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Tommy Joe Martins returns to BJ McLeod Motorsports for 2019 Xfinity season

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B.J. McLeod Motorsports on Thursday announced that Tommy Joe Martins will return to the Xfinity Series team for a third season.

Martins joined the team in 2017. In 28 starts, his best finish with the team has been 11th at Iowa (in 2017).

“It is with great enthusiasm to have Tommy Joe Martins back with the team,” team co-owner Jessica McLeod said in a media release. “Martins has played a great part in helping us improve our on-track performance over the last two years and we are looking forward to what’s to come.”

The team, which recently moved into a new shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, will field three full-time cars in the Xfinity Series in 2019, its fourth year of operation.

Its two full-time drivers will be Vinnie Miller in the No. 78 and Matt Mills in the No. 8, while Martins will be part of a rotating cast of drivers in the No. 99 that will also include team co-owner B.J. McLeod, J.A. Avila Jr., and other drivers that may be added.

Click here to read the full press release.

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Joey Logano wins Xfinity race at Watkins Glen

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Joey Logano won Saturday’s Xfinity race at Watkins Glen International, leading the last eight laps around the road course and claiming the victory over AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Preece and Aric Almirola.

It’s Logano’s third win in four years at the road course, all coming from the pole. It is his 30th career win.

The final restart came with eight laps to go, where Logano took the lead with a three-wide pass of Brad Keselowski and Preece in Turn 1.

Keselowski chased down Logano over the next five laps before spinning in Turn 1 with three laps to go. He finished 10th.

“It was all I had,” Logano told NBCSN of holding off Keselowski. “He was definitely faster. I thought the tires would have been enough to be faster than him. I had good restart and got in front of him. He dogged me. These Xfinity cars draft quite a bit down these straightaways. It’s hard to pull away. A good car though. Not as fast as Brad’s, but it still felt good.”

Allmendinger placed second after he was 10th on the final restart.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Joey Logano

STAGE 2 WINNER: AJ Allmendinger

MORE: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: AJ Allmendinger bounced back from a pit penalty to place second. He’s finished in the top two in his last three Xfinity starts … Justin Allgaier has finished in top 10 in the last eight races, his career longest streak … Ryan Preece (fourth) and Cole Custer (sixth) each earned their best road course result in their fourth starts.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Tommy Joe Martins brought out the first caution on Lap 5 when he lost his brakes and plowed into a Turn 6 tire barrier. He finished last … Matt Tifft (37th) and Justin Haley (38th) were eliminated in a wreck in the esses on Lap 27 … After challenging for the lead in the final stage, Kyle Larson finished 27th after suffering engine issues following the last restart …

NOTABLE: There was a red flag period of 10 minutes and 24 seconds in Stage 2 to repair a Turn 1 tire barrier that Vinnie Miller crashed into during the portion of the race run on rain tires.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I figured I had the best guy in front of me with AJ (Allmendinger) that I could just follow him. Then I couldn’t follow him.” – Joey Logano on racing in the rain near the end of Stage 2.

WHAT’S NEXT: Rock N Roll Tequila 170 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at 3 p.m. ET on Aug. 11 on NBCSN

 

Two Xfinity crew chiefs suspended one race for Charlotte penalties

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NASCAR has issued suspensions to two Xfinity Series crew chiefs for infractions following last Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jason Ratcliff, crew chief on Christopher Bell‘s No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing, was suspended one race after the car failed front and rear body heights in post qualifying and post-race inspection.

The L1 penalty includes a $10,000 fine for Ratcliff, a 10-point deduction of driver and owner points and Bell’s third-place result won’t go toward tiebreakers in points for the playoffs.

Bell now has 385 points but remains second in the standings, 48 points behind Elliott Sadler.

Joe Gibbs Racing told NBC Sports on Wednesday that it will not appeal the penalty. Wesley Sherill will serve as the team’s crew chief this weekend at Pocono.

Keith Wolfe, crew chief on B.J. McLeod Motorsports No. 8 Chevrolet, is suspended for one race for having two lug nuts unsecured. Tommy Joe Martins finished 24th in the race.

B.J. McLeod Motorsports told NBC Sports it will not appeal the suspension and is working on a replacement crew chief.

NASCAR also fined Cole Pearn, crew chief for Martin Truex Jr., $10,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

 

 

Brad Keselowski wins Xfinity race at Charlotte in overtime finish

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CONCORD, N.C. — Brad Keselowski won the Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in an overtime finish, claiming his second win in as many starts this season.

Keselowski, who started on the pole, led 77 laps and won over Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, Ty Dillon and Elliott Sadler.

Keselowski also won at Phoenix. He is the first repeat Xfinity winner this season.

He rebounded from pit penalty on Lap 128 for crew going over the wall too soon.

The overtime finish was setup by a debris caution with two laps left in the original 200-lap distance.

The final 28 laps were ran following a one hour rain delay.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

MORE: Race results and point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Cole Custer started and finished second after also leading 29 laps. It’s his second top five of the season … Ty Dillon placed fourth for his first top five in nine Charlotte starts. It’s also his first top five and top 10 of the season .. Elliott Sadler is the only driver with top 10s in all 11 races this season. Heplaced fifth after battling mechanical issues – including a faulty cooling unit – and a speeding penalty.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: After winning the first two stages, Kyle Busch finished eighth after he spun on a restart with 39 laps to go. He had restarted 10th after pitting and got loose trying to pass Dylan Lupton into Turn 1 … Lupton was then eliminated in a wreck with Ty Majeski on the following restart … Chase Elliott placed 37th after experiencing transmission issues on the Stage 3 restart … Tyler Reddck finished 23rd after begin involved in two wrecks, including one during the overtime restart … Justin Allgaier and Jamie McMurray were eliminated in a wreck with 20 to go.

NOTABLE: Alex Labbe had to be replaced in his No. 36 Chevrolet midway through the race by Josh Williams. He was then taken to a local hospital for an undisclosed reason and was later released and cleared to race. … Kaz Grala placed 10th in his first start for Fury Race Cars, a team co-owned by his father. It’s his best result since placing fourth at Daytona for JGL Racing … Kyle Busch is winless in his last four Xfinity starts, his longest stretch since 2014 (eight races).

POST-RACE INSPECTION: Christopher Bell’s No. 20 Toyota failed post-race height inspection. Tommy Joe Martins had one loose lug nut. Any penalties will be announced next week.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I was just heartbroken whenever I saw that piece of debris fly off those lapped cars.”- Christopher Bell on the debris caution which kept Bell from making a run at Brad Keselowski.

WHAT’S NEXT: Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway at 1 p.m. ET on June 2 on Fox Sports 1.

Cup team’s debut stirs debate on value of smaller part-time teams

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The entry of NY Racing for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 has stirred talk about the value of smaller teams unable to compete a full season in Cup after a comment from the chairman of the Race Team Alliance.

NY Racing is entered in its first Cup race of the year. JJ Yeley is the driver. The team announced Tuesday a multi-year deal with Steakhouse Elite as sponsor. The team is owned by John Cohen, whose previous Cup teams ran 16 races between 2012-15. His team’s best finish was 32nd in the 2015 Daytona 500 with Reed Sorenson. His teams also failed to qualify for seven races and withdrew five times.

The entry of NY Racing means one car will fail to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. The five teams going for the four spots available for non-charter teams are those of BJ McLeod (No. 52, Rick Ware Racing), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 55 Premium Motorsports), Timmy Hill (No. 66, Motorsports Business Management), Parker Kligerman (No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing) and Yeley.

NY Racing’s entry drew the ire of Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing and chairman of the Race Team Alliance. Kauffman tweeted about NY Racing’s entry and then responded to a few who questioned him.

Kauffman’s tweet drew a response from Xfinity driver Tommy Joe Martins, who has been vocal about the importance of smaller teams in NASCAR’s national series and the need to raise the profiles of such teams. Martins responded to Kauffman’s comments with a series of tweets.

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