Friday crash and spin report for the Charlotte Roval

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It was a busy day at Charlotte Motor Speedway with three practice sessions and Cup qualifying on the new Roval course.

It was especially busy for crew members who have to fix car bodies.

Here’s a look at what took place in each practice session and qualifying.

Cup qualifying

Denny Hamlin wrecked two minutes into the first round when he got loose in the backstretch chicane, clipped the tire barrier and backed into the outside wall. The team made repairs in time for Hamlin to make another run, but he will go to a backup car.

Shortly after Hamlin’s incident, Bubba Wallace spun in Turn 8, which exits on the oval’s Turn 1. He qualified 34th.

Erik Jones also clipped the chicane tire barrier during his initial, but was able to continue and qualified 12th.

Cup practice

The session was plagued by multiple incidents, with most coming in the first 10 minutes of the 50-minute session.

Aric Almirola backed into the Turn 3 wall about 3 minutes and 25 minutes into it. His team was able to make repairs.

Bubba Wallace spun twice and then a third time halfway through the session. Denny Hamlin suffered splitter damage from running over the rumble strips in the backstretch chicane.

Photo by Dustin Long

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  wrecked between Turns 4 and 5 in the infield, but his team made repairs.

Jeffrey Earnhardt and Dillon each spun off track about 12 minutes and 30 seconds into the session.

Ryan Blaney‘s team had to repair his left front fender after the No. 12 Ford nipped the tire barrier at the exit of the backstrech chicaneStanton Barrett spun on the frontstretch 18 minutes into the session.

Dillon had significant damage to his left front from hitting the same spot in the final minute of the session, but the team was able to make repairs.

Kyle BuschKyle LarsonRegan SmithJustin MarksAJ Allmendingerand David Ragan had lap times disallowed during the session for not running the full course. That also results in a pass-through penalty.

First Xfinity practice

The session was red flagged after 28 minutes when J.J. Yeley crashed nose-first into the Turn 1 tire barrier.

Christopher Bell spun exiting Turn 3 with about 8 minutes and 30 seconds left in the session. He hit a tire barrier with the right side his car.

Final Xfinity practice

Ryan Preece‘s car was unharmed in a spin in the frontstretch chicane about six minutes into the session.

Spencer Gallagher spun between Turns 1 and 2 in the closing minutes of the session with no contact.

Tanner Berryhill had to serve a pass through penalty for not running the full course.

 

Friday’s Xfinity practice report from the Charlotte Roval

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Daniel Hemric was fastest in the final Xfinity practice on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval Friday, posting a top speed of 104.966 mph.

The top five was completed by Ryan Truex (103.657 mph), Cole Custer (103.300), Ty Majeski (103.273) and Justin Allgaier (102.936).

Matt Tifft, Kaz Grala and Michael Annett each recorded the most laps with 20.

Of the five drivers who made 10-lap run, Grala had the best average at 101.414 mph.

Ryan Preece spun without contact six minutes into the session in the frontstretch chicane.

Spencer Gallagher also had a harmless spin about 43 minutes into the session.

Click here for the speed chart.

First practice

Austin Cindric was fastest in the first of two practice sessions Friday for tomorrow’s Xfinity Series race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course.

Cindric, who was also fastest in Thursday’s first practice session, posted a top speed of 104.636 mph.

The top five was completed by Daniel Hemric (104.479 mph), Alex Labbe (104.479), Ryan Preece (103.838) and Justin Allgaier (103.503).

Katherine Legge, Justin Marks and Tyler Reddick recorded the most laps with 19.

The session was red flagged after 28 minutes for J.J. Yeley crashing nose-first into the Turn 1 tire barrier.

Christopher Bell spun exiting Turn 3 with about 8 minutes and 30 seconds left in the session. He hit a tire barrier with the right side his car.

Click here for the practice report.

Jesse Little set for Cup debut at Kentucky with Premium Motorsports

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Jesse Little, son of former Cup driver Chad Little, will make his Cup Series debut Saturday at Kentucky Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), driving Premium Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevrolet.

Little, 21, has 18 starts in the Camping World Truck Series since 2015. His best result is sixth earlier this season at Iowa Speedway.

“I’m very humbled by this opportunity to make my Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at Kentucky,” Little said in a press release. “There’s no expectations for Saturday night’s race other than to take the green flag and see the checkered flag. I would like to thank (owner) Jay Robinson for giving me the opportunity to gain valuable experience behind the wheel.”

Little will be the sixth driver to pilot the No. 7 this season, joining Danica Patrick, Reed Sorenson, J.J. Yeley, DJ Kennington and Jeffrey Earnhardt. Earnhardt delivered the team its best result last weekend at Daytona, finishing 11th.

Chad Little made 217 Cup starts between 1986 and 2002. He is NASCAR’s managing director for technical inspection and officiating.

Kyle Larson highlights NASCAR drivers entered into Chili Bowl Nationals

Chili Bowl Nationals
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The first major auto racing event of 2018 is the 32nd annual Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The midget car event will be held Jan. 9-13 at the River Spirit Expo Center and feature multiple NASCAR drivers, including Kyle Larson.

Larson will be joined by Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., defending Chili Bowl and Truck Series champion Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe and Justin Allgaier.

The entry list for the five-night event has been released and also the roster for all four nights of qualifying races.

The week culminates with the 55-lap championship event on Jan. 13.

Here’s when each NASCAR driver and other notable drivers will compete in a qualifying race.

Tuesday, Jan. 9

Kyle Larson

Chase Briscoe (former Brad Keselowski Racing driver)

Justin Allgaier (JR Motorsports driver in Xfinity Series)

Brad Sweet (competes for Kasey Kahne Racing)

Wednesday, Jan. 10

Rico Abreu (former Camping World Truck Series driver, two-time Chili Bowl winner)

Sammy Swindell (five-time Chili Bowl winner)

Donny Schatz (2017 World of Outlaws champion, competes for Tony Stewart Racing)

Thursday, Jan. 11

Christopher Bell

C.J. Leary (competing in entry owned by Alex Bowman)

Friday, Jan. 12

Kasey Kahne

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

J.J. Yeley

Daryn Pittman (competes for Kasey Kahne Racing)

 and on Facebook

Xfinity Series Spotlight: Sam Hornish Jr.

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For a quarter century Sam Hornish Jr. tried off and on to win at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The circuit is located roughly 130 miles southeast of where he grew up in Defiance, Ohio.

Hornish started racing at the road course in his early teens. But it wasn’t until August 12, at the age of 38, that he finally conquered it in an Xfinity Series race.

In his fourth series start there, driving the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske, Hornish led 61 laps from his third pole at the track to earn the win.

“The fact that I was able to do that this year with my wife and kids there, my in-laws and a bunch of other people that have supported me for a long time by coming out to races, that hadn’t got the opportunity to see me win a stock car race in person, that was pretty cool,” Hornish told NBC Sports.

Only a part-time driver, it was Hornish’s second Xfinity win in two seasons (nine starts) and his fifth overall.

But his celebration in August was different from when he was 25 and winning the 2006 Indianapolis 500.

“I had some friends from Indiana that were there who had cooked us some pork tacos earlier in the day before the race started,” Hornish said. “They made me two for after the race. We sat and talked for about 15 or 20 minutes, loaded up the motorhome and drove home and got home by 11:30. Got up and went to church in the morning. … It’s more of a relief now to win than it is sometimes a celebration, especially one that I wanted as badly as I wanted to win as Mid-Ohio. I just tried to enjoy the moment going through victory lane, hugging the kids, enjoying that with them because I know there’s probably not a ton of those left.”

The following Q&A has been edited and condensed.

NBC Sports: What’s your earliest vivid memory related to auto racing?

Hornish: A lot of times, you’ve seen so much racing you’re not sure if, ‘was I really there for that or do I just remember it this way?’ One of the biggest things I’ve always thought about was seeing Danny Sullivan’s spin and win at the Indianapolis 500 (in 1985). The big part of that was … most kids …  you see a lot of racing, and you’re almost kind of waiting for the wreck. It’s a little bit more drama than the cars just going around the track. I remember seeing him spin and you’re like, ‘he’s going to wreck’ and then he comes out of it and he wins the race. You’re like, ‘wow, how cool was that?’ That just showed how close they were to the edge, even somebody that was good enough, had a good enough car to win the race, was that on edge that the big mistake almost happened.

NBC Sports: When was the first time you met Roger Penske?

Hornish: I’m sure that I had time where I talked to him about it or had talked to him previously (about) this. But I was about 12 years old and to kind of pay for my racing or learn things I washed trucks at my mom and dad’s company after school. I had a dream one night Roger came pulling up in this big motorhome. He wanted me to come race for him. I remember waking up and going, ‘yeah right, like that’s ever going to happen.’

I was 22 years old when I first started talking to him about the opportunity to come race for him. About 10 years for that to come to fruition. I remember probably the first time I sat down to talk to him was at his offices up in Detroit. I can’t remember exactly all that we talked about. It was a long time ago and to think at this point in time growing up thinking I would never have the opportunity to probably even meet Roger, but to have gotten to work for him for almost a decade and to have the opportunity of having him wish me a Merry Christmas or call me out of the blue to see what I was up to cause he hadn’t seen me at the track in a while. Lot of really cool people over the course of the years, but Roger was definitely about as good to me as anybody could be.

NBC Sports: What’s the most fun race you’ve ever been part of?

Hornish: There was probably in the go-kart days, there was a lot of times we’d go up to Canada and race up there. They really didn’t like me that much because it seemed like I won a lot when I went up there. So it was like they were always looking for something to pick a part, like ‘oh, your rear axles are 1/36th of an inch too wide, so you get disqualified from the heat race’ and I’d have to start from the back of the feature. That happened a couple of times at their grand nationals. I remember a couple of years in a row, they found some little thing to basically disqualify us from our heat race and have to start at the back of the feature. Come from like 32nd to win the race in basically a kart sprint race of 30 laps. I’d say those are probably some of the funnest times that I had, just because in karts you’re doing it a lot more for just the love of the sport as opposed to trying to make a living at it.

NBC Sports: What was your first car?

Hornish: My first car was a truck. I had a Chevy short bed, 1500 two-wheel drive, stick shift pickup my dad wanted me to get. It’s kind of funny, because with the exception of my Corvette that I got for winning the Indianapolis 500, it’s the only other red car I’ve had in my entire life. … I remember I drove that truck harder than I probably ever drove that Corvette I got for winning the Indianapolis 500. Just because I was 16 and doing burnouts and sliding around in the stones and stuff like that. My dad had decided I should get a manual truck because he knew if I was going to be racing, I needed to be very proficient in shifting properly.

NBC Sports: Do you still have that Corvette?

Hornish: I still have the Corvette, yeah. It’s very low-mileage. I think I got 1,100 miles on it now.

Sam Hornish Jr. after winning the 2006 Indianapolis 500. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

NBC Sports: How often do you take it out?

Hornish: About once every couple of years. Something always happens when I take it out. I either get a speeding ticket. I had an issue with one of the body panels coming off of it. With the Corvette, it’s got a molded body panel that’s the roof. There’s a structural support underneath it that’s the roll cage. … I got a recall (notice) for paint delamination on the roof. I thought, ‘it’s paint delamination. I don’t drive enough for the paint to come off.’

We were having a Halloween party for the kids so I was cleaning the garage out and took it down off the lift and went to clean it out, drive it around the street and get the fuel burned out of it, keep the injectors and everything clean. Got up to second gear and I heard this big pop and the body panel on the roof came off. I had to go get that replaced. That’s a little bit different than what I thought paint delamination meant. I didn’t know it meant a painted part was going to come off. They were like, ‘Well, we don’t really know. We haven’t seen that one before.’

NBC Sports: What’s the best advice or criticism you’ve received in your career?

Hornish: I had one my friends tell me, it was pretty early into when I went back down to the Xfinity Series back in 2012. We were actually having a beer talking about racing or whatever. He said, ‘let me tell you something. You’re too damn good to have some of the problems you’re having’ (laughs). I said, ‘what do you mean?’ He’s like, ‘if they give you a car that’s 35th and you bring it home 35th, you did all that you could do. If they give you car that’s a 15th-place car and you try to make it a first-place car and you end up 35th, that’s on you. So you got to be smart about taking what you have that day, trying to maximize, getting a little bit more out of it and you move on to the next day.’ I think if I had had that a little bit sooner and taken some of the weight off my own shoulders of thinking I was going to carry the car when it wasn’t right, I probably would have had some more opportunities.

Previous Spotlights

Justin Allgaier

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Michael Annett

Ryan Reed

Brandon Jones

Daniel Hemric

William Byron

Spencer Gallagher

Cole Custer

Ross Chastain

Elliott Sadler

Ben Kennedy

Blake Koch

Brennan Poole

Matt Tifft

Tyler Reddick

Kyle Benjamin

Ty Majeski

Ryan Sieg

Dakoda Armstrong

Brendan Gaughan

Garrett Smithley

J.J. Yeley

Harrison Rhodes

James Davison

Jeremy Clements

David Starr

Austin Cindric

Christopher Bell

Jeff Green

Casey Mears