Jerry Bonkowski

Starting lineup for Saturday’s Truck Series race at Kentucky

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Brett Moffitt will start from the pole for Saturday’s NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FS1) thanks to a random draw.

He will be joined on the front row by Zane Smith. In fact, the first three drivers are all from GMS Racing: Moffitt, Smith and Tyler Ankrum, who will start third.

Rounding out the top five are Christian Eckes and Austin Hill.

Click here for the starting lineup 

NASCAR Truck Series at Kentucky

Race Time: 6 p.m. ET Saturday

Track: Kentucky Speedway; Sparta, Kentucky (1.5-mile speedway)

Length: 150 laps, 225 miles

Stages: Stage 1 ends on Lap 35. Stage 2 ends on Lap 70.

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Motor Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); mrn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Cup race: Sunday at Kentucky (267 laps, 400.5 miles), 2:30 p.m. ET on Fox

Next Xfinity race: Thursday at Kentucky (134 laps, 201 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1

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Starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race at Kentucky

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Two-time winner Kyle Busch will start from the pole for Sunday’s Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1) thanks to a random draw.

He will be joined on the front row by Joey Logano.

The top five is completed by Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman.

Click here for the starting lineup

NASCAR Cup Series at Kentucky

Race Time: 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday

Track: Kentucky Speedway; Sparta, Kentucky (1.5-mile speedway)

Length: 267 laps, 400.5 miles

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

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Thursday at Kentucky (134 laps, 201 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Next Truck race: Saturday at Kentucky (150 laps, 225 miles) 6 p.m. ET on FS1

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Starting lineup for Thursday’s Xfinity race at Kentucky

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Noah Gragson will start on the pole for Thursday’s first race (8 p.m. ET on FS1) of an Xfinity Series weekend doubleheader at Kentucky Speedway after a random draw.

Gragson will be joined on the front row by Ross Chastain.

The top five is completed by Jeb Burton, Michael Annett and Harrison Burton.

Click here for Thursday’s starting lineup


NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kentucky Speedway (two weekend races)

Race Time: 8 p.m. ET Thursday and again at 8 p.m. ET Friday.

Track: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky (1.5-mile speedway)

Length: Thursday 134 laps (201 miles) and Friday 200 laps (300 miles)

Stages: Thursday Stage 1 ends on Lap 30. Stage 2 ends on Lap 60. Friday Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

TV coverage: Thursday FS1. Friday FS1.

Radio: Performance Radio Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for both races.

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Cup race: Sunday at Kentucky (267 laps, 400.5 miles), 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1

Next Truck Series race: Saturday at Kentucky (150 laps, 225 miles), 6 p.m. ET on FS1

Chandler Smith ready for first intermediate Truck Series start

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You might say Chandler Smith is growing up a little bit more this weekend.

Having turned 18 years old less than two weeks ago, the Talking Rock, Georgia native will compete in his first career 1.5-mile NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series race Saturday at Kentucky Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FS1). It will also be his first Truck start of 2020.

Smith, who made four Truck Series starts last season, with three top five finishes and one other top 10 showing, will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra once again.

“Overall I’m really excited,” Smith said in a Wednesday video conference call. “I’ve gotten a bit of (simulator) time in and my new crew chief, Danny Stockman, we’ve done a lot of studying together and the whole team feels like we’re gonna go there and we’re gonna be really hard to beat even though it’s my first time on an intermediate (track).”

Smith — who already has two wins this season in the ARCA Menards Series — is going to Kentucky to win.

“My No. 51 JBL crew has already won three races this season (including two wins by Busch),” Smith said. “So I don’t see any problem on making it a fourth win for these guys.

“They’re a very good team. Danny’s a very good crew chief, the chemistry and everything between me and the team is just as good as it was last year when I was with the 51. So I think we’re going to be really tough to beat. But I think the ultimate goal is I’m a rookie and let’s get all 150 laps in and gain experience.”

That may be easier said than done. Not only is this Smith’s first career Truck Series start on an intermediate length track, he also will take the green flag with no actual on-track practice or qualifying time.

“I’m not as nervous about it as I was before yesterday,” Smith said. “I had a meeting yesterday with Danny, my engineer and I told them I think I’m gonna be fine, the only thing to worry about is air. I mean, I’ve been struggling a lot on these bigger tracks (via the simulator) and we’ve been racing around people and getting in dirty air and getting too tight and so forth.

“They kind of helped me there and described a little more and kind of helped me with situations and finding out stuff and I think we’ll be really good now.”

Now that he’s of legal age at least in NASCAR terms to race on all sizes of tracks, Smith is ready for his career to move ahead even further.

“This opens up running for championships potentially now and actually be able to run every single racetrack,” he said. “That’s big for me because anything I’ve ever done before was short tracks, a mile tops like I ran Iowa last year, for instance. So this is gonna be big for me. I’m really excited for it.

“I have expectations for myself and I set my expectations a lot higher than other people do for myself, honestly. And I feel like that’s kind of why I am where I am today because I set those expectations and I’m going to work twice as hard to meet those expectations.

“I’m with the 51 JBL team with Kyle Busch Motorsports and that’s definitely one of the best teams out there right now in the trucks. So yes, there’s a little pressure because how much success the 51 team runs with, but I think with my getting in there and Dany working together, I think the chemistry between me and Danny … is going to be really hard to beat.”

The big boss, Kyle Busch, has also been a key influence upon Smith.

“Kyle treats me great,” Smith said. “I loaded him up with a bunch of questions about Kentucky and he was free handed and we talked for about 30 minutes. He’s a very good dude for me, always been right for me, always put a lot of trust in me and he thinks I’m worthy enough to get into the truck that he’s in. That puts a lot of relief and also pressure on me, somebody else believes in me like that.”

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Power Rankings after Indianapolis: Kevin Harvick back to No. 1

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Helped greatly by his win in the Brickyard 400, Kevin Harvick returns to the top spot in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings.

Harvick was a unanimous pick of NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers, knocking Denny Hamlin off last week’s No. 1 perch.

Making the biggest gain this week is Matt Kenseth, who is ranked fifth after being unranked last week. Chase Elliott suffered the biggest drop, from fourth last week to 10th this week.

Here’s how this week’s rankings look:

1. Kevin Harvick (30 points): Among his 53 career wins, he has three Brickyard 400s, two Coke 600s, one Southern 500 and one Daytona 500. Last week: second.

2. Aric Almirola (26 points): Keeps churning out top five finishes; goes for a half dozen in a row this weekend at Kentucky. Last week: third.

3. Brad Keselowski (18 points): Placed fourth at Indy, earning his ninth top 10 finish in the last 11 races this season. Last week: fifth.

4. Denny Hamlin (17 points): If it hadn’t of been for his late tire issue and crash, we likely would be talking about the great run and win Hamlin had at Indy. Last week: first.

5. Matt Kenseth (14 points): He may be the oldest active driver on the NASCAR Cup circuit, but Kenseth showed Sunday he still knows how to wheel a race car. Nearly secured a playoff spot at Indy with a win but had to settle for his fourth career runner-up finish there. Last week: unranked.

6. Kyle Busch (13 points): Climbs back into the rankings but remains one of the biggest mysteries of the season, namely, how can the defending Cup champion still be winless? Can he finally break through this Sunday at Kentucky? Last week: unranked.

7. Chase Briscoe (12 points): Heck of a finish in the Xfinity race on the Indy road course. All he does is win, win, win. Is now only three wins away from reaching his preseason prediction of eight wins in 2020. Last week: eighth.

8. Michael McDowell (10 points): Two top 10 finishes in the last three races for the Front Row Motorsports driver. Last week: unranked.

9. Cole Custer (8 points): Finished fifth and gave teammate Kevin Harvick the key push on the final restart at Indy. Last week: unranked.

10. Chase Elliott (5 points): Four top 10s in the last seven races. Last week: fourth.

Others receiving votes: Matt DiBenedetto (4 points), Bubba Wallace (3 points), Kurt Busch (2 points), Tyler Reddick (2 points), Austin Dillon (1 point).