Return to Michigan gets Truex back on track with 3rd-place finish

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There’s something about Michigan International Speedway that seems to bring out the best in Martin Truex Jr.

The New Jersey native finished third at MIS in the June Sprint Cup race.

Unfortunately, his performance tailed off significantly afterward: 42nd at Sonoma, 38th at Daytona, 17th at Kentucky, 12th at New Hampshire and fourth at Indianapolis, only to fall back again to finishes of 19th at Pocono and 25th at Watkins Glen.

But Sunday, and once again back at Michigan, Truex looked very strong – much like he did through much of the first half of the season – and came out of the Pure Michigan 400 with a third-place finish.

“We passed a lot of cars, we just couldn’t ever get that track position to fight for the win,” Truex told NBCSN after the race. “We felt like we were maybe as good as the No. 20 (winner, Matt Kenseth), close at least, and it would have been nice to see if we could have fought it out with him.”

Despite some of his finishes in the previous seven races, Truex believes his showings did not tell the whole tale. He was more a victim of circumstances than poor performance.

“Man, honestly, we’ve really had momentum,” Truex said. “We’ve had such fast cars. I feel like at Watkins Glen we had the race won but we had a flat. I felt like at Pocono we were right there. We had a fast car but at the end of the race we ran out of gas.

“So, we’ve been doing what we need to. We’ve probably maybe been gambling a little too much and maybe being a little bit too aggressive, but all in all, the guys have brought fast race cars. If we could just not make mistakes and be consistent and execute, there’s no reason we can’t run in the top five every week and contend for some more wins.

“We’ve got a couple more weeks before the Chase and we’re gearing up for that. Hopefully we’ll come out of the box strong when (the Chase) starts.”

While the day ended with a good finish, restarts Sunday were an issue at times for Truex – but in the end, things ultimately worked out for the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.

“They (restarts) weren’t too good for us,” Truex said. “We had some good ones early in the race and then it just seemed like we could never be in the right lane and it seemed like we were always in the wrong spot.

“We finally got on the outside where we wanted to be on that one when we were fourth, and the No. 19 (Carl Edwards) spun his tires and it took us backwards. So, we just couldn’t get a right lane.

“But all in all it was a good day for our Furniture Row Chevy. The guys did a great job.”

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Tyler Reddick wins Charlotte Xfinity race

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CONCORD, N.C. —  Tyler Reddick won Saturday’s Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, earning his second Xfinity Series win of the season.

Reddick led the final 15 laps after he took advantage of Cole Custer spinning his tires on a restart.

Reddick beat Justin Allgaier, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley.

Pole-sitter Christopher Bell finished 31st after he made contact with the wall and cut down his right front tire with two laps to go in Stage 2. He attempted to finish out the stage, but the tire shredded and caused significant damage to his car. It’s his second DNF of the season.

Bell’s teammate, Brandon Jones, also got into the wall and cut a tire within a lap of Bell. Jones opted to pit immediately and was able to continue and finished ninth.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Christopher Bell

STAGE 2 WINNER: Tyler Reddick

WHAT’S NEXT: Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway at 1 p.m. ET on June 1 on FS1

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Daniel Suarez fastest in final Coca-Cola 600 practice

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CONCORD, N.C. — Daniel Suarez completed a sweep of Saturday’s two Cup practice sessions by posting the top speed in final practice for the Coca-Cola 600.

Suarez recorded a speed of 180.704 mph around Charlotte Motor Speedway. He made 51 laps in the session.

“I will say one of the best (cars of his Cup career) for sure,” Suarez said. “I feel like this year I’ve had some good race cars with an opportunity to finish in the top five and top 10, but I feel like this car has been pretty solid.  It’s fast and it’s not comfortable to drive 100 percent, but I don’t feel like anyone out there is comfortable right now, so it’s been sunny and hot and slick and that makes things a little bit more difficult, but overall my team has been doing a very good job with Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford Performance.  We have a good piece and hopefully we can take advantage of it tomorrow.”

The top five was completed by Daniel Hemric (180.686 mph), Denny Hamlin (180.553), Ryan Preece (180.469) and Kyle Busch (180.276).

“I felt pretty good with our practice there,” said Hamlin, who will start 20th Sunday. “It was one of our better practices of the year. We’re going to have to start from deep in the field, which is going to be a challenge with traffic, but we’ve got a long race to get it done. Pretty happy with where we’re at.”

Busch has the best 10-lap average at 179.485 mph

Chase Elliott recorded the most laps in the session with 62. He was 18th on the speed chart.

Click here for the speed chart.

Christopher Bell wins pole for Xfinity Charlotte race

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CONCORD, N.C. —  Christopher Bell will start first in today’s Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Bell won his third pole of the season with a speed of 184.313 mph. His previous poles were at Texas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway.

The top five is completed by Cole Custer (183.187 mph), Tyler Reddick (182.192), Austin Dillon (181.659) and Brandon Jones (181.610).

Justin Haley will start 35th after an axle broke on his No. 11 Chevrolet in the middle of his qualifying run.

Ross Chastain did not finish his qualifying run after experiencing an electrical problem in the ignition on his No. 4 Chevrolet. He will start 37th out of 38 cars.

The Alsco 300 is scheduled to start at 1:16 p.m. ET on FS1.

Click here for the starting lineup.

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Today’s Xfinity race at Charlotte: Start time, lineup and more

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After a two-week break, the Xfinity Series returns to action today for the Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: North Carolina Basketball Legend Phil Ford will give the command to start engines at 1:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 1:16 p.m.

PRERACE: Driver/crew chief meeting is at 10:45 a.m. Driver introductions begin at 12:30 p.m. The invocation will be given at 1 p.m. by Billy Mauldin, CEO and President of Motor Racing Outreach. U. S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Marc Wilka will perform the National Anthem at 1:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. The Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 12:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 90 degrees and a 20% percent chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Brad Keselowski won this race over Cole Custer and Christopher Bell.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.