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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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One Cup team, nine Xfinity teams docked practice time Friday at Texas

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FORT WORTH, Texas – Kyle Weatherman‘s Cup car will be penalized 15 minutes of practice and nine Xfinity teams will lose 15 minutes Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Weatherman will miss practice time for being late to post-qualifying/pre-race inspection last weekend at Martinsville.

Cup practice is from 2 – 2:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In the Xfinity Series, the cars of BJ McLeod, Ryan Truex, Ryan Reed, John Hunter Nemechek, Josh Bilicki, Jeremy Clements, Bayley Currey, Bobby Earnhardt and Vinnie Miller will be docked 15 minutes.

The cars of McLeod, Bilicki, Currey, Earnhardt and Miller were penalized for being out of the garage late. The cars of Truex, Reed, Nemechek and Clements were penalized for failing inspection twice at Kansas.

The first Xfinity practice is from 3:05 – 3:50 p.m. ET today on the NBC Sports App.

Six drivers earn season-best finishes at Las Vegas

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Racing is a zero sum game. For one driver to succeed, another must fail.

The opposite is also true. When one driver fails, it creates an opportunity for another to succeed.

Heavy attrition in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas last week opened to door for six drivers to score season-best results.

12th – Regan Smith: In his second start in relief for Kasey Kahne, Smith earned his 30th career top 15 in his 215th Cup start. This was his best finish since finishing third at Pocono in 2016 (19 races for the part-time driver).

16th – Corey LaJoie: This was the second time this season LaJoie finished on the lead lap. He also went the full distance at Michigan in June’s rain-shortened race and finished 27th.

17th – JJ Yeley: He scored another top 20 (18th) earlier in the year at Daytona in the Coke Zero 400. This was Yeley’s best finish on a non-restrictor plate track since he finished third at New Hampshire in June 2008.

18th – Landon Cassill: In 20 starts in 2018, this is Cassill’s first time to finish on the lead lap. His previous best finish this year was a 20th at Bristol in April.

26th – Kyle Weatherman: In six Cup starts, this is Weatherman’s first top-30 finish. He came close to cracking the top 30 in his last two starts, however, with 31st-place results at Pocono and New Hampshire.

28th – BJ McLeod: This is McLeod’s best career finish in 20 Cup starts. It comes on the heels of another top-30 finish the previous week at Indy (30th).

Two other drivers earned their second-best finish of 2018.

Playoff contender Aric Almirola took full advantage of problems for his championship rivals and finished sixth – moving up to ninth in the standings from 14th. His best finish this year was third at New Hampshire in July.

Coming off his first career Xfinity win, Ross Chastain finished 20th at Las Vegas. His best Cup finish of 2018 was an 18th at Texas – another race with heavy attrition.

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NASCAR docks seven Cup cars practice time at Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS – Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez will be penalized 30 minutes each in the first practice Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for inspection issues last weekend at Indianapolis. They are among seven Cup cars that will be penalized.

Truex and Suarez are being docked practice time for failing pre-race inspection three or more times at Indy.

The cars of Austin Dillon and Reed Sorenson will miss 15 minutes each in the first practice for failing pre-race inspection. Dillon’s team failed it at Darlington and Sorenson’s team at Bristol.

Also missing 15 minutes of the first practice is Kyle Larson (late to inspection), B.J. McLeod (late to inspection) and Ross Chastain (missing the rookie meeting).

Opening Cup practice is from 2:05 – 2:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In the Xfinity Series, two cars will be docked 30 minutes of practice in the first session and 10 cars will be docked 15 minutes each of the opening practice.

Penalized 30 minutes will be the teams of Brandon Jones and Spencer Gallagher for failing pre-race inspection three or more times.

Missing 15 minutes of Xfinity practice will be the teams of Matt Tifft, Justin Allgaier, Max Tullman, Joey Gase and David Starr for being late to inspection.

Missing 15 minutes of Xfinity practice for failing inspection twice are the teams of Ryan Truex, Ryan Preece, Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain.

Missing 15 minutes of Xfinity practice for inspection interference after a race is the team of Cole Custer.

Xfinity practice is from 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Christopher Bell wins pole for Truck race at Bristol

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Christopher Bell climbed into the No. 51 to sub for an ailing Harrison Burton and qualified on the pole for tonight’s Truck race at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 125.839 mph.

He beat Ben Rhodes (125.765 mph) by .020 seconds.

John Hunter Nemechek (125.518), Johnny Sauter (125.273) and Grant Enfinger (124.533) rounded out the top five.

In round one of qualification, Matt Crafton and Norm Benning made contact, doing damage to the right front fender of the Crafton’s No. 88. He posted the 17th best time in that session. Crafton failed to advance to the final round and will line up 18th.

Gray Gaulding, Timothy Peters, BJ McLeod, Benning, and Jennifer Jo Cobb failed to qualify.