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Cup teams no longer required to start races on qualifying tires

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NASCAR issued a change to its rulebook Wednesday no longer requiring Cup Series teams to start races on the same set of tires they qualified on. The change will begin with the Coca-Cola 600 on May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Previously, teams had to start races from the rear of the field if they did not start on their qualifying tires.

“This helps us ensure a level playing field, and will end speculation that teams miss qualifying purposely to start the race with a tire advantage,” Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, said in a statement provided to NBC Sports.

The most recent example of a car starting from the rear for changing tires was Kyle Larson last weekend at Kansas Speedway.

Larson spun in qualifying and flat-spotted his tires, requiring him to start last. Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet finised fifth in the first stage.

In the Feb. 25 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. started 35th on new tires after failing prequalifying inspection. He was fifth at the end of Stage 1.

“That’s a really good penalty when you come to a place like this, huh?” Larson’s spotter observed during the first stage on an abrasive track known for heavy tire wear.

NASCAR also changed the number of tires that are supplied to teams in a race weekend. Beginning with the Coke 600, teams will have four sets of tires for practice and qualifying, except for superspeedway races, where they will have three sets.

For truncated race weekends, teams will be able to carry over their qualifying set to the race. If they do not make laps on their qualifying tires, they must carry over a scuffed set from practice.

In another rules bulletin Wednesday, NASCAR also mandated that teams may only use traditional battery-powered equipment to repair a vehicle on the service side of the pit wall. Traditional battery-powered equipment includes (but is not limited to) reciprocating saws, rivet guns, screw guns, and drills. Any other equipment may be used only at the discretion of a series’ managing director.

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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Friday schedule for Xfinity Series at Road America

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The NASCAR Xfinity Series hits the track today with two practices at Road America in preparation for Saturday’s race.

The wunderground.com forecast for Friday calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 69 degrees and a 10% chance of rain during the day.

Here is today’s schedule at Road America:

(All times are Eastern)

10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

1:35 – 2:25 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

3:35 – 4:55 – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)