Martin Truex Jr. takes the safe route to runner-up finish at Martinsville

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Martin Truex Jr. came close to earning a fourth win in this season’s first seven NASCAR Cup playoffs in Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

But when the checkered flag fell, Truex wound up with a runner-up finish — by about a car length — to race winner Kyle Busch, Truex’s 16th top-five finish of the season.

Truex counted himself lucky that he wasn’t involved in any of the late race issues like between Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott.

“It’s just Martinsville you know? Short-track racing,” he said.

But it was more than just close racing at Martinsville, Truex added.

“At the end everybody’s trying to get to Homestead – punch your ticket,” he said. “But you know, it was a really good day for our team.”

It was Truex’s best career finish at the .526-mile paper clip-shaped bullring. Prior to Sunday, his best finish at the southern Virginia track were a pair of fifth-place finishes.

“This has been a struggle for us, this place,” Truex said. “You know, to run second here is awesome. I think we had a fifth- or sixth-place car all day long.

“We couldn’t quite get better than that, but I’m really proud of that effort for everybody – for all our guys. So we fought hard all day, we didn’t give up and we had a shot at it there at the last lap. Got inside of Kyle (Busch), just couldn’t get the power down off of (turn) four.”

While Truex raced Busch clean, he wondered – especially after the Denny Hamlin-Chase Elliott wreck with three laps to go in regulation – if maybe he shouldn’t have been so much Mr. Nice Guy. But there’s always the chance that he could also wind up wrecking himself, so he demurred.

“I didn’t want to be the one to knock him out of the way for the win,” Truex said of Busch. “Maybe I should have, but I don’t know.

“Those guys kept knocking each other out of the way up there in the front, I’m not sure that’s the way to do it.”

Truex and the rest of the NASCAR Cup contingent move on to next Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Truex has to be considered one of the frontrunners in that race, as six of his seven wins this season have come on a 1.5-mile track just like TMS.

“You know, good day for us and we’ll go to Texas next week and see if we can’t continue our mile-and-half runs,” Truex said.

Saturday schedule for Xfinity, Truck Series

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The Xfinity Series competes at Road America today while the Gander Outdoors Truck Series begins its weekend in Canada.

wunderground.com forecasts sunny skies and a high of 70 degrees at the start of the Xfinity race.

The forecast for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is for sunny skies, a high of 71 degrees and a 10% chance of rain.

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

Saturday, Aug. 24

Road America

8 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

11:40 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying; multi-car/two rounds (NBC Sports App live, NBCSN to air it at 1:30 p.m.)

1:35 p.m. – Driver-crew chief meeting

2:30 p.m. – Driver introductions

3 p.m. – CTECH Manufacturing 180; 45 laps/182.16 miles (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Truck garage open

9:35 – 10:25 a.m. ET – Truck practice (No TV)

11:35 – 12:55 p.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV)

Report: Justin Allgaier returning to JR Motorsports in 2020

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Justin Allgaier confirmed to Catchfence.com Friday that he will remain with JR Motorsports in 2020.

It will be Allgaier’s fifth season in the Xfinity Series with JRM.

“I will be back next year. Same deal,” Allgaier told Catchfence.com “Everything is good. We’re doing the same thing next that we are doing right now.”

Allgaier, 33, is fourth is the point standings entering this weekend’s race at Road America (3 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN).

Allgaier is the only driver in the top six in points without a win this year.

 

Xfinity Series practice report from Road America

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Christopher Bell was fastest in the final Xfinity Series practice Friday at Road America.

Bell posted a top speed of 108.562 mph around the road course.

The top five was completed by Matt DiBenedetto (108.106 mph), AJ Allmendinger (108.091), Justin Haley (107.927) and Cole Custer (107.895).

Chase Briscoe recorded the most laps in the session with 19.

The session was stopped with about 50 minutes left for a hard crash by Brandon Jones exiting Turn 11. Jones will go to a backup car for Saturday’s race.

Just before Jones’ wreck, the left-rear truck arm mount broke on Jeremy Clements‘ No. 51 Chevrolet and his car stalled on the track.

The red flag was brought out for the second time when Preston Pardus’ No. 43 Chevrolet stalled on the track. His car then stalled a second time in the final minute of the session.

The session had a third red flag when Josh Williams‘ car stalled on the track.

Click here for the practice report.

First Practice

Bell was fastest, posting a top speed of 108.559 mph around the road course.

The top five was completed by defending race winner Justin Allgaier (108.530 mph), Cindric (108.346), DiBenedetto (108.139) and Allmendinger (107.967).

Chase Briscoe recorded the most laps with 14.

The session was stopped once for debris with 35 minutes left in the session.

Minor incidents in the session included Noah Gragson briefly going off course and a spin by Dexter Bean.

Click here for the practice report.

Updated entry lists for Xfinity, Truck Series this weekend

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While the NASCAR Cup Series will be off this weekend, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any racing.

On the contrary, the Xfinity Series will be racing Saturday at Road America and the Truck Series will compete Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Here are the entry lists for both series:

Xfinity – CTECH Manufacturing 180 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 38 cars entered.

Regan Smith will be in the No. 8 J.R. Motorsports Chevrolet.

A.J. Allmendinger will drive the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

Saturday’s Cup runner-up, Matt DiBenedetto, will drive the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Ryan Vargas is entered in JD Motorsports’ No. 4 Chevrolet for his second start of the year.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Chevrolet Silverado 250 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on FS1)

There are only 29 Trucks listed for the entry list. A full field would be 32 trucks.

Alex Tagliani is entered in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota for his first start of the year.

Dylan Lupton is entered in Young’s Motorsports’ No. 20 Chevrolet.

Click here for the entry list.

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