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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.

Kyle Larson wins Bristol Xfinity race in overtime

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Kyle Larson held off Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier in an overtime finish Friday night to win the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Larson led 202 of 310 laps and swept both stages on the way to his fourth Xfinity win of the season and 12th of his career.

The top five was completed by Cole Custer and Joey Logano.

The win was Larson’s first at Bristol in 18 Cup and Xfinity starts (including six top-five finishes in his previous eight Xfinity races at the track). Larson has won in four of his six starts this year (and didn’t finish the other two).

Larson dominated after pole-sitter Kyle Busch wrecked from first after leading the first 69 laps.

“It feels really good, I just wish Kyle Busch wouldn’t have had his troubles so I could have raced him,” Larson told NBCSN. “It still feels really good to win a race here at Bristol finally. I’ve been close so many times. This is my best track by far, this and Homestead.”

The overtime finish was set up by a Daniel Hemric wreck with two laps to go in the original 300-lap distance.

“We had that yellow there coming to two to go, I was like, ‘Man, again. Again I’m going to lose one here late,” Larson said. “We were able to get an average restart and get the win.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Larson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Larson

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Justin Allgaier earned his career-best 10th consecutive top 10 … Cole Custer placed fourth for his best Bristol finish in four starts … Michael Annett placed seventh for his first top 10 of the season …  JA Junior Avila placed 20th in his series debut.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Kyle Busch was having a good night until he tagged the wall around Lap 66 while leading. On Lap 70, he lost a tire and got into the wall, causing enough damage to end his night. He finished 36th … Spencer Boyd and Vinnie Miller wrecked to bring out the second caution on Lap 105. Miller caused another caution on Lap 160 … Chase Briscoe was eliminated when he spun and hit the inside wall on Lap 142. He placed 34th.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I’d love to race him on dirt. I ain’t done much of that. ” – Kyle Larson on Christopher Bell

WHAT’S NEXT: Johnsonville 180 at Road America at 3:30 p.m. ET on Aug. 25 on NBCSN.

Starting lineup for Cup Bristol night race

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Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will lead the field to the green flag in Saturday night’s Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway (6:46 p.m. ET).

Larson starts from the pole position for the third time this year.

Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and William Byron rounded out the top five.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Kyle Larson on pole for Cup race at Bristol

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Kyle Larson won the pole position for Saturday’s Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway (6:46 p.m. ET on NBCSN) with a top speed of 127.792 mph around the half-mile track.

Larson bested Chase Elliott (127.665) and Kyle Busch (127.639) to earn his third pole of the season and the seventh of his career.

Paul Menard and William Byron rounded out the top five. Menard matched his best Bristol start from 2011 while Byron earned his career-best qualifying result in 24 starts.

“The top five there was tight,” Larson told NBCSN. “I saw William run his .04 there before I went out. ‘That’s going to be hard to beat.’ I would never have thought three other guys would squeeze between him and I for first and second. That shows how tough our sport is and our series is.”

Larson’s previous poles this year were at Dover and Sonoma. He has started on the front row in three of the last four Bristol races.

The top 10 was rounded out by Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney.

Jimmie Johnson qualified 13th. He was followed by Erik Jones, David Ragan, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon.

“We were really fast in the first round, it just didn’t really transfer over to the second round,” Jones, who won his first career pole in this race last year, told NBCSN. “Lost a lot of grip, lost a lot of speed. I think going early, the track was still a little bit hot, and we didn’t have quite a car that was ready for that.”

AJ Allmendinger qualified 25th and was followed by Kasey Kahne and Bubba Wallace.

B.J. McLeod failed to qualify.

Click here for qualifying results.

Kyle Busch wins Bristol Xfinity pole

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Kyle Busch will start first in tonight’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:28 p.m. ET on NBCSN) after posting a top speed of 124.686 mph in qualifying.

It is Busch’s first pole in seven starts this season. It is his sixth Xfinity pole at Bristol.

The top five is completed by Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Matt Tifft.

Logano’s fourth-place start is the worst of his five Xfinity starts this year.

Elliott Sadler will start sixth, his best start at Bristol since 2014.

Chase Briscoe, Tyler Reddick, Chase Elliott, Ryan Reed, Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain were among those who did not advance to the final round.

Michael Annett will start 22nd after he spun and made light contact with the wall late in Round 1. He advanced to Round 2 but did not make a qualifying attempt.

Click here for qualifying results.