Reed Sorenson

Thursday’s Cup race at Charlotte: Start time, forecast and more

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Let’s try this again.

So is the motto for NASCAR after rain postponed Wednesday night’s Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway to Thursday night. This is the fourth Cup race in a 14-day period.

Kevin Harvick won the first race in this stretch May 17 at Darlington Raceway. Denny Hamlin then won the May 20 Darlington race. Brad Keselowski won last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

Thursday’s starting lineup inverts the top 20 finishers from Sunday’s race, meaning Keselowski will start 20th in the 310-mile race. William Byron, who finished 20th on Sunday, starts on the pole.

Here is the info for Thursday night’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Atrium Health Sports Medicine Teammates will give the command to start engines at 7:13 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 7:25 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 2:50 p.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Drivers report to their cars at 6:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 7:05 p.m. by CH (LTC) Brian Koyn, 82nd Airborne Division Chaplain. The National Anthem will be performed at 7:06 p.m. by Season 3 winner of “The Voice” and Grammy-nominated singer Cassadee Pope.

PACE LAPS: At the direction of race control, drivers will have the opportunity to run one pace lap down pit road before the green flag for a pit road speed check. If a driver stops in the pit box for any reason, pull over or slow down, they will start at the rear of the field.

DISTANCE: The race is 208 laps (312 miles) around the 1.5-mile oval.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 20

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 55. Stage 2 ends on Lap 115.

To the Rear Cars: Josh Bilicki (driver change from Sunday’s 600) and Reed Sorenson (driver change from Sunday’s 600)

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Performance Racing Network will broadcast the race and also can be heard at goprn.com and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for showers with a high of 79 degrees and a 16% chance of rain at the race’s start.

LAST RACE: Brad Keselowski led the final five laps to win Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, which was extended to overtime. Jimmie Johnson finished second, but his car failed inspection after the race and was disqualified. Chase Elliott was scored second. Ryan Blaney was scored third.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for Cup starting lineup

CATCHING UP TO SPEED WITH NBC SPORTS COVERAGE:

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NASCAR suspends members of Denny Hamlin’s team for four races 

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Kyle Busch: Wearing a mask is way to “take care of our neighbor”

NBC Sports Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick remains unanimous No. 1

Take a bow: Chase Elliott celebrates Truck win Kyle Busch style 

Cup entry list for Wednesday night race at Charlotte

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Forty cars are entered for Wednesday night’s Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

It’s the same 40 teams but there are driver changes from Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. They are:

Josh Bilicki will drive the No. 7 car for Tommy Baldwin Racing.

JJ Yeley will be in the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports. He had originally been listed as driving the No. 27 car for Rick Ware Racing. Gray Gaulding is now entered in the No. 27.

All three cars will start at the rear because of the driver change. There is no qualifying for Wednesday’s race. The top 20 finishers from Sunday are inverted for Wednesday’s starting lineup. The remaining positions are based on where the car finished Sunday (except for those with driver changes).

Click here for the updated entry list.

 

NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte

Race Time:  8 p.m. ET Wednesday

Track:  Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, North Carolina (1.5-mile oval)

Length:  205 laps, 310 miles

Stages:  Stage 1 ends on Lap 55. Stage 2 ends on Lap 115.

TV:  Fox Sports 1

Radio:  Performance Racing Network Radio

Streaming:  Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Brad Keselowski to start on pole at Darlington after random draw

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Brad Keselowski will lead the field to green in Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington Raceway after he was awarded the pole in a random draw Thursday night at the NASCAR R&D Center.

He will be joined on the front row by Alex Bowman.

The race is NASCAR’s first event since March because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ryan Newman, making his return after being injured in the Daytona 500 in February, will start 21st. Matt Kenseth, making his first start since the 2018 season finale, will start 12th in the 40-car field.

Typically, NASCAR sets the starting line by car owner points when it can’t run qualifying. That would have put Kevin Harvick on the pole. Harvick will start sixth with the draw. NASCAR officials added the draw for this event.

Darlington starting lineup:

1. Brad Keselowski

2. Alex Bowman

3. Matt DiBenedetto

4. Kyle Busch

5. Aric Almirola

6. Kevin Harvick

7. Ryan Blaney

8. Jimmie Johnson

9. Joey Logano

10. Denny Hamlin

11.  Chase  Elliott

12. Matt Kenseth

13. Clint Bowyer

14. Cole Custer

15. Martin Truex Jr.

16. Austin Dillon

17. Bubba Wallace

18. William Byron

19. Corey LaJoie

20. Erik Jones

21. Ryan Newman

22. Kurt Busch

23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

24. Chris Buescher

25. Ryan Preece

26. Garrett Smithley

27. Quin Houff

28. Christopher Bell

29. Tyler Reddick

30. J.J. Yeley

31. Michael McDowell

32. Joey Gase

33. Ty Dillon

34. John Hunter Nemechek

35. Brennan Poole

36. Reed Sorenson

37. Daniel Suarez

38. Timmy Hill

39. B.J. McLeod

40. Josh Bilicki

Darlington Cup starting lineup

The format for setting the lineup was:

Positions 1-12 were set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

Positions 13-24 were set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

Positions 25-36 were set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

Positions 37-40 will be for non-chartered teams based in order of owner points.

NASCAR reveals competition rule changes for Darlington

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A random draw will play a role in determining the starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox), NASCAR announced Tuesday.

NASCAR also revealed that the field will be frozen during the Lap 30 competition caution and allowed to pit two separate times.

The starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington will be set by owner points and a random draw. NASCAR has not determined when the draw will take place but it is expected to be before Sunday.

Positions 1-12 will be set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

What that means is that Kevin Harvick, whose team ranks first in car owner points, no longer is guaranteed to start on the pole. His team could team draw the No. 1 spot or as low as the No. 12 spot. Kyle Busch is 12th in car owner points. If his team is lucky, he could end up starting on the pole based on the random draw.

Or Matt Kenseth could end up on the pole in his first Cup race since the end of the 2018 season. Kenseth makes his season debut in the No. 42 car for Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend. That team is seventh in car owner points.

Those in the top 12 in car owner points are (in order from first): Harvick, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Kenseth, Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

Here is how the rest of the starting lineup will be set:

Positions 13-24 will be set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

Those drivers (in order from 13th in car owner points are): Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bubba Wallace, William Byron, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, Cole Custer and Corey LaJoie.

Positions 25-36 will be set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

Those drivers (in order from 25th in car owner points are): Ty Dillon, Tyler Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek, Michael McDowell, Garrett Smithley, Brennan Poole, Reed Sorenson, Christopher Bell, Ryan Preece, Joey Gase, Quin Houff and JJ Yeley.

Positions 37-40 will be for non-chartered teams based in order of owner points. Those drivers are Daniel SuarezTimmy Hill, Josh Bilicki and BJ McLeod.

MORE: Entry list for Darlington

MORE: Storylines –  Where NASCAR Cup Series left off

Pit stalls will be picked in order based on charter team owner points followed by non-chartered team owner points. Harvick’s team will have the first choice of pit stalls since it is first in car owner points.

NASCAR also announced changes to the competition caution for Sunday’s Darlington race. The changes are being made since teams will not have any practice or qualifying before the race. This will give teams extra time to make needed adjustments.

The field will be frozen at the time of the caution on Lap 30.

When pit road is open, only the top 20 cars will be allowed to pit. Each car that pits must beat the pace car off pit road to retain its position.

On the next lap, the other 20 cars will pit. Each car that pits must beat the pace car off pit road to retain its position.

Then, the top 20 cars will be allowed to pit a second time. On the next lap, the other 20 cars will be allowed to pit again.

After the second cycle for each team is completed, the lineup will be set and the race will resume.

Infractions under this modified competition caution structure are:

  • Not beating the pace car off pit road results in loss of lap and restarting at tail of the field.
  • Pitting more than twice or out of sequence results in restarting at the tail of the field.
  • All current pit road rules are in effect.

Tommy Baldwin Racing returns to Cup Series for first time since 2017

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Not only is NASCAR returning to live Cup Series racing Sunday at Darlington Raceway, so too is Tommy Baldwin Racing.

The team announced Monday that it will field the No. 7 Chevrolet, its first appearance in the Cup Series since the 2017 season.

“I am excited to be returning to the NASCAR Cup Series,” team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. said in a media release. “I have been in this sport for a long time, and I believe now is the best time to get back to the track.”

Baldwin spent last season as a crew chief for Premium Motorsports, primarily working with Reed Sorenson.

Josh Bilicki will drive for Baldwin in Sunday’s race. Bilicki competed in 10 Cup races last season for Rick Ware Racing.

“Darlington is one of my favorite tracks, and I can’t wait to get back on track,” Bilicki said.

Primary sponsor on the car will be Gravely Mowers, a high-performance commercial lawn mower company.

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