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JR Motorsports, Brennan Poole most consistent in Xfinity standalone races

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Who says Kyle Busch wins all the time in the Xfinity Series?

Sure, he wins half the time he enters into races (eight wins in 15 starts in 2016), but the last seven Xfinity races have been won by seven different drivers. Busch was entered in four and won only once (Richmond).

Beginning at Watkins Glen, races have been won by Joey Logano, Justin Marks (Mid-Ohio), Austin Dillon (Bristol), Michael McDowell (Road America), Elliott Sadler (Darlington), Busch and Erik Jones (Chicagoland).

Now entering a standalone race weekend at Kentucky Speedway, the series’ fifth of the season, it’s possible that streak could go to eight races.

Ryan Blaney, the defending winner of the VisitPalmBeach.com 300, is the only Sprint Cup driver in the field. But he’s driving the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske, which has been in a funk all season. The No. 22 hasn’t won since the fall 2015 race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Jones, the No. 1 seed in the Xfinity Chase, will be the favorite with his four wins. But his Chicagoland victory was his first on a 1.5-mile track this season.

While one of Jones’ wins came in a standalone race at Iowa Speedway, Jones and the rest of Joe Gibbs Racing have not been the most consistent teams in the four standalone weekends this year.

That would be JR Motorsports and Brennan Poole of Chip Ganassi Racing.

Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier and Poole are the only drivers to finish in the top 10 in all four standalone races.

While Sam Hornish Jr. won the first Iowa race, Sadler finished sixth, Allgaier seventh and Poole eighth.

In the second visit to Iowa, Sadler finished third, followed by Poole in fourth and Allgaier in seventh. At Mid-Ohio it was: Allgaier (fifth), Sadler (ninth) and Poole (10th). At Road America: Poole (third), Allgaier (sixth) and Sadler (eighth).

But in the first visit to Kentucky, JGR put all three cars in the top five while Sadler finished sixth and Poole came home ninth. Allgaier finished 31st.

While Jones has the most wins among the Xfinity regulars, the title of “Mr. Consistent” in 2016 goes to Sadler, the 41-year-old driver in his first year with JR Motorsports.

Through 26 races, Sadler leads the series with 23 top-10 finishes, two off the all-time mark of 25 set by Sam Ard in 1984. That includes a series high and career best 11 consecutive top 10s entering this weekend.

“We have a lot of momentum on our team right now and we have been running extremely well the last six weeks,” Sadler said in a press release. “We have high expectations for Kentucky. We would love to go there and set the pace and get a win, but I think we are going to be fast enough to be in position to get a lot of points and move on.”

The VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 can be seen Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Austin Theriault not medically cleared by NASCAR to race at Kansas

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Austin Theriault announced Thursday morning he has not been medically cleared by NASCAR to compete in this weekend’s Cup race at Kansas Speedway after his involvement in a wreck in Monday’s race at Talladega.

Theriault, 25, competes for Rick Ware Racing and was set to drive its No. 52 Chevrolet this weekend. Theriault said Garrett Smithley will take his place.

A NASCAR spokesperson said its policy is to not discuss a competitor’s medical information.

A spokesperson for Rick Ware Racing told NBC Sports all info on Theriault would be released by the driver on social media or by NASCAR. The team said “we expect to have Austin back in the car very soon.”

The native of Fort Kent, Maine, has missed races due to medical issues before.

In 2015, while racing part-time for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Truck Series, he suffered a 10% compression fracture in his back in a wreck at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after his HANS device broke.

Theriault missed several races before returning in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Since 2015 he has made five Cup starts, three Xfinity starts and four Truck Series starts.

Updated entry lists for Kansas Speedway’s playoff weekend

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The NASCAR playoffs continue this weekend with the second visit of the year to Kansas Speedway.

The Cup Series holds its second elimination race as the playoff field will be cut to eight drivers.

After a week off, the Xfinity Series will open its second playoff round.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races.

Cup – Hollywood Casino 400 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

There are 40 cars entered.

Parker Kligerman is entered in Gaunt Brothers Racing’s No. 96 Toyota.

Reed Sorenson is listed for Premium Motorsports’ No. 27 Chevrolet.

Austin Theriault  was originally entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 car. Theriault announced Thursday morning he had not been cleared by NASCAR to compete Saturday following his wreck in Monday’s Cup race at Talladega and that Garrett Smithley would take his place.

Chase Elliott won this race last year over Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. Brad Keselowski won the May race over Alex Bowman and Erik Jones.

Click here for the updated entry list.

Xfinity – Kansas Lottery 300 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC)

There are 39 entries.

Ryan Truex is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Ross Chastain is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet. It’ll be his fifth start with the team this season.

Harrison Burton is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota for the seventh time this season.

Bobby Earnhardt, the oldest son of Kerry Earnhardt, is entered in MBM Motorsports’ No. 66 Toyota. It will be his fifth career start and first since the Texas playoff race last year.

Joe Nemechek is now entered in Mike Harmon Racing’s No. 74 Chevrolet

Dillon Bassett is now entered in DGM Racing’s No. 92 Chevrolet

John Hunter Nemechek won this race last year over Daniel Hemric and Elliott Sadler.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Harrison Burton to drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Xfinity car full-time next year

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Harrison Burton will drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Xfinity car full-time in 2020, the team announced Thursday morning.

Burton, the son of NBC Sports analysts Jeff Burton, will succeed Christopher Bell in the No. 20.

Burton competes full-time in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He is set to make his seventh start in JGR’s No. 18 Xfinity car this Saturday at Kansas Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

“Next year is going to be a really cool opportunity for me because I grew up watching my dad race in the Xfinity Series, Burton said in a press release. “Making my first start at Bristol this year was really surreal. I remember being a little kid and watching (Jeff Burton) race there and now, I will have the opportunity to compete for the Xfinity Series championship next year.

“On top of that I’ve got Dex Imaging continuing their support of me for a majority of races next season. That’s really cool because I’ve had them as a sponsor since I was 13 and to bring them from pro-late models all the way to the Xfinity Series is pretty wild. I want to finish this season strong, but I’m excited to get 2020 started. My time with JGR this season will really help me because I’ve already gotten to know so many people there and it’s such a great team and organization. They have a long history of helping to develop drivers and this is big for the next step in my career.”

In his six Xfinity starts, Burton has three top 10s and a best finish of fourth at Iowa Speedway.

In 35 Truck Series starts since 2016, Burton has 11 top fives and 17 top-10 finishes. This year he has seven top fives and 10 top 10s. He and teammate Todd Gilliland both failed to make the playoffs.

“As Harrison (Burton) moves up to the next level of his career, we’re happy to have him join JGR fulltime and go behind the wheel of the No. 20 Supra,” said Steve DeSouza, Executive Vice President of Xfinity Series and Development for Joe Gibbs Racing in a press release. “Harrison has continued to show progress this season in his limited starts and I know that will only continue to develop with more seat time while contending for the Xfinity Series championship.”

The crew chief for the No. 20 will be announced at a later time.

JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 hauler experiences fire on way to Kansas

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JTG Daugherty Racing announced on social media Thursday morning that the hauler for Ryan Preece‘s No. 47 Chevrolet experienced a fire on its way to Kansas Speedway for this weekend’s Cup race.

In a statement, team owner Tad Geschickter said both its hauler drivers were “okay.”

He said the team is “assessing the damage to our trailer and race cars and will have more information as it becomes available.”

More: Kaulig Racing hauler involved in accident on way to Kansas