NASCAR Euro Series will have record number of teams for 2018

Photo: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series
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The 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will have a record number of teams competing this season, it was announced Thursday.

A total of 30 cars and drivers from 19 teams – both returning teams and newcomers – will take part in the 12-event series held on six racetracks in competition for the European NASCAR championship.

The six countries that will play host to the series are Spain, Italy, Great Britain, France, Germany and Belgium.

A new addition to the series’ roster of racetracks will be the oval track at Tours, France, which will play host to the Oval World Challenge.

Here’s how the 2018 NASCAR Euro season shapes up:

  • The season will open with the NASCAR Grand Prix of Spain, April 14-15, at the Circuit Valenciana Ricardo Tormo road course as part of the fifth annual Valencia NASCAR Fest.
  • From there, the schedule will go to Brescia, Italy and the Autodromo Franciancorta road course on May 19 and 20.
  • June 9-10 will be contested at Great Britain’s famous Brands Hatch road course as part of the American SpeedFest.
  • June 30 and July 1 will see the only oval track of the season, the Oval World Challenge at Tours Speedway in Tours, France.
  • After a 2 ½ month layoff, the series resumes with a four-race playoff: Sept. 15 and 16 at the road course in Hockehiem, Germany, and the championship-deciding pair of races Oct. 21 and 22 on the Circuit Zolder road course in Belgium.

Date Round Track Country

April 14: Round 1 – Valencia (road course), Spain
April 15: Round 2 – Valencia (road course), Spain
May 19: Round 3 – Franciacorta (road course) in Brescia, Italy
May 20: Round 4 – Franciacorta (road course) in Brescia, Italy
June 9: Round 5 – Brands Hatch (road course) in Great Britain
June 10: Round 6 – Brands Hatch (road course) in Great Britain
June 30: Round 7 – Oval World Challenge (oval) in Tours, France
July 1: Round 8 – Oval World Challenge (oval) in Tours, France
PLAYOFFS:
September 15: Semi-final 1 – Hockenheim (road course) in Germany
September 16: Semi-final 2 – Hockenheim (road course) in Germany
October 20: Final 1 – Circuit Zolder (road course) in Belgium
October 21: Final 2 – Circuit Zolder (road course) in Belgium

The series will once again be divided into the Elite 1 and Elite 2 divisions.

Israeli driver Alon Day will return to defend his 2017 NWES championship with CAAL Racing, which will field three Chevrolets.

Other key teams include:

* Knauf Racing, which brings back Elite 2 Division Champion Thomas Ferrando as part of a two-car Ford Mustang operation.

* PK Carsport and Alex Caffi Motorsport will once again both have two two entries apiece.

* Braxx Racing will expand to three cars.

* Racers Motorsport will field three Ford Mustangs.

* Renauer Motorsport and MRT by Nocentini will field two Mustangs apiece.

* Other returning teams include RDV Competition, Racing Total, DF1 Racing, Mishumotors and The Club Motorsports.

* Newcomers to the series include Go Fas Racing Europe, Pegasus Racing (switches to the NWES from endurance racing), Solaris Motorsport (from GT racing), Hezemans Racing, Race Art Technology and BVR Motorsport. All newcomers will make their official NWES debuts at Valencia.

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Saturday NASCAR schedule at Talladega Superspeedway

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Both the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series will race Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Cup cars will start the day’s action by qualifying for Sunday’s playoff race, followed by the Truck playoff race and then the Xfinity playoff race.

Talladega Superspeedway (Cup, Xfinity and Truck)

Weekend weather

Saturday: Sunny. High of 78.

Saturday, Oct. 1

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 9:30 a.m. — Truck Series
  • 1 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 10:30 a.m. – Noon — Cup Series qualifying (NBC Sports app, Motor Racing Network, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio)
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series race (94 laps, 250 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 4 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (113 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.