Photo: Panini America

What do Gray Gaulding and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes have in common?

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In addition to his racing career, Xfinity Series driver Gray Gaulding is a big NFL fan and fantasy football player.

He knows he needs help to make the Xfinity playoffs, so for Friday’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. on NBCSN), Gaulding is going to his bench so to speak and has joined forces with 2018 NFL MVP QB Patrick Mahomes.

Several images of Mahomes will grace Gaulding’s No. 08 Chevrolet as part of a promotion with Panini America’s release of the new 2019 Donruss Football trading card set. After the race, Panini will auction off the hood on Gaulding’s car to raise money for Mahomes’ “15 and the Mahomies Foundation.”

MORE: NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football schedule 

“To be associated with such a high-profile player, obviously the NFL’s MVP and just the person Patrick Mahomes is, what I love about him is obviously his game and what he’s like off the field,” Gaulding told NBC Sports. “I feel that’s where I see a lot of similarities between the two of us, where we’re just ourselves, do our jobs and try to do it at the highest level possible.”

Not surprisingly, Mahomes – who threw for 50 touchdowns and over 5,000 yards in his MVP year for the Kansas City Chiefs last season – is on Gaulding’s fantasy football team this season. Gaulding has also invited Mahomes to race go-karts at the track behind his house in the near future and is waiting to firm up a date.

“You look at a guy like Patrick Mahomes, a lot of people overlooked him, he rode the bench the first part of his career and waited to get his shot,” Gaulding said. “When he got it, he went from being a bench player to MVP and one of the highest-profile players in the league in the last 20 years.

“I feel like I relate to him just because that’s kind of how my career started, people looked over me and I had to prove myself to keep my rides and make it to the Cup Series. Yeah, I’m a big fan. He’s incredible.”

Mahomes, who tweeted a shoutout to Gaulding on Twitter Tuesday night, won’t be at Friday’s race as he’ll be preparing for the following night’s preseason game vs. the Steelers in Pittsburgh. But Gaulding hopes to draw inspiration from Mahomes’ presence on his race car, especially since Gaulding – 13th in the Xfinity Series standings – still holds hope he’ll make the playoffs.

“Bristol is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit, I’ve loved it ever since I first showed up there in the K&N Series in 2013,” Gaulding said. “What better place to go to. We’ve had road courses and now we have Bristol. Those are the best wildcard races you can have other than Daytona and Talladega because things can happen. By having the MVP on the car, we’re looking to have an MVP night.

“If you’re going forward in the season, this is one of my best shots to possibly maybe steal a win or gain a lot of playoff points going into the playoffs. Our goal is top 10, but if we can work some strategy and get up front late in the race and steal a victory, that’s what we’re going to do.

“We’re definitely in Hail Mary mode. I don’t think we can point our way in right now, but we’ve gained a lot of points in the last few weeks. We’re just going to take every week one at a time, and if it gets us in great. But if not, we can’t say we didn’t put it all out there to try and get it done.”

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Goodyear tire info for Martinsville Speedway

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NASCAR Cup and Truck teams continue their respective playoffs this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

The Cup Series begins its Round of 8, while the Gander Outdoors Truck Series will contest its middle race of the Round of 6.

Cup and Truck teams will run the same tire setup at Martinsville, the same tires both series have run at the .526-mile bullring since 2017.

It’s getting later in the fall and we are likely to have cloudy conditions and temperatures in the 60-degree range at Martinsville this week, so track temps will be low, making it more difficult for the track to take rubber,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing. “Because of the time of year we run at Martinsville, we’ve worked hard over the past several years to come up with a tread compound that will lay rubber in the concrete corners, even in cool temperatures.

Generally, Martinsville has produced some of the best racing on the circuit and that only seems to have been enhanced by the track consistently taking rubber and having multiple racing lines. We continue to work on keeping up with Martinsville and making adjustments where needed, holding a test there this past summer and looking ahead to 2020 when we will have a full fledged night race at the track.”

According to, the forecast calls for a temperature of 58 degrees with a 40 percent chance of rain at the scheduled 1:30 p.m. ET start time for Saturday’s Truck race, and a temperature of 66 degrees with a 19 percent chance of green flag at the 3 p.m. ET scheduled start time for Sunday’s Cup race.

Here is the tire information for this weekend’s races at Martinsville:

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Short Track Radials

Set limits: Cup: 3 sets for practice, 1 set for qualifying/start of race and 9 sets for race (8 race sets plus 1 set transferred from qualifying or practice); Truck: 5 sets for the event.

Tire Codes: Left-side — D-4588; Right-side – D-4722

Tire Circumference: Left-side — 2,221 mm (87.44 in.); Right-side — 2,251 mm (88.62 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 10 psi; Left Rear — 10 psi; Right Front — 23 psi; Right Rear — 22 psi

As on most NASCAR ovals 1 mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Martinsville.

NASCAR penalty report after Kansas

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NASCAR issued one penalty from this past weekend’s racing action at Kansas Speedway.

Chris Gayle, crew chief for the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Cup Toyota driven by Erik Jones, has been fined $10,000 for lug nut(s) not properly installed following Sunday’s race.

There were no penalties assessed to the teams of Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick stemming from the altercation following Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.

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Ron Hornaday Jr., Bobby Labonte to take part in Martinsville Truck race activities

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Martinsville Speedway will honor one NASCAR Hall of Famer and one inductee before Saturday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 Truck Series race.

Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. will serve as grand marshal for the race, while Bobby Labonte, who will be inducted into the Hall in January, will serve as the honorary starter.

Bobby Labonte. Photo: Getty Images.

We are honored to have 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ron Hornaday Jr. as Grand Marshal and 2020 inductee Bobby Labonte as Honorary Starter at the first NASCAR Hall of Fame 200,” NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director Winston Kelly said in a statement. “Ron is the series’ only four-time champion. As the 2000 premier series champion and 1992 Xfinity champion, Bobby is one of only 31 drivers who has won races in all three NASCAR national series with his lone truck series win coming at Martinsville.”

Said Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway: “We appreciate the NASCAR Hall of Fame making it possible to have two great NASCAR champions available to meet our fans Saturday morning before the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200. Having Ron and Bobby be a part of our race weekend is special for everyone at Martinsville Speedway.”

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NASCAR entry lists for Martinsville

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Eight drivers remain in the playoffs for Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway.

In addition to the Cup Series, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series is also in action this weekend at Martinsville, on Saturday. The Xfinity Series is off this weekend.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both series:

Cup – First Data 500 (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN)

There are 38 cars entered.

Two cars do not have drivers listed yet on the entry list:

* The No. 51 Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet.

* The No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet.

JJ Yeley is in the No. 53 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet.

Joey Logano won this race last fall. Denny Hamlin finished second and Martin Truex Jr. was third.

In this year’s spring race, Brad Keselowski won, followed by Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 (1:30 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

There are 32 Trucks entered in the middle race of the Round of 6 of the Truck playoffs.

One Truck does not have a driver listed yet: The No. 0 Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Chevrolet.

Tanner Gray, who won the 2018 NHRA Pro Stock championship, makes his Truck Series debut in the No. 15 DGR-Crosley Toyota.

Sam Mayer makes his second start of the season in the No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet.

Danny Bohn makes his first career Truck Series start in the No. 30 On Point Motorsports Toyota.

Carson Ware makes his first career Truck Series start in the No. 33 Reaume Brothers Racing Chevrolet.

Dawson Cram makes his first Truck Series start of the season and fourth of his career in the No. 34 Reaume Brothers Racing Toyota.

Jeb Burton makes his second Truck Series start of the season in the No. 44 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet.

Also, one week after clinching the ARCA championship, Christian Eckes will make his seventh Truck start of the season, once again piloting the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

Johnny Sauter won this race last fall. Brett Moffitt was second and Myatt Snider was third.

Kyle Busch won this year’s spring race, followed by Ben Rhodes and Brett Moffitt.

Click here for the entry list.

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