Who is hot and cold entering the AAA Texas 500

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The second race of Round of 8 begins this weekend in the Lone Star State at Texas Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN).

Three slots remain in the championship finale after Joey Logano’s dramatic win last week on the short track.

Here is who is hot and cold entering the 1.5-mile track.

Who is Hot

Joey Logano

Round of 8 – Red Hot
• Led the most laps last week and won at Martinsville to become the only driver locked into the championship battle
• Bumped Martin Truex Jr. out of the lead exiting Turn 4
2018 Season – Red Hot
• Is currently riding a five-race, top-10 streak that includes his Martinsville victory and two other top fives
• Advances to the Championship 4 for the third time in his career (2014, 2016 and 2018)
• Has six top fives in his last 10 races
Texas – Very Good
• Scored top 10s in his last five races. Finished sixth in April
• Finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 11 Texas races
• Started 36th last year, was 15th in Stage 1, 21st in Stage 2, led one lap and finished seventh. Was penalized for speeding entering the pits on Lap 141
1.5-mile tracks – Very Good
• Finished in the top 10 in 10 of the last 11 races. 

 

Chase Elliott

Round of 8 – Hot
• Finished seventh at Martinsville (11th in Stage 1 and seventh in Stage 2)
2018 Season – Red Hot
• Won two of the last four races and three of the last 12; it took 99 starts before earning his first win
• Finished top 10 in five of the last six races and in 11 of the last 14
Texas – Very Good
• Top 10s in four of five starts at Texas; was 11th in April
• Swept the top five at Texas as a rookie
• Started 34th last year, was 11th in Stage 1, fifth in Stage 2, led one lap and finished eighth.
1.5-mile tracks – Hot and Very Cold
• Won the last 1.5-mile race at Kansas in the Round of 12
• Finished outside the top 10 in seven of the last eight races on 1.5-mile tracks.

 

Kyle Busch

Round of 8 – Great
• Finished fourth at Martinsville (third in Stage 1, third in Stage 2, and led 100 laps)
• Won the Martinsville pole
2018 Season – Great
• Finished in the top five in the last two races
• Finished in the top 10 in seven of the last nine races and 12 of the last 15
• Won seven races in 2018
• Finished in the top five in 20 of 33 races this season

Texas – Red Hot
• Won two of the last five Texas races including this April
• Finished in the top five in six of the last eight Texas races
• Started fifth, was 30th in Stage 1, 25th in Stage 2, led seven laps and finished 19th in this race last year. Forced to pit for damage to his right front fender after contact with Brad Keselowski on Lap 1. Pitted from 13th on Lap 275 with a flat left rear tire
1.5-mile tracks – Red Hot
• Won three of the last seven races on 1.5-mile tracks
• Finished in the top 10 in the last 10 races on 1.5-mile track including every race of 2018
• Along with Kevin Harvick and Truex, combined to win 13 of the last 15 races on 1.5-mile tracks

 

Martin Truex Jr.

Round of 8 – Great
• Finished third at Martinsville (seventh in Stage 1, fourth in Stage 2 and led 18 laps) after coming from the back of the pack (33rd) when his qualification time was disallowed
• Bumped out of the lead exiting Turn 4 on the final lap
2018 Season – Streaking
• Finished in the top five in the last two races
• Last seven races: four top fives and three finishes of 14th or worse
• Finished in the top five in 14 of the last 23 races
Texas – Very Good
• Finished in the top 10 in six of his last seven Texas races (37th in April)
• This is one of only two 1.5-mile tracks on which he has not won (Atlanta is the other)
• Started seventh, was second in Stage 1, fourth in Stage 2, led 107 laps and finished second in this race last year.
1.5-mile tracks – Red Hot
• Won eight of the last 19 races on 1.5-mile tracks
• Finished in the top five in the last six races on 1.5-mile tracks
• Along with Harvick and Kyle Busch, combined to win 13 of the last 15 races on 1.5-mile tracks

 

Kevin Harvick

Round of 8 – Warm
• Finished 10th Martinsville (ninth in Stage 1, 15th in Stage 2)
2018 Season – Great
• Finished 10th or worse in three straight races, which is his worst three-race stretch of 2018
• Finished in the top 10 in 12 of last 15 races
• Finished in the top five in 11 of the last 20 races
• Won seven races in 2018
• In 33 races this season, finished 10th or better 26 times and 12th or worse seven times
Texas – Red Hot
• Finished in the top 10 in eight consecutive races (second in April)
• Eight consecutive top 10s at Texas is the second longest streak at the track
• Finished in the top five in six of the last eight Texas races
• Started third, won Stage 1, second in Stage 2, led 38 laps and won this race last year.
1.5-mile tracks – Hot
• Won four of the last 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks
• Finished in the top 10 in 15 of the last 18 races on 1.5-mile tracks; failed to finish in two of the last five
• Along with Truex and Kyle Busch, combined to win 13 of the last 15 races on 1.5-mile tracks

 

Aric Almirola

Round of 8 – Good
• Finished 11th Martinsville (10th in Stage 1, 12th in Stage 2)
2018 Season – Good
• Four top 10s in the last seven races
Texas – Very Bad
• Finished outside the top 10 in 10 straight Texas races (32nd in April)
• One top 10 in 15 stars at Texas (seventh in April 2013)
• Started 18th, 21st in Stage 1, 16th in Stage 2 and finished 15th in this race last year.
1.5-mile tracks – Hot and Cold (trending Hot)
• Finished in the top 10 in three consecutive 1.5-mile races and five of the last six
• In nine 1.5-mile races with Stewart-Haas Racing: five top 10s and four finishes of 13th or worse

 

Kurt Busch

Round of 8 – Great
• Finished sixth at Martinsville (fifth in Stage 1, fifth in Stage 2)
2018 Season – Good
• Three top 10s and four results of 14th or worse in the last seven races
• Finished in the top 10 in 11 of the last 15 races
Texas – Pretty Good
• Finished in the top 10 in three straight Texas races (seventh in April)
• Finished in the top 10 in six of the last eight Texas races
• Won the pole for the last two Texas races
• Started first, fifth in Stage 1, seventh in Stage 2 and finished ninth in this race last year. Had to pit for a second time for a possible loose wheel on Lap 231
1.5-mile tracks – Cold
• Finished 17th or worse in three of the last four 1.5-mile races

 

Clint Bowyer

Round of 8 – Not Good
• Finished 21st at Martinsville (fourth in Stage 1, eighth in Stage 2 and led one lap)
• Damaged his right front fender after contact with William Byron on pit road on Lap 133; spun after contact with Jimmie Johnson on Lap 457 while running 10th
2018 Season – Hot and Cold
• Finished outside the top 20 in two of the last four races and outside the top 10 in three of the last four
Last 10 races: five top 10s and five results of 13th or worse (2 DNFs)
Texas – Not Good
Finished outside the top 10 in seven of last the last eight Texas races (ninth in April)
Finished outside top 20 in five of the last eight Texas races
Started 20th, 16th in Stage 1, 11th in Stage 2, finished 36th in this race last year
1.5-mile tracks – Cold
Finished outside the top 10 in 13 of last 16 1.5-mile races
• Finished 12th or worse in the last three 1.5-mile races

Today’s Cup race at Miami: Start time, lineup and more

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The NASCAR season comes to a close today with the Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and defending champion Martin Truex Jr. will decide the title.

Whoever has the best finish, wins the championship.

Here’s all the info you need for the season finale.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Actor Josh Dallas of NBC’s “Manifest” will give the command to start engines at 3:11 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:20 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 267 laps (400.5 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 9 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 12:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:30 p.m. Moment of silence for David Pearson at 3:03 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Sr. Master Sergeant Ryan Carson will perform the anthem at 3:05 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBC will broadcast the race beginning at 3 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. with NASCAR America on NBCSN and switches to NBC at 1:30 p.m. Countdown to Green beings at 2 p.m. on NBC. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 82 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Martin Truex Jr. led the final 51 laps to win the race and championship over Kyle Busch.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the complete starting grid.

Tony Stewart says JGR made ‘very smart decision’ on pit stall picks

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Tony Stewart, whose organization will compete against Joe Gibbs Racing for the Cup title Sunday, said he has no problems with JGR’s decision to have Denny Hamlin’s team not take the No. 1 pit stall so Kyle Busch, who is racing for the crown, can have it.

Hamlin’s team had the first pick of pit stalls after winning the pole but did not choose the No. 1 stall since that team is not running for a title. Busch, who starts second and whose team had the second pick, then took the No. 1 stall.

MORE: Denny Hamlin reacts to giving up the No. 1 pit stall to Kyle Busch

MORE: Cup pit stall assignments

“It’s a smart decision,” said Stewart, who will have Kevin Harvick racing for the Cup crown Sunday. “If we were in the same position, I would hope we would be smart enough to do the same thing. I’ve already seen all the drama and the people complaining either way.

“These four teams are here to win a championship and if your organization can help you do that and give you every tool available to get that done, you’re stupid to not do it.

“I’m behind what JGR did 100 percent. You have to do that. You have to put yourself in the best position to win the race and the championship. They made a very, very smart decision.”

Car owner Joe Gibbs defended his decision because Busch is running for a championship and Hamlin.

“We’re going to do everything we can to win the race there, but we also, for us, have a championship on the line and what we would love to do is win that championship,” Gibbs said. “That’s how the decision was made for us.

“I think if there is any criticism, it goes to me.”

Xfinity race results, final point standings after Miami

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Tyler Reddick claimed the Xfinity Series title with his win in Saturday’s season finale.

Reddick led 44 laps, including the final 37, on his way to his third career win.

Reddick beat Cole Custer, John Hunter Nemechek, Daniel Hemric and Austin Cindric.

Christopher Bell finished 11th, a lap down after he pit with 10 laps to go for a flat tire.

Click here for Xfinity race results

Elliott Sadler ended his final full-time season fifth in the standings.

Click here for Xfinity points report

Tyler Reddick wins Xfinity race in Miami, championship

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Tyler Reddick won Saturday’s Xfinity race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to claim the Xfinity Series championship.

The win is the first for the JR Motorsports rookie since he won the season opener at Daytona.

Reddick led 44 of 200 laps and defeated Cole Custer (second), Daniel Hemric (fourth) and Christopher Bell (11th) for the title.

Custer led a race-high 95 laps but lost the lead in the final stage during green-flag pit stops after he stayed out a few laps longer than Reddick and Bell.

Reddick took the lead when he passed Bell out of Turn 4 with 37 laps to go. He spent nearly the entire final run driving against the outside wall.

“The year wasn’t the smoothest for us, but I knew coming in here if we just made it to Homestead, this is a great track for me,” Reddick told NBCSN. “It rewards my aggression. Tonight we hit the wall a lot, but the car kept in one piece long enough to get to the end.”

The race was Reddick’s last for JRM before moving to Richard Childress Racing for 2019.

Bell, who won a rookie record seven races this season, had to pit for a flat tire with 10 laps to go.

“We just weren’t good enough,” Bell told NBCSN. “Bottom line, I wasn’t fast enough. Once the tires started wearing away, those guys just drove right back by me.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Cole Custer

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

MORE: Race results, points report

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: With his title, Tyler Reddick also claimed the Rookie of the Year award over Christopher Bell.

OWNERS TITLE: Cole Custer’s second place finish earned Stewart-Haas Racing the owners championship.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: John Hunter Nemechek led 52 laps and finished third … Ryan Preece placed sixth in his last start for Joe Gibbs Racing … Ross Chastain placed 16th in his last start for JD Motorsports before moving to Chip Ganassi Racing full-time in next season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Elliott Sadler finished 14th, a lap off the lead in his final full-time start after he pit with 20 laps to go for a vibration … Caesar Bacarella placed 34th after he spun on the final lap of Stage 1.

NOTABLE: Tyler Reddick is the first driver to win the first and last race of the season in the Xfinity Series … All three of JR Motorsports’ Xfinity titles have come with the No. 9 car … Reddick joins Chase Elliott (2014) and William Byron (2017) as the third rookie to win the title … Reddick gave crew chief David Elenz his second consecutive Xfinity title after he won with Byron last year.

QUOTE OF THE RACE No. 1: “We just stuck to our plan. I’m not honestly second-guessing it. Our lap times over the course of the race, we were as good as we were the whole race at the end of the race. (Tyler Reddick) found a lot of speed at the end.” – Crew chief Jeff Meendering to NBC Sports on the pit strategy to not stop immediately after Tyler Reddick made his final stop.

QUOTE OF THE RACE No. 2: “I couldn’t do it. I don’t know, I think that’s just something I need to practice I guess. I’m at a loss for words for that.” Cole Custer to NBCSN on not being able to catch Tyler Reddick in the closing laps while running against the wall.

WHAT’S NEXT: The 2019 season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 16.