Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe on front row for Iowa Xfinity race

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Christopher Bell captured the pole for this afternoon’s U.S. Cellular 250 Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway.

Bell covered the 7/8-mile oval at 132.855 mph. Bell has won the last two Xfinity races at Iowa, including this past June 16 (and also last season on June 17, 2018).

Chase Briscoe, the final driver to make a qualifying run, was second-fastest at 132.676 mph.

Brandon Jones was third-fastest (132.436 mph), followed by Riley Herbst (132.225 mph) and Justin Allgaier (132.026 mph).

Sixth through 10th were Cole Custer (131.992 mph), Shane Lee (131.932 mph), Austin Cindric (131.849 mph), Michael Annett (131.716 mph) and Ryan Sieg (131.573 mph).

Series points leader Tyler Reddick (131.551 mph) qualified 11th.

The race will take the green flag shortly after 5 p.m. ET and will be televised on NBCSN.

There were two incidents of note during the session.

A steering wheel that the crew uses to steer the car from the grid onto pit road fell off the roof of Morgan Shepherd’s car when he took to the racetrack. To be clear, it was not the steering wheel Shepherd used in the car.

I’ll make sure it’s actually connected to the steering shift, not on the roof of the car,” fellow competitor Tyler Reddick told NBCSN. “It’s kind of funny, it’s not something you see every day, but that could easily happen to anyone.”

A few moments later, the No. 17 Chevrolet of Mark Meunier spun and backed into the outside wall, suffering significant damage and was unable to qualify for the race.

Click here for full qualifying results.

Click here for the full starting grid. 

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Darlington Raceway gets second Cup race for 2021

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Darlington Raceway will have two races in 2021, marking the first time since 2004 that the track has been scheduled to hold multiple Cup races in a season. The track announced its schedule Wednesday with South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster at the Governor’s mansion.

“Congratulations. Thank you. Hallelujah,” Gov. McMaster said after the dates were announced.

Darlington was scheduled to host one race in 2020 but added two more in NASCAR’s return to racing after the season was suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MORE: Atlanta to host two Cup races in 2021 for first time since 2010

The track will hold its first Cup race next season on May 9. That is Mother’s Day. It marks only the third time in the last 40 years the series will have run on Mother’s Day. The series last raced on Mother’s Day in 2007 when rain forced the Darlington race to be held that afternoon. The only other time NASCAR raced on Mother’s Day in the last 40 years was 1986 when the All-Star Race was held at Atlanta.

Darlington’s second date will be its Southern 500 event on Sept. 5, Labor Day weekend. That race will again open the  Cup playoffs.

NASCAR will announce the 2021 Cup schedule on Wednesday afternoon.

Darlington hosted two Cup races a season from 1960-2004. It held one Cup race from 2005-19.

The track stated that 2021 schedules for the NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be announced at a later date.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, tweeted that the Darlington races would be run with the low downforce package.

 

 

Atlanta to host two Cup races in 2021

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Atlanta Motor Speedway will host two Cup races in 2021, marking the first time since 2010 that the 1.5-mile speedway will have multiple Cup events in the same season.

Atlanta will host Cup races on March 21 and July 11.

The July 11 race will be the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart, moving sponsorship that had been with Kentucky Speedway. Kentucky Speedway will not be on the 2021 schedule. Its date becomes the second Atlanta date. The March race will be known at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

The July race marks the first 400-mile race at Atlanta since 1966.

The track announced its dates Wednesday morning. The full 2021 Cup schedule will be released Wednesday afternoon.

Atlanta Motor Speedway stated on its website that it plans to host fans in its stands and camping areas in socially distanced, limited capacity for each of its Cup races in 2021.

“We’re beyond excited to deliver what our fans have been yearning for: a second weekend of NASCAR action in Atlanta once again,” AMS Executive Vice President and General Manager Brandon Hutchison said in a statement. “Folds of Honor and QuikTrip continue to be phenomenal partners for our spring weekend of racing and we’re thrilled to have Quaker State and Walmart on board this summer as we put together two weekends of entertainment and excitement for race fans.”

Talladega Truck starting lineup

Talladega Truck starting lineup
Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Sheldon Creed will lead the Talladega Truck starting lineup to the green flag in Saturday’s playoff race.

Creed led a race-high 89 laps last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before finishing second to Austin Hill. That win moved Hill to the next round of the playoffs.

Hill will start Saturday’s race second. Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger and Chandler Smith will follow him.

Click here for starting lineup

The race is the final event in the first round. Two drivers will be eliminated. Ben Rhodes is six points behind Christian Eckes for the final transfer spot. Todd Gilliland trails Eckes by 19 points.

Eckes starts sixth, Gilliland starts 10th and Rhodes starts 11th.

“We’re gonna go in there and be aggressive,” Gilliland said. “If we wreck trying to go for the win, I think we can live with ourselves on that, whereas other guys that might be able to let someone in and still make it on points, those guys are gonna be looking behind them and worrying about points this whole week. For us, it’s pretty simple.  There’s no one behind us. We can only move forward from here if we do our job right.”

The Talladega Truck starting lineup is set by using a formula based on four statistical categories: owner points position, owner final race position, the finish and fastest lap from the most recently completed race.

Performance Metrics Qualifying is a total number based on the previous race. The formula is 15% of a fastest lap time position, 25% of the driver’s final race finish position, 25% of the owner’s final race position and 35% of the owner points position. Any ties will be broken by the rule book.

NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega 

Race time: 1 p.m. ET, Saturday

Track: Talladega Superspeedway; Talladega, Alabama (2.66-mile speedway)

Length: 94 laps (250.04 miles)

Stages: Stage 1 ends Lap 20. Stage 2 ends Lap 40.

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Motor Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: NBC Sports app (subscription required); mrn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Lineup: Click here for starting lineup

Next Xfinity race: Saturday at Talladega (113 laps, 300.58 miles), 4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Next Cup race: Sunday at Talladega (188 laps, 500 miles), 2 p.m. ET on NBC

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

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Chase Briscoe will lead the Talladega Xfinity starting lineup from the pole in Saturday’s playoff race.

Briscoe will lead the 37-car field to green at Talladega Superspeedway after his dominating victory last weekend at Las Vegas to open the Xfinity playoffs. The win moves Briscoe to the next round.

Noah Gragson will start second. Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Daniel Hemric will follow him. Gragson, Allgaier and Hemric are in JR Motorsports cars.

Justin Haley, who won at at Talladega in June and won at Daytona in August, will start eighth.

Click here for starting lineup

MORE: Xfinity Series playoff standings 

The race is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN. The Xfinity race follows the Truck race that day.

The Talladega Xfinity starting lineup is set by using a formula based on four statistical categories: owner points position, owner final race position, the finish and fastest lap from the most recently completed race.

Performance Metrics Qualifying is a total number based on the previous race. The formula is 15% of a fastest lap time position, 25% of the driver’s final race finish position, 25% of the owner’s final race position and 35% of the owner points position. Any ties will be broken by the rule book.

NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega 

Race time: 4:30 p.m. ET, Saturday

Track: Talladega Superspeedway; Talladega, Alabama (2.66-mile speedway)

Length: 113 laps (300.58 miles)

Stages: Stage 1 ends Lap 25. Stage 2 ends Lap 50.

TV coverage: NBCSN

Radio: Motor Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: NBC Sports app (subscription required); mrn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Lineup: Click here for starting lineup

Next Truck race: Saturday at Talladega (94 laps, 250.04 miles), 1 p.m. ET on FS1

Next Cup race: Sunday at Talladega (188 laps, 500 miles), 2 p.m. ET on NBC