Parlez vous, NASCAR: French drivers to race in Trucks, K&N openers

(Provided photos)
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The 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and K&N Pro Series East season-opening races will have a decidedly French flavor.

Michel Disdier, a 41-year-old racer from Nice, France, will make his second career Truck Series start in the Feb. 19 season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Disdier competed in the 2014 Truck Series season opener at Daytona, as well, starting 33rd and finishing 24th, completing 83 of the event’s 100 laps.

As he did in that race, Disdier again will compete for owner Bobby Dotter’s SS-Green Light Racing team, driving the No. 07 Chevrolet Silverado in the Feb. 19 event.

“I am more than ever enthusiastic with the idea to again drive and control the car on (the) Daytona circuit,” Disdier said in a media release. “Taking part in such an event represented already a big step in my career.

“Returning to Florida for the third time announces being the perfect symbol of the passion which exists around our participation. A Frenchman in America, it is not banal in such closed and competitive discipline such as NASCAR.”

Disdier also raced at Daytona in 2013, finishing 11th in his best finish in 11 career starts in the ARCA Series. He also has one career start in the NASCAR Pinty Series (formerly NASCAR Canadian Tire Series), finishing 29th at Montreal in 2007.

Disdier will drive for Racing 2 Cure, which helps families who have a member fighting cancer.

The other French driver is Ulysse Delsaux, who will make his K&N Pro Series East debut at New Smyrna (Florida) Raceway on Feb. 14.

Ulysse Delsaux
Ulysse Delsaux

Driving the No. 46 Nexteer Chevrolet SS in the K&N series opener, the 18-year-old native of Troyes, France, is part of the Nexteer Road to Daytona program, which sends promising drivers from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series to the U.S. to race.

“It is such an honor for me to enter this race, because it means that all the work we have done since the beginning of my career is paying off and the NASCAR family recognizes me as a good NASCAR driver,” Delsaux said in a media release. “This is just the beginning, and I hope to demonstrate I deserve more opportunities like this.

“I will enjoy every lap and give everything I have to show that I am a good NASCAR driver.”

After Daytona, Delsaux will compete again in the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, moving from the Elite 2 division last year to the premier Elite 1 division this year.

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Saturday NASCAR schedule at Talladega Superspeedway

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Both the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series will race Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Cup cars will start the day’s action by qualifying for Sunday’s playoff race, followed by the Truck playoff race and then the Xfinity playoff race.

Talladega Superspeedway (Cup, Xfinity and Truck)

Weekend weather

Saturday: Sunny. High of 78.

Saturday, Oct. 1

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 9:30 a.m. — Truck Series
  • 1 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 10:30 a.m. – Noon — Cup Series qualifying (NBC Sports app, Motor Racing Network, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio)
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series race (94 laps, 250 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 4 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (113 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.