Jimmie Johnson spotter apologetic for accident with Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Richmond

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The day after the Toyota Owners 400, the “white elephant in the room” in NASCAR is the accident between teammates Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. that dampened the official start of Earnhardt’s farewell tour.

That’s how Johnson’s spotter, Earl Barban, described the contact with Earnhardt on Lap 344 of Sunday’s Cup race at Richmond International Raceway, which he had to “take some blame for.”

Earnhardt, who was running along the outside wall, was trying to stretch his fuel run in hope of catching a caution.

Johnson was running low as he and Earnhardt exited Turn 2. Johnson’s trajectory sent him into Earnhardt, pinning the No. 88 Chevrolet between Johnson and the wall.

Damage from the accident forced Earnhardt to pit multiple times. He then spun on his own on Lap 357 and finished 30th, two laps down.

“I don’t really know what exactly transpired,” Barban said Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint.” “Looked at film and things like that. I’ve looked a bunch of times. I didn’t let (Johnson) know (Earnhardt) was still out there. I’ve definitely got to take some blame for that. Obviously, I’m apologetic to the team and the 88, Dale and the guys. I don’t go out there on purpose to crash my driver or anybody else. If it was something on my side, I have to take some blame for that.”

Johnson said after the race he couldn’t remember hearing Barban warning him to Earnhardt’s presence on his outside. Barban was very apologetic about the incident, which resulted in Earnhardt’s fifth finish of 30th or worse in nine races.

“We were pretty fast and we went underneath there,” Barban said. “Maybe I didn’t let him know soon enough that (Earnhardt) was still outside. There’s enough (blame) to go around for all of us. I’ll take my part of that. Obviously, I’ve been up there 17 years … I have a lot of skin and heart in the game. I try to do the best that I can up there just like everyone else. The guys on pit road. Crew chiefs, engineers, set ups, drivers. We’re all out there to win and do our best. Definitely taking out our teammates was not part of our strategy.”

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More rain postpones conclusion of Charlotte Xfinity race

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CONCORD, N.C. — Despite an improving forecast, rain continued to plague NASCAR and its drivers Monday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The twice-rescheduled Xfinity Series race was stopped twice because of weather Monday after finally getting the green flag, and the conclusion of the 300-mile race was postponed until after the completion of Monday’s rescheduled 600-mile Cup Series race.

Forty-eight of the race’s scheduled 200 laps were completed before weather and the impending scheduled start of the Cup race intervened.

When (or if) the race resumes Monday night, it will be broadcast by FS2, the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

After 48 laps, Ty Gibbs, John Hunter Nemechek and Justin Allgaier are in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first stage.

Monday Charlotte Cup race: Start time, TV info, weather

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After two days of soaking rains, the longest race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is set for a 3 p.m. ET start Monday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 600-mile marathon was scheduled for a 6:21 p.m. start Sunday, but persistent rain forced a postponement to Memorial Day.

A look at the Monday Cup schedule:

Details for Monday’s Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 3:12 p.m. by USO official Barry Morris and retired drivers Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte. … The green flag is scheduled to be waved at 3:23 p.m.

PRERACE: Driver introductions are scheduled at 2:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given by retired Air Force Master Sergeant Monty Self at 3 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Elizabeth Marino at 3:04 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 400 laps (600 miles) on the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 100. Stage 2 ends at Lap 200. Stage 3 ends at Lap 300.

STARTING LINEUP: Charlotte Cup starting lineup

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 3 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 3 p.m. and can be heard on goprn.com. … SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

STREAMING: Foxsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — The forecast calls for overcast skies with a high of 71. There is a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin won last year’s 600 as the race was extended to two overtimes, making it the longest race in distance in Cup history.

Monday Charlotte Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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Charlotte Motor Speedway’s rescheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race is set for an 11 a.m. start Monday.

The race originally was scheduled Saturday, but was postponed by weather to noon Monday. After Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race also was postponed to Monday, the Xfinity Series race was moved to an 11 a.m. start.

A look at the Monday Xfinity schedule:

Details for Monday’s Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 11:01 a.m. by representatives of race sponsor Alsco Uniforms … The green flag is scheduled to be waved at 11:12 a.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opened at 8 a.m.

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

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

STARTING LINEUP: Charlotte Xfinity starting lineup (Justin Haley will replace Kyle Busch in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing car).

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 11 a.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 11 a.m. and can be heard on goprn.com. … SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

STREAMING: Foxsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — The forecast calls for overcast skies with a high of 71. There is a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Josh Berry won last May’s Xfinity race. Ty Gibbs was second and Sam Mayer third.

Justin Haley replaces Kyle Busch in Kaulig car for Xfinity race

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Justin Haley will drive Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 car in Monday morning’s scheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Haley replaces Cup Series regular Kyle Busch, who was scheduled to drive for Kaulig in the 300-miler. The race was postponed from Saturday to Monday because of weather, giving NASCAR a 900-mile doubleheader at the track.

Busch decided to concentrate on the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race, scheduled for a  3 p.m. start.

Haley also will race in the 600.

Ty Gibbs is scheduled to run in both races.