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Tommy Joe Martins providing unique perspective in blog

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What started out as race recaps have become a must-read blog by Tommy Joe Martins.

Driver of the Martins Motorsports No. 44 Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series, Martins posted an entry June 17 after the Texas race that took off on social media. Titled Relevance, Martins revealed his mindset each weekend and how hard the sport is for an underfunded team.

Reaction to his blog has been mostly positive. Fans on social media have expressed an interest in reading, and Martins hopes he’s giving them what they want. Some drivers have expressed their support.

“Especially from guys kind of in the same situation as me, or maybe who are driving for smaller underfunded teams,” Martins told NBC Sports. “Maybe I’m equipped to kind of speak for us as a group in that sense because I’ve kind of been a knockaround guy out here for a little while now. I’ve never really driven for a team that had the capability of running up front.

“So guys like me or Ryan Ellis, or a few of those other guys in the back, maybe I’m equipped a little better to tell those stories. I think it’s resonated with a lot of the mechanics and drivers in my same situation.”

The idea behind the entries was born from a disdain for press releases.

“I think press releases are the most useless, terrible writing in the history of the world, and that’s what all the teams are doing, especially the big ones,” Martins said. “That’s no fault of the PR person; there’s just a format to it. They write about, ‘Well, this is what happened,’ and ‘On Lap 72, we changed tires,’ and there just wasn’t much to it, and every one of them seems like it’s the exact same thing.

“You have a quote from the driver that’s probably made up, or they probably didn’t say it, and writing the thing in third person is just not very good to me. It’s not very entertaining.”

With a degree in journalism from Ole Miss, Martins always has enjoyed writing. Blogging has been an easy venture, though Martins has an extra set of eyes look over each article.

“I’ve got an editor that’s a friend of mine from college named Alex McDaniel, and she works for Gridiron Now, and she’s done a lot of stuff with Parade magazine,” Martins said. “I have her look over the article before I post it, and I basically write whatever I want to write.”

There are some things Martins will not get into.

Well-spoken and passionate about the sport, as well as his place in it, do not expect Martins to take any shots at NASCAR. There are areas he would like to see changed, and he would like to see NASCAR handle some things differently, but as a competitor, Martins will play it smart.

“Quite frankly, we’re poor, and we can’t really afford for me to get fined, so I can’t do some things that maybe I’d like to do,” he said. “But those are minor things. For the most part has it been tough? No, it really hasn’t been. It hasn’t been difficult. The first blog was the easiest one just because I think it flowed. I wrote that whole article in 30 minutes, and that was a pretty long one.”

But there have been those he unintentionally rubbed the wrong way.

“That first article I talked about a really kind of taboo thing, the money involved in the sport, and I think that’s something that people don’t really like to talk about, which I don’t really know why,” Martins said. “I think it’s pretty obvious nobody poor is going to make it in this sport anymore. We don’t really have to dance around that, and I called some people out because I feel like they generally tried to make themselves out a lot [poorer] than they really are.”

Jordan Anderson was one driver who took offense, leading to a conversation between the two.

“He said, ‘Hey man, I don’t know if I like you anymore because you wrote that article and said basically we’re spending more money than you and we’re not spending much money at all,’ ” Martins said. “Jordan is a nice guy, and I love Jordan. Basically, I’m racing with him every week we’re side by side a lot, so I’m not trying to rub anybody the wrong way. I just said what I thought was the truth and how I perceived everything, and especially how the guys in the garage perceived it. So I wasn’t trying to rub anybody the wrong way.”

With the fun he’s been having, Martins has no plans to stop his blog.

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Results, point standings after Kansas Xfinity race

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John Hunter Nemechek led the final 30 laps to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Kansas Speedway for his first Xfinity win.

Nemechek beat Daniel Hemric, Elliott Sadler, Shane Lee and Tyler Reddick.

Nemechek is the third first-time winner this season.

Hemric finished second after leading 128 laps. He is winless this year and has finished in the top three 11 times.

Click here for the results.

Points

After earning his best finish since the July race at Daytona, Elliott Sadler trails Daniel Hemric by nine points.

The top four – which will advance to the championship round – is rounded out by Tyler Reddick (-12) and Christopher Bell (-22).

The eight driver playoff field is completed by Matt Tifft (one point back from Bell), Justin Allgaier (five points from Bell), Cole Custer (23 points back from Bell) and Austin Cindric (43 points back from Bell).

Hemric’s car was found to be too low in post-race inspection, which is a L1 penalty. L1 penalties can include the loss of 10-40 points (in the past has been a 10 point penalty) and can include the suspension of crew chief and/or other team members and a fine between $10,000- $40,000.

Click here for the point standings.

 

John Hunter Nemechek earns first Xfinity Series win

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John Hunter Nemechek bounced back from two pit stop miscues in the last 50 laps to earn his first Xfinity Series win Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

Nemechek, 21, led the final 30 laps. That was after he went from fifth to first on the final restart with 32 laps to go.

The son of former Cup driver Joe Nemechek earned the win in his 15th start.

Nemechek had to pass Daniel Hemric, who finished second after leading 128 laps.

“It means a lot, especially at Kansas,” Nemechek told NBC. “(In) 2004, I forget how old I was. But dad swept the weekend in the Xfinity Series and the Cup Series. It’s pretty special.”

The top five was completed by Elliott Sadler, Shane Lee and Tyler Reddick.

Nemechek pitted with Hemric with 50 laps to go and slid through his pit box. He left pit road three seconds behind Hemric.

When the final caution waved with 36 laps to go, Nemechek had to pit twice to tighten lug nuts.

“When that caution came I knew we had a chance,” Nemechek told NBC. “Luckily Daniel and I raced each other hard and clean all day. We got the track position and this thing was unreal to the end.”

When Nemechek took the checkered flag, he led Hemric by roughly five seconds. Hemric said he had a vibration over the last 15 laps.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Daniel Hemric

STAGE 2 WINNER: John Hunter Nemechek

MORE: Results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Elliott Sadler earned his best finish since the July Daytona race (second) … Shane Lee placed fourth for his career-best finish … Tyler Reddick earned his first top five of the playoffs … Ryan Sieg placed ninth for his second top 10 of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Playoff contenders Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier, Austin Cindric and Christopher Bell were all involved in a nine-car wreck on Lap 1. Only Custer finished the race (26th) … Brandon Jones was eliminated via a one-car incident on the ensuing restart … After being involved in the Lap 1 crash, Spencer Gallagher was eliminated in one-car incident on Lap 26 … After Bell and Jones, Ryan Preece completed the Joe Gibbs Racing trifecta. He was involved in an incident on the last lap of Stage 2 when he was turned from contact with Joey Gase. Preece finished 21st.

NOTABLE: John Hunter Nemechek is the third driver to earn his first Xfinity win of the season (Ross Chastain, Spencer Gallagher).

POST-RACE INSPECTION: Daniel Hemric’s No. 21 Chevy was found to too low, which is a L1 penalty. L1 penalties can include the loss of 10-40 points (in the past it has been 10-point penalty) and suspension of crew chief and/or other team members and a fine between $10,000 – $40,000.

WHAT’S NEXT: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 3. on NBCSN.

Video: Xfinity playoff contenders out after Lap 1 crash at Kansas

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Three of the eight playoff contenders were eliminated in a crash on the first lap of Saturday’s Xfinity race at Kansas Speedway, which opens the Round of 8.

Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric and Cole Custer were involved in a nine-car wreck as the field raced through Turn 2. Allgaier, Bell and Cindric were eliminated while Custer’s team was able to make repairs to his No. 00 Ford.

It began when Allgaier got loose and made contact with Bell.

“Just hate it for everybody that we took out on Lap 1. It’s uncalled for, ” Allgaier told NBC. “That one’s on me.”

Bell, who won this race last year, told NBC he “didn’t really see much of anything” as the wreck developed. “Just heartbroken. This is one of my favorite race tracks we go to. Especially after the run I had last year. This was the race I was really looking forward to when we started the year back in February.”

Allgaier earned his second DNF of the playoffs while Bell and Cindric earned their first.

“It was just a racing incident,” Cindric said. “You don’t really expect something that big to happen in front of you on the first lap. … It is unfortunate that it happened that early. Huge points implications on my end and the owners championship end. I have to put my head down the next couple weeks and figure it out.”

Non-playoff drivers Michael Annett, Ryan Truex, Spencer Gallagher and Chase Briscoe were also involved.

The race restarted on Lap 12. The field was immediately slowed by a one-car incident involving Brandon Jones on the backstretch.

Kurt Busch fastest in final Cup practice at Kansas

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Kurt Busch led the way in the final practice session for Sunday’s Cup race at Kansas Speedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver posted a top speed of 186.226 mph.

The top five was completed by Erik Jones (186.104 mph), Aric Almirola (185.842), Kyle Busch (185.471) and Paul Menard (185.446).

MORE: Aric Almirola fastest in Saturday’s early practice

There were no incidents in the session.

Joey Logano, who was 12th fastest, recorded the most laps with 67.

Kyle Busch had the best 10-lap average at 183.094 mph.

Click here for the speed chart.