David Starr

Xfinity practice report from Miami

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Championship contender Tyler Reddick led a rain-shortened opening practice for the Xfinity Series Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Reddick paced the field with a lap of 165.674 mph. Four of the top five were title contenders: Christopher Bell was second with a lap of 165.178 mph, Justin Allgaier was fourth at 164.704 mph and Cole Custer was fifth at 163.820 mph. Austin Cindric was the only driver in the top five not racing for a championship. He was third on the speed chart with a lap of 164.815 mph.

Click here for practice results

Allgaier had some drama early in the session.

David Starr and Allgaier made contact after Starr drifted up the track and hit the left side of Allgaier’s car. Allgaier completed only five laps before the incident.

“Just disappointing,” Allgaier told NBCSN. “I’m pretty laid back this weekend. I’ve focused a lot on just going out there and doing our thing and be patient and felt like we were doing that. (Starr) had kind of committed to the bottom. I was going to go to the bottom and then he kind of started moving up. I thought he will still give me plenty of room on corner exit. He ran right into the side of us. Disappointed to tear my car up.”

Final Xfinity practice was canceled by rain Friday. The series races Saturday.

Cup, Xfinity teams to be penalized practice time Friday at ISM Raceway

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Three Cup teams and five Xfinity teams will be docked practice time Friday at ISM Raceway for inspection issues last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Cup teams of Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Jimmie Johnson must sit out the final 15 minutes of the first practice session. The first Cup practice session will be from 4:05 – 4:55 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports App (and NBCSN at 4:30 p.m. ET).

In the Xfinity Series, the cars of playoff contenders Chase Briscoe and Michael Annett each will miss 30 minutes of final practice for failing inspection three or more times last week at Texas. The final Xfinity practice is scheduled for 6:05 – 6:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In the opening Xfinity practice, the car of playoff contender Noah Gragson will miss 15 minutes of the first practice for failing inspection twice at Texas. The cars of Chad Finchum and David Starr each will miss 15 minutes of the first practice for being late to inspection at Texas. Opening Xfinity practice is scheduled for 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports App.

Christopher Bell wins Xfinity playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway

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Christopher Bell won Saturday night’s Xfinity Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway and locked himself into the championship race in Miami.

Bell swept every stage of the race and claimed his series-leading eighth victory of the year, topping his total from his rookie season.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 101 of 200 laps and beat Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek.

A native of Oklahoma, Texas Motor Speedway is Bell’s home track.

“That was pretty special to win here at Texas,” Bell told NBCSN. “I got a lot of family over there in the background. This (checkered flag) is for my nephew. I promised him years ago that if I ever won I’d give him the flag at Texas. … I knew we were competitive. Us and (Tyler Reddick) were really similar early on. Then I started having brake problems. Whenever I got those brake problems I just wasn’t as good. I could keep the car underneath me, I got really loose. Had to work a little bit harder.”

Bell has 16 wins through 72 Xfinity starts, which is tied for the most with Sam Ard and Jack Ingram.

This is the fourth time this year Bell has swept every stage of the race and won. He’s the only driver to do it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Christopher Bell

STAGE 2 WINNER: Christopher Bell

More: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Cindric has finished in the top three in four of the five playoff races and has top-10 finishes in three of four Texas starts … John Hunter Nemechek has top-10 finishes in five of the last six races, including the last four … Justin Allgaier finished sixth. He has top-10 finishes in the last 15 races, the longest streak of his career.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Playoff driver Noah Gragson finished 30th after contact with Harrison Burton with 50 laps to go sent him through the infield grass and damaged his No. 9 Chevrolet. It is his first DNF of the year … A few laps into the ensuing green flag run, Tyler Reddick wrecked on the backstretch while racing with Chase Briscoe and Brandon Jones. He finished 29th … Briscoe finished 22nd after he had a late pit stop for a right-front tire problem … Bobby Earnhardt brought out the first caution on Lap 19 when he spun and experienced a hard wreck in Turn 2. He finished 37th … On Lap 60 Brandon Brown wrecked after a spin in Turn 2 … With 11 laps left in Stage 2, David Starr wrecked after making contact with Stefan Parsons and plowing through the infield grass. He finished 33rd … Justin Haley finished 32nd due to a mechanical failure on his backup car.

WHAT’S NEXT: Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200 at ISM Raceway at 3:30 p.m. ET Nov. 9 on NBC

 

Garrett Smithley calls wreck with leaders a career low point

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Garrett Smithley said he felt “probably the lowest of my career” Saturday after causing the leaders to wreck late in the Xfinity Series playoff race at Kansas Speedway while he was five laps down.

Smithley said he wasn’t aware the leaders were behind him when he exited Turn 4 and moved up toward the wall. Chase Briscoe, who was leading, and Christopher Bell, who was second, made contact as Briscoe tried to avoid Smithley.

Briscoe finished third. Bell 12th.

“I just didn’t get the memo that he was coming,” Smithley said of the leaders. “(Spotter) Freddie (Kraft) usually does a good job, he always does a good job. I’m sure it wasn’t his fault. Something didn’t get transmitted or what. I glanced up. David Starr was back there. I was just riding. We were on like 70-lap tires just riding not even pushing hard. I hated it.”

Asked about the line he ran, going from the bottom in the corners to high on exit, Smithley said:

“I was running my line. If I had known he was back there, I wouldn’t have even done that. I was just riding. I was on 70-lap tires, not even pushing it. Just stupid mistake. I hate that it happened. I hate it for everybody that got involved. I do not want to be that guy by any means. I’ve never been that guy. I hate that that happened.”

It’s the second time in about a month that Smithley has been hit by a faster car while running laps down in a race.

In the Cup playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch ran into the back of Smithley’s car and criticized Smithley’s credentials.

Asked if he feared people would start associating him with those incidents, Smithley said:

“No. What happened at Vegas happened. People spoke and most people were on my side. It was a mistake. People forget how hard this stuff is. Things happen in a split-second decision. Like I said, I didn’t know he was up there. I glanced up and didn’t see him and ran my line and that was it.”

Briscoe demurred on being overly critical of Smithley, saying “I still haven’t seen a replay” when he talked to reporters.

“It is frustrating even without that lap car, just in general,” Briscoe said. “I totally understand lap cars are obviously off the pace and that makes it tough for them. At this place, the fast guys are running the top and there were a lot of guys that would run the top in front of you.

“We are literally racing for our lives trying to lock into a championship. I haven’t seen the replay so it is hard to say. I know I got tagged in the left rear by Bell but at the same time it felt like (Smithley) was going to put me in the fence regardless.”

Told that Smithley said he wasn’t aware Briscoe was behind, Briscoe said: “I feel like he should have general awareness of what is going on. I totally get where he is coming from. It is tough in those situations. I don’t know. I don’t want to comment on it because I have not been in his position, so I am sure it is tough but it is frustrating to say the least on my end. We go from 15 to go thinking we are going to win the race and lock into Homestead and then you are two points back. It is frustrating. I am sure he will reach out and I appreciate that, but it doesn’t much help the fact.”

Said Bell: “I haven’t seen (a replay) so it’s hard for me to say. Obviously I didn’t mean to wreck the 98. It sucks that we tore up two race cars.”

While Bell and Briscoe were judicious in their words, some Cup drivers expressed their feelings on Twitter:

Smithley took responsibility on Twitter:

 

 

Kyle Busch wins Xfinity Series Indiana 250

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Kyle Busch won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, fending off Justin Allgaier in a four-lap shootout around the 2.5-mile track.

Busch earned his 96th career Xfinity Series win and his fourth career win at IMS. He has four wins in seven series starts this year.

Making his last Xfinity start of the year, Busch led 46 of 100 laps from the pole.

“Really tough to pass, even when you had a run on guys,” Busch told NBCSN. “You could pass some of the guys that were built more for long-run longevity, (Allgaier) was. You could pass him on the straightaways. … Overall, we got back in traffic and just really fought the handling of this thing, even from fourth place.”

Allgaier, who led 24 laps, finished second after winning this race last year. He has not won a race since then. He has four runner-up finishes this season.

“Kyle’s great, especially on late-race restarts,” Allgaier told NBCSN. “Our Suave Men Camaro was on rails, especially on the long run. We were able to really push though guys. … We had a couple of late-race restarts that didn’t go our way and unfortunately put us behind.”

The top five was completed by Noah Gragson, Jeb Burton and Justin Haley.

The final run to the checkered flag was set up by a wreck between Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick on a restart with eight laps to go. Restarting on the front row, Bell got loose in Turn 2 and washed up into Reddick, which sent them both into the wall.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Brandon Jones

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

More: Race results and point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: JR Motorsports is the first team to put three drivers in the top five of an Xfinity race at Indy … Justin Haley earned his third top five of the year and locked himself into the playoffs on points … Austin Hill placed ninth in his Xfinity Series debut … Brandon Jones bounced back from a mid-race wreck to finish sixth.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Austin Dillon finished 34th after he suffered a fuel pressure issue and stalled on the pit access road on Lap 15 … Brandon Brown wrecked on a Lap 36 restart. He finished 28th … David Starr finished 37th after his engine expired mid-race … John Hunter Nemechek finished 31st after he wrecked in Turn 1 with 22 laps left in the race.

WHAT’S NEXT: Rhino Pro 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 14 on NBCSN