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Richard Childress, Roger Penske want NASCAR to run All-Star package again

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CONCORD, N.C. — Hall of Fame car owners Richard Childress and Roger Penske want NASCAR to run the package used in last week’s All-Star Race again this season.

Because of the charter agreement between NASCAR and teams, any significant mid-season rule change (other than for safety) would have to be approved by car owners. Childress said he would vote to approve it.

“Anything that is good for our sport right now, which I think it would be, I’m for it,’’ Childress told NBC Sports on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I’m putting RCR aside and looking at the sport itself. If everybody in this garage will do that … put the sport first and we all go out and put the best show for the fans in the stands, that’s what we’ve got to do.’’

MORE: Momentum building from some drivers to run All-Star package again

Penske, speaking to the media Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway said he enjoyed last weekend’s All-Star Race.

“I thought it was terrific,’’ Penske said “Nobody could get away.

“Directionally, I think it’s the right thing to do. What I like about it is we’re trying something.’’

Where should this package run?

“I’d like to see us maybe run (Indianapolis) and somebody talked about running it at Michigan,” Penske said.

Childress, told of Penske’s recommendation on where to run the package, said: “That would be a good starting place, either one of them.’’

The Xfinity Series will run a similar package at Pocono (June 2), Michigan (June 9) and Indianapolis (Sept. 8).

Richie Gilmore, president of ECR Engines, told NBC Sports that engine suppliers plan to meet with NASCAR officials next week to discuss options to run the package this season.

“One of the challenges we have is our engines are already built three weeks in advance,’’ Gilmore said. “The Michigan and Pocono engines are already in the cars, given out to the teams. It’s a little bit more of a challenge this year because we have the sealed engine rule (teams must run a sealed engine in two races). So we already have our schedules laid out in advance.’’

Gilmore says the engine builders are in support of running the package again this year.

“We all do believe this is something healthy for the sport,’’ Gilmore said.

Gilmore said the engine builders have talked about running this package at Michigan in August and then four weeks later at Indianapolis in September. That would allow teams to use the same engines in both events. 

“I think that’s the feedback we’re going to talk about next week,” Gilmore said of the meeting with NASCAR. “Where is the best place to do this, as far as scheduling. I think we all feel this is something we can do as far as reliability. I think the next thing is just scheduling.’’

Gilmore said the engine builders “could react” to whatever races NASCAR decides to run the package.

“I think we went into the meeting (NASCAR had with team officials, engine builders and drivers Wednesday) thinking maybe it was possible for the 600, so we all kind of had a plan. It would be better, I think, for us to react to the second go around at Michigan and those races but we could make it happen (earlier) if we need to.’’

Nate Ryan contributed from Indianapolis

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Kurt Busch fastest in final Cup practice at Sonoma

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Kurt Busch posted the fastest single lap in the final practice for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway with a speed of 94.061 mph.

He beat second-place Denny Hamlin (94.012 mph) by .040 seconds.

Martin Truex Jr. (93.718) had the third fastest lap, but the team will have some work to do before Saturday’s qualification. With nine minutes remaining on the clock, he ran into the back of Bubba Wallace in the esses and did significant damage to his nose. Wallace landed 34th on the chart with a speed of 91.641 mph.

Jamie McMurray (93.549) and Kevin Harvick (93.441) rounded out the top five.

Harvick (91.468) had the quickest 10-lap average – leading a sweep of the top three by Stewart Haas Racing. Busch was second quickest at 91.452 mph with Clint Bowyer third quick at 91.443 mph.

William Byron broke an axle seal in final practice, but the team was able to get him back on track with 24 minutes remaining in the session. His speed of 92.279 mph was 25th fastest.

Click here for the full report from final practice.

Friday Truck Series practice report from Gateway

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Second practice

Last week’s winner, Brett Moffitt topped the speed chart in Friday evening’s practice session for the Eaton 200 with a speed of 137.191 mph.

He beat second-place Myatt Snider (136.658 mph) by .128 seconds.

Johnny Sauter (136.608), Riley Herbst (136.355), and Ben Rhodes (136.219) round out the top five.

Herbst is making his Truck Series debut this week.

Also making his Truck debut is Zane Smith, who posted a lap of 136.120 mph to land sixth on the chart.

Christian Eckes (135.906) failed to back up his series-leading speed from the first practice session and was only ninth fastest, but he had the quickest 10-lap average of 135.039 mph.

Click here for complete results from practice 2.

First practice

Rain canceled the practice session at Gateway that was scheduled to run from 3:35 – 4:25 p.m. Eastern time.

When they finally got on track, Eckes posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session with a speed of 134.360 mph. He is making his Truck series debut this week.

Eckes’ speed was .009 seconds faster than Noah Gragon (134.324), who landed second on the speed chart.

Rhodes (134.120), Moffitt (133.817) and Matt Crafton (133.706) rounded out the top five.

Rhodes had the quickest 10-lap average of 133.466 mph.

With the first practice canceled at Gateway, NASCAR added a final practice session scheduled for Noon – 1 p.m.

Click here for complete results from practice one.

Denny Hamlin offers advice on how to deal with critics on social media

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Denny Hamlin, who has been fined by NASCAR for comments on Twitter, and was vocal toward critics after this year’s Daytona 500, says he’s found peace on how to deal with those on social media who don’t agree with him.

“I’ve been very good this year about not replying to mean people, and you all should do the same,’’ Hamlin said Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

“I’m making a (request) right now to every driver, every team owner, every NASCAR executive and every media member, stop replying to people who make nonsense comments. They have 16 followers. Don’t give them your 100,000. Do not give them your 100,000 as their stage. No one will ever see their comment, just brush it by, talk about the positives and I’m not a positive person.”

Asked how does one ignore such divisive comments, Hamlin said: “You just scroll by it. Forget it. That person doesn’t exit. They’re an admirer that has lost their way.’’

Hamlin has been better at doing so since the Daytona 500. He faced negative reaction on social media to the contact he and Bubba Wallace had at the end of the Daytona 500.

They engaged in a brief shouting match in the garage area after Hamlin learned that Wallace had taken a dig at him on national TV about a recent comment about drivers using Adderall.

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Clint Bowyer leads opening Cup practice at Sonoma

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Clint Bowyer was the fastest in the first of two Cup practices Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

Bowyer, the winner of the most recent Cup race two weeks ago at Michigan, posted a lap of 93.590 mph. He was followed by Ryan Blaney (93.546 mph), Joey Logano (93.172), Jamie McMurray (93.049) and Daniel Suarez (92.746).

Sixth was Jimmie Johnson (92.661). He was followed by Michael McDowell (92.650), Martin Truex Jr. (92.614), AJ Allmendinger (92.596) and Ryan Newman (92.595).

Click here for full practice report

Final Cup practice will be from 5:40 – 6:55 p.m. ET. Qualifying will take place Saturday.

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