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Brian France: NASCAR seeks to control expenses ‘in a way not done in motorsports before’

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CONCORD, North Carolina — NASCAR chairman Brian France hinted Sunday at drastic changes for the sport as it seeks to manage expenses for teams.

“There’s a lot more we can do, and we’re going to do it,’’ France told NBC Sports at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “That’s what the charter opportunity gives the chance to do. We’re working with (teams) to see how we can control expenses in a way that has not been done in motorsports before.’’

One of NASCAR’s three main tenets is cost containment (along with safety and competition). France met with Andrew Murstein, majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, and John Tisch, owner of the NFL’s New York Giants, in July where Murstein discussed the notion of a spending cap for teams.

Murstein told NBC Sports after that meeting that France appeared open to the idea “if we came up with some more details.’’

Asked Sunday what can be done to help teams with costs, France told NBC Sports: “There are structural changes that can be smarter than we’re doing it today that we are working on with the teams to adjust the expense model and other things in a smarter way.”

When will this be done?

“It’s as soon as we can,’’ France said. “It’s a process, but it takes a little bit of time.’’

Costs to team have become a bigger issue this week.

Denny Hamlin raised issues this week about revenue redistribution in the sport and giving teams and drivers the opportunity to make more money.

“The pie has to be shifted for sure,” Hamlin said Wednesday. “The TV dollars coming into NASCAR is higher than it’s ever been, but we’re seeing fewer and fewer teams, and it just can’t survive. So it economically doesn’t make sense. The pie, the amount of TV money that the race teams share, has to go up, in my opinion.”

On Friday, BK Racing’s two cars did not run in practice or qualifying. Brett Moffitt told NBC Sports that the reason the team didn’t run was because “bills were not paid.” Car owner Ron Devine declined comment to NBC Sports. The team was prepared to practice Saturday, but both sessions were canceled by rain. Both cars were to run Sunday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR has implemented various rule changes with the long-term goal of saving teams money. NASCAR announced last month that Cup teams will be required to use 13 short block engines for two full race weekends next season to help defray costs. Teams also can only use one engine for Daytona Speedweeks next year.

In the Xfinity Series, teams debuted the flange-fit composite body at Richmond in September. It ran at Dover and will run later this year at Phoenix. The composite body can be used in 2018 for all races except superspeedway events. Series officials plan to make the composite body mandatory in 2019.

Also, NASCAR is experimenting with less on-track activity. Cup teams were on track only two days, including race day, at Pocono and Watkins Glen in August and will have the same schedule later this month at Martinsville Speedway.

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Denny Hamlin posts fastest lap in Saturday morning Cup practice

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LOUDON, N.H. – Denny Hamlin had the fastest lap in Saturday morning’s Cup practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, leading the field with a lap of 132.942 mph.

He was followed by Ryan Blaney (132.526 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (132.462), Kyle Busch (132.406) and Kevin Harvick (132.356).

Harvick ran the most laps at 50. Harvick told NASCAR on NBC broadcaster Rick Allen in the garage that he ran so many laps to see how much the speed falls off as the tires wear. Jimmie Johnson was next with 42 laps run.

There were no incidents in the 50-minute session.

Ryan Blaney had the best 10-lap average at 131.767 mph.

Click here for the speed chart.

Start time of Sunday’s Cup race moved up to 1 pm ET

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LOUDON, N.H. – The start time for Sunday’s Cup race has been moved up to 1 p.m. ET because of the threat of rain, NASCAR announced.

NBCSN will broadcast the race. NBCSN’s coverage begins at noon ET.

The wunderground.com forecast for 1 p.m. ET Sunday calls for a 49 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms. There is a threat of rain throughout the day.

Kurt Busch won the pole for Sunday’s race.

Two Cup teams to be penalized practice time Saturday at New Hampshire

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LOUDON, N.H. – Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne each will miss 15 minutes of Saturday’s final practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for inspection issues, NASCAR announced.

Hamlin is being penalized for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice last weekend at Kentucky. Kahne is being penalized for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice Friday at New Hampshire.

Final practice is scheduled to go from 12:35 – 1:25 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

NASCAR’s Saturday schedule for New Hampshire Motor Speedway

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Today’s schedule at New Hampshire Motor Speedway includes two Cup practice sessions and the Xfinity Series race at the “Magic Mile.”

Here’s the full schedule with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

Saturday, July 21

7 a.m. — Xfinity garage opens

8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. — Cup garage open

10:05 – 10:55 a.m. — Cup practice (CNBC)

11:05 a.m. — Xfinity qualifying; multi-vehicle/three rounds (CNBC)

12:35 – 1:25 p.m. — Final Cup practice (NBCSN)

1:30 p.m. — Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

3:30 p.m. — Xfinity driver introductions

4 p.m. — Lakes Region 200 Xfinity race; 200 laps/211.6 miles (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)