Ryan Reed says Talladega debut a ‘great place to transition’ to Sprint Cup

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Ryan Reed will reach the pinnacle of NASCAR racing on Oct. 23 at Talladega Superspeedway when he attempts to make his Sprint Cup Series debut.

For Reed, it’s the highlight of a rewarding journey following a diagnoses with diabetes in 2011 and being told he would never be able to race.

“That’s what it was all about to me,” Reed told NBC Sports. “Getting there, doing it, and in a few short weeks I’ll be able to say I have.”

The third-year Xfinity Series driver for Roush Fenway Racing will drive the No. 99 Ford in the Alabama 500 the organization announced Wednesday afternoon. Reed will be a fourth teammate to Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Trevor Bayne.

“It’s certainly a dream come true,” Reed said. “When I dreamt about what I wanted to do as a little kid growing up, it was always to be a Sprint Cup Series driver. It’s been an amazing few years in the Xfinity Series, and I want to continue to grow in that series and continue to cut my teeth and develop, but feel like we’ve had a lot of success on the superspeedways. It’s a great place to transition and to get some experience in the Sprint Cup Series.”

Reed has made 99 starts in the Xfinity Series with Roush Fenway, earning one win in February 2015. It came in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, another superspeedway race. Competing in the Cup Series, however, will have its own set of challenges.

Aside from racing inches apart from the best drivers in the sport, Cup cars have more horsepower than what Reed is used to. Plus, as Reed said, restrictor-plate racing leaves a driver having to make about a thousand decisions, such as when to bump draft and when not to force your nose into a hole.

Talladega is a cutoff race in the Sprint Cup playoffs, leaving many drivers with different agendas. That includes Reed, who will be looking to gain experience while not jeopardizing someone else’s championship opportunity.

“In Xfinity races usually you’re like, ‘OK, let’s get aggressive,’” Reed said. “It’s a short race and we’re all racing for the same goal, which is to win. Now in this scenario, you probably think twice about those decisions. You probably lift instead of giving somebody a huge push or those sorts of things. But I got the call to go run this race and I said OK. The powers that be make the decisions and plan the races and I’m just fortunate to say yes to drive the car.”

And Reed plans on putting his best foot forward for Roush Fenway and his sponsors, Lilly Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association. Their belief in him and this opportunity isn’t lost on the 22-year-old, who hopes the basics of what have made him successful at restrictor-plate races in the past will carry over to Talladega.

“Number one is be smart and be there at the end,” Reed said. “There’s a lot of things to consider. Got to be respectful to all the Chase guys – I’m out there to gain some experience and to learn and if I can get a great finish, great. But my goal number one is to go out there, gain experience and run all the laps.

“Not always the easiest thing to do at Talladega but that’s the goal and so I’m going to go in there and I don’t feel like this is my only shot to prove myself, that I got one race and then I’m done. I feel like this is a great time to gain some experience and learn for the next time.”

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Xfinity race results, point standings after Bristol

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Chase Briscoe led the final six laps and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol for his seventh win of the season.

Briscoe beat Ross Chastain for the win. The top five was completed by Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the race results.

Playoff standings

The 12-driver field for the playoffs has been set with Briscoe’s win in the regular-season finale.

Brandon Brown placed 12th and clinched the 12th and final spot.

Here are the re-seeded point standings entering the playoffs.

Chase Briscoe – 2,050 points

Austin Cindric – 2,050

Justin Allgaier – 2,033

Noah Gragson – 2,025

Brandon Jones – 2,020

Justin Haley – 2,018

Harrison Burton – 2,014

Ross Chastain – 2,010

Ryan Sieg – 2,002

Michael Annett – 2,002

Riley Herbst – 2,001

Brandon Brown – 2,000

Click here for the re-seeded standings.

Click here for the normal point standings.

Chase Briscoe wins Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway

Chase Briscoe Bristol
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Chase Briscoe took the lead with six laps to go and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which marked the end of the regular season.

Briscoe passed Austin Cindric to assume the lead and went unchallenged to the checkered flag. The victory is his series-leading seventh of the season.

“I was so mad after last week (at Richmond),” Briscoe told NBCSN. “I told all the guys there ain’t no way we’re getting beat today. I was so mad after how we ran last week and I get on the internet all the time and see guys count us out after one bad race and I know what this team is capable. … I finished second here the last two races and I wanted to win here so bad and it’s awesome that I can actually celebrate it with all these race fans.”

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain, Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

More: Race results, playoff standings

Allgaier dominated the early portion of the race, leading 126 laps and winning the first two stages. But he lost the lead for good in the pits during the Stage 2 break.

Brandon Brown finished 12th and clinched the 12th and final playoff spot.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ross Chastain led three times for 117 laps, but had to settle for his fifth runner-up finish of the season without a win … Austin Cindric earned his 13th top-10 finish in the last 14 races … Harrison Burton earned his 13th top five of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brett Moffitt finished 27th after he had to pit three times in the opening laps and was penalized for taking fuel before the competition caution … BJ McLeod finished 34th after he was eliminated in a multi-car wreck that began when he made contact with teammate Jeffrey EarnhardtMichael Annett finished 31st and Joe Graf Jr. placed 27th after they were involved in an incident on Lap 120.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “I hit pit road and I wanted to cry.” – Ross Chastain after he finished second for the fifth time this year. He is winless entering the playoffs.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity playoffs open at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 26 on NBCSN.

 

Fans not allowed at Las Vegas races

Fans not allowed
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Spectators will be not be allowed for any of the NASCAR playoff races next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the track announced Friday night.

A press release said only essential personnel will be allowed to attend the Cup, Xfinity and Truck playoff races there.

“To say we’re disappointed that we will conduct the South Point 400 playoff weekend without fans would be a gross understatement,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell. “Our staff has been working – many of them remotely – since the February Pennzoil 400 to prepare the speedway for our playoff tripleheader.

“But we must adhere to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive that limits gatherings due to COVID-19.  While we disagree with this policy, we have no choice but to oblige.  We certainly regret this situation for the thousands of race fans who won’t be able to attend our NASCAR-weekend events.”

Nevada’s re-opening plan does not permit fans at sporting events, concerts. Groups are limited to 50 or fewer people.

The Las Vegas Raiders announced last month that they would not have fans at any of the team’s home games in its inaugural season there.

The Truck playoff race will be at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 on FS1. The Xfinity playoff opener will be at  7:30 p.m. ET Sept. 26 on NBCSN. The Cup playoff race will be 7 p.m. ET Sept. 27 on NBCSN.

Fans holding tickets for those events will be contacted by the speedway ticket services department to discuss credits for future races or refunds.

Pit crew change for Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson teams

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Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson each will have a pit crew change for Saturday night’s playoff race at Bristol.

The change is the result of an injury to one pit crew member.

Dustin Lineback, jackman for Bowman’s team is out with an injury, the team stated. Kyle Tudor, who has been Johnson’s jackman, moves over to that role for Bowman’s team. Eric Ludwig, a backup for Hendrick Motorsports, moves up to be the jackman for Johnson.

MORE: Saturday Cup race at Bristol: Start time, forecast, lineup

Bowman enters the elimination race 27 points ahead of teammate William Byron, the first driver outside a transfer spot to the second round. Bowman opened the playoffs by finishing sixth in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He followed that by placing ninth at Richmond. Bowman was collected in a crash and finished 37th in the May Bristol race.

Johnson, who is in his final full-time Cup season, seeks his first victory of the season. He finished third at Bristol in May.