Team Penske takes late-season surge to Dover, where it’s struggled

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Team Penske has a lot to be happy about entering the second round of the Cup playoffs.

It began September as an also ran in Cup competition with just one win through the first 24 races (Joey Logano, Tallagea). It ended the month as the hottest team on the circuit, winning four of the five races held in September.

They had won four times in the previous 58 races.

To continue its streak this weekend at Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. ET on Sunday on NBCSN), Team Penske may need more luck than Ryan Blaney had in his win on the Charlotte Roval.

Penske’s streak began in the the Southern 500 when Brad Keselowski led the final 22 laps to win, earning the first crown jewel victory of his career.

He followed that up with wins in the Brickyard 400 (after leading nine of the last 25 laps) and the playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

It was the first time Keselowski had won three straight races and the Vegas win was the 500th overall in motorsports for Team Penske. The team also placed three cars in the top five for the first time.

Two races later, Blaney won Stage 2 at the Charlotte Roval and then stole the win after Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson wrecked in the final turn on the last lap. That was after Keselowski led 29 laps and wrecked out with six laps to go.

The win was Blaney’s first in 50 races. In addition to Logano’s Talladega win in April, Team Penske is the only multi-car team to have all its drivers visit Victory Lane this season.

Penske joins Stewart-Haas Racing as the only multi-car teams to advance all of its cars to the second round of the playoffs.

Despite having eight Cup wins on the Monster Mile, Penske hasn’t fared that well in Dover since Keselowski won there in September 2012.

In 23 combined starts since Keselowski’s win, Penske’s drivers have only earned six top fives. The last came with Keselowski in the September 2016 race. In the 11 races since the 2012 win, they’ve led 315 laps and finished runner-up twice (Keselowski in both 2014 events).

Since the 2012 victory, Team Penske has won 36 times on 20 different tracks.

In the May race, Keselowski led 108 laps and placed in the top five in each stage before finishing sixth. Logano placed 13th and Blaney placed eighth.

Keselowski is the only Penske driver with any real success on the 1-mile track.

In five career starts, Blaney has finished eighth twice. He failed to finish better than 23rd in the other three starts.

In 19 starts, Logano has three top fives but the last came in the September 2014 race.

Not counting the Charlotte Roval, Dover is the track Logano’s led the fewest laps at in his career with just four.

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Saturday schedule for Xfinity, Truck Series

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The Xfinity Series competes at Road America today while the Gander Outdoors Truck Series begins its weekend in Canada.

wunderground.com forecasts sunny skies and a high of 70 degrees at the start of the Xfinity race.

The forecast for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is for sunny skies, a high of 71 degrees and a 10% chance of rain.

Here’s the day’s full schedule with TV and radio info.

Saturday, Aug. 24

Road America

8 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

11:40 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying; multi-car/two rounds (NBC Sports App live, NBCSN to air it at 1:30 p.m.)

1:35 p.m. – Driver-crew chief meeting

2:30 p.m. – Driver introductions

3 p.m. – CTECH Manufacturing 180; 45 laps/182.16 miles (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Truck garage open

9:35 – 10:25 a.m. ET – Truck practice (No TV)

11:35 – 12:55 p.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV)

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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