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Eight Cup teams to be penalized practice Saturday at Phoenix

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Eight Cup teams will be docked practice Saturday for inspection issues at ISM Raceway. Only one team is a playoff team.

The cars of DJ Kennington, Ty Dillon, JJ Yeley, Jimmie Johnson, Timmy Hill and Tanner Berryhill will miss 15 minutes of practice Saturday morning for being late to pre-qualifying inspection.

Practice will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. ET on CNBC.

The cars of AJ Allmendinger and Berryhill will miss 15 minutes of the final practice session for failing pre-qualifying inspection twice.

Playoff contender Martin Truex Jr. will miss 30 minutes of final practice for failing pre-qualifying inspection three times.

Final Cup practice is from 2 – 2:50 p.m. ET on NBCSN.


Carl Long explains why No. 66 Cup team withdrew at Texas


FORT WORTH, Texas — Carl Long said in a Facebook post that the No. 66 Cup team with driver Timmy Hill withdrew Friday because it did not have a sealed engine at Texas Motor Speedway.

Section of the Cup Rule Book states that “Teams that are not considered ‘full-time’ teams will not be permitted to compete in more than two consecutive Points Events without using a short block sealed engine that has been used in Competition in a preceding Event(s).”

Long explained why he didn’t have a sealed engine in his Facebook post:

“My last sealed engine was ran at Dover. The oil pump broke … killing engine. Next was our 1st race, Kansas, with our new engine program. Engine 1 broke a valve at beginning of Saturday practice. Then we had a huge amount of issues getting backup engine to fit. Neither of these engines were sealed at that time and both were destroyed.

“So we rented one from PME at Martinsville, a piece we ran earlier, but it did not have seals as the heads were removed for maintenance. So it was sealed at Martinsville, however, it saw fire damage and could not be used at Texas.

“I went to Texas with a fresh engine, knowing we had plenty of sealed engine starts on the #66 … Not knowing we were classified as a part time team. The official told a person on the crew I had to be sealed in Texas at the Martinsville race. I had no sealed engines and I knew we had plenty of sealed starts. Not realizing we are part time classified by NASCAR. During Xfinity practice I was called to the Cup hauler. My engine is not sealed and therefore not eligible to qualify. I pleaded my case. I have destroyed all my sealed engines. My backup is not sealed, and the one in my Phoenix car is not sealed.

“At this time we will be out of Cup racing. I can’t run at Phoenix without a sealed engine. So I will not be able to go to Homestead as I don’t have one ran at Phoenix. I could run a sealed engine from another team, but unfortunately their prices are usually more than we can afford. 

“The sponsors have been great in supporting us. I don’t see them remaining with us. What we do receive is just not enough $ to rent another engine and pay the race cost.”

On the issue of being a part-time or full-time team, Section of the Cup Rule Book states the definition of a full-time team is one that is “entered in all Events for the season).” Long’s team had not entered all the events this season, so remained classified a part-time team even though he had been at all races since July.

UPDATE: In a Facebook post Saturday, Long wrote: “We have a plan to return to Cup in Phoenix … hope to see you there!” but had no details.

Long also wrote in his Facebook post: “Unless something happens unexpectedly … We are done in Cup for 2018. I hope to build on 2019 with 2 cars at Daytona in Cup (yes, I’m still stupid) and 2 Xfinity cars.”

Ryan Blaney wins pole for Texas Cup race, playoff contenders take next three spots

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With a lap of 200.505 mph, Ryan Blaney won the pole for Sunday’s Cup race at Texas. This is Blaney’s sixth consecutive top-10 start at Texas, but his first pole. He qualified second last spring before finishing 12th.

Blaney’s speed is the second fastest pole ever on a 1.5-mile track behind Kurt Busch (200.915 mph, Texas November 2017).

Clint Bowyer (200.230) was the only other driver to crack the 200 mph mark. Bowyer started third at Texas this spring before finishing ninth.

Kevin Harvick (199.941), Aric Almirola (199.778) and Brad Keselowski (199.527) rounded out the top five.

Other playoff contenders Kurt Busch (199.225) qualified seventh, Joey Logano (199.086) qualified eighth and Kyle Busch (198.705) qualified 10th.

Missing the final round of time trials, playoff contender Martin Truex Jr. (197.962) qualified 13th.

Chase Elliott was the slowest among playoff contenders. His speed of 197.686 mph puts him 16th on the grid. In five starts at Texas, he has started 20th or worse three times but has never finished lower than 11th.

Trying to advance into the Round 2, David Ragan spun into the infield after exiting Turn 4.

The No. 66 entry of Timmy Hill was withdrawn before qualification started.

Click here for Cup qualifying results

Martin Truex Jr. to start at rear at Martinsville

Photo: Dustin Long
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Martin Truex Jr. will start at the rear of the 40-car field for today’s playoff race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) at Martinsville Speedway after his car failed inspection.

His car was one of seven that failed inspection Sunday morning.


Cars were impounded after Saturday’s qualifying and inspected Sunday morning. Any car that failed inspection the first time had its qualifying time disallowed and lost its spot in picking pit stalls.

Truex was to have started sixth. He is one of the eight playoff drivers competing for a spot in the championship race next month at Miami. Today’s race is the opener of the third round. Truex is winless in 77 career short-track Cup races.

Jimmie Johnson, who has won nine Cup races at Martinsville, also will start from the rear after his car failed inspection for mechanical measurements. He qualified 23rd. Johnson is winless this season. He has scored at least one victory in each of the past 16 seasons.

David Ragan also will start at the rear after his car failed inspection. He was to have started 14th. Ragan’s car failed a second time. The penalty for that is the loss of one crew member.

Brad Keselowski and Landon Cassill will start from the rear for unapproved adjustments.

Bubba Wallace’s backup car also failed. He already was starting at the rear for going to a backup car.

Also failing inspection were the cars of JJ Yeley, Jeb Burton and Timmy Hill.

Paul Menard also will start at the rear for an engine change the team made after qualifying.

The car chiefs on Ragan and Timmy Hill’s cars were ejected for failing inspection twice.



Today’s Cup race at Kansas: Start time, lineup and more

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The Cup playoff field will be cut from 12 to eight drivers today at Kansas Speedway. Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman enter today’s race outside a transfer spot. Can any of them race their way into the next round?

Here’s all the info you need for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: 50 Penn National Gaming VIPs will give the command to start engines at 2:28 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:37 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 400 miles (267 Laps) around the 1.50-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The garage opens at 9 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 12:20 p.m. Driver introductions are at 1:40 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Kansas City (Kansas) Police Department Master Detective Danon Vaughn will perform the anthem at 2:21 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBC will broadcast the race beginning at 2:20 p.m. Coverage begins with NASCAR America at 1:30 p.m. on NBC. Countdown to Green airs at 2 p.m. on NBC. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: calls for sunny skies with a high of 56 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kevin Harvick passed Martin Truex Jr. for the lead with two laps to go to win in May. Joey Logano was third. Last fall, Truex won and was followed by Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney.

TO THE REAR: Kyle Larson (backup car), Jamie McMurray (engine change) and Timmy Hill (engine change).

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup