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Tommy Joe Martins returns to BJ McLeod Motorsports for 2019 Xfinity season

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B.J. McLeod Motorsports on Thursday announced that Tommy Joe Martins will return to the Xfinity Series team for a third season.

Martins joined the team in 2017. In 28 starts, his best finish with the team has been 11th at Iowa (in 2017).

“It is with great enthusiasm to have Tommy Joe Martins back with the team,” team co-owner Jessica McLeod said in a media release. “Martins has played a great part in helping us improve our on-track performance over the last two years and we are looking forward to what’s to come.”

The team, which recently moved into a new shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, will field three full-time cars in the Xfinity Series in 2019, its fourth year of operation.

Its two full-time drivers will be Vinnie Miller in the No. 78 and Matt Mills in the No. 8, while Martins will be part of a rotating cast of drivers in the No. 99 that will also include team co-owner B.J. McLeod, J.A. Avila Jr., and other drivers that may be added.

Click here to read the full press release.

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Rick Ware Racing expands with second Cup car, Xfinity entry

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Rick Ware Racing announced Friday it has acquired a second charter and will field two Cup cars in 2019.

In addition to its No. 51 Chevrolet, RWR will field the No. 52.

The charter was purchased from Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR confirmed to NBC Sports.

RWR has also acquired a “fleet” of cars from Leavine Family Racing and FRM.

RWR fielded 16 drivers in Cup in 2018, with B.J. McLeod posting the most starts with 14.

The team’s best result was 12th in the Daytona 500 with Justin Marks.

The team also plans to compete in the Xfinity Series for the first time since 2017 after acquiring owner points. The team did not indicate who it had acquired the points from.

RWR will field the No. 25 in celebration of the team’s 25th anniversary, which was in 2016.

“It’s been a busy off-season for our team since Homestead but we’re embracing 2019 with a wide-open approach,” said Rick Ware in a press release. “By acquiring a second Cup charter it will allow us to have two full-time cars at the race track each weekend where we hope it will allow the two teams to work together and improve the team performance overall from the 2018 season.

“I’m also thrilled to know that we’ll return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona and sport the No. 25; a number that is truly meaningful to me – celebrating our 25th year of existence less than two years ago. It’s going to be our busiest year yet in NASCAR competition, but I feel we will be adequately prepared and look forward to a successful season.”

Details on driver, sponsor and crew chief lineups for RWR’s 2019 season will be announced at a later date.

UPDATED: Entry lists for the Gander Outdoors 400 race weekend at Dover

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NASCAR makes its second visit of the year to Dover International Speedway this weekend with the Cup and Xfinity Series.

Cup opens its second playoff round with the Gander Outdoors 400.

Xfinity teams will close out their first playoff round.

Here are preliminary entry lists for both races.

Cup – Gander Outdoors 400 (2 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN)

There are 39 entries for the race.

Harrison Rhodes is now entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 Chevrolet.

Kasey Kahne is listed in Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 Chevrolet, but Kahne was not cleared race due to lingering issues from dehydration. Regan Smith will make his fifth start in place of Kahne.

Kevin Harvick won the spring race at Dover, beating Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez.

Kyle Busch is the defending winner of this race. He beat Chase Elliott after passing him coming to the white flag.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Bar Harbor 200 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 40 entries for the race.

Shane Lee is entered in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 Chevrolet.

John Hunter Nemechek is entered in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevrolet for the first time since Indianapolis.

Chase Briscoe, who won last weekend on the Charlotte Roval, is entered in Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 60 Ford.

There is not a driver attached to B.J. McLeod Motorsports’ No. 99 Chevrolet.

Justin Allgaier won the spring Dover race over teammate Elliott Sadler and Daniel Hemric.

Ryan Blaney is the defending winner of this race. He beat Allgaier and William Byron.

Stephen Leicht is now entered in the No. 99 Chevrolet

Click here for the entry list.

NASCAR docks seven Cup cars practice time at Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS – Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez will be penalized 30 minutes each in the first practice Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for inspection issues last weekend at Indianapolis. They are among seven Cup cars that will be penalized.

Truex and Suarez are being docked practice time for failing pre-race inspection three or more times at Indy.

The cars of Austin Dillon and Reed Sorenson will miss 15 minutes each in the first practice for failing pre-race inspection. Dillon’s team failed it at Darlington and Sorenson’s team at Bristol.

Also missing 15 minutes of the first practice is Kyle Larson (late to inspection), B.J. McLeod (late to inspection) and Ross Chastain (missing the rookie meeting).

Opening Cup practice is from 2:05 – 2:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In the Xfinity Series, two cars will be docked 30 minutes of practice in the first session and 10 cars will be docked 15 minutes each of the opening practice.

Penalized 30 minutes will be the teams of Brandon Jones and Spencer Gallagher for failing pre-race inspection three or more times.

Missing 15 minutes of Xfinity practice will be the teams of Matt Tifft, Justin Allgaier, Max Tullman, Joey Gase and David Starr for being late to inspection.

Missing 15 minutes of Xfinity practice for failing inspection twice are the teams of Ryan Truex, Ryan Preece, Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain.

Missing 15 minutes of Xfinity practice for inspection interference after a race is the team of Cole Custer.

Xfinity practice is from 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Kyle Larson on pole for Cup race at Bristol

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Kyle Larson won the pole position for Saturday’s Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway (6:46 p.m. ET on NBCSN) with a top speed of 127.792 mph around the half-mile track.

Larson bested Chase Elliott (127.665) and Kyle Busch (127.639) to earn his third pole of the season and the seventh of his career.

Paul Menard and William Byron rounded out the top five. Menard matched his best Bristol start from 2011 while Byron earned his career-best qualifying result in 24 starts.

“The top five there was tight,” Larson told NBCSN. “I saw William run his .04 there before I went out. ‘That’s going to be hard to beat.’ I would never have thought three other guys would squeeze between him and I for first and second. That shows how tough our sport is and our series is.”

Larson’s previous poles this year were at Dover and Sonoma. He has started on the front row in three of the last four Bristol races.

The top 10 was rounded out by Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney.

Jimmie Johnson qualified 13th. He was followed by Erik Jones, David Ragan, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon.

“We were really fast in the first round, it just didn’t really transfer over to the second round,” Jones, who won his first career pole in this race last year, told NBCSN. “Lost a lot of grip, lost a lot of speed. I think going early, the track was still a little bit hot, and we didn’t have quite a car that was ready for that.”

AJ Allmendinger qualified 25th and was followed by Kasey Kahne and Bubba Wallace.

B.J. McLeod failed to qualify.

Click here for qualifying results.