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Xfinity Series practice report from Bristol Motor Speedway

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Erik Jones was fastest in the final Xfinity Series practice Thursday at Bristol Moto Speedway.

Jones, who is making his first Xfinity start since 2017, posted a top speed of 123.618 mph.

The top five was completed by Christopher Bell (123.340), Joey Logano (123.118), Justin Allgaier (122.843) and Cole Custer (122.670).

John Hunter Nemechek was 12th fastest and recorded the most laps in the session with 101.

Custer had the best 10-lap average at 121.894 mph.

The session was briefly red flagged halfway through for Ray Black Jr. stalling at the bottom of the track.

Click here for the practice report.

First practice

Jones was fastest in the the first session with a top speed of 124.719 mph.

The top five was completed by Kyle Busch (124.581 mph), Christopher Bell (124.565), Tyler Reddick (124.122) and John Hunter Nemechek (123.881).

Chase Briscoe, who was 10th on the speed chart, recorded the most laps in the session with 56.

Nemechek had the best 10-lap average at 122.078 mph.

There were two red flags late in the session, the first for debris and the second for a Brandon Brown mechanical failure.

Final practice is scheduled for 1:35 – 2:25 p.m ET on the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the practice report.

Check back for more.

Rick Ware Racing announces sponsor for rest of Cup season

Rick Ware Racing
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Rick Ware Racing has secured sponsorship for its No. 51 car for the rest of the season, the team announced Sunday.

Beginning with today’s race at Watkins Glen International (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC), the car will be sponsored by construction firm JACOB Companies.

The No. 51 will be driven today by Josh Bilicki, who is making his third career Cup start. Bilicki is the 10th driver to pilot the No. 51 this season.

The company sponsored the No. 51 in July at Daytona when Ray Black Jr. drive the car.

The team’s best result this season is 12th in the Daytona 500 with Justin Marks.

 

Two female pit crew members making history in Daytona Cup race

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Two close friends will make history tonight as the first two women to serve as pit crew members in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the modern era.

Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary will help service Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet driven by Ray Black Jr. in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBC).

Daniels and O’Leary, both roommates in Charlotte, North Carolina, are the fifth and sixth female NASCAR Drive for Diversity crew members to reach the Cup Series.

They are among more than 50 graduates of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development program currently working in the NASCAR industry. Twenty-five are pitting in the Cup Series.

Daniels, making her series debut, is a former Norfolk State University women’s basketball player and is believed to be the first female African-American crew member to compete in a NASCAR national series event.

“It’s hard to believe I’ve only been changing tires for two years and now I’m here at the Monster Energy Series level,” Daniels said in a press release. “What I’m doing in NASCAR is so much bigger than me. It’s been so rewarding to be part of history while at the same time inspiring others to take on challenges they thought might not be possible.”

O’Leary, who used to work in the strength and conditioning department at Alcorn State University, will be making her third appearance in the Cup Series and second in 2018. She also changed tires for the No. 51 last month at Michigan International Speedway.

“The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is unlike any other series,” O’Leary said in a press release. “There’s a certain energy and hustle and bustle – both in the garage and on pit road. But as a tire changer, the mindset is still the same. Five lug nuts on and five off.”

Kyle Larson wins Xfinity race at Daytona in overtime

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Kyle Larson won the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 in a narrow finish over Elliott Sadler in overtime.

Larson was declared the winner after Justin Haley made a three-wide pass of Larson and Sadler coming to the line and beat them to the checkered flag. But Haley crossed the yellow line at the bottom of the track in the attempt, which is illegal.

Larson swept all three stages of the race and led 39 laps.

“I honestly didn’t even think I had a shot to win that until I pulled over here to the lug nut check and I could see (on) the big screen where he kind of went below the yellow line,” Larson told NBCSN. “A little bit of a shock for me.”

Haley, driving the No. 24 Chevrolet for GMS Racing, was making his second Xfinity start. He was credited with an 18th-place finish.

NASCAR ruled Larson the winner while Haley was celebrating on the frontstretch.

“I just wish NASCAR would … tell us how much of the car we can have below the yellow line,” Haley told NBCSN. “I don’t get this opportunity enough … Seeing the replay there was room for me to go up so I don’t know why they’re calling me like that.”

Haley competes full-time for GMS Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.

MORE: Haley says “BS call”

Sadler earned his fourth runner-up finish at Daytona and his third in a row.

Without Haley’s bold move, the finish looked nearly identical to February’s race at Daytona when Sadler finished second to Tyler Reddick in the closest finish in national NASCAR history.

“I just didn’t know (Haley) was coming,” Sadler told NBCSN. “Just miscommunication between my spotter and myself. I was just trying to really key in on (Larson) on when to side draft. I felt like it was Daytona in February all over again. I hate it for my guys. They work way too hard for me to keep finishing second here at Daytona.”

The final stretch of the race was set up by a 16-car wreck with 19 laps to go that eliminated February Daytona winner Tyler Reddick. Austin Cindric walked away after his No. 60 Ford flipped multiple times.

That wreck resulted in a 12 minute and 18 second red flag period.

The overtime finish was setup by a nine-car crash with three laps left in the original 100-lap distance.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Larson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Larson

MORE: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kaz Grala finished fifth for his second top five of the year despite having to pit right before a restart with seven laps to go in the original distance for a tire going down … Christopher Bell placed third after spinning on pit road in Stage 1 and being called for a pit penalty … Shane Lee finish a career-best sixth in his fifth start … Timmy Hill placed seventh, matching his career-best finish (Daytona, February 2012).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Pole-sitter Ryan Preece finished 39th after suffering a radiator problem on Lap 52 … Ryan Reed finished 26th after being involved in three accidents, including the 16-car wreck … Chase Elliott placed 29th after going to the garage for a bad oil pump belt.

NOTABLE: Elliott Sadler is now tied with Michael Waltrip for most runner-up finishes at Daytona without a win (four).

WHAT’S NEXT: Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway at 8 p.m. ET on July 13 on NBCSN.

 

Xfinity practice report at Daytona

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. —  Only 10 cars were on track for the final Xfinity practice Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

Chad Finchum posted the fastest lap at 185.567 mph. He was followed by Timmy Hill (185.540 mph), Jeremy Clements (184.896), Alex Labbe (183.135) and Ray Black Jr. (193.016).

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for practice report.

First practice

Ryan Reed led opening Xfinity practice Friday at Daytona International Speedway with a lap of 196.143 mph. He was followed by Justin Haley (195.869 mph), Ryan Truex (195.831), Austin Cindric (195.520) and Shane Lee (195.312).

Chase Elliott, driving in the No. 23 car for Spencer Gallagher, was sixth on the speed chart with a top lap of 194.801 mph. NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has reinstated Gallagher after he completed the sanctioning body’s Road to Recover program. NASCAR indefinitely suspended Gallagher on May 2 for violating its Substance Abuse Policy .

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for practice report

Christopher Bell ran the most laps in the session at 25. Tyler Reddick, who won at Daytona in February, was next with 23 laps run.