Ross Chastain

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Xfinity Series practice report from Charlotte Motor Speedway

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CONCORD, N.C – Tyler Reddick swept both Xfinity Series practice sessions Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

In the final session he posted a top speed of 180.536 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

He was followed by Christopher Bell (179.946 mph), Justin Haley (179.485), Cole Custer (178.571) and Austin Dillon (178.130).

Chase Briscoe recored the most laps in the session with 58. He was eighth on the speed chart.

Click here for the speed chart.

First practice

Reddick posted a top speed of 180 mph in the first practice session.

He was followed by Custer (179.509 mph), Austin Cindric (179.093), Dillon (178.613) and John Hunter Nemechek (178.283).

Ross Chastain was sixth on the speed chart (178.083).

Rookie Justin Haley was seventh and recorded the most laps in the session with 26.

Mason Diaz slid and hit the inside wall during the session.

Click here for the speed chart.

 

Ross Chastain adds fifth Xfinity race with Kaulig Racing

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Ross Chastain will get a fifth opportunity to compete for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series this year after the team announced Wednesday he’ll drive its No. 10 Chevrolet in the Oct. 19 playoff race at Kansas Speedway.

When Chastain’s deal with Kaulig Racing and sponsor Nutrien Ag Solutions was initially announced in January, it was only for three races: the season-opener at Daytona, Chicagoland Speedway (June 29) and the playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 2).

Since then he’s also competed for Kaulig Racing in the April race at Talladega.

The addition of the Kansas race means Chastain will be in No. 10 for consecutive playoff races. Chastain continues to drive for JD Motorsports in the Xfinity races he’s not with Kaulig Racing.

“I couldn’t be prouder and more honored with my partnership with Nutrien Ag Solutions,” Chastain said in a media release. “The support Brent (Dewars), Matt (Kaulig) and team have given me is incredible. I’m so grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to drive the Nutrien Ag Solutions colors for a fifth race and have the chance at getting them to Victory Lane.”

The addition of the fifth race comes two weeks after Chastain earned his first career Gander Outdoors Truck Series win at Kansas Speedway racing for Niece Motorsports.

Chastain has competed in every national NASCAR series race so far in 2019, making 30 starts.

His best Xfinity finish through 10 races is seventh at Las Vegas.

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NBC Sports Power Rankings heading into Coca-Cola 600

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After finishing third in the All-Star Race, Kyle Busch is back atop this week’s NBC Sports Power Rankings – although it was not a unanimous decision.

The real story this week is Kyle Larson. Although it was a non-points event, Larson’s win in the All-Star Race propelled him from not even in last week’s rankings to No. 3 this week. Larson is one of three drivers who went from unranked last week to into this week’s top 10. Also making a big jump from last week was Kevin Harvick (from 7th to 2nd).

Several drivers took big drops from last week, including Chase Elliott (1st to 5th), Alex Bowman (2nd to 6th), Clint Bowyer (4th to tied for 10th) and Brad Keselowski (5th to out of the top 10).

Here’s how this week’s Power Rankings look heading into the Coca-Cola 600:

1. Kyle Busch (38 points): Finished third in All-Star Race but climbs the rankings for his rant on the radio late in the race. If you can’t win .… But he did win the Truck race and finished the year winning all five of his starts. Last week: 3rd.

2. Kevin Harvick (32 points): Once again, falls short of victory lane. Pit crew mistakes again. Will they finally get things fixed in time for the race that typically has the most pit stops of the season in it? Last week: 7th.

3. Kyle Larson (30 points): Will the $1 million man build upon his riches to earn some wins that will actually count towards the playoffs? Last week: unranked.

4. Joey Logano (24 points): Strong run at the end to secure top-five finish in All-Star Race. Could be a big factor in the 600. Last week: 8th.

5. Chase Elliott (22 points): Things didn’t go his way. Hey, he has 600 miles this weekend to make things happen. Last week: 1st.

6. Alex Bowman (17 points): With three straight runner-ups and eighth in the All-Star Race, a win could be right around the corner – perhaps as early as Sunday. Last week: 2nd.

7. Bubba Wallace (14 points): Storybook night – stage win in Open and fifth-place finish in All-Star Race – gave him an emotional boost that may lead to better things to come. Last week: unranked.

8. William Byron (10 points): Strong move to win the first stage in Monster Open and then finishes the night with a ninth-place finish in the All-Star Race. Last week: unranked.

9. Martin Truex Jr. (9 points): Fast car but then later had issues and finished 10th. Last week: 9th.

(tie) 10. Clint Bowyer (7 points): Punched his ticket to a 12th-place finish, then went out and punched Ryan Newman on pit road. Will their feud flare up again on Sunday? Last week: 4th.

(tie) 10. Kurt Busch (7 points): Late crash left him with a disappointing 17th-place finish (out of 19 drivers). Look for a big comeback in the 600. Given his consistency this season, he’s overdue for a win. Last week: 6th.

Others receiving votes: Brad Keselowski (4 points), Aric Almirola (3 points), Austin Dillon (2 points), Ross Chastain (1 point).

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings heading into All-Star Race

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For the first time since after the Atlanta race, Kyle Busch is no longer atop the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Busch is out (and drops to third) and Chase Elliott is in as the unanimous pick of NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers for this week’s No. 1 spot. Elliott moves up from third place in last week’s rankings.

Clint Bowyer makes the biggest gain, going from outside the top 10 last week to a solid No. 4 this week. Also making a big jump: Alex Bowman from sixth last week to second this week.

Conversely, Dover winner Martin Truex Jr. suffered the biggest drop, falling from second last week to ninth this week. Also, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin both dropped out of the rankings entirely.

Here’s how this week’s Power Rankings look heading into this weekend’s All-Star Race at Charlotte:

1. Chase Elliott (40 points): Has led 235 laps over the last three races and finished in the top five in each. Last week: 3rd.

2. Alex Bowman (30 points): Three 2s (runner-up finishes) for the double-8 car. That’s a full house poker hand but still leaves him short of winning. Last week: 6th.

3. Kyle Busch (29 points): It’s tough to lose the top spot in the rankings, but just like his disappointing finish at Kansas, Busch will bounce back and be a man on a mission in the Coca-Cola 600. Last week: 1st.

4. Clint Bowyer (27 points): Almost finally got that first elusive Cup win at his home track in Kansas. Is on a roll of late, with six top 10s in his last seven starts. One of the most underrated drivers out there right now. Last week: 11th (others receiving votes).

5. Brad Keselowski (24 points): Lost somewhat in all the post-race celebration is Keselowski is now tied with Kyle Busch for most wins (three each) this season. Who will wind up with the most wins by season’s end? Last week: (tie) 7th.

6. Kurt Busch (21 points): Earned his eighth top 10 of the season. Has not had consecutive finishes outside the top 10 through 12 races. Consistency has become his middle name in 2019. Just a matter of time before that consistency pays off with a win. Last week: (tie) 7th.

7. Kevin Harvick (16 points): Does Harvick have a black cloud following him? The guy can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to winning this year. But there is a silver lining to that cloud with his consistency (including five fourth-place finishes). Last week: (tie) 4th.

8. Joey Logano (13 points): Damage to car early hurt him at Kansas and had him falling down the running order and these standings. Last week: (tie) 4th.

9. Martin Truex Jr. (11 points): Followed Richmond win by finishing 20th at Talladega. Followed Dover win by placing 19th at Dover. Can you say roller coaster ride? Last week: 2nd.

10. Erik Jones (8 points): Making a strong push for a signed extension at Joe Gibbs Racing. His strong finish at Kansas will help his job security, but he needs a lot more finishes like that. Last week: 14th (others receiving votes).

Others receiving votes: Ross Chastain (3 points), Jimmie Johnson (1 point).

Kansas winners and losers

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WINNERS

Fans — Combined with the cool temperatures, the package used at Kansas Speedway led to wild restarts and some exciting action. Of course, a late caution that sent the race into overtime also gave fans something to talk about. The 23 lead changes were one short of the total number of lead changes in both Kansas Cup races combined last year.

Ross ChastainHis emotions in victory lane after his Truck win Friday showed the tough road it has been since last year. He was set to be in a full-time Xfinity ride with Chip Ganassi Racing before the FBI raided the offices of what was to be Chastain’s sponsor. Soon after, Ganassi cut its Xfinity program for lack of sponsorship, leaving Chastain searching for rides. He has started every Cup, Xfinity and Truck race this season — 29 after Saturday night’s Cup race — setting a record.

Brad Keselowski His team overcame struggles early to score its third victory of the season. Winners find ways to win.

Alex Bowman Some will say that the runner-up is the first loser but even though Bowman was hard on himself afterward, he’s scored three consecutive second-place finishes.

Chevrolet teams — Seven Chevys finished in the top 10 for the manufacturer’s best overall performance this season.

LOSERS

Getting the order right — A 10-lap caution for a wheel that crossed pit road is simply unacceptable. That the caution came in the middle of green flag pit stops complicated matters but that’s what all the technology series officials use is for — to get the order right. NASCAR twice called off the restart to get cars in line. There also was an issue late in the race at Bristol about getting the field properly aligned. This can’t continue.

Kevin HarvickHe seemed to have the car to beat — winning the first stage and being the runner-up in the second stage — but things changed when he thought he had a right front tire going down and pitted under green, losing a lap. Instead it was debris on the front of the car that changed the handling characteristics. While Harvick got back on the lead lap, he was never a factor again, finishing 13th.