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

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The last short track of the 2019 season will begin the final march to determining which four drivers will race for the championship.

Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway will begin the Round of 8 with Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson still vying for the title.

Last year, Logano earned a berth in the championship round by bumping Truex aside on the last corner of the last lap. Three weeks later, the Team Penske driver won his first Cup championship.

Here is the information for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 3:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:14 p.m.

PRERACE: The Cup garage will open at 9 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting will be at 1 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:20 p.m. The invocation will be given at 3 p.m. by track chaplain Mike Hatfield. The National Anthem will be performed at 3:01 p.m. by the 380th Army Band.

DISTANCE: The race is 500 laps (263 miles) around the 0.526-mile oval.

STAGES: Stage 1 will end on Lap 130. Stage 2 will end on Lap 260.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage will begin with NASCAR America at 1:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Countdown to Green follows at 2:30 p.m. on NBCSN, leading into race coverage. The postrace show will be on NBCSN, followed by Victory Lap at 7:30 p.m.

Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast will begin at 2 p.m. and also can be heard on mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

STREAMING ONLINE: Click here for NBC’s live stream of the race.

FORECAST: Wunderground.com forecasts sunny skies with a temperature of 78 degrees and a 0% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME(S): Logano scored his first victory at Martinsville in an Oct. 28, 2018 win over Hamlin and Truex. In the March 24 race at the track, Brad Keselowski led 446 of 500 laps in the win. 

TO THE REAR: Chase Elliott (engine), Ryan Newman (failed inspection), Corey LaJoie (failed inspection), Timmy Hill (failed inspection), BJ McLeod (failed inspection).

STARTING LINEUP: Click here 

Martinsville Cup starting lineup: Pole-sitter Denny Hamlin seeks sixth win

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Denny Hamlin wrapped up the Round of 12 the best way possible — with a win last Sunday at Kansas.

He kicked off the Round of 8 Saturday with another big step, earning the pole for Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway. It was the Chesterfield, Virginia, native’s fourth career pole at the 0.526-mile bullring.

But he has bigger plans: His sixth win at the track would clinch a berth in the Nov. 17 championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Click here for Cup starting lineup

“I hope so,” Hamlin said when asked if it is shaping up to be his weekend. “All signs indicate yes if you were looking in a Magic 8-Ball right now. Our car was good in practice. It was good in qualifying obviously. That’s all we have to go by.”

Martin Truex Jr. will start alongside Hamlin on the front row for Sunday’s race. Chase Elliott qualified second, but he will start from the rear of the field due to an engine change earlier in the day.

Row 2 will have Aric Almirola alongside Michael McDowell, Row 3 will have Ryan Blaney and Clint Bowyer, Row 4 will have Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez and Row 5 will have last fall’s race winner Joey Logano and William Byron.

The cars of Ryan Newman, Corey LaJoie, Timmy Hill and BJ McLeod each failed inspection. Their qualifying time is disallowed and they will start at the rear.

The race will begin at 3 p.m. ET and be televised on NBCSN.

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Todd Gilliland wins Martinsville Truck race; playoff contenders struggle

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For many of the six remaining NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoff contenders, Saturday’s race at Martinsville Speedway wound up being more like Mayhemville Speedway.

Todd Gilliland won his first career Truck race in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200.

But the big story of the day was how playoff contenders Brett Moffitt, Austin Hill and Tyler Ankrum were knocked out due to wrecks, and Matt Crafton suffered a mechanical issue, leaving all of them with disappointing finishes heading into the final championship-qualifying race in two weeks at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Crafton finished 23rd, while Ankrum was 25th, Austin Hill 26th and Moffitt was the lowest-finishing playoff contender (29th).

Moffitt still was able to hold on to his lead in the standings, having a 10-point edge over Stewart Friesen, who finished sixth Saturday. Ranked third is Ross Chastain, who trails Moffitt by 25 points after finishing second Saturday and is 20 points above the cutoff line.

In the fourth and final transfer spot is Hill, who is 36 points behind Moffitt and nine points ahead of Crafton in fifth.

Ankrum is 15 points behind Hill as the last playoff-eligible driver in the points standings, which can viewed by clicking here.

MORE: Click here for results

MORE: Click here for points standings

It was Gilliland’s first win in 46 career Truck Series starts.

“It feels amazing,” Gilliland said after the race. “This place is really hard to win at. … Luckily we were out front. Just wish we could’ve been a little bit faster all weekend, but as a driver that’s what you always hope for and this thing was fast enough today. … What a race.”

As for the rest of the top five finishers in the race, Johnny Sauter was third followed by Grant Enfinger and Timmy Hill.

Moffitt dominated the first stage, leading all but the first lap of the 50-lap segment. But he was knocked out of the race early in the final stage on Lap 116 when he hit the retaining wall while trying to avoid a wreck between Jeb Burton and Natalie Decker.

That’s Martinsville,” Moffitt told FS1. “We had a dominating truck. When we got out front, we could just ride and be two tenths faster than the field. It’s a bummer, but we’ll go to Phoenix and try to win that one and then go to Homestead and win that one.”

Rookie Sam Mayer, making only his second career Truck race start, won Stage 2. However, 23 laps later, the 16-year-old Mayer was involved in a nine-truck wreck that also knocked him out of the race.

Just disappointed in myself, trying to get in a hole that wasn’t there,” Mayer told FS1. “I just misjudged it. … We did well while it really mattered, but when it really did matter, we kind of messed up at the end. Hopefully we can go to Phoenix (in two weeks) and do better.”

Stage 1 winner: Brett Moffitt (fifth stage win of the season).

Stage 2 winner: Sam Mayer (first career stage win).

Who had a good race: Gilliland, obviously, but kudos also have to be given to Chastain as well as Harrison Burton. Though Burton was involved in a last-lap spin and finished 18th, he was closing in on the lead and the potential win in the final laps until that incident.

Who had a bad race: With less than 20 laps to go in Stage 2, Matt Crafton was closing in on the lead, only to be forced to pit to replace the battery and cockpit computer on his Toyota Tundra, dropping him eight laps behind the leaders. Crafton, who finished 23rd (eight laps down), is facing a nine-point deficit heading into ISM Raceway in Phoenix in two weeks for the fourth and final spot in the championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

What’s next: Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway, Nov. 8, 8:30 p.m. ET. The four highest-ranked playoff drivers after that race will battle for the Truck Series championship on Friday, Nov. 15, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

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Christopher Bell to start on pole for today’s Xfinity race at Kansas

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Christopher Bell will start on the pole for today’s Xfinity race at Kansas Speedway, the first race to kick off of the playoffs’ Round of 8. The race will be carried live on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.

Bell covered the 1.5-mile track at a speed of 181.165 mph. It was his fifth pole of the season and 11th of his Xfinity career.

Today’s race will be the 19th Xfinity race held at Kansas Speedway and Bell becomes the 15th different driver to earn an Xfinity pole there. Kansas Speedway is the closest NASCAR track to Bell’s Norman, Oklahoma home.

Brandon Jones will sit alongside Bell on the front row with a speed of 180.481 mph. Third through 10th were Austin Cindric (180.216 mph), Tyler Reddick (179.313), Cole Custer (179.307), Jeremy Clements (178.843), Justin Allgaier (178.802), Ryan Truex (178.625), Ross Chastain (178.601) and Noah Gragson (178.424).

Gray Gaulding was back in the car and qualified 19th (174.503 mph). Gaulding suffered a medical emergency on the airplane en route to Kansas on Friday. He was cleared by NASCAR physicians to take part both in qualifying as well as this afternoon’s race.

A total of 38 drivers will take the green flag for today’s race. Timmy Hill was the slowest qualifier and will not compete in the race.

Click here for the full qualifying results.

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Entry lists for Charlotte Roval races

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The NASCAR playoffs continue this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval for both the Cup and Xfinity Series.

The Cup Series holds the third and final race of its opening round. The four lowest-ranked playoff drivers will be eliminated. The Xfinity Series holds the second race of the opening round of its playoffs.

The Gander Outdoors Truck Series is off until Oct. 12 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race:

Cup – Bank of America Roval 400 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

There are 40 cars entered.

Veteran NASCAR driver and team owner Joe Nemechek will make his third Cup start of the season, driving the No. 27 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet.

Timmy Hill will make his fourth start of the season, driving the No. 66 Motorsports Business Management Toyota.

NBC NASCAR analyst Parker Kligerman will make his 11th Cup start of the season, driving the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota.

Josh Bilicki is listed driving the No. 53 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet.

Ryan Blaney won this race last year. Jamie McMurray finished second and Clint Bowyer was third.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Drive for the Cure 250 (3:30 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 38 cars entered for Saturday’s race.

NBC NASCAR analyst AJ Allmendinger will drive the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

Harrison Burton is back for his fifth start of the season in the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

Bayley Currey will drive the No. 38 Chevrolet for RSS Racing, his first race back since being reinstated after a suspension for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy and then completing its Road to Recovery program.

Preston Pardus will make his second career Xfinity start in the No. 43 Pardus Racing Chevrolet.

Cody Ware makes his third start of the season for B.J. McLeod Motorsports in the No. 99 Toyota.

There is no driver name entered for the No. 74 Mike Harmon Racing Chevrolet.

Chase Briscoe won this race last season. Justin Marks finished second and Austin Cindric was third.

Click here for the entry list.