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Preliminary entry lists for Sonoma, Gateway

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This weekend sees the NASCAR Cup and Camping World Truck Series in action, with Cup competing at Sonoma Raceway in California and the Trucks at Gateway Motorsports Park just outside St. Louis.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races.

Cup – Toyota/Save Mart 350

There are 39 entries.

Trevor Bayne will make his first start in Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford since the May 6 race at Dover.

Tomy Drissi is entered in StarCom Racing’s No. 00 Chevrolet. It will be his fifth career Cup start and his fourth at Sonoma.

NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman will make his second start this season in Gaunt Brothers Racing’s No. 96 Toyota.

Last year, Kevin Harvick won this race over Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski for his first Cup win at Sonoma.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Villa Lighting delivers the Eaton 200

There are 34 entries for the race.

There is no driver attached to the No. 50 Chevrolet for Beaver Motorsports.

John Hunter Nemechek won this race last year over Chase Briscoe and Johnny Sauter for his second win in a row.

Click here for the entry list.

NASCAR’s preliminary entry lists for Michigan, Texas

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All three of NASCAR’s national series will be racing this weekend, but they’ll be doing it in different states.

Cup and Xfinity teams head to Brooklyn, Michigan, for the first trip of the year to Michigan International Speedway.

The Camping World Truck Series will compete at Texas Motor Speedway.

Here the entry lists for Cup and Xfinity. The Truck entry list has not been published yet.

Cup – FireKeepers Casino 400

There 39 entries for the race.

Garrett Smithley, who races full-time in Xfinity for JD Motorsports, will make his Cup debut driving the No. 99 Chevrolet for StarCom Racing.

Matt Kenseth will make the last of his initial five starts in Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford.

There is not a driver attached to Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet.

Kyle Larson won both races at Michigan last year and has won the last three races at 2-mile track.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – LTi Printing 250

There are 41 cars entered for the race, including five full-time Cup drivers: Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard and Alex Bowman.

Bowman will drive GMS Racing’s No. 23 Chevrolet, making him the latest Hendrick Motorsports driver to substitute for the indefinitely suspended Spencer Gallagher. Chase Elliott drove it at Charlotte and Pocono.

One entry will not qualify for the race.

Last year, Denny Hamlin won this race after making a last-lap pass of William Byron.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Rattlesnake 400

There are 33 entires for the race.

There is not a driver attached to the No. 74 Chevrolet owned by Mike Harmon Racing.

Last year, Christopher Bell won this race over Chase Briscoe and Grant Enfinger.

Click here for the entry list.

Kyle Busch wins Xfinity race at Pocono

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A special rules package that includes restrictor plates couldn’t keep Kyle Busch from handily winning Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Busch led 64 of 100 laps to claim his first Xfinity win in four starts this season. It’s his first victory in five starts, snapping his longest winless streak since 2014 (eight starts).

Busch took the lead for good on a Lap 61 restart and won over Chase Elliott, Daniel Hemric, Austin Cindric and Cole Custer.

“Feels good for as good as our car was,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “This car was on rails this week. It was last week too, but was just able to overcome our deficit that we had this weekend and get back to the front.”

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led all but two laps in the first stage and won it by a seven-second margin over second place. A speeding penalty in Stage 2 forced Busch to climb through the field to place sixth.

The race saw seven lead changes among six drivers.

The rules package, which debuted last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will be used again next week at Michigan International Speedway, includes a larger spoiler, air ducts and a 2014 style splitter.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Paul Menard

MORE: Results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Cole Custer started on the pole and led 23 laps on the way to earning his third top five of the season … Elliott Sadler placed sixth. He is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all 12 races this season …  Ross Chastain placed 11th for his fourth top-15 finish this season … Daniel Hemric has finished third four times this season … Austin Cindric’s result is his best in 13 Xfinity starts.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Michael Annett finished 35th after getting loose and wrecking with Chase Briscoe on Lap 57. Briscoe finished 38th with his first DNF of the season … Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier wrecked out on a Lap 61 restart. Allgaier made contact with Dylan Lupton, which turned him into Bell.

POST-RACE INSPECTION: Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota failed post-race heights, an L1 violation. Any penalties will be announced next week.

NOTABLE: Kyle Busch has now won on 26 different tracks in the Xfinity Series and every active track on the circuit … Elliott Sadler has finished in the top 10 in 13 consecutive races without a win, matching a Xfinity record set by Chase Elliott.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m not sure it’s the perfect fit, at least for this race track. You’re still lifting a fair amount. It’s a fine line of how well you want your car to drive versus how fast you want it to go. … I think it will probably be pretty good next week at Michigan because I think you’ll be closer to wide open there easier. You have to be open with a fair amount of confidence because when you get in traffic you can probably split that in half.” – Chase Elliott on how the restrictor plate package worked at Pocono.

WHAT’S NEXT: Lti Printing 250 at Michigan International Speedway at 1:30 p.m. ET on June 9 on Fox.

Cole Custer wins pole for Xfinity race at Pocono

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Cole Custer will start first in today’s Xfinity Series race at Pocono Raceway after claiming his third pole of the year.

In single-car qualifying, Custer won the pole with a speed of 161.423 mph.

Ryan Truex qualified second with a speed of 161.319 mph.

The top five is completed by Austin Cindric, Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell.

Truex and Cindric each matched their best qualifying result of the year. They are both making their first career start at Pocono.

Paul Menard will start 13th. He is followed by Jeremy Clements, Kaz Grala, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Sieg and Shane Lee.

The Pocono 250 will begin at 1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Click here for qualifying results.

Kaz Grala, father reveal how Fury Race Cars came to Xfinity Series

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CONCORD, N.C. — The text was sent at 4:04 p.m. on May 9, four days after the last Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway.

The sender was Darius Grala, father of Kaz Grala, the JGL Racing driver who announced May 15 that was no longer his job title.

The receiver was Shane Wilson, the long-time Xfinity crew chief who had worked in that role for Grala through the first 10 races of the season.

(Photo by Daniel McFadin)

The elder Grala asked: “Can u talk?”

That was the moment when Fury Race Cars, the race car building company Grala founded in 2016 with Tony Eury Jr. and Jeff Fultz, started becoming an Xfinity Series team.

PUTTING THE TEAM TOGETHER

It wasn’t official until Kaz Grala, 19, drove onto the track Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in his No. 61 Ford.

It capped a 15-day scramble for the Gralas, Wilson and other members of Fury Race Cars to become the newest Xfinity team. The effort was announced May 18.

It started with Darius Grala’s text. He had just gotten off the phone with JGL Racing owner James Whitener, who had offered to give them three of their Roush Fenway Racing built cars as a form of severance for Kaz Grala.

“I found out kind of before the Dover race that things were looking a little bit shakey, unfortunately,” Grala said. “(Whitener) has some medical issues unfortunately. He didn’t really want to spend the money to continue running, which is understandable.”

JGL Racing originally stated the 24 team was shuttered due to lack of sponsorship.

Whitener learned in January his liver is failing and he is going on a transplant list to receive a new one, he confirmed in a statement to NBC Sports.

“It was not a decision to stop the No. 24 team with everyone just finding out after Dover – that was not the case at all,” Whitener said. “It had been discussed among the team really since Las Vegas. I really wish Kaz the best and hope I was instrumental in helping him start his Xfinity career.”

Whitener said he made the decision to give Grala the three cars “to give him the opportunity to keep running and building on his career.”

Said Kaz Grala: “He was a huge supporter of me, right up until the end, emotionally and financially, you name it. He was a big fan of mine and he helped me kick off my Xfinity career. He wasn’t able to continue funding my ride. He definitely wanted to help however he could.”

The three cars from JGL Racing allowed Fury to get a “good jump” on the team building process in the midst of a two-week break for the series.

The process was made even easier with five of the six crew members who worked on Grala’s No. 24 car joining the team along with Wilson. They joined an operation in Fury that for the last two years was devoted to building modifieds, sports cars and late models.

Darius Grala, a native of Poland who moved to the United States when he was 8, had his own background as a sports car driver. That went along with the extensive time served as NASCAR crew chiefs by Eury and Ricky Viers.

But at Fury Race Cars, they’d never worked with a Xfinity car until this month.

“I don’t want you to think we took it lightly,” Darius Grala said. “Because we didn’t we didn’t want to come and embarrass ourselves. But there wasn’t any question right from the first conversation, obviously being Kaz’s dad I want to do everything I can but after speaking with Tony and Jeff, they were all in 100 percent, whatever we need to do, let’s figure it out.”

The group worked many late nights to get ready for Saturday’s race.

“Yes, you have to get the car built, but you’ve got to have the tool box to organize …. you need to have a pit box,” Kaz Grala said. “You need to have the hauler organized, I needed race suits in eight days, I needed polos. Just every single little thing and one of our biggest challenges, just logistically, was that this came together so late, just trying to get our entry forms in in time for this race and for Pocono. Everything came so quickly, all the little I’s had to be dotted and T’s had to be crossed. All that stuff takes time and we just didn’t have time.”

Kaz Grala walks through the Xfinity Series garage on Thursday. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Even acquiring a fuel can was a hassle.

“They’re not easy to come by, it’s not like you can go to (a store) and buy one of those,” Darius Grala said.

They also had to pick a number.

“We let the team at Fury pick the number,” Kaz Grala said. “Actually you would be surprised when looking into numbers, I know I was, how few are actually on the market. Most of them are not. It really worked out perfectly, because Fury being modifieds is one of their main things that they build and all the guys at Fury are old-time, old-school guys and of course the 61 being Richie Evans’ was immediately what jumped out at them. That was kind of the inspiration for it. Not to mention my mom is actually from Rome, New York, as well, as Richie Evans was. Seemed like a good fit.”

The team loaded up its lone car for the Charlotte race weekend by 9 p.m. Wednesday, placing it in the team’s logo-free white hauler.

“That was the first relief since the day we started,” Darius Grala said.

He had a “really, really good” night of sleep.

A DEAL WITH GOD

With the sun setting on Fury’s first day as an Xfinity team, Kaz Grala pulled his No. 61 Ford into his garage stall – the very last stall meant for the lowest team in points or a new team without any – at the end of final practice.

On his last run, Grala posted the eighth best speed in the session at 179.784 mph. That placed him ahead of Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ty Dillon and other drivers from big teams.

Where did they get that speed?

Darius Grala observes Xfinity practice atop the Fury Race Cars hauler. (Photo by Daniel McFadin)

“I don’t know, I guess a lot of hours and a lot of hard work right there, the car’s pretty darn good,” Grala said. “Couldn’t really ask for more than that.”

Has the driver who has competed in a full season of the Camping World Truck Series (and won one race) and 10 Xfinity races ever felt this good after a practice?

“Not in Xfinity, no,” he said. “I think we’re closer than we’ve been. We were within a couple of tenths of the 22 (Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski). If you’re within a couple of tenths of the 22 then you’re pretty darn good.”

In the Xfinity garage, JGL Racing’s No. 28 Ford driven by Dylan Lupton is parked right across from Fury’s stall. Lupton finished the session 24th.

“We’re still on good terms, we’re friends with all of them,” Grala said. “A little friendly competition, we’re a little bit quicker than them. We’re going to try and stay quicker than them. But we’re trying to be quicker than everyone here.”

The team’s next chance to be quicker than everyone else comes Saturday in qualifying. And the No. 61 team needs to qualify. They also need it to not rain. If it rains, they won’t be in the race.

“There’s 43 cars here and we have zero points,” said Darius Grala, noting the field would be set by owner points. “That’s about the only goal we have right now is we need to make a deal with God on the weather.

Qualifying is set to begin at 10:10 a.m. ET. The chance of rain then is 20 percent.

Regardless of the weather, the team will be back next week at Pocono and the two races after that. That fulfills the original sponsor deal Kaz Grala has with NETTTS, which has backed him since 2013 when he raced in modifieds.

The team is prepared to go beyond those four races, but won’t just stop looking for partners.

“As of right now, yes, it’s been a lot of work, but no one at Fury is scared of work,” Darius Grala said. “We’re looking at this being a step forward if at all possible.”