Matt Mills

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Cole Custer wins Xfinity pole at Pocono

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Cole Custer will lead the field to the green flag for today’s Xfinity Series race at Pocono Raceway. Custer nipped Christopher Bell for the pole.

Custer won the pole with a lap of 170.707 mph. Bell’s lap was 170.681 mph.

It is Custer’s third pole of the season and ninth of his career. This marks the third consecutive race he’s started on the front row.

Bell was seeking his second consecutive pole.

Click here for starting lineup

Austin Cindric (170.145 mph) starts third and is followed by Michael Annett (169.113) and Ryan Sieg (169.043). This marks Annett’s first top-20 start at Pocono.

Tyler Reddick (transmission change), Matt Mills (backup car), John Hunter Nemechek (backup car) each will go to the back of the field.

The Xfinity race is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:18 p.m. ET today.

Today’s Xfinity race at Pocono: Start time, lineup and more

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Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer have combined to win the last five Xfinity races.

The last time Reddick, Bell or Custer did not win a series race was two months ago when Kyle Busch won at Texas. Busch isn’t entered in today’s race at Pocono Raceway.

Will the winning streak by Reddick, Bell and Custer continue?

Here’s all the info for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Robert Venditti, J.P. Mascaro & Sons, assistant director of maintenance & training, will give the command to start engines at 1:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 1:18 p.m.

PRERACE: Qualifying is at 10:05 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 11:15 a.m. Driver introductions begin at 12:30 p.m. The invocation will be given at 1 p.m. by Billy Mauldin, CEO and President of Motor Racing Outreach. Dave Bray, U.S. Navy veteran and national recording artist, will perform the National Anthem at 1:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 100 laps (250 miles) around the 2.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 25. Stage 2 ends on Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. The Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 12:30 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for mostly sunny skies with a high of 74 degrees and a 15% percent chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kyle Busch won last year and was followed by Chase Elliott and Daniel Hemric. None of those drivers is entered in today’s race.

TO THE REAR: Tyler Reddick (transmission change), Matt Mills (backup car), John Hunter Nemechek (backup car), Ronnie Bassett Jr. (unapproved adjustments).

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup

Pocono Xfinity practice report

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Cole Custer had the fastest lap in Friday’s final Xfinity practice at Pocono Raceway.

Custer had a lap of 169.383 mph. He was followed by Tyler Reddick (169.065 mph), Christopher Bell (168.259), Austin Dillon (167.713) and Michael Annett (167.485).

Matt Mills spun in Turn 1 and slid across the track before hitting the inside wall. FS1 reported he would go to a backup car.

Click here for practice report

Qualifying and the Xfinity race will be Saturday.

 

First practice

Tyler Reddick posted the fastest lap in the first of two Xfinity practice sessions Friday at Pocono Raceway.

Reddick posted a lap of 168.577 mph

He was followed by Cole Custer (167.348 mph), Christopher Bell (167.075), Austin Cindric (166.494) and Justin Allgaier (166.476). Austin Dillon, driving a second car for Kaulig Racing, was seventh on the speed chart with a top lap of 166.254 mph.

Chase Briscoe, who was 12th on the speed chart with a top lap of 165.368 mph, ran the most laps in the session with 23.

John Hunter Nemechek hit the wall in the session and went to a backup car.

Click here for practice report

Final Xfinity practice will be from 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET.

 

Justin Haley fastest in final Xfinity practice in Las Vegas

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Justin Haley led a 1-2 sweep by Kaulig Racing of the top spots in Friday’s final Xfinity practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Haley posted a top speed of 180.307 mph around the 1.5-mile track. He was followed by Austin Dillon, who posted a speed of 178.194 mph in the No. 10 Chevrolet.

The top five was completed by Kyle Busch (177.977 mph), Christopher Bell (177.930) and Tyler Reddick (177.778).

Busch, who had the best 10-lap average at 176.792 mph, scrapped the outside wall in Turn 2 early in the 50-minute session but won’t have to go to a backup car.

Click here for the practice report.

First practice

In a session that was heavily impacted by 23 cars incurring pre-practice inspection penalties, Justin Allgaier was fastest in Friday’s first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series practices at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Allgaier covered the 1.5-mile track at a speed of 178.737 mph and was followed by Busch (178.642 mph), Reddick (178.642), Haley (178.625) and Cole Custer (178.536).

Sixth through 10th were Dillon (178.394), Bell (177.819), Austin Cindric (177.427), Noah Gragson (177.282) and Zane Smith (177.264 mph), who is making his Xfinity Series debut this weekend.

Those drivers penalized due to inspection issues and the amount of practice time they lost due to the penalty were:

Late to inspection (15 minutes): Jeremy Clements, Cole Custer, Mike Harmon, John Jackson

Two-time failures (15 minutes): Jeff Green, Garrett Smithley, Justin Haley, Tyler Reddick, Brandon Jones, John Hunter Nemechek, Christopher Bell, Stephen Leicht, Chase Briscoe, Josh Williams, Vinnie Miller, Kyle Busch, Matt Mills, Timmy Hill

Late to inspection and two-time failures (30 minutes): Ryan Sieg, BJ McLeod, Ja Junior Avila, Cody Ware

Three-time failures (30 minutes): Joey Gase

Click here for the full practice speed list.

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How the No. 8 wound up at JR Motorsports

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While some may have been surprised by JR Motorsports’ announcement Friday that it was changing one of its car numbers to the No. 8 in 2019, the move was sort of telegraphed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. three months ago.

How?

Twitter of course.

On Oct. 31, Earnhardt responded to a fan asking what Xfinity Series race he was planning to compete in this year.

He answered by saying he was “working toward” the Aug. 31 race at Darlington Raceway.

Minutes later he posted a graphic of concept art for a No. 8 car with a throwback paint scheme.

A couple of hours later, Earnhardt responded to a group of fans who had observed that JR Motorsports didn’t own the rights to the No. 8 in the Xfinity Series. Instead, they belonged to BJ McLeod Motorsports.

Then late Friday afternoon, not long after the news regarding the No. 8 was made official, Earnhardt posted a short video on Twitter explaining how the teams made the switch.

It was the result of Earnhardt’s desire to run the No. 8 at Darlington and NASCAR not allowing teams to swap numbers for one-off races.

“So we talked to BJ and asked if he’d be willing to give us the No. 8 for the whole season,” Earnhardt said. “He was nice enough to do it.”

The agreement is a recent one. BJ McLeod Motorsports announced it was expanding to three cars on Jan. 10, and listed the No. 8 as one of its cars with Matt Mills driving it.

BJ McLeod Motorsports will announce its new number next week.

This isn’t the first time Earnhardt has fielded the No. 8 in Xfinity. He fielded Martin Truex Jr. for consecutive series titles in 2004-05 with the No. 8 when he owned Chance 2 Motorsports.