Kyle Larson

Saturday Cup race at Dover: Start time, TV channel, forecast

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NASCAR’s busy weekend continues with a Saturday Cup race at Dover. That will be the first of two races for Cup this weekend at the 1-mile speedway. Both races will follow Xfinity races there Saturday and Sunday.

Kevin Harvick could clinch the regular-season title as early as Saturday and claim the 15 playoff points that go with it.

Jimmie Johnson has a track-record 11 wins at Dover but hasn’t won there since June 2017 – his last Cup victory. He trails Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron by 25 points for the final playoff spot entering the Saturday Cup race at Dover.

Here is all the info for the Saturday Cup race at Dover:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Actress Malin Akerman will give the command to start engines at 4:08 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:18 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup haulers enter at 7 a.m. Garage access health screening begins at 9 a.m. Drivers report to their cars at 3:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. by Chaplain Andre Davis of the 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base. The national anthem will be performed by Senior Airman Brianna Cooper of the 512th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, at 4:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 311 laps (311 miles) around the 1-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 70. Stage 2 ends on Lap 185.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 25

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. with NASCAR America. Countdown to Green follows at 3:30 p.m. and the race coverage begins at 4 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 3 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

STREAMING: Watch the race on the NBC Sports App

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for cloudy skies with a high of 82 degrees and a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.

TO THE REAR: Brennan Poole (failed inspection to times)

LAST RACE: Chase Elliott won the inaugural Cup race on the Daytona road course. Denny Hamlin placed second. Martin Truex Jr. finished third.

LAST RACE AT DOVER: Kyle Larson won last year’s playoff race in October. Martin Truex Jr. was second. Alex Bowman placed third.

TO THE REAR: Brennan Poole (two inspection failures), Joey Gase (unapproved adjustment), Daniel Suarez (unapproved adjustment), Garrett Smithley (impound procedure infraction). Smithley also must perform a pass-through penalty after taking the green on track.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup

Catch up on NBC Sports’ coverage:

Friday 5: A million to one shot never before seen in NASCAR

Matt DiBenedetto: “Crazy” to be making 200th Cup Series start

Dueling teammates: Jimmie Johnson, William Byron in playoff race

Corey LaJoie will not return to Go Fas Racing

Silly Season Scorecard 

Kevin Harvick close to clinching Cup regular season title

Tony Stewart: “It’s time to get Kyle (Larson) back in the sport.”

NASCAR seeks solution for overheating drivers 

Hendrick Motorsports honors Jimmie Johnson with Southern 500 schemes

Jimmie Johnson honors Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt with Southern 500 car

RPM or elsewhere: Where will Bubba Wallace be better off in 2021?

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As Bubba Wallace weighs offers from Richard Petty Motorsports and at least Chip Ganassi Racing, the key issue is where will Wallace be better off in 2021.

Asked Wednesday what’s important to him, Wallace noted the family atmosphere at Richard Petty Motorsports but also said: “Obviously you want to be competitive. I came into this sport wanting to win races and be a household hame on the track, so we have a lot of work to do as a team and together to get there.”

While COVID-19 has made this season unlike any other in NASCAR’s history and Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 team had a driver change in April and a crew chief change in August, statistically, the No. 42 car and Wallace’s No. 43 car are even over the past three months.

The No. 42 with Matt Kenseth has a 20.11 average finish since the season resumed in May. Wallace has a 20.16 average finish in the same time. The difference is one position over an 18-race span. Although Kenseth has the best finish in that stretch with his runner-up result at Indianapolis, Wallace has three top 10s compared to Kenseth’s two in that time. Kenseth has scored 316 points since May; Wallace has scored 313 points for RPM.

Bubba Wallace Matt Kenseth
Bubba Wallace leads Matt Kenseth earlier this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Eighteen races is only half a Cup season and doesn’t always provide the clearest picture as teams cycle through ups and downs. Kenseth, who did not compete last season, took over the No. 42 ride after the team fired Kyle Larson in April for uttering a racial slur during an online race.

Asked about talks with Chip Ganassi Racing for next year, Kenseth told NBC Sports last weekend that “we really haven’t had any very meaningful discussions really about any of that to be honest with you. I think that when things are going as bad as they’re going I don’t think either side is probably super anxious about talking about what’s happening six or eight months for now.

“I think we’re more worried about trying to get this ship righted as soon as possible and start getting some finishes and start running up front. … We really believe that the cars and the team and everything, if we have a really good day, is capable of winning. I think that’s probably what is at the forefront of our mind right now, trying to get running good first of all then hopefully executing and possibly get in a position where we could sneak one out.”

Wallace, 26, is among a number of free agents after this season. The list narrowed with Ryan Blarney signing a contract extension with Team Penske earlier this year, and Brad Keselowski recently signing an extension with Team Penske. Erik Jones is among those looking for a ride next season with rookie Christopher Bell taking Jones’ ride in the No. 20 next season at Joe Gibbs Racing.

As for what he’ll do next season, Wallace said Wednesday: “Nothing set in stone yet, still all being worked out, ironed out. Hopefully we’ll have that announcement coming soon.”

Among the benefits at Ganassi is it is a two-car team with former champion Kurt Busch. Richard Petty Motorsports is a single-car team but is aligned with Richard Childress Racing and Germain Racing, providing alliance teammates in Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick and Ty Dillon.

An important factor will be sponsorship. Wednesday’s announcement of a multi-year personal services deal between Columbia Sportswear and Wallace includes sponsorship for at least one race. This is the second sponsorship deal for Wallace in a month. On July 14, RPM revealed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Cash App. The deal included primary sponsorship in five races this season.

“I was always told win and they’ll come,” Wallace said of sponsorship. “And we won a couple, we won a few in the Truck Series and still fighting sponsorship issues. I haven’t won much since then. But we’ve been doing things. We’ve been winning off the racetrack. I think that’s helped being much bigger than an athlete, standing up for human beings. It’s something that we often don’t get to do just because we’re put on a pedestal.

Bubba Wallace’s most recent top-10 finish came last weekend at Michigan. He placed ninth in the first of the two Cup races there. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

“With the spotlight that I put myself into, being vocal about what’s going on the world, has created opportunities for new partners. Look at Columbia here. A brand new partner, a part of the sport, a part of RPM, a part of the Bubba Wallace brand. We’re doing good things off the racetrack that helps our on-track performance. So, we will just continue those ways.

“This doesn’t even compare to the little bit of sponsor momentum we’ve had in years past. This is an incredible opportunity for me; one the best years in my racing career from that standpoint. We’re building up on a great future here, getting these partnerships and deals in place; to set the team, the partner, and myself up for great success and we’ll continue to do that.”

Finding sponsorship, deciding on where to race next year and the role Wallace has elevated to in social activism can be draining. Wallace said in late June he was “wore the hell out.” Wallace said Wednesday that he’s feeling better.

“I definitely feel a lot more upbeat,” he said. “There’s a lot of positive momentum on our side. Big things being worked on behind the scenes like this (Columbia Sportswear) that we’re excited to share with people. It’s part of it. You go through the wringer. It makes you a better person at the end of the day. Maybe it’s a new outlet for you to explore, like I said about being outspoken about things that are going on in the country and in the world, and you want to be a part of it. And that’s how I’ve felt. I didn’t know what to expect.

“You know me, I’m always just the ‘do it and figure out everything after’ and so that’s just a part of Bubba Wallace in everyday life and we’ll continue to go on. I’m always ready for whatever is thrown at me. I try to handle it in the best way I can.

“I’ll get beat-up and worn down about it and you’ll hear about it because I wear my heart on my sleeve. But all in all, we’re refreshed.”

Giving him a chance to focus on the final four regular-season races to make the playoffs and where he will race next season.

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Bubba Wallace says he has offers from RPM, Ganassi

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Bubba Wallace confirmed to NBCSN’s Marty Snider on Sunday that he is mulling offers from Richard Petty Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing for next season.

Snider reported that Wallace and RPM co-owner Andrew Murstein both confirmed that Wallace already has ownership in the team as first reported by Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports. Snider reported that Wallace, whose contract expires after this season, said that it is “not locked and loaded” that he’ll stay with Richard Petty Motorsports after this season.

The offer from Chip Ganassi Racing would be to drive the No. 42 car next season.

Former champion Matt Kenseth drives the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing, having joined the team in April after Kyle Larson was fired.

Kenseth told NBC Sports this weekend that “we really haven’t had any very meaningful discussions really about any of that to be honest with you. I think that when things are going as bad as they’re going I don’t think either side is probably super anxious about talking about what’s happening six or eight months for now.

“I think we’re more worried about trying to get this ship righted as soon as possible and start getting some finishes and start running up front. … We really believe that the cars and the team and everything, if we have a really good day, is capable of winning. I think that’s probably what is at the forefront of our mind right now, trying to get running good first of all then hopefully executing and possibly get in a position where we could sneak one out.”

Entering Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan, Kenseth had two top-10 finishes in 17 starts with the team. He finished 17th in Saturday’s race at Michigan. His best finish since returning to Cup this season was second at Indianapolis in July.

Chip Ganassi Racing changed crew chiefs on the No. 42 team on Aug. 4. Engineer Phil Surgen replaced Chad Johnston, who is no longer with the team.

Saturday Cup race at Michigan: Start time, TV channel, lineup

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The Cup Series is set to hold its second doubleheader weekend of the year as it journies to Michigan International Speedway.

A few weeks after holding back-to-back races at Pocono, the series does so on the 2-mile speedway.

Saturday sees the first race of the doubleheader, with Joey Logano starting from the pole.

Here’s all the info for the Saturday Cup race at Michigan:

(All times are Eastern)

START: WWE Superstar The Big Show will give the command to start engines at 4:08 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 5:02 p.m.

PRERACE: Drivers report to their cars at 4:40 p.m. The invocation will be given at 4:45 p.m. by Father Geoff Rose, OSFS President St. Francis De Sales School in Toledo, Ohio. The national anthem will be performed by 12-time Grammy winner CeCe Winans at 4:46 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 156 laps (312 miles) around the 2-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 40. Stage 2 ends on Lap 85.

PACE LAP: At the direction of race control, NASCAR will run the entire field down pit road during one of the pace laps for pit road speed verification. If a car stops anywhere on pit road for any reason, the car will start at the rear of the field.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Motor Racing Network will carry radio coverage and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

STREAMING: Watch the race on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the link.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with a high of 81 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Brad Keselowski triumphed over Denny Hamlin to win at New Hampshire.

LAST RACE AT MICHIGAN: Kevin Harvick beat Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

TO THE REAR: Ryan Newman and Chris Buescher. NASCAR confiscated the spoiler from both cars and penalized the teams, sending both cars to the rear. Jimmie Johnson (multiple inspection failures) and Joey Gase (multiple inspection failures).

STARTING LINEUP: Cup starting lineup Saturday at Michigan

Catch up on NBC Sports’ coverage:

Joey Logano draws the pole for Saturday’s Cup race at Michigan

Up to 8,000 fans approved to attend Southern 500

Silly Season Scorecard: Erik Jones splits with Joe Gibbs Racing

Friday 5: Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief makes a simple request

Erik Jones will not return to Joe Gibbs Racing after 2020

NASCAR announces new method for setting starting lineups

NASCAR to introduce choose rule starting at Michigan

Truck Series driver Spencer Davis tests positive for COVID-19

NASCAR announces remaining 2020 schedule

Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski remain 1-2

Chip Ganassi Racing makes crew chief change

Leavine Family Racing announces it has been sold

Greg Zipadelli to serve as Clint Bowyer’s interim crew chief

Brad Keselowski signs contract extension with Team Penske

Silly Season Scorecard: Erik Jones splits with Joe Gibbs Racing

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Joe Gibbs Racing announced Thursday night it would part ways with Erik Jones after this season.

It was the first confirmation of a non-retiring full-time driver Cup driver who wouldn’t return to the same ride next year.

Jones will exit the No. 20 Toyota after three full-time seasons.

Here’s how the Cup Silly Season scorecard looks as of Aug. 7.

ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2021

No. 00: Quin Houff enters the second year of his two-year deal with StarCom Racing.

No. 1: Kurt Busch enters the second year of a multi-year contract that Chip Ganassi Racing announced last season.

No. 2: Brad Keselowski and Team Penske announced a contract extension earlier this week.

No. 4: Kevin Harvick signed a contract extension in February that will keep him at Stewart-Haas Racing through the 2023 season.

No. 8: Tyler Reddick said in a press conference Friday he will be back with Richard Childress Racing next season.

No. 9: Chase Elliott is under contract with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2022 season.

No. 11: Denny Hamlin is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 12: Ryan Blaney and Team Penske announced a multi-year extension earlier this season.

No. 18: Kyle Busch is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 19: Martin Truex Jr. is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 22: Joey Logano is tied to Team Penske “through the 2022 season and beyond.”

No. 24: William Byron is under contact with Hendrick Motorsports through at least 2021.

No. 47: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. enters the second year of a multi-year deal with JTG Daugherty Racing.

No. 88: Alex Bowman will race for Hendrick Motorsports under a one-year contract extension announced earlier this year.

 

Available/possibly available rides

No. 10: Aric Almirola is in a contract year at Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 13: Ty Dillon is in a contract year at Germain Racing.

No. 14: Clint Bowyer is in a contract year to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 20: With Erik Jones‘ announced departure, it’s expected that Leavine Family Racing’s Christopher Bell will take his place.

No. 21: Matt DiBenedetto is in a contract year at Wood Brothers Racing. He said after the second Michigan race: “I haven’t really talked about that stuff for next year yet, but we’ve just been so focused and head down on digging and trying to make the playoffs and run well. We haven’t even really talked about it, so, hopefully, I stay here for a very long time to come and that’s what they had expressed to me when I came over here.”

No. 32: Corey LaJoie is in a contract year at Go Fas Racing.

No. 42: Matt Kenseth is not confirmed to return to Chip Ganassi Racing after he was tapped to replaced the fired Kyle Larson earlier this season.

No. 43: Bubba Wallace is in a contract year with Richard Petty Motorsports.

No. 48: With Jimmie Johnson retiring from full-time competition, Hendrick Motorsports has this seat to fill.

No. 95: Leavine Family Racing announced it was selling its assets earlier this week. The buyer has not been announced.