NASCAR Chairman addresses Cup drivers in Xfinity, other topics

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Does NASCAR see the issue of Sprint Cup drivers competing in the Xfinity Series as a problem? If so, what should be done?

NASCAR Chairman Bran France was asked those questions Friday on “Sirius Speedway.’’

France’s response?

“It’s a fair debate. I can get on either side of it. Right now, that’s the rules of the game, and we’re going to take the benefits of the rules of the game over some of the things that may be drawbacks.’’

France also told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on the topic: “It’s always a real strong debate, depending on which side you’re on. Mark Martin, back in the day, was known to dominate that series, that was the Busch Series back then. We’ve always had some of that that goes on.

“Kyle (Busch) has just got a mastery of that division and that car. On the other hand, it makes the younger drivers better. They get to compete with one of the best in the business every weekend. Obviously, have a new championship Chase format that will reward the eventual champion in the end. It will have to be somebody other than Kyle.’’

France also discussed other topics during his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio appearance – along with the issue of other car manufacturers being interested in the series.

— On if NASCAR would change the rules to take away more downforce from teams this season, France said:

“As long as it doesn’t break the bank financially for the team owners and others and/or if it is a safety benefit. Those are the criteria we use to make any rule changes midstream. … There are 43 teams, their job is to figure out whatever we’re doing to game that system in a way that benefits them. That’s auto racing. They’ve got their job, we’ve got ours.’’

— On a new series sponsor for the Sprint Cup Series with Sprint exiting the sport after this season, France said:

“It’s the most coveted position in sports because of the rights that are granted. We’ve got a good group of companies that are on our short list. Hopefully, in the coming weeks or months we’ll get to the right place on that.’’

— On the finish last weekend at Phoenix between Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards and the contact that took place, France said:

“Another thing that we’ve talked about this week is the finish at Phoenix and the contact in that. You’ve heard me say many, many times, that’s classic NASCAR racing when that happens. It’s interesting to note that not all the drivers we have, present or past, would have made the moves that Carl Edwards tried to do to get around Harvick.

“They both did a great job. That’s classic NASCAR. We expect that. Sometimes that’s misunderstood when I say that, but it’s a great example of that’s part of NASCAR when you’re late in the race, you’re a little bit faster, you’re going to have some contact, either to scrub off speed or move somebody around a little bit. Carl is one of the best at that and gave us a great finish.’’

— On the low downforce package this season and if France thought it would produce the results it has:

“No, I wish I could say I did, but if I did, we would have done it a long time ago. As we have said from the beginning, as long as it is safe and cost-effective, then it’s all about what the drivers believe and, obviously, what the results are, of what is going to be better to pass, more side-by-side classic NASCAR racing. The more of that, obviously, that’s where we’re trying to land.’’

Brandon Jones wins Xfinity pole at Texas Motor Speedway

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Playoff driver Brandon Jones won the pole position Saturday morning for Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Jones was clocked at 185.637 miles per hour.

MORE: Texas Xfinity qualifying results

MORE: Texas Xfinity starting lineup

Scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday on the USA Network, the race is the opening event of the Xfinity playoffs.

Following Jones in the top five were Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, John Hunter Nemechek and Sam Mayer.

MORE: Post-race celebration? Try the Waffle House

The race is 200 laps (300 miles) on the 1.5-mile track. Drivers will be battling heat in the mid-to-high 90s.

 

NASCAR Saturday schedule at Texas Motor Speedway

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NASCAR Cup and Xfinity teams will be busy Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Cup Series enters the second round of the playoffs with 12 drivers remaining for the title. Cup teams will practice and qualify today.

The Xfinity Series begins its playoffs Saturday with 12 drivers in championship contention. Xfinity teams will practice and qualify before racing.

All track activity will be broadcast on USA Network. The temperature will climb into the mid-90s Saturday, according to Weather Underground.

Saturday, Sept. 24

Garage open

  • 8:30 a.m. — Xfinity Series
  • 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 10:30 – 11:05 a.m. — Xfinity Series practice (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 11:05 a.m. – noon — Xfinity Series qualifying (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 12:35 – 1:20 p.m. — Cup Series practice (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 1:20 – 2:30 p.m. — Cup Series qualifying (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 3:30 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (200 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, NBC Sports App, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

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

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The Xfinity Series playoffs begin this weekend. Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs enter as the favorites. They’ve combined to win 11 of the 26 races this season.

Gragson, who has six wins this season, seeks to win his fourth consecutive victory.

MORE: Noah Gragson’s special celebrations at Waffle House

Gibbs, who has five victories this year, is one of four drivers in the Xfinity playoffs for the first time. The other three are Josh Berry, Austin Hill and Sam Mayer.

Also in the playoffs are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric, Justin Allgaier, AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Jones, Jeremy Clements, Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Texas Motor Speedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Andy’s Frozen Custard executives Andy Kuntz, Dana Kuntz and Carol Kuntz at 3:38 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:49 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 8:30 a.m. … Practice begins at 10:30 a.m. … Qualifying begins at 11:05 a.m. … Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Bret Shisler of Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries at 3:30 p.m. … Janie Balderas will perform the anthem at 3:31 p.m.

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

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

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3 p.m. on USA Network. The post-race show will air on USA Network. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 3 p.m. and also will stream at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 96 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Tyler Reddick gave Big Machine Racing its first series win in May. William Byron was second and Sam Mayer was third.

 

Ryan Blaney’s team to appeal Bristol penalty

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Team Penske will appeal the penalty to Ryan Blaney‘s team from last weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the organization confirmed Friday.

NASCAR suspended crew chief Jonathan Hassler, jackman Graham Stoddard and rear tire changer Zachary Price four races each after a wheel came off Blaney’s car during a pit stop. His left rear wheel rolled off when he exited his stall and the tire bounced down pit road through before it was captured.

The penalty would have caused Hassler and the pit crew members to miss all of the second round and the first race in the third round. With the appeal. Hassler, Stoddard and Price will be able to participate in Sunday’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network.).

Blaney enters the second round holding the final transfer spot. He, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell are tied with 3,013 points. He won the All-Star Race in May at Texas.

Chase Briscoe is the first driver below the cutline. He’s four points behind Blaney. Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez are each six points behind Blaney. Austin Cindric is seven points behind Blaney.