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Who’s Hot, Who’s Not among Xfinity regulars heading into Mid-Ohio

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It doesn’t happen that often during a season, so savor it.

This weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will feature just one Sprint Cup regular in the starting lineup: Ryan Blaney.

Blaney will be driving Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford in the race at the 2.258 mile, 13-turn track.

It will be only the third time through 21 races that there’s just one Cup regular in a Xfinity race. The other two races were at Iowa Speedway where Brad Keselowski drove the No. 22.

Saturday’s race will feature a first-time winner at the track as the victors of the first three races at Mid-Ohio – AJ Allmendinger, Chris Buescher and Regan Smith – are not entered.

Chances are good that the 75-lap event will feature a win by a Xfinity Series regular, which has only occurred five times in 20 races so far.

Here’s a look at Who’s Hot/Who’s Not among Xfinity drivers heading to the Lexington, Ohio, road course.

Who’s Hot:

Elliott Sadler  – Seventeen top-10 finishes in 2016 (most of all drivers) including eight of the last nine races. Finished in the top 10 in all three races at Mid-Ohio. Ten top 10s in the last 11 road course races (finished 12th at Road America last year ending a streak of nine straight top 10s on road courses).

Justin Allgaier  – Finished in the top 10 in seven of the last eight races including two top fives. Finished in the top 10 in his last eight starts on road courses including a win at Montreal in August 2012 (most recent win). Finished eighth at Mid-Ohio in 2013 in his only start there.

Daniel Suarez – Has finished in the top five in nine races in 2016; only drivers with more are Erik Jones and Kyle Busch with 11 each. Five top fives in the last eight races. Finished fourth at Watkins Glen, his only top 10 in four races on road courses. Finished 11th in this race last year in his only Mid-Ohio start.

Brennan Poole – Finished in top 10 in five of the last seven races including a fourth at Iowa and a 10th at Watkins Glen last week in his first road course start.

Erik Jones – Eleven top fives in 2016 are tied with Kyle Busch for the most in the series and are two more than any other driver; finished top five in three of the last five races. Six poles and three wins in 2016. Finished 12th last week at Watkins Glen in his only Xfinity road course start (ran out of fuel mid-race).

Ty Dillon – Finished top-10 in only four of the last eight races. Finished 11th at Watkins Glen, ending a streak of three straight top-10 finishes on road courses. Finished 19th and third in his two Mid-Ohio starts.

Who’s Not:

Darrell Wallace Jr. – One top-10 finish in the last six races and none in the last four. Finished 29th last week at Watkins Glen. Two top-10 finishes in four Xfinity road course starts. Finished eighth in this race last year in his only Mid-Ohio start.

Brandon Jones  – Only one top 10 in the last seven races (10th at Indianapolis). Started 19th, finished 29th at Mid-Ohio in August 2015 and finished 13th last week at Watkins Glen in only other road course start.

Other interesting notes entering this weekend:

  • Four drivers fighting for the bubble in the Chase are within 14 points of each other: Ross Chastain (-2), Dakoda Armstrong (-9), Jeremy Clements (-14) and Blake Koch (+2).
  • Team Penske has an average finish of 2.75 at Mid-Ohio and has led 44 percent of the laps raced there (114 of 259).
  • Mid-Ohio is one of four tracks Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t won at in the Xfinity Series (Pocono, Watkins Glen and Road America).

Weekend schedule for Kentucky Speedway

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NASCAR heads to the Bluegrass State this week for four days of racing at Kentucky Speedway.

All three national series will be in action, plus the ARCA Menards Series, for five races. The Xfinity Series will hold two races for its second doubleheader of the season.

According to wunderground.com, the forecast for the start of each race is:

Thursday Xfinity race: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees and a 20% chance of rain.

Friday Xfinity race: Scattered thunderstorms, 80 degrees and 37% chance of rain.

Saturday Truck Series race: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees and 0% chance of rain.

Sunday Cup race: Scattered thunderstorms, 84 degrees, 40% chance of rain.

Here is the full weekend schedule for Kentucky Speedway.

(All times are Eastern)

Wednesday, July 8

3:30 p.m. – Xfinity rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Driver motorhome parking (screening in progress)

Thursday, July 9

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Xfinity haulers enter (screening in progress)

1 – 10:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage access (screening in progress)

6 – 7:30 p.m. – Xfinity engine prime and final adjustments (pit road)

7:50 p.m. – Xfinity drivers report to cars

8 p.m. – Xfinity race No. 1; 134 laps/201 miles (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Friday, July 10

10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage access (screening in progress)

Noon – ARCA driver/crew chief/spotter meeting (electronic communication)

12:30 p.m. – ARCA rookie meeting (teleconference)

1 p.m. – ARCA crew chief meeting (teleconference)

4 – 5 p.m. – ARCA haulers enter (screening in progress)

5 – 5:30 p.m. – Truck Series rookie meeting (teleconference)

5:30 p.m. – Trucks driver/crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

6 – 7:30 p.m. – Xfinity engine prime and final adjustments (pit road)

7:50 – Xfinity drivers report to cars

8 p.m. – Xfinity race No. 2; 200 laps/300 miles (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, July 11

7 a.m. – 2 p.m. – ARCA garage access (screening in progress)

8 – 10 a.m. – Truck series haulers enter (screening and equipment unload)

10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Truck garage access (screening in progress)

Noon – 1 p.m. – ARCA practice

2:20 p.m. – ARCA drivers report to cars

2:30 p.m. – ARCA race; 100 laps/150 miles (FS1)

4 – 5:30 p.m. – Trucks engine prime and final adjustments (garage area)

4:40 – 5:30 p.m. – ARCA haulers exit

5 p.m. – Cup driver/crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 p.m. – Cup rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5:50 p.m. – Truck drivers report to vehicles

6 p.m. – Truck race; 150 laps/225 miles (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Cup haulers enter (screening and equipment unload)

8:30 p.m. – Truck haulers exit

Sunday, July 12

7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Cup garage access (screening in progress)

12:30 – 2 p.m. – Engine prime and final adjustments on pit road

2:20 p.m. – Cup drivers report to cars

2:30 p.m. – Quaker State 400; 267 laps/400.5 miles (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

6:30 p.m. – Cup haulers exit

Thursday night’s Xfinity race at Kentucky: Start time, forecast and more

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A stretch of five races in four days at Kentucky Speedway begins Thursday night with the first of two Xfinity Series races.

It will mark the second doubleheader of the year for the Xfinity Series.

Can Chase Briscoe keep up a winning pace that’s seen him win three times in the last four races (and five overall thus far in the season’s first 13 races)?

Here’s all the info you need for Thursday night’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be at 8:13 p.m by Shady Rays CEO Chris Ratterman. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:24 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 1 p.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Engine prime and final adjustments are at 6 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 7:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 8:05 p.m by Jason Romano. The national anthem will be performed at 8:06 p.m. by Matthew Grant.

DISTANCE: The race is 134 laps (201 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 30. Stage 2 ends on Lap 60.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Its coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, a high of 86 degrees and a 24% chance of rain predicted at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Chase Briscoe defeated Justin Haley and Noah Gragson to win on the Indianapolis road course.

LAST RACE AT KENTUCKY: Cole Custer beat Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for lineup

Starting lineup for Saturday’s Truck Series race at Kentucky

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Brett Moffitt will start from the pole for Saturday’s NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FS1) thanks to a random draw.

He will be joined on the front row by Zane Smith. In fact, the first three drivers are all from GMS Racing: Moffitt, Smith and Tyler Ankrum, who will start third.

Rounding out the top five are Christian Eckes and Austin Hill.

Click here for the starting lineup 

NASCAR Truck Series at Kentucky

Race Time: 6 p.m. ET Saturday

Track: Kentucky Speedway; Sparta, Kentucky (1.5-mile speedway)

Length: 150 laps, 225 miles

Stages: Stage 1 ends on Lap 35. Stage 2 ends on Lap 70.

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Motor Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); mrn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Cup race: Sunday at Kentucky (267 laps, 400.5 miles), 2:30 p.m. ET on Fox

Next Xfinity race: Thursday at Kentucky (134 laps, 201 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race at Kentucky

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Two-time winner Kyle Busch will start from the pole for Sunday’s Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1) thanks to a random draw.

He will be joined on the front row by Joey Logano.

The top five is completed by Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman.

Click here for the starting lineup

NASCAR Cup Series at Kentucky

Race Time: 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday

Track: Kentucky Speedway; Sparta, Kentucky (1.5-mile speedway)

Length: 267 laps, 400.5 miles

Stages: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Thursday at Kentucky (134 laps, 201 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Next Truck race: Saturday at Kentucky (150 laps, 225 miles) 6 p.m. ET on FS1

Follow @JerryBonkowski