NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings heading to Talladega

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After all three major series enjoyed Easter off, NASCAR is back this weekend with the Cup and Xfinity series both competing at the largest track on the circuit, the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.

In this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings, Kyle Busch remains a unanimous No. 1. He has now been No. 1 – either solely or tied for the lead – in the last eight weeks (not counting last week’s Power Rankings, which focused on the top organizations).

Making the biggest jump in this week’s rankings is Richmond winner Martin Truex Jr. He went from outside the rankings before Richmond to fourth. The two biggest drops in the rankings are Ryan Blaney and Kurt Busch. Blaney went from fifth to out of the rankings. Busch dropped from third to eighth.

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

1. Kyle Busch (40 points): We’d be talking about wins in four races if not for a speeding penalty at Richmond. Has finished top 10 in every race this season, only driver who can say that. Also has the most playoff points. Still the top dog. Last week: 1st.

2. Denny Hamlin (35 points): Overcame penalty in inspection at Richmond that forced him to start in the rear. On a night that it was tough to pass, he finished fifth for his sixth top five of the season, tying Kyle Busch for the most this year. Last week: 2nd.

3. Joey Logano (33 points): If he would have had a couple more laps, he may have been able to overtake Truex at Richmond. Has five top fives. He arguably had the car to win at both Bristol and Richmond and will likely have one of the cars to beat in Talladega. Last week: 4th.

4. Martin Truex Jr. (25 points): Put on the drive of his career in Richmond and got win No. 1 at Joe Gibbs Racing and his first on a short track (after 80 tries). Just in time with a superspeedway (not Truex’s strong suit) looming. Last week: not ranked

5. Clint Bowyer (23 points): Driver that has maybe shown the most improvement over nine races. He hasn’t finished worse than seventh in the last four races and has been in contention to win for the last three. He’s no slouch at Talladega. Last week: 7th.

6. Kevin Harvick (20 points): Steady progress but still looking for a win. All of Harvick’s four top fives this year have been in fourth place. The 30 laps he led in Richmond were his first since Las Vegas. Last week: 8th.

7. Brad Keselowski (17 points): Has had some struggles of late, with only one top 10 (seventh, Richmond) in the three races since his Martinsville win. Typically does well at ‘Dega. Can he survive the usual carnage and be the best to adapt to tapered spacers instead of restrictor plates? Last week: 6th.

8. Kurt Busch (15 points): Remains the most consistent Chevy driver through nine races, with just one finish outside 12th this year. Returns to Talladega looking for revenge: He was one lap away from winning there last year until he ran out of gas. Last week: 3rd.

9. Ryan Newman (8 points): Quietly outrunning teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at Roush Fenway Racing. Coming off season-best, back-to-back ninth-place finishes and heads to Talladega, where he’s always competitive (unless caught up in a wreck). Last week: Outside the top 10 (tied for 11th).

10. Jimmie Johnson (4 points): Team seems to have stabilized after Martinsville debacle. He’s been the top Hendrick driver in each of the past three races. But he’s still staring at a 68-race winless streak, the longest of his illustrious career. Can he finally snap it at ‘Dega, where he has two wins and seven top 10s? Last week: 10th.

Others receiving votes: None

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Sunday’s schedule for Trucks, Xfinity Series at Iowa Speedway

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Today is Father’s Day and even though the Cup Series is off this weekend, there’ll still be NASCAR racing at Iowa Speedway.

Lots of racing, in fact.

Due to Saturday night’s rainout of the M&Ms 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race, today will feature a rare same-day, same-track doubleheader at the 7/8-mile paved oval in Newton, Iowa

The rescheduled Trucks race will take the green flag shortly after Noon ET, while the CircuitCity.com 250 Xfinity Series race will go off at 5:30 p.m. ET.

wunderground.com forecasts a temperature of 75 degrees and an 11 percent chance of rain at the start of the Trucks race. Later in the day, wunderground.com forecasts a temperature of 77 degrees and a 14 percent chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity Series race.

Here’s today’s schedule with TV and radio info:

(All times are Eastern)

9 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

10 a.m. – Trucks garage opens

11:30 a.m. – Trucks driver introductions

12:10 p.m. — M&Ms 200 Truck Series race; 200 laps/175 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

2:35 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; single car/two laps (FS2)

3:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

5 p.m. – Driver introductions

5:38 p.m. – CircuitCity.com 250; 250 laps/218.75 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Rain washes out Xfinity practices, Truck race at Iowa

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UPDATE AS OF 9:30 p.m. ET:

NASCAR officials tried but Mother Nature refused to cooperate in stopping rain around Iowa Speedway Saturday evening.

As a result, the M&Ms 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race has been postponed until Sunday. The green flag will drop shortly after Noon ET (to be televised on FS1 and on radio on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Qualifying for Sunday’s Xfinity Series race is slated for 2:35 p.m. ET (FS2, no radio), while the CircuitCity.com 250 Xfinity race will go off shortly after 5:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

UPDATE AS OF 9 p.m. ET:

The start of tonight’s M&Ms 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway has been delayed due to weather.

However, the heavy rain has stopped and track drying efforts are underway.

We will continue to monitor the situation and give you updates as they become available.

UPDATE AS OF 7:15 p.m. ET: 

After bad weather prompted NASCAR officials to shorten the first of two Xfinity Series practices at Iowa Speedway, the second and final Xfinity practice has now been cancelled.

NASCAR is still hoping the weather relents to get the scheduled M&Ms 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in tonight. The green flag is slated to fall at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1 and MRN/SiriusXM).

Qualifying for Sunday’s CircuitCity.com 250 Xfinity race is still slated for tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET, with the green flag set for shortly after 5 p.m. ET. The weather forecast looks good, according to wunderground.com.

We’ll keep you updated with any changes as they become available.

ORIGINAL STORY:

For the second time today, weather has interrupted activities of both the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Iowa Speedway.

Earlier this afternoon, rain forced the cancellation of qualifying for tonight’s M&Ms 200 Truck Series race. The weather also pushed back the start of the first of two Xfinity practices.

In addition to lightning being seen near the racetrack, the area in and around Newton, Iowa is under a thunderstorm watch. That prompted NASCAR officials to stop the first Xfinity practice, which had been already rescheduled once to go from 5:30 p.m. to 6:25 p.m. ET, to be shortened with 25 minutes of time remaining.

Harrison Burton was the fastest driver (130.192 mph) in the Xfinity pack before the session was stopped due to the approaching bad weather.

Second through 10th-fastest were Christopher Bell (130.112 mph), Austin Cindric (130.063), Noah Gragson (129.977), Cole Custer (129.817), Chase Briscoe (128.935), Zane Smith (128.892), Tyler Reddick (128.834), John Hunter Nemechek (128.687) and Justin Allgaier (128.629).

Click here for the results from the abbreviated first Xfinity practice.

A second Xfinity practice is due to take place from 7 to 7:50 p.m., followed by tonight’s main event, the Truck Series race at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1 and MRN/SiriusXM). However, weather radar to the north and west of the track is not looking promising at this point.

We’ll update as more information on the conditions becomes available.

Rain cancels Truck qualifying at Iowa, delays Xfinity first practice

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Rain has forced the cancellation of today’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series qualifying at Iowa Speedway.

In addition, the first of two Xfinity Series practice sessions, slated to be held from 3:05 to 3:55 p.m. ET has been postponed until 5:30 p.m. ET, and will run until 6:25 p.m. ET. The second Xfinity practice is still set to go at its original scheduled time of 7 to 7:50 p.m. ET.

The 7/8-mile oval in Newton, Iowa is currently being dried and NASCAR hopes to get the remainder of today’s activities in, including tonight’s M&Ms 200 Truck Series race, slated to take the green flag at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The starting lineup for the Trucks race has been set by the NASCAR rule book. That means Chandler Smith — making his first-ever career start in a Truck, and who was fastest in the first of two practice sessions earlier today before the rain came — will start on the pole for tonight’s race. Smith (photo) is driving the No. 51 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Tonight’s race is also the second event in the three-race Triple Truck Challenge; the race winner will receive a $50,000 bonus.

Click here for the starting lineup for tonight’s Truck Series race (televised on FS1 and on radio on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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Kyle Larson dominates en route to Ohio Sprintweek feature win in Ohio

Photo courtesy All-Star Circuit of Champions
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It may be an off-weekend for the rest of the drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series, but not for Kyle Larson.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver won the feature event Friday night in the Ohio Sprintweek race at Ohio’s Attica Raceway Park. Larson won the All-Star Circuit of Champions Series race by more than seven seconds, having lapped half the 25-car field by the time he took the checkered flag.

Dale Blaney, uncle of NASCAR Cup driver Ryan Blaney, finished second, followed by Buddy Kofoid.

Larson has now won his last three sprint car race starts. He goes for four in a row tonight as Sprintweek continues.

 

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