NBC Sports Power Rankings heading to Fontana

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For the second time in three weeks, Kyle Busch is the unanimous pick by NBC Sports’ writers for the No. 1 spot atop the weekly Power Rankings.

Busch is coming off a perfect weekend that saw him take the checkered flag in both the Xfinity and NASCAR Cup races.

And for the third consecutive week, Busch remains atop the standings, either all alone (after Atlanta and Phoenix) or tied for first (after Las Vegas).

Making the biggest jump after Phoenix was Martin Truex Jr., who moves into second in the rankings from a tie for seventh after Las Vegas.

On the flip side, Atlanta winner Brad Keselowski suffered the biggest drop, falling from a tie with Busch for first after Las Vegas to seventh after Phoenix.

Here’s how this week’s Power Rankings look:

1. Kyle Busch (40 points): In a league of his own. With his Phoenix win, he’s the only driver to place in the top six in every Cup race. He’s also won five of the eight races he’s entered in all three national series. Last week: 1st (tie).

2. Martin Truex Jr. (33 points): Has come on strong in the last three races with runner-ups at Atlanta and Phoenix and eighth at Las Vegas. Has only led four laps (all at Atlanta) but he’s going to one of his strengths in Fontana. Last week: 7th (tie)

3. Joey Logano (24 points): Has three consecutive top 10s, including his win at Las Vegas. One of six drivers with three top 10s in four races. He and Denny Hamlin are the only drivers among those six with wins. Last week: 3rd.

4. Kurt Busch (22 points): Placed seventh for his third straight top 10 after earning consecutive top fives. Off to his best start of a season since the impressive 2013 run with Furniture Row Racing. Last week: 5th.

5. Kevin Harvick (21 points): Even with a ninth-place finish at Phoenix, his worst showing since Daytona, he’s still extremely solid; the driver and team are just a few small areas short of winning weekly. Last week: 4th.

6. Denny Hamlin (18 points): Earned his first top five since Daytona. His fifth at Phoenix means he has yet to finish worse than his car number this year. Last week: 6th.

7. Brad Keselowski (16 points): Earned worst finish of year (19th) after a mechanical failure resulted in a wreck early in Phoenix. Last week: 1st (tie).

8. Aric Almirola (15 points): Another strong, steady effort with first top five of the season. He has bettered his finish in every race so far. Last week: 9th.

9. Ryan Blaney (13 points): Strong performance at Phoenix to make up for a disappointing start to the season for the No. 12 team. Finally earned a finish that matched the car he had, finishing third after leading 94 laps and winning Stage 1. Last week: Did not rank.

10. Kyle Larson (10 points): The high way was his way on restarts at Phoenix, leading to a season-best sixth. Last week: 10th.

Others receiving votes: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (8 points. Last week: tied for 7th).

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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