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Austin Cindric wins pole for Xfinity race at Iowa Speedway

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Austin Cindric won the pole for tonight’s Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway, claiming his first career pole.

The Team Penske driver earned the pole with a top speed of 131.409 mph.

The rookie is followed by Daniel Hemric (130.988 mph), Brandon Jones (130.836), Elliott Sadler (130.532) and Cole Custer (130.435).

“It’s huge for me, it’s a huge weight off my shoulders as well …Being so close to so many poles these last few races with these Penske guys,” Cindric told Fox Sports 2.

Kaz Grala will make his best-career start in eighth. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Riley Herbst will start ninth in his series debut.

Seven of the starting top 10 have never won a series race.

Justin Haley will start 13th. He will be followed by Shane Lee, John Hunter Nemechek, Ross Chastain, and Ty Majeski.

Christopher Bell and Ryan Reed will start from the rear after they failed to get through inspection in time to make a qualifying attempt.

The race is scheduled to start at 5:14 p.m. ET.

Click here for qualifying results.

Xfinity practice report at Iowa Speedway

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Final Practice

In his last start of a four-race schedule with Fury Race Cars, Kaz Grala topped the speed chart in final practice for the Iowa 250 Presented by Enogen with a speed of 130.052 mph.

Grala bettered Tyler Reddick (129.449 mph) by .113 seconds.

Daniel Hemric (129.263), Justin Allgaier (129.225) and Austin Cindric (129.178) rounded out the top five.

The two teenagers making their debut landed in the mid-teens. Riley Herbst (128.200) was 15th on the chart; Justin Hayley (127.997) was 18th.

Cole Custer had the quickest 10-lap average with a speed of 127.576 mph.

Click here for full results from final practice.

First practice

Christopher Bell paced the first practice session for the Iowa 250 with a speed of 129.790 mph.

Daniel Hemric was second on the speed chart at 129.656 mph.

With time running off the clock, Shane Lee (129.603) fired off pit road and landed third.

Elliott Sadler (129.178) and Cole Custer (128.628) rounded out the top five.

Making his Xfinity debut, Truck series regular Justin Haley posted the sixth-fastest lap of 128.508 mph.

Riley Herbst posted a lap of 127.503 mph in his debut and landed 16th on the fastest lap chart.

Austin Cindric had the quickest 10-lap average of 126.074 among six drivers who posted at least 10 consecutive laps.

Click here for full practice 1 results.

NASCAR America: Kaz Grala has one more chance to impress at Iowa Speedway

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An accident on lap 76 of 200 at Dover International Speedway ended a 10-race stint with JGL Racing. And that might have been an inauspicious end to Kaz Grala’s Xfinity series campaign in 2018; he finished 37th in that race.

When the opportunity arose to run a four-race schedule with Fury Race Cars, Grala had nothing to lose – so he jumped at the opportunity. Three of those four events are in the books, leaving Iowa Speedway as the last scheduled event.

“Each week, we’ve been getting better as a team. We’ve been getting more organized, picking up speed, faster race cars, and that’s what we need to do,” Grala told NASCAR America on Thursday.

Grala earned a top 10 in his first attempt with the new team at Charlotte Motor Speedway and has not finished worse than 16th in three races.

“About five weeks ago, all the shop did was manufacture late models, modifieds, and road course cars … so they were not technically a race team; they were a car manufacturer.”

Given the circumstances of their formation, no one would have been surprised if the new race team was not successful, but the leadership of Tony Eury Jr. and Grala’s crew chief from earlier in the season Shane Wilson brought a level of experience that immediately elevated their performance.

“As drivers, we usually race with the thought in the back of our head that we can’t screw this up. We’ve got to do everything right. But it’s a different mentality you can approach it with when you have this situation. You can say, ‘well, we don’t have any expectations on us. We don’t know how we’re going to run so we can just go into this saying whatever we accomplish is going to be icing on the cake.'”

With additional sponsorship, Grala hopes to be able to continue to help Fury Race Cars improve.

For more, watch the video above.

NASCAR America 5 p.m. ET: Kaz Grala interview, Landon Cassill in simulator

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Today’s NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Carolyn Manno is joined by Landon Cassill in Stamford, Connecticut. Parker Kligerman joins from Burton’s Garage.

On today’s show:

 

  • With the Cup Series off this weekend, the Xfinity Series takes center stage this weekend in Iowa! And with no Cup drivers in the field, it’s a big chance for the series’ young stars to get a win and a playoff berth. We’ll preview Sunday’s race and get a ride with Hawkeye State native Landon Cassill in the NBC iRacing Simulator.

 

  • A win on Sunday could mean more than a trophy for Xfinity Series driver Kaz Grala. It could mean a chance to secure his racing future! The 19-year-old driver joins the show to talk about his tumultuous season, which has taken a successful turn recently with the new Fury Race Cars team.

 

  • And in the spirit of Father’s Day this weekend, NASCAR Hall of Famer and broadcasting icon Ken Squier looks back at some of NASCAR’s most memorable father-son moments.

 

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Austin Dillon wins rain-shortened Xfinity race at Michigan

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Austin Dillon won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Michigan International Speedway when the race was declared official due to rain with 34 laps left.

Dillon secured the win in a one-lap shootout following a caution for a wreck.

Dillon pulled his No. 3 Chevrolet ahead of teammate Daniel Hemric and was in the lead when the caution came back out for rain.

Dillon won over Hemric, Cole Custer, Ryan Reed and Paul Menard.

It is the first Xfinity win for Richard Childress Racing in 55 races since August 2016 (Michael McDowell at Road America).

Dillon’s last win came one race earlier at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“It’s been a little bit of a slump,” Dillon told Fox Sports 2. “Wow, I was wanting that rain to come. We played good strategy. (Crew chief) Nick Harrison gets the credit for that, I just held onto the wheel.”

Dillon last pitted on Lap 32 and led 18 of the last 20 laps.

The Xfinity Series ran with the same aero package used last weekend at Pocono. The series will use it again in September at Indianapolis. NASCAR is considering using the package in additional Cup races this season.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Elliott Sadler

MORE: Results, Point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Christopher Bell finished 11th after being involved in two single-car incidents. The first, on Lap 17 of Stage 1, sent him three laps down … Daniel Hemric matched his career-best result. He has finished in the top three in three of the last four races … Kaz Grala placed 12th. His average finish in three starts with Fury Race Cars is 12.6. His average finish with JGL Racing was 22nd.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY:  Alex Labbe finished 37th after a wreck on Lap 37 … Austin Cindric finished 23rd after contact with Michael Annett caused him to spin with 53 laps to go … Elliott Sadler finished 30th after contact with Alex Bowman turned him into the outside wall at the same time as the Cindric incident. It is Sadler’s first finish outside the top 10 this season.

NOTABLE: With a special rules package that included restrictor plates, there were 14 lead changes among nine driversAustin Dillon is the ninth different winner in nine races at Michigan … The start of the race was delayed three hours due to rain.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “It definitely stings to be that close and to have it kind of end that way.” – Daniel Hemric to FS2 after finishing second.

WHAT’S NEXT: Iowa 250 Presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway at 5 p.m. ET on June 17 on Fox Sports 1