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Austin Cindric wins pole for Xfinity race at Kentucky

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SPARTA, Ky. – Austin Cindric, whose crew chief was ejected by NASCAR on Thursday for a body modification to the team’s car, will start on the pole for Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

“This is an awesome start,” Cindric told NBCSN. “Starting from the right spot. Hopefully finish in the right spot.”

Cindric won his first pole of the season with a lap of 180.030 mph. Christopher Bell, who won this race last year, starts second after a lap of 179.623 mph.

They are followed by JR Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson (179.551 mph) and Justin Allgaier (179.342). Cole Custer starts fifth after a lap of 179.277 mph.

Click here for qualifying results

Also, the car chief for Custer’s team was ejected after Custer’s car failed inspection three times before qualifying.

NBCSN’s coverage of the Xfinity Series race begins at 7 p.m. ET. The wunderground.com forecast calls for sunny skies with a high of 84 degrees and no chance of rain.

 

Xfinity Series practice report from Kentucky

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Cole Custer was fastest in the final Xfinity Series practice session Thursday at Kentucky Speedway.

Custer posted a top speed of 180.210 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

The top five was completed by Christopher Bell (179.934 mph), Tyler Reddick (179.294), Noah Gragson (178.938) and Brandon Jones (178.902).

Custer recorded the most laps in the session with 52 and had the best 10-lap average at 178.875 mph.

The session was slowed once for Chad Finchum making contact with the wall.

Click here for the practice report.

First practice

Christopher Bell was fastest in the first practice session

Bell posted a top speed of 177.579 mph.

The top five was completed by John Hunter Nemechek (177.049 mph), Reddick (176.857), Custer (176.171) and Austin Cindric (175.970).

Cindric was in the top five after his crew chief, Brian Wilson, was ejected from the race weekend due to a L1 level penalty.

Michael Annett recorded the most laps in the session with 43. He was 11th on the speed chart.

Click here for the practice report.

The final practice session is scheduled for 6-6:50 p.m. ET.

 

NASCAR ejects Team Penske crew chief for Austin Cindric

Photo: Dustin Long
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SPARTA, Ky. – NASCAR ejected crew chief Brian Wilson on Thursday and suspended him for the rest of the weekend for an L1 penalty for body modification to Austin Cindric‘s Xfinity Series car.

Wilson also was fined $10,000.

Cindric was docked 10 points. Team Penske was docked 10 car owner points.

Cindric remains fourth in the points after the penalty. He has 589 points. He’s now 16 points ahead of fifth-place Justin Allgaier heading into Friday’s race at Kentucky Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Cole Custer dominates for fourth Xfinity win of season

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JOLIET, Illinois – Cole Custer had one of the most dominant performances of his career, leading 151 of 200 laps to win Saturday’s Camping World 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Having previously won this season at Fontana, Richmond and Pocono, Custer joins Christopher Bell as the only two drivers to earn four NASCAR Xfinity Series victories apiece thus far this season.

Awesome car, I don’t know how it could have been any better,” Custer told crew chief Mike Shiplett over the team radio after grabbing the checkered flag.

The 21-year-old Custer held off a strong challenge in the closing laps from pole sitter Joey Logano – making his first Xfinity start of the year – and Bell to earn the sixth win of his Xfinity Series career (in 86 starts).

“This is a great track, I’ve wanted to win here for a long time,” Custer said. “You can see we’ve been getting better and better over the year. … It means a lot.”

Bell, who finished third, was disqualified about an hour after the checkered flag fell when his car was found to be too low in post-race inspection. He becomes the second driver to be disqualified in a NASCAR race in the last 13 days (Ross Chastain was DQ’d after winning the Trucks race at Iowa on June 16, also for the front end of his truck being too low).

Before Bell’s disqualification, Custer was asked about beating his two top challengers in the series, Bell and Tyler Reddick. “The three of us are racing for wins every weekend,” Custer said. “I think we will continue to get better throughout this summer stretch and have something to look out for.”

Logano finished second, followed by Michael Annett, Brandon Jones and Austin Cidric. Sixth through 10th were Noah Gragson (highest-finishing rookie), Justin Haley, Ross Chastain, Reddick and Riley Herbst.

Race results: Click here

Xfinity standings: Click here

Logano paid Custer a big compliment, saying, “He did good. It’s funny when you come down to the next level down and see the next up-and-coming talent, he’s ready for it (NASCAR Cup), I can say that much.”

BJ McLeod hit the wall on Lap 173, bringing out the caution, leading several drivers to pit for tires and a final tank of gas. On the ensuing restart on Lap 179, Custer dove to the bottom of the track and easily went from fourth to first and set sail the remainder of the way for the victory.

Several drivers were penalized prior to the race and dropped to the back of the field for the green flag: The No. 98 (Chase Briscoe) and No. 78 (Vinnie Miller) for unapproved adjustments, the No. 28 (Shane Lee) for an engine change, the No. 17 (Josh Bilicki) for a driver change (the team had not listed a driver name on the original entry list), the No. 38 (Jeff Green) for missing the driver/crew chief meeting and the No. 42 (Chad Finchum) for crew chief (Brian Keselowski) missing the driver/crew chief meeting.

Stage 1 winner: Cole Custer (6th stage win of season)

Stage 2 winner: Joey Logano

Who had a good race: Cole Custer put on a driving clinic with his performance. He went high when he needed to and also dropped low, essentially using virtually every inch of the track he needed. While so much has been said about Christopher Bell this season, if Saturday’s performance is a good indicator, keep your eyes on Custer as a potential Xfinity champion.

Who had a bad race: Illinois native Justin Allgaier had a rough day. He had a solo spin on Lap 11 while running third, was forced into the wall on Lap 116 after Jeffrey Earnhardt got loose and washed up the racetrack in front of Allgaier, and then hit the wall hard on Lap 129. He immediately took his car to the garage, his day over. “Just bummed to be here,” Allgaier told NBCSN after being checked at the infield care center. “It was a rough day … a very disappointing day.”

Notable: Joey Logano drove like he’s been competing all season in the Xfinity Series, even though this was his first start of the season in NASCAR’s junior league. Logano started from the pole and had the second-best car on track, but didn’t have quite enough to overtake Custer.

Next race: Circle K Firecracker 250; Friday July 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET; Daytona International Speedway (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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Practice report for Friday’s Xfinity sessions at Chicagoland

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Defending NASCAR Cup champion Joey Logano was fastest in Friday’s second and final NASCAR Xfinity Series practice at Chicagoland Speedway.

Driving the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang, Logano paced the field around the 1.5-mile oval at 174.554 mph. This is Logano’s first appearance in an Xfinity Series race field this season.

Tyler Reddick was second-fastest at 173.896 mph.

Cole Custer was third-fastest (173.879 mph), followed by Austin Cindric (173.874), Justin Allgaier (173.745), Noah Gragson (173.734), Ross Chastain (173.533), Brandon Jones (172.855), Zane Smith (172.706) and Ryan Sieg (172.315).

The start of the session was delayed by more than 30 minutes due to a lightning strike that occurred near the track, as well as a severe thunderstorm warning that was issued for the area due east of the track.

NASCAR held off on sending cars back on-track before the abbreviated 30-minute session began.

Click here for the speed chart from the second practice.

FIRST PRACTICE:

Tyler Reddick was fastest (174.916 mph) in Friday’s first Xfinity Series practice at Chicagoland Speedway. Reddick was nearly 2 mph faster than Cole Custer (173.182 mph), followed by Christopher Bell (173.044), Joey Logano (172.927) and Michael Annett (172.822).

Sixth through 10th were Ross Chastain (172.535 mph), Justin Haley (172.177), Chase Briscoe (171.985), Zane Smith (171.832) and John Hunter Nemechek (171.478).

With about eight minutes to go in the session, Chastain skimmed the outside wall but damage was very minor.

Overconfidence by the driver,” Chastain told NBC Sports. “Just a little too confident trying to run the top. So I have to learn and be a little bit better.”

Four drivers were penalized for various violations:

* The No. 28 of Shane Lee – 15 minutes for being late to inspection.

* The No. 42 of Chad Finchum – 15 minutes for being late to inspection.

* The No. 90 of Ronnie Bassett Jr. – 15 minutes for failing inspection twice.

* The No. 81 of Jeffrey Earnhardt – 30 minutes for being late to inspection and failing inspection twice.

Click here for the full practice speed chart.

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