NASCAR viewer’s guide: Darlington Raceway


NASCAR goes back in time this weekend at Darlington Raceway with the sport’s annual throwback weekend.

Paint schemes similar to those that raced years ago will be plentiful in the Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series this weekend. The Truck race is Friday (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1), the Xfinity race is Saturday (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1) and the Cup race is Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Here is a look at the viewer’s guide for this weekend at Darlington:

Who is next?

There have been nine different winners in the first 11 Cup races. Among those who have yet to win this season are former champions Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kurt Busch.

Drivers who won last year but remain winless this year are Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, Aric Almirola, Michael McDowell, Bubba Wallace, AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Logano and Keselowski.

Age before youth

In a season where Cup drivers under 30 have dominated, it is the veterans who could be the ones to watch at Darlington.

The win by the 26-year-old Chase Elliott at Dover on Monday marked the ninth time in 11 races a driver under 30 has won. The exceptions were Kyle Busch, who turned 37 this week, winning last month on the dirt at Bristol and 41-year-old Denny Hamlin winning at Richmond.

The last five Darlington races have all been won by a driver older than 35 years old. Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick have won twice each. Martin Truex Jr. won the other race in that stretch. The last driver under 30 to win at Darlington was Erik Jones, who won the 2019 Southern 500 at the age of 23.

For Hamlin to win again at Darlington, he’ll have to do so without crew chief Chris Gabehart and two pit crew members. They were suspended four races each after a wheel came off Hamlin’s car at Dover.

Can hot streak continue?

Kyle Busch goes to Darlington have scored a top-10 finish in each of his last five races. Points leader Chase Elliott has scored a top 10 in each of his last four starts.

Busch is just as good at Darlington. He has six top 10s in his last eight Darlington starts.

Entry lists

Thirty-six cars are on this week’s Cup entry list, meaning none will miss Sunday’s race.

NASCAR Cup Series Entry List — Darlington Raceway

In the Xfinity Series, 40 cars are on the entry list. Two cars will fail to qualify.

Cup points leader Chase Elliott, coming off his Cup win at at Dover on Monday, will drive the No. 88 for JR Motorsports. It will be his third series start since 2019. Tyler Reddick will drive the No. 48 for Big Machine Racing. John Hunter Nemechek is back in the No. 26 for Sam Hunt Racing.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Entry List — Darlington Raceway

In the Camping World Truck Series, 36 trucks are on the entry list.

Ross Chastain is in the No. 41 for Niece Motorsports. Former series champion Todd Bodine will drive the No. 62 for Halmar Friesen Racing. Ryan Preece will drive the No. 17 for Team DGR

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Entry List — Darlington Raceway

This weekend’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Friday, May 6

Forecast: Cloudy, high around 90 degrees with scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day

  • 3 – 3:30 p.m. — Camping World Truck Series practice (FS1)
  • 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. — Camping World Truck Series qualifying (single vehicle, one lap, FS1)
  • 5 – 5:30 p.m. — Xfinity practice (FS1)
  • 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (single vehicle, one lap, FS1)
  • 7:30 p.m. — Truck race (147 laps/200.1 miles, Motor Racing Network, FS1)

Saturday, May 7

Forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 84 degrees with a stray shower or thunderstorm possible

  • 10:30 – 11:05 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1)
  • 11:05 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying (Group A & B, single vehicle, one laps, two rounds, MRN, FS1)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (147 laps/200.1 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, May 8

ForecastPartly cloudy, high near 75 degrees with a slight chance of rain

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (293 laps/400.2 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Alpha Prime Racing’s road woes don’t keep team from competing


SONOMA, Calif. — Alpha Prime Racing owner Tommy Joe Martins laughs. He can. His Xfinity Series cars all are here at Sonoma Raceway.

At one point last week, it was not certain if his team’s cars would make it to Portland International Raceway.

“It was probably the toughest professional week I’ve had of my NASCAR career,” Martins told NBC Sports on Friday at Sonoma.

MORE: Kyle Larson leads Xfinity practice at Sonoma

The Alpha Prime Racing team had both its trucks break down and one of its haulers have mechanical issues last week on the way to the Pacific Northwest.

“We basically sent four pieces of equipment on the road and three of them broke,” Martins said.

For a time, the car Sage Karam is driving this weekend at Sonoma was left in a hauler in Kansas City because there wasn’t room in the dually Martins sent. It had room only for the car that was needed at Portland and other equipment. Karam’s car, which was to be a backup at Portland, was left behind.

“It’s a very helpless feeling when you feel like your stuff is stuck on the side of the road,” Martins said.

He still has one truck still in St. Louis and another in Oregon. Martins estimates the mechanical issues will cost his team about $50,000 when everything is totaled.

Trouble started well before the team left its Mooresville, North Carolina, race shop for Portland.

The Xfinity Series race at Charlotte was scheduled to run May 27. Rain forced that event to be rescheduled to May 29. Martins said the team had planned to send its trucks to Portland on May 28. With the race pushed back to the 29th, the travel schedule tightened.

It got worse.

After the Xfinity race started, rain came. With the Coca-Cola 600 scheduled for 3 p.m. ET that day – after being delayed by rain from Sunday – the rest of the Xfinity race was pushed back until after the 600. That further tightened the window on Xfinity teams to make it to Portland.

The Xfinity race ended around 11:30 p.m. ET on May 29. Alpha Prime Racing’s haulers left the shop around 6 a.m. ET on May 30.

The two trucks traveled together until issues in St. Louis.

The truck hauling the Nos. 44 and 45 cars had engine issues in St. Louis. The other truck kept going until it had mechanical issues with its hauler in Kansas City. The air bags on the hauler failed.

So, Alpha Prime Racing had a truck that worked in Kansas City with a hauler that didn’t and a truck that didn’t work in St. Louis with a hauler that did.

The truck in Kansas City went back to St. Louis to attach to the hauler and take those cars and equipment to Portland. Martins then had to find something to haul the stranded equipment in Kansas City and a driver. He eventually did. A dually left North Carolina for Kansas City. Once there, what fit in the dually was taken to Portland and what didn’t, including Karam’s Sonoma car stayed behind.

Yet, more trouble was headed for Martins and his team.

The truck that had gone back from Kansas City to St. Louis to take hauler that worked then broke down about 200 miles from Portland.

“I laugh knowing that we’re on the other side of it,” Martins said Friday of all the issues his team had transporting cars and equipment across the country.

“We’ve started to make plans and corrections for it not happening again,” he said.

That hauler that was left in Kansas City? It was repaired and transported to Sonoma, arriving earlier this week.

“Our guys are troopers,” Martins said. “Both of our (truck) drivers were just awesome about the whole thing. … They went through hell week as far as driving somewhere, fly back and pick something up, drive again and now are going to have to do the same thing getting back.”

When the garage opened Friday at Sonoma, Alpha Prime Racing had all its cars.

“I don’t think we had any major issues here, so that was good,” Martins said.

The focus is back on the track. Karam was 24th on the speed chart in Friday’s practice, leading Alpha Prime Racing’s effort. Dylan Lupton was 32nd. Jeffrey Earnhardt was last among 41 cars.

After Saturday night’s race, the team heads back to North Carolina for a well-earned weekend off.

Kyle Larson leads Xfinity practice at Sonoma


SONOMA, Calif. — Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Xfinity Series practice at Sonoma Raceway.

This is the first time the series has raced at the 1.99-mile road course in Northern California. Teams got 50 minutes of practice Friday.

Larson led the way with a lap of 90.392 mph. He was more than a second faster than the rest of the field.

MORE: Xfinity practice results Sonoma

Sheldon Creed was second on the speed chart with a lap of 89.066 mph. He was followed by AJ Allmendinger (89.052 mph), Cole Custer (89.020) and Ty Gibbs (88.989).

Larson, Allmendinger and Gibbs are among seven Cup drivers are entered in the Xfinity race. Aric Almirola was seventh on the speed chart with a lap of 88.750 mph. Ross Chastain was ninth with a lap of 88.625 mph. Daniel Suarez was 16th with a lap of 88.300 mph. Ty Dillon was 33rd with a lap of 86.828 mph.

Anthony Alfredo will go to a backup car after a crash in practice. He was uninjured in the incident that damaged the right side of his car.

Qualifying is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET Saturday. The race is scheduled to begin at 8:20 p.m. ET Saturday.

Anthony Alfredo’s car after a crash in Xfinity practice Friday at Sonoma Raceway. He was uninjured. (Photo: Dustin Long)

Saturday Sonoma Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


The Xfinity Series will compete for the first time at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. This is one of eight road course events on the Xfinity schedule this season.

Seven Cup drivers are scheduled to compete in Saturday’s race, including AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez, who won last year’s Cup race at this track Allmendinger has won 11 of 25 career road course starts in the Xfinity Series.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Sonoma Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Golden State Warrior Patrick Baldwin Jr. will give the command to start engines at 8:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:20 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Qualifying begins at 3 p.m. … Driver introductions begin at 7:35 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Earl Smith, team pastor for the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers, at 8 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by 9-year-old Isis Mikayle Castillo at 8:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 79 laps (156.95 miles) on the 1.99-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 20. Stage 2 ends at Lap 45.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 3 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 8 p.m. ... Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. and can be heard on … SiriusXN NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mostly cloudy with a high of 72 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: This is the first time the Xfinity Series has raced at Sonoma.


NASCAR Friday schedule at Sonoma Raceway


The Xfinity Series makes its first appearance Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

Xfinity teams, coming off last weekend’s race at Portland International Raceway, get 50 minutes of practice Friday because Sonoma is a new venue for the series.

Seven Cup drivers, including Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez, are among those entered in the Xfinity race. Suarez won the Cup race at Sonoma last year.

Xfinity teams will qualify and race Saturday at the 1.99-mile road course.

Sonoma Raceway


Friday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 69 degrees.

Friday, June 9

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 11 a.m. — ARCA Menards Series West
  • 1 – 10 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 2 – 3 p.m. — ARCA West practice
  • 3:10 – 3:30 p.m. — ARCA West qualifying
  • 4:05 – 4:55 p.m. — Xfinity practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 p.m. — ARCA West race (64 laps, 127.36 miles; live on FloRacing, will air on CNBC at 11:30 a.m. ET on June 18)