 186.393 … 10 laps

33 David Gilliland … 186.188 .. 19 laps

34 Cole Whitt … 185.599 … 13 laps

35 Kevin Harvick … 185.471 … 33 laps

36 Brett Moffitt … 184.679 … 7 laps

37 Alex Bowman … 184.162 … 17 laps

38 Tony Stewart …. 184.137 … 49 laps

40 Joey Gase … 182.735 … 15 laps

41 Brendan Gaughan … 182.642 … 7 laps

42 Matt DiBenedetto … 182.205 … 10 laps

43 Landon Cassill … 180.240 … 26 laps

44 Michael Annett … 0 mph … 0 laps

Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average:

1 Kevin Harvick … 185.058

2 Carl Edwards … 184.161

3 Kasey Kahne … 183.488

4 Erik Jones … 183.459

5 Tony Stewart … 182.528

6 Joey Logano … 182.433

7 Kurt Busch … 182.119

Follow @JerryBonkowski

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.