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Martin Truex Jr. approaching All-Star Race with new attitude

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Martin Truex Jr. is treating the 2018 All-Star Race differently than ever before. That is because the race has never had fewer long-term implications, which frees the driver to race as hard as possible and take any gambles necessary to win the $1 million prize.

Truex qualifies for the exhibition race on three different criteria: by winning races in 2017 (eight of them), earlier this year (at Auto Club Speedway), and as the defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points champion.

He will make his eighth career appearance and third consecutive start Saturday night.

A new rules package – which includes restrictor plates – will be tested in the event and will not be used when the Cup series returns for the Coca-Cola 600. That means any lessons learned will not be applicable until this set of rules is used again in the future – if that even happens.

“Since this year’s All-Star Race won’t offer much help for the Coca-Cola 600 due to the rules package, the only goal is to win it,” said Truex in a press release. “It’s an all or nothing race. It’s not about points, it’s not about anything else. It’s just about going for the million bucks.”

In this week’s Bump & Run, one of the topics of conversation centered on what to look for in the All-Star Race. Truex has added his own take on what fans should be watching – flat out competition in a race with no penalty for stepping over the line.

For Truex, that opens up an opportunity he has not had in recent years. Truex has struggled recently in the exhibition race with a 12th-place finish last year and a 14th in 2016. He has never won but came close in 2010. He advanced to the All-Star Race as the winner of the Sprint Showdown before finishing second to Kurt Busch in the main event.

“We really haven’t been too good in that race the past couple of years,” Truex said. “Hopefully, this time it will be different in our 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry. A lot of different rules and new things to figure out. It should be an interesting and fun weekend.”

Whether Truex comes out victorious Saturday night, he will have a big day ahead of him on Monday.

Truex and members of Furniture Row Racing will travel to Washington, D.C., for an afternoon visit to the White House. There they will be honored by President Donald Trump for his 2017 series championship.

The ceremony will be held on the South Lawn of the White House at 2 p.m. ET.

Tonight’s Cup race at Bristol: EARLIER start time, lineup and more

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NASCAR has moved up the start of Saturday night’s Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway by an hour because of inclement weather.

Here is the key info for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Johnny Morris, Bill Dance and Dale Hall will give the command to start engines at 6:40 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 6:46 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 500 laps (266.5 miles) around the 0.533-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 125. Stage 2 ends on Lap 250.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 10 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 4:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 5:50 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The Motor Racing Outreach children’s choir will perform the anthem at 6:31 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 5 p.m. with NASCAR America and Countdown to Green starting at 6 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 6 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for scattered thunderstorms with a high of 79 degrees and a 48 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Kyle Busch snatched the lead from pole-sitter Erik Jones and led the final 56 laps for the win.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Results, stats, points after Xfinity Bristol race

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Kyle Larson led 202 of 310 laps and swept every stage on his way to winning the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

He was followed by Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer and Joey Logano.

Larson’s win is his fourth in six Xfinity starts this season.

Click here for full Xfinity results.

Click here for the points standings.

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.