Ryan Truex

A.J. Allmendinger wins Xfinity Roval race

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CONCORD, N.C. — A.J. Allmendinger won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, outrunning Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric in a three-lap shootout.

It is Allmendinger’s third career Xfinity win and his first since 2013. It is the second win for Kaulig Racing after Ross Chastain‘s victory at Daytona in July.

Allmendinger, an NBC Sports motorsports analyst who will appear Sunday on NBCSN’s Victory Lap after the Cup race, took the lead with 20 laps to go. He took the lead by putting a fender to Christopher Bell‘s rear bumper in Turn 8 to move the No. 20 aside.

“I just knew if I was stuck behind him for a couple more laps he could start running his own pace and be comfortable and it was probably going to be game over for me,” Allmendinger said. “If it was the Cup Series I would have done the same thing. I just had to go then.”

At the start-finish line afterward, Allmendinger told NBCSN: “God, the last (few) times we’ve road course (raced) I’ve been gutted not getting my win. I can’t thank my race team enough.”

Allmendinger said he knew his car was good in clean air, “but in traffic it was a struggle.”

Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson rounded out the top five

Canadian Alex Labbe finished a career-best sixth in his 44th Xfinity start.

The top 10 was completed by John Hunter Nemechek (playoffs), Cole Custer (playoffs), Chase Briscoe and Ryan Truex.

With his finish Custer clinched a spot in the second round of the playoffs based on points.

Christopher Bell finished 12th after he was assessed a penalty for missing the frontstretch chicane and not stopping on the frontstretch. He missed the chicane after he ran out of room fending off Briscoe as they raced for second. On the ensuing lap, the two made contact between Turn 2 and 3, causing Briscoe to spin.

“I knew it was a penalty to miss the chicane, but there was a clause in there in the driver’s meeting where if you missed the chicane due to an incident, NASCAR would review it,” Bell said. “I figured that me getting run off the race track and having no other option was a justifiable reason, but I guess not.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

More: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Tyler Reddick bounced back from missing the backstretch chicane on the first lap to finish second. He and Austin Cindric finished in the top five in all four road course races … Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier finished in the top 10 in all four road course races.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE:  Michael Annett, who started from the rear in a backup car, finished 15th after he ran into the back of another car on a Lap 5 restart … Playoff driver Ryan Sieg finished 30th after spending three laps in the garage for a fuel pump issue … Playoff driver Justin Haley finished six laps down in 31st after he went to the garage to fix a mechanical issue

WHAT’S NEXT: Bar Harbor 200 at Dover International Speedway, 3 p.m. ET, Oct. 5 on NBCSN

Ryan Sieg’s car fails inspection at Las Vegas, 14th-place finish disqualified

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Ryan Sieg‘s 14th-place finish in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was disqualified by NASCAR after his No. 39 Chevrolet failed heights in post-race inspection. The car was found to be too low in the right and left front.

Sieg is now credited with a last-place finish.

The disqualification does not impact Sieg’s playoff eligibility or his seeding. He will start the playoffs in 11th with 2,001 points.

As a result of the disqualification, Ryan Truex is the new 14th-place finisher.

Sieg’s disqualification is the fifth time that has occurred this season in the Xfinity Series.

Denny Hamlin had a win at Darlington taken away and given to Cole Custer after his car failed heights.

Christopher Bell had his third-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in June taken away when his car failed inspection. His car was found to be too low in the front and too high in the rear.

Kaulig Racing has twice had AJ Allmendinger‘s car disqualified. The car was disqualified after Allmendinger’s third-place finish at Daytona in July when inspection showed that the engine would not hold a vacuum. Allmendinger’s second-place finish was taken away when his car failed to meet minimum height requirements at Watkins Glen.

Xfinity practice report at Las Vegas

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There was no slowing down Tyler Reddick during Friday’s two Xfinity Series practices at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as he was fastest in both sessions.

In the second session, Reddick covered the 1.5-mile oval at 175.644 mph, just about a half-second slower than his speed in the first practice.

Click here for second Xfinity practice results.

Justin Allgaier was second-fastest in the second session (175.120 mph), followed by John Hunter Nemechek (174.593 mph), Christopher Bell (174.407) and Noah Gragson (174.227).

Sixth through 10th were Brandon Jones (174.227 mph), Austin Cindric (173.930), Chase Briscoe (173.784), Justin Haley (173.728) and Landon Cassill (173.650).

Only 34 cars took to the track in the second session.

Qualifying takes place Saturday at 2:35 p.m. ET, with the 200-lap final playoff qualifying race set to take the green flag shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET.

FIRST PRACTICE SESSION

Tyler Reddick was fastest in the first of two Xfinity Series practices Friday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Reddick, driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro, covered the 1.5-mile oval with a top speed of 176.131 mph, the only driver to exceed 176 mph.

Click here for first Xfinity practice results.

Chase Briscoe was second-fastest (175.781 mph), followed by Austin Cindric (175.256 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (175.075 mph) and Brandon Jones (174.938 mph).

Sixth through 10th were Noah Gragson (174.859), Ryan Truex (174.814), Cole Custer (174.808), Christopher Bell (174.803) and Ryan Sieg (174.718).

A total of 37 cars took to the track for the session.

The second and final practice session will be today from 6:35 p.m. ET to 7:25 p.m. ET.

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Bubba Wallace celebrates ‘unforgettable day at Indy’

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INDIANAPOLIS — In a season where Bubba Wallace has been tearful, despondent and frustrated, Sunday saw the engaging 25-year-old beaming, joking and excited after a season-best third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“What a helluva day, helluva day for my team,” Wallace said after finishing behind winner Kevin Harvick and runner-up Joey Logano. “We needed this. We needed this weekend. We unloaded with speed and I was bragging to everybody.

“An unforgettable day at Indy.”

Wallace’s run was his second career top-five finish. He placed second in last year’s Daytona 500.

It didn’t seem as if Wallace — whose best finish this season was 14th at Bristol last month — would have a chance for a strong finish for Richard Petty Motorsports early in the race.

Wallace was involved in a pit road accident that included Chase Elliott and impacted Jimmie Johnson’s stop.

“I had no idea,” Wallace said of what happened. “I knew I was supposed to come around (Chris Buescher) and go long. I saw (Buescher) pull in, and I lifted and went to turn in and next thing you know I’m heading for Jimmie Johnson’s guys and I couldn’t stop. What I should have done, going back on it, is get off the brakes and turn and get away from them.

“Thank God we missed their pit crew and didn’t crush them because I couldn’t stop.”

Wallace said he asked his crew what happened and was told that Elliott “just ran you over.” Wallace admitted he was upset with Elliott for a while “and then I see (Elliott’s) car had damage and I’m like, ‘Nah, that had to be an accordion effect. I thought our day was over with. I thought that was how our luck was summed up all year, having really fast cars and some dumb luck takes us out. And it didn’t.”

Wallace had said earlier this weekend how excited he was and how fast his car was.

He showed how good it was Sunday working his way toward the front. He never was worse than 11th in the final 50 laps.

“It’s incredible to think about where the season started and where we were at the first 10 races in,” Wallace said on pit road after the race. “Ever since Charlotte, we’ve still been bringing some heat. It’s just the passion and the drive my team has and it’s a frickin’ blast coming to the race track and being away from the race track with my guys.”

Wallace knows the challenge a single-car team faces in Cup but left Indy encouraged.

“If we can just have moments like this and weekends like that, we can start to put together runs and generate more funding and resources and get our cars better,” he said. 

When Wallace was third on the final restart, he admits he flashed back to a race nearly a decade ago.

“Nine years ago we won at Lee (New Hampshire) Speedway when I restarted third and Ryan Truex and Eddie MacDonald were on the front row. I said on the pace laps these guys are going to overdrive Turn 1 and I’m going to take the lead and that happened.

“I started game-planning (Sunday when he was third). Now this is different plan because it was Joey and Kevin, but I started game-planning. They lined up perfectly and they went into (Turn) 3 and I’m like ‘Yes,’ and they all made it and I’m like, ‘Damn.’ ‘’

Even though he didn’t get the chance to win, it was still a good day for Wallace.

“All we do is just continue to climb up that Mt. Everest hill and we just keep kind of knocking another block off, knocking another step off,” he said.

But had he won, Wallace knew what he would have said in victory lane.

“My mom told me (Saturday), she’s like ‘When you win, tell them haters to kiss those bricks.’ ”

Longtime crew chief Nick Harrison dies at 37, team announces

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LOUDON, N.H. — Kaulig Racing announced Sunday morning that veteran crew chief Nick Harrison died. He was 37.

Harrison was the crew chief for Justin Haley‘s No. 11 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series and had called the car’s 13th-place finish Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

In a statement attributed to team owner Matt Kaulig and president Chris Rice, the team said in a tweet that “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Nick Harrison, our beloved crew chief of the No. 11 car at Kaulig Racing. Please keep Nick’s family in your thoughts and prayers at this time.”

No cause of death or information on services was immediately available. A Kaulig Racing spokesperson said “further details would be provided as they come.”

NASCAR released a statement on Harrison’s death: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of longtime crew chief Nick Harrison, and offer our thoughts, prayers and support to his family, friends and Kaulig Racing colleagues.”

According to Racing-Reference.info, Harrison made his debut as an Xfinity crew chief in 2006. He was a crew chief for 184 Xfinity races (including 17 with Haley this year) and had five victories, his first with Kurt Busch in 2012 at Daytona International Speedway with James Finch’s Phoenix Racing.

He also worked 120 races as a crew chief in the Cup Series, including full seasons in 2011-12 with Phoenix Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet. He guided Busch to a third place June 24, 2012 at Sonoma Raceway, marking Harrison’s best finish as a Cup crew chief.

Harrison also won three times in the Xfinity Series with Austin Dillon and once with Paul Menard. He also won with Dillon in the Aug. 2, 2014 truck race at Pocono Raceway, one of three truck races for Harrison as a crew chief.

During a career with several teams including Phoenix, Richard Childress Racing and Kaulig, Harrison worked with more than a dozen Cup and Xfinity drivers. The roster included Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott, Boris Said, A.J. Allmendinger, Micahel McDowell, Regan Smith, Ryan Truex, Landon Cassill, Jamie McMurray, Ty Dillon, Jeremy Clements, Brandon Jones, Ben Kennedy and Brendan Gaughan.