How small teams are approaching first Xfinity Series doubleheader


When it comes to today’s Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox), Brandon Brown has one goal: keep the right side on his car.

Why? Because he wants to keep his primary car intact for Sunday’s race.

That’s right, the Xfinity Series is holding two races this weekend, the first of two doubleheaders scheduled for the series so far this year.

The Miami race weekend was originally scheduled for March before NASCAR went into its COVID-19 imposed shutdown. Now teams will be competing in much warmer June conditions.

How are smaller race teams, like Brandon Brown’s and Tommy Joe Martins‘, approaching this unique weekend?

When Brown, who starts today’s race in fifth place due to a random draw, first heard about the doubleheader, he knew that it was going to be “big” because of how hot it would be.

“Homestead is already slick and abrasive so it’s just gonna make it that much worse,” Brown told NBC Sports. “But it’s another challenge that we’ve got to tackle. So the team’s excited, I’m pretty excited. (It’s going to) be a weekend of attrition. It’s gonna be who can keep their car alive, who’s gonna be patient? You want to be as aggressive as possible to get to the front, but you’ve got to remember to stay patient because you’ve gotta race this car again the very next day and you only get three hours in-between the races to do anything.”

Brown and his team would rather not spend any of those three hours repairing their primary.

“We know that Homestead, notoriously everybody finds speed up top,” Brown said. “Our car, our biggest focus is going to be making sure that the right side stays on, body works good, crush panels are good, making sure that you know we have extra vinyl on the hauler ready to rock and roll so that as soon as we finish our race, we have everything ready to go.”

How difficult is it to prepare two cars for a race weekend when you won’t get to practice with either of them? Brown said their preparation has been aided from what they learned last year when his team ran two cars in the season finale.

“So it’s basically going there with the same setup that we did with that,” Brown said. “(With) as much pressure as people put on the drivers for (there being) no practice, when you go into Turn 1, you gotta be fast … It’s the same pressure for the guys here in the garage as to ‘I hope everything I did is right, I double and triple checked all the nuts and bolts and lines and if something breaks it’s on me.’ I think that’s the most crucial piece but now you’re just (multiplying) it by two, which is gonna be pretty big, especially if you have to end up moving to the backup car.”

Tommy Joe Martins’ backup car for the Miami weekend is one that hasn’t seen the track yet this year. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

As for not having practice, that’s completely fine for Martins and Martins Motorsports. They view a doubleheader weekend with no on-track preparation as a cost savings measure.

“When all of this was going down, NASCAR reached out to us, to the teams and the drivers, they were asking us about what would we prefer for a weekend schedule if they were to kind of alter it,” Martins told NBC Sports. “Where did we see the most value for us? What was the most important thing to kind of keep consistent? And honestly they kind of did exactly what I wanted to do. So this is one of those rare moments where I’m like really happy with NASCAR. I said we really don’t care about practice.”

Martins said doubleheader weekends “would be the the best thing because then all of a sudden we get two races, we would only have to travel once. You could make the races a little bit shorter, we could run the same car. … And it turns out, they’re gonna do that a few times this year with Homestead and Kentucky coming up. I think it’s really neat. I think it’s kind of the future of our sport. Honestly, I think that’s a great idea. I think it ought to be done all through the series, and I hope they continue to do that even after this year.”

Martins will be running the same No. 44 Chevrolet he had at Atlanta as his primary car. His backup car will be one that hasn’t seen the track yet this season.

“Obviously, we can go down here and have a problem in the first race and have to turn around and go to a backup car,” Martins said. “A lot of these teams are going to be running the same car week in and week out, you know, so this isn’t like a stretch for us.

“But having two races in a weekend, I think it’s really important that we go down there with a backup car that is more prepared than we normally do.”


NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin

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NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Elliott’s car slapped the outside wall. Elliott’s car then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.