BJ McLeod

Chase Briscoe holds off Kyle Busch for thrilling Darlington Xfinity win

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Chase Briscoe held off Kyle Busch in a thrilling last-lap drag race to the checkered flag to win Thursday’s Toyota 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.

It capped an emotional few days for Briscoe. Earlier this week, he and his pregnant wife learned they had lost their first child.

The 23-year-old Briscoe broke into tears after climbing out of his race car, telling FS1: “That’s for my wife. This is the hardest week I’ve ever had to deal with. I was crying in the race car and emotionally I wasn’t there at all.

“This is more than a race win, it’s the biggest day of my life after the toughest day of my life. To beat the best there is just so satisfying.”

Click here for results, driver standings

Briscoe, who beat Busch to the checkered flag by .086 seconds, led 44 laps en route to his fourth career Xfinity triumph and second of the season.

Busch finished second, followed by Justin Allgaier, Austin Cindric and polesitter Noah Gragson.

If there was a comeback award, Busch would have won hands down. He won Stage 2 and was coming off pit road on the resulting caution when he was caught speeding, sending him to the back of the field for the restart for the final segment.

He quickly moved through the field and came up about one car length short.

“I hated we had the pit road penalty,” Busch said. “No excuses, just got busted for speeding unfortunately, .02 over and had to go to the back. Hopefully we put on a good show for the fans.”

It was the Xfinity Series’ first event since the season was suspended March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The race was scheduled for Tuesday night, but rain forced its postponement to today at Noon ET. Even with that, rain Thursday caused a 4 ½-hour delay until the green flag.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Noah Gragson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Justin Allgaier had a strong car and appeared to be the only challenge for Briscoe and Busch, but couldn’t get back to the front, having to settle for third.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: It was a bad end to what had been a good day up to that point: Michael Annett was running fourth and charging toward the lead when a tire went down on him with 15 laps to go, leading to a spin that caused significant damage to the right front of his car.

NOTABLE: Brett Moffitt made his first race start since suffering two broken legs in a motocross accident in mid-March and didn’t look too worse for the wear, finishing 11th.

WHAT’S NEXT: Alsco 300, Monday March 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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Wednesday’s Cup race at Darlington: Start time, lineup and more

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Let’s go again.

The NASCAR Cup Series looks to race again Wednesday night at Darlington Raceway (weather permitting). The race is scheduled to be the the second of five Cup races in a 14-day period. The stretch began with Sunday’s 400-mile event at Darlington won by Kevin Harvick.

Wednesday’s race is scheduled for 311 miles (500 kilometers).

Here is the info for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Guy Fieri will give the command to start engines at 6:14 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave for the Toyota 500 at 6:26 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 10 a.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Engine prime and final adjustments at 4 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 4:30 p.m. on NASCAR.com. Drivers report to their cars at 5:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 6:05 p.m. by car owner Joe Gibbs. The National Anthem will be performed at 6:06 p.m. by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Jewel.

DISTANCE: The race is 228 laps (311 miles/500k) around the 1.366-mile oval.

PACE LAP: At the direction of race control, drivers will have the opportunity to run one pace lap down pit road before the green flag for a pit road speed check. If drivers stop in their box for any reason, pull over or slow down, they will start at the rear of the field.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 25

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 60. Stage 2 ends on Lap 125.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race and can also be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms with a high of 65 degrees and 34% chance of rain at the race’s start.

LAST RACE: Kevin Harvick dominated Sunday’s race at Darlington, leading 159 of 293 laps to record his 50th career series win. Alex Bowman finished second. Kurt Busch placed third.

LINEUP (top 20 finishers from Sunday inverted, rest start where finished): Click here for Cup starting lineup

PENALTIES: BJ McLeod will start at the rear of the field and serve a drive through penalty at the start of the race for multiple inspection failures. Corey LaJoie will start from the rear for multiple inspection failures. Erik Jones will start from the rear for unapproved adjustments.

CATCHING UP TO SPEED WITH NBC SPORTS COVERAGE:

Matt Kenseth: Tyler Reddick is “just incredibly talented”

Bump & Run: Who impressed most at Darlington?

NASCAR suspends one crew chief, fines five others for Darlington

Kevin Harvick aware of “responsibility” that comes with 50+ Cup wins

Kevin Harvick to run race-winning car again at Darlington 

Winners and losers from Sunday’s Darlington race

Instead of stripe, Darlington gives two rookies pat on back Sunday

Long: Sunday was a day unlike any other in NASCAR

 

NASCAR reveals competition rule changes for Darlington

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A random draw will play a role in determining the starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox), NASCAR announced Tuesday.

NASCAR also revealed that the field will be frozen during the Lap 30 competition caution and allowed to pit two separate times.

The starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington will be set by owner points and a random draw. NASCAR has not determined when the draw will take place but it is expected to be before Sunday.

Positions 1-12 will be set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

What that means is that Kevin Harvick, whose team ranks first in car owner points, no longer is guaranteed to start on the pole. His team could team draw the No. 1 spot or as low as the No. 12 spot. Kyle Busch is 12th in car owner points. If his team is lucky, he could end up starting on the pole based on the random draw.

Or Matt Kenseth could end up on the pole in his first Cup race since the end of the 2018 season. Kenseth makes his season debut in the No. 42 car for Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend. That team is seventh in car owner points.

Those in the top 12 in car owner points are (in order from first): Harvick, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Kenseth, Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

Here is how the rest of the starting lineup will be set:

Positions 13-24 will be set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

Those drivers (in order from 13th in car owner points are): Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bubba Wallace, William Byron, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, Cole Custer and Corey LaJoie.

Positions 25-36 will be set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

Those drivers (in order from 25th in car owner points are): Ty Dillon, Tyler Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek, Michael McDowell, Garrett Smithley, Brennan Poole, Reed Sorenson, Christopher Bell, Ryan Preece, Joey Gase, Quin Houff and JJ Yeley.

Positions 37-40 will be for non-chartered teams based in order of owner points. Those drivers are Daniel SuarezTimmy Hill, Josh Bilicki and BJ McLeod.

MORE: Entry list for Darlington

MORE: Storylines –  Where NASCAR Cup Series left off

Pit stalls will be picked in order based on charter team owner points followed by non-chartered team owner points. Harvick’s team will have the first choice of pit stalls since it is first in car owner points.

NASCAR also announced changes to the competition caution for Sunday’s Darlington race. The changes are being made since teams will not have any practice or qualifying before the race. This will give teams extra time to make needed adjustments.

The field will be frozen at the time of the caution on Lap 30.

When pit road is open, only the top 20 cars will be allowed to pit. Each car that pits must beat the pace car off pit road to retain its position.

On the next lap, the other 20 cars will pit. Each car that pits must beat the pace car off pit road to retain its position.

Then, the top 20 cars will be allowed to pit a second time. On the next lap, the other 20 cars will be allowed to pit again.

After the second cycle for each team is completed, the lineup will be set and the race will resume.

Infractions under this modified competition caution structure are:

  • Not beating the pace car off pit road results in loss of lap and restarting at tail of the field.
  • Pitting more than twice or out of sequence results in restarting at the tail of the field.
  • All current pit road rules are in effect.

Garrett Smithley returns to Rick Ware Racing for ‘expanded’ Cup schedule

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Garrett Smithley will return to Rick Ware Racing this year to compete in an “expanded” Cup Series schedule, the team announced Tuesday.

Smithley, who made nine Cup starts for the team last year, will make his season debut this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He joins a driver lineup that includes JJ Yeley, Joey Gase, and BJ McLeod.

Smithley has 17 Cup starts since 2018 and 132 Xfinity Series starts since 2015. He spent the last four years as a full-time driver for JD Motorsports in the Xfinity Series.

“The time is now to increase my Cup Series schedule,” Smithley said in a press release. “It’s important to get as much seat time in the Cup Series as NASCAR transitions to the next generation car. Also, the Cup Series offers my marketing partners additional exposure.”

Victory Lane Quick Oil Change and Trophy Tractor will be Smithley’s sponsors.

 

David Starr to race for JD Motorsports in Xfinity Series

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Veteran NASCAR driver David Starr will race fulltime in the Xfinity Series this season for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, the team announced Thursday.

Starr joins the Gaffney, South Carolina-based team after spending the last two seasons driving for Jimmy Means Racing (finished 23rd in 2018 and 22nd in 2019).

The team has switched from the No. 01 car number to No. 6 Chevrolet for this season.

“It’s a new year, a new number, and a new driver all in one, and the team expects to make 2020 one of their best seasons yet,” a team media release stated.

Starr has 196 career Xfinity starts, with a career-best finish of fifth in the 2017 summer race at Daytona International Speedway.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to drive for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller,” Starr said in the release. “In the last two or three years, I have noticed their vast improvements as a race team on the competition side of things, and now that I will be joining forces with them, I hope to help a strong team become even stronger.

“I want to help grow their program and bring them long run success, and we have all the right pieces together to make it happen.”

Starr joins B.J. McLeod and Garrett Smithley on the team. Starr will make his debut with his new team in the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 Xfinity Series season opener February 15 at Daytona.

@Starr_Racing @JDMotorsports01

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