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Entry lists for NASCAR at Bristol

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Here are the entry lists for this weekend’s races at Bristol Motor Speedway:

Cup – Food City 500 (2 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox Sports 1)

Thirty-seven cars are entered.

The No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet will once again have Bayley Currey behind the wheel, while Joey Gase is back in the No. 66 Motorsports Business Management Toyota and Quin Houff will pilot Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet.

The No. 27 of Reed Sorenson has been withdrawn.

Click here for the Cup Series entry list.

Xfinity – Alsco 300 (1 p.m. ET Saturday on Fox Sports 1)

Thirty-seven cars are entered.

There are no NASCAR Cup drivers entered since it is a Dash 4 Cash event. No driver that scores points in the Cup Series is eligible to compete in the four Dash 4 Cash races.

Others of note: Bayley Currey will drive the No. 17 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet, while Harrison Burton will make his Xfinity Series debut in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Click here for the Xfinity Series entry list.

NOTE: The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is off for more than a month until the Jegs 200 on May 3 at Dover International Speedway.  

 

Jimmie Johnson tops first Cup practice at Texas Motor Speedway

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Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman were fastest in the first Cup practice at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday.

Johnson posted a top speed of 189.747 mph around the 1.5-mile track while Bowman followed at 188.363 mph.

In third was Joey Logano (188.180 mph)

William Byron was fourth (188.180), giving Hendrick Motorsports three cars in the top five.

Brad Keselowski completed the top five (188.147).

The session was stopped early on for fluid on the track from Reed Sorenson‘s No. 27 Chevrolet.

No driver recorded more than 11 laps in the session.

Click here for the speed chart.

Updated entry lists for NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway

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NASCAR’s annual three-race West Coast Swing concludes this weekend with Cup and Xfinity teams competing at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races.

Cup – Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox)

A total of 38 cars are entered, including the 36 chartered cars.

Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet will be driven by Garrett Smithley. It will be his second start for the team. Reed Sorenson is in a second entry for Premium Motorsports (No. 27 car).

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Production Alliance Group 300 (5 p.m. ET Saturday on Fox Sports 1)

As was the case at Phoenix, there are 37 cars entered for the race at Fontana.

Cup drivers in the field include Kyle Busch, who can reach 200 career NASCAR wins with a victory, Ryan Preece and Ross Chastain.

Click here for the entry list.

Friday 5: ‘Chaotic’ qualifying is entertaining and shouldn’t change

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Last week’s Cup qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway raised the question of is qualifying more about entertainment or sport?

It was fascinating to watch cars parked on pit road and drivers waiting for someone to go because nobody wanted to be the lead car. They all wanted to be in the draft.

While that took place, spotters counted down the time remaining in the session.

It became a game of who would blink first and take off.

When it was time to go, there was chaos. Cars darted around each other. In the final round, Joey Logano went four-wide on pit road. Ricky Stenhouse passed Logano on the inside and left pit road ahead of him.

“Is chaos a bad thing?” Logano asked NBC Sports’ Jerry Bonkowski this week. “I think that’s the question we have to ask ourselves. Is it chaos? Yes. Is it entertaining? Oh yeah, it’s entertaining, there’s a lot going on. So I don’t know if it’s wrong and we should be changing much.

“I think there’s a couple safety aspects we can add to pit road while we’re jockeying around for position and stuff like that. But as far as the entertainment value, will you get the lap in before the clock runs out, will you get a big enough draft, will they all go out for a second time and you get a big pack again, are they going to knock somebody out of the round? That’s good.

“I don’t know why we would change much of that, I think it’s OK. Yeah, it’s a little chaotic, it’s crazy and none of us has it figured out or scienced out the way we want to have it yet, but that’s competition, that’s just what it is.”

Logano is right. While there was a randomness to who won the pole at Las Vegas, qualifying was as entertaining as any session in recent years.

What happened last week was reminiscent of qualifying at Talladega in October 2014. NASCAR divided teams into two groups for the opening round and each had five minutes. The top 24 overall times advanced.

Most cars stayed on pit road until they hit their cutoff mark to complete two laps. Not everyone made it. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Justin Allgaier were among the cars that didn’t make it to the start/finish line before the session ended. Their fastest laps didn’t count. They both failed to qualify. It’s the only race Stenhouse has failed to make since his 2013 rookie Cup season.

These days, 36 chartered cars are guaranteed a starting spot. That prevents a situation Stenhouse experienced five years ago with a well-funded team.

But that doesn’t ease all the angst. Some competitors were frustrated at Las Vegas because the draft negates who has the fastest car. It’s all about being in the right place to draft and turn the quickest lap. Being in that position can be as much luck as skill.

What happens in qualifying can impact the race. Teams pick pit stalls based on their starting spot. A poor qualifying effort can lead to issues in the race.

Logano is aware of that. He qualified 27th at Atlanta and his team had limited options on where to pick their pit stall. Crew chief Todd Gordon chose a stall behind Alex Bowman’s pit and in front of Martin Truex Jr.’s pit.

Rarely do strong teams pit next to each other because they don’t want to have to go around a car to enter their stall or be blocked in by the car in front. Logano faced that situation at Atlanta. He lost more than 10 spots on each of his first two pit stops because he couldn’t get around Bowman’s car to exit his stall.

That leads back to the question of should qualifying be about entertainment or sport?

The decision today will be easy. The fastest car will be rewarded because teams are not expected to draft.

This issue that will come up again in the coming weeks, though, when the series heads to Auto Club Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

“Texas, I don’t know,” Logano said. “I think there’s going to be parts of the track that you want to draft and parts of the track when you’re going to want clean air. When you get to Turns 1 and 2, you’re going to want some air on the car to be able to get through the corner with as much wide open time as possible. That one’s a real question for me.

“I think Kansas is a no-brainer, you’re definitely going to be drafting. As for Fontana, it’ll be interesting. I think there’s going to be some drafting going on there, but I think it’ll be split up a little bit, kind of like the way Atlanta was, kinda 50-50.”

There’s no splitting this issue. It’s about entertainment. Let chaos reign in qualifying.

2. Second to Kyle Busch

For all the wins Kyle Busch has amassed in his NASCAR career, there is a recurring theme.

The runner-up to Busch in more than a third of the 197 races he’s won across Cup, Xfinity and the Gander Outdoors Truck Series has been one of five drivers.

Kyle Busch celebrating a NASCAR win has been a familiar sight through the years. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

The driver who has finished runner-up to Busch the most in those races is Kevin Harvick. He’s done so 18 times — five times in Cup, 10 times in Xfinity and three times in Trucks. The total equates to 9.1 percent of the time Busch has won a NASCAR race, Harvick has been second.

Carl Edwards is next on the list with 15 runner-up finishes to Busch. He’s followed by Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano with 13-runner-up finishes. Next is Kyle Larson, who has placed second to Busch eight times.

Combined, Harvick, Edwards, Keselowski, Logano and Larson have finished second to Busch in 67 of his 197 wins (34 percent).

They are among the 60 drivers who have placed second to Busch in a race he won. The list includes three NASCAR Hall of Fame members (Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Ron Hornaday Jr.), two Indianapolis 500 winners (Sam Hornish Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya) and drivers who have combined to win 48 NASCAR titles in either Cup, Xfinity or Trucks.

The list could grow this weekend. Busch is entered in both the Cup and Xfinity races at Phoenix.

Here is who has finished second to Busch in Cup, Xfinity and Trucks races and how often:

18 — Kevin Harvick

15 — Carl Edwards

13 — Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano

8 — Kyle Larson

7 — Todd Bodine, Matt Crafton

6 — Erik Jones, Johnny Sauter

5 — Greg Biffle, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Ron Hornaday Jr., Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart

4 — Jeff Burton, Austin Dillon

3 — Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Daniel Suarez, Martin Truex Jr.

2 — Mike Bliss, Terry Cook, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, John Hunter Nemechek, Timothy Peters, David Reutimann, Elliott Sadler

1 — Justin Allgaier, AJ Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, Trevor Bayne, James Buescher, Kurt Busch, Colin Braun, Jeb Burton, Brendan Gaughan, David Gilliland, Jeff Gordon, Daniel Hemric, Sam Hornish Jr., Parker Kligerman, Jason Leffler, Sterling Marlin, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Brett Moffitt, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Newman, Nelson Piquet Jr., Ryan Preece, Brian Scott, Reed Sorenson, Brian Vickers, Bubba Wallace, Cole Whitt

3. Multiple surgeries

Tanner Thorson, who competed in 11 Gander Outdoors Truck Series races last season, is recovering after he was involved in a highway crash early Monday morning in Modesto, California.

The 2016 U.S. Auto Club national champion had surgery Monday night for a broken left arm, according to the USAC Racing. Thorson had surgery Wednesday on his broken right foot. He also suffered a cracked sternum, broken ribs and a punctured lung, according to USAC Racing. The organization said that Thorson’s family hopes the 22-year-old can return home soon.

According to a preliminary investigation by the California Highway Patrol, Thorson was driving a 2019 Ford pickup that was towing his sprint car when he approached slower moving traffic shortly before 4 a.m. PT. Thorson’s truck struck the rear of a vehicle. KCRA, an NBC affiliate in Sacramento, reported that vehicle was a milk truck.

The impact sent the milk truck into the next lane where it was hit by another vehicle and then came back across the road and was struck another car. The driver was uninjured. A passenger in the truck was transported from the scene with minor injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol. Thorson’s vehicle came to rest on the shoulder and caught fire.

4. First time in new garages at Phoenix

ISM Raceway at Phoenix debuted its new garages and layout when NASCAR raced there in November.

One person missing that weekend was Rodney Childers, crew chief for Kevin Harvick. NASCAR suspended Childers the final two races of last year as part of penalties imposed to the No. 4 team for failing inspection after its win at Texas. So Childers missed the new look at Phoenix – until this weekend.

Childers shared his excitement of being in Phoenix on Thursday night.

5. Remarkable record

Kevin Harvick has finished in the top five in half of the 32 Cup races he’s run at Phoenix. He has nine wins there. Jimmie Johnson has 15 top-five finishes in 31 Cup races there. He has four wins there.

Despite the dominance of the two, they have combined for one win (by Harvick) in the last five races at Phoenix. The other winners in the last five races at Phoenix are Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano.

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Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Las Vegas

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All three of NASCAR’s national series are set to compete this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as part of the first stage of the West Coast Swing.

This will be the last race for the Gander Outdoors Truck Seres until March 23 at Martinsville Speedway.

Kyle Busch and Ross Chastain are entered in all three races.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for all three races.

Cup – Pennzoil 400 (3:30 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox)

There are 38 entries for the race.

Reed Sorenson is listed as the driver for Spire Motorsports in the No. 77 Chevrolet. The team fielded Garrett Smithley at Atlanta and Jamie McMurray at Daytona in a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Click here for Cup entry list

Xfinity – Boyd Gaming 300 (4 p.m. ET Saturday on Fox Sports 1)

There are 38 entries for the race.

Cup drivers in the field include Chastain, Busch and Austin Dillon.

Busch will drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota and Dillon is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet. It is the third race Kaulig has fielded the No. 10 since last year with Dillon piloting it the first time at Indianapolis.

No driver is listed for Rick Ware Racing’s No. 17 Chevrolet.

Click here for Xfinity entry list

Trucks – Strat 200 (9 p.m. ET on Friday on FS1)

There are 32 entries for the race.

The No. 42 of Robby Lyons II has been withdrawn after its hauler and the truck it was to have raced in Las Vegas were damaged in an incident last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Busch is entered in the No. 51 Toyota after his win Saturday at Atlanta.

Former Xfinity Series driver Ryan Reed will make his first start of 2019 driving DGR-Crosley’s No. 17 Toyota.

Click here for Truck entry list