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Bump & Run: What to do about teams failing inspection?

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NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell said this week the sanctioning body has felt it has ramped up penalties for teams failing inspection multiple times but conceded “it hasn’t seemed to work.’’ What should NASCAR do next to further encourage teams to pass without making so many attempts?

Nate Ryan: Fix it. If NASCAR knew how to do that, it would have already. While a fair amount of culpability – perhaps the majority of the blame – lies with the teams, it doesn’t ultimately matter who is at fault. The situation just needs to be fixed. NASCAR and team executives need to hold a closed-door meeting and do as much screaming and deal-making as necessary to reach a suitable solution.

Dustin Long: Increase the penalties. There’s a line and if teams are going to cross it, then they suffer the consequences.

Daniel McFadin: First penalty that popped in my head regarding pre-race qualifying is the team is allowed to compete in the race, but they won’t earn any points, no matter where they finish.

Dan Beaver: Give up. It doesn’t matter how stiff NASCAR makes the penalties, so long as teams believe they can gain a competitive advantage, they are going to keep pressing the envelope. If NASCAR doesn’t want to concede the inevitable, perhaps they should limit the number of times repeat offenders can go through: If a team failed three times last week, only give them two attempts this week.

Is an All-Star Race needed in NASCAR?

Nate Ryan: It is if something inventive were to be done with it. The plates and aero changes this weekend are a step in the right direction, but even better would be a truly radical move such as moving the race to South Boston Speedway or Nashville (as Jeff Burton suggested in this column last year). The weekend also needs more of the “event” feel that Kevin Harvick has advocated; try some irreverent “driver skills” competitions to showcase their personalities.

Dustin Long: Yes and no. If NASCAR is going to do something different with the event — and making the event a glorified test session is not that — than keep it. If not, then dump it.

Daniel McFadin: Yes, if only as an exhibition for testing new features in a competitive environment, like we’re getting with the restrictor plates and aero package. But honestly, the event needs to be held at a new venue. It’s not 1986 anymore, or the year it was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in front of a sparse crowd. It has years of history behind it and would likely thrive on a short track. Say, Martinsville under the lights?

Dan Beaver: The All-star race is always a lot of fun, but it doesn’t need its own weekend. Move it to Thursday night and test the viability of a mid-week show.

What will you be looking at in this week’s All-Star Race with the new rules package?

Nate Ryan: Speeds could be slower than the laps made by amateurs on the same track in the Richard Petty Driving Experience, but hopefully it will bring the “pack racing” that is found in the Indianapolis 500 (the plates won’t re-create the conditions seen at Daytona and Talladega). If holding the accelerator wide open for the duration of the lap brings more side-by-side racing, the 160-mph pace won’t be nearly as noticeable.

Dustin Long: How racy that drivers can get with this package.

Daniel McFadin: How competitive the top three cars are 10 laps into a run. If there’s not a healthy battle for the lead at that point, it’s time to be concerned. 

Dan Beaver: The fan reaction. Last year’s Xfinity race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was widely considered a success with similar rules, so it is going to be interesting to see if the fans support those changes in Cup. With most of the 1.5- and 2-mile races this year being marked by one driver dominating, something needs to be done to encourage passing.

Joey Logano wins pole for Kansas Cup race, playoff contenders sweep top five

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Joey Logano got through Turns 3 & 4 faster than the Cup field at Kansas Speedway and set a speed of 191.646 mph to win the pole for the Kansas Cup race. This is Logano’s second pole of the season and first on an unrestricted track. His previous pole came at Talladega this spring.

The last two races at Kansas have been won from by the pole winner with Kevin Harvick doing so this spring and Martin Truex Jr. last fall.

Playoff contenders swept the top five positions with Harvick (191.178 mph) second, Aric Almirola (190.968) third, Ryan Blaney (190.934) fourth and Brad Keselowski (190.725) fifth.

Playoff contenders Kyle Busch (190.543) qualified seventh, Alex Bowman (189.994) qualified 10th, Kurt Busch (189.593 mph) qualified 11th and Truex (189.387) was 12th.

Joe Gibbs Racing took the remaining spots in the top 12 with Erik Jones (190.570) fastest among the non-playoff contenders in sixth. Daniel Suarez (190.449 mph) was eighth and Denny Hamlin (190.027) ninth. 

Chase Elliott and Clint Bowyer failed to advance to the Round of 12 despite each of them making two runs. Elliott lines up 13th with a speed of 190.027 mph; Bowyer was 14th (189.980)

Kyle Larson rolled out a backup car after crashing in practice. He was qualifying for pit selection only since he will have to fall to the back of the pack, but could only muster the 27th-fastest time of 187.162 mph.

Check back for complete results.

 

NASCAR America at 6 p.m. ET: 1,000th Episode

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Today’s marks the 1,000th episode of NASCAR America and it airs from 6-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In celebrating this milestone, we’ll re-live some of the show’s best moments from our first 999 episodes.

Also on today’s show:

  • Joining the program, will be 7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who will reflect on his 17-year partnership with Chad Knaus that will end following this season. He’ll also talk about his crew chief for 2019, Kevin Meendering.
  • Kansas native Clint Bowyer also joins the show to discuss racing in his home state, his passion for the Kansas City Chiefs and how he hopes to secure a spot in the Round of 8 this weekend.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 6 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Xfinity practice report from Kansas

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Final Practice

Shane Lee posted the fastest lap in final practice for the Xfinity race with a speed of 179.480 mph.

He beat Ty Majeski (179.414 mph) by .011 seconds.

Playoff contender Christopher Bell (178.684), Austin Cindric (178.247, playoff contender) and Daniel Hemric (178.247, playoff contender) rounded out the top five.

Playoff contender Matt Tifft spun with three minutes remaining in final practice. He was 11th on the speed chart at the time with a speed of 177.206 mph.

Playoff contender Cole Custer (177.737) was ninth, Justin Allgaier (177.538) was 10th, Elliott Sadler (177.130) was 12th and Tyler Reddick (177.084) was the slowest 13th.

Click here for complete results

First Practice

Hemric posted  the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the Xfinity race at Kansas Speedway with a speed of 179.916 mph.

He beat Bell (179.659 mph) by .043 seconds.

Tyler Reddick (179.474, playoff contender), Shane Lee (179.462) and Austin Cindric (179.408) rounded out the top five.

Playoff contender Allgaier (178.832) was seventh fastest, Custer (178.725) was eighth, Tifft (178.660) was ninth and Sadler (177.585) was the slowest in 13th.

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Ryan Blaney tops first Cup practice at Kansas, Kyle Larson wrecks

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Ryan Blaney posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the Kansas Cup race with a speed of 192.130 mph. Blaney enters the weekend 22 points below the cutoff line.

He beat Kyle Busch (191.768 mph) by .053 seconds.

Kevin Harvick (191.761), Joey Logano (191.632) and Chase Elliott (191.421) round out the top five

Kyle Larson‘s weekend continues to worsen. With 15 minutes remaining in Friday’s practice session, he got loose and made heavy contact with the wall. Larson will have to roll out a back up car and drop to the back of the field to start the race. Larson (189.288) was 20th on the speed chart at the time.

Regan Smith was the only driver who posted 10 consecutive laps. His average speed was 182.606 mph.

Click here for complete results

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