Brandon Brown

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Ross Chastain fastest in lone Xfinity practice at Las Vegas

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Ross Chastain was fastest in the only Xfinity Series practice session of the weekend Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Chastain covered the 1.5-mile oval with a speed of 176.881 mph, best of the 33 cars that took to the track.

Chastain is entered in all three races this weekend: he competed in Friday night’s Truck race, will be in Saturday’s Xfinity race and will replace the injured Ryan Newman in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 NASCAR Cup race.

Second through fifth fastest were Brandon Brown (176.719 mph), Chase Briscoe (176.673), Brandon Jones (176.650) and Justin Allgaier (176.206).

Sixth through 10th were Austin Cindric (176.154 mph), Daytona winner Noah Gragson (176.028), Daniel Hemric (175.970), Justin Haley (175.547) and Harrison Burton (175.296).

There was one incident of note in the 81-minute and only Xfinity practice session of the weekend.

Myatt Snider got loose about 35 minutes into the session. While he stayed off the wall, he tore up a good chunk of infield grass, causing significant body and suspension damage.

Snider took his car to the garage and moved into his back-up ride.

Saturday will see Xfinity qualifying early in the afternoon, followed a few hours later by the Boyd Gaming 300 race.

Xfinity practice results

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Results, point standings after Xfinity Series season opener

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Noah Gragson came out on top Saturday in the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway, claiming his first career series win.

Gragson beat Harrison Burton, Timmy Hill, Brandon Jones and Chase Briscoe.

It is JR Motorsports’ third straight win in the season-opening race.

Click here for the results.

Point standings

Leaving Daytona, Gragson has a three-point advantage over Justin Haley.

The top five is completed by Burton (-11 points), Jones (-13) and Brandon Brown (-14).

Click here for the full standings.

Xfinity Series practice report from Daytona

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Caesar Bacarella was fastest in the final Xfinity Series practice session Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

Bacarella was one of 21 drivers to make lap in the session. He posted a top speed of 186.293 mph.

No drivers from top-tier teams made a lap in the session.

The top five was completed by Brandon Brown, Ryan Sieg, CJ McLaughlin and Josh Williams.

Click here for the practice report.

First practice

Noah Gragson was fastest in the first of two Xfinity Series practice sessions Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

The JR Motorsports’ driver posted a top speed of 190.621 mph around the 2.5-mile speedway. Gragson made 17 laps in the session.

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain (190.621 mph), Justin Haley (190.573), AJ Allmendinger (190.569) and Brett Moffitt (190.512).

Rookie Riley Herbst recorded the most laps in the session with 24.

Click here for the speed chart.

Four Cup teams docked practice in Miami

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The Cup cars of Chase Elliott, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto and Joe Nemechek each will miss 15 minutes of Friday’s opening Cup practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway for failing inspection twice last weekend at ISM Raceway, NASCAR announced.

First Cup practice is scheduled from 3:35 – 4:25 p.m. ET today on NBCSN.

In the Xfinity Series, the cars of Ryan Sieg, Bobby Earnhardt and Brandon Brown will each miss 15 minutes of opening practice for being late to inspection previously.

Xfinity opening practice is scheduled from 2:35 – 3:25 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Cole Custer earns 7th win of season, now it’s on to Xfinity 2nd round

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His car may carry the number 00, but Cole Custer was No. 1 Saturday, winning the final race of the first round of the Xfinity playoffs at Dover International Speedway, propelling him and seven other drivers into the Round of 8, which begins in two weeks at Kansas.

It was Custer’s seventh win of the season, tying him with Christopher Bell for most wins in the 2019 Xfinity Season. Custer led 31 laps in his 100th career start in the Xfinity Series. It was also the ninth career Xfinity Series win for the 21-year-old Custer.

“I’ve wanted to win here so bad for so long,” Custer told NBCSN. “I’ve been close a number of times. To win the gold Monster (trophy) is just unbelievable. … I think it’s every driver’s favorite race track. Everybody wants the Monster. It’s such a cool race track. … It’s definitely one you want to cross off the box.”

Justin Allgaier finished second, followed by Austin Cindric, Justin Haley and Chase Briscoe. Sixth through 10th were Michael Annett, Noah Gragson, John Hunter Nemechek, Zane Smith and Ryan Sieg.

The eight drivers that move on to the second round of the playoffs are: Christopher Bell, Briscoe, Custer, Cindric, Allgaier, Tyler Reddick, Gragson and Annett. The first seven drivers were locked into the playoffs either coming into the race or during the race, except for Annett, who had to race his way into the second round with a strong performance late in the race, holding off Haley and Nemechek and keeping both of them from advancing.

“I was trying to do my high school math out there and I think I needed to beat the 23 (Nemechek) by eight (points) in that last segment, so our strategy helped,” Annett told NBCSN. :I just wanted to hang tough and bring it home and that’s what these guys deserved. This is my best playoff run since we’ve started these playoffs so I’m looking forward to it as we have a lot of good tracks ahead of us.”

The four drivers that were eliminated from advancing in the playoffs were Brandon Jones, Nemechek, Sieg and Haley.

Even though he’s assured of moving on to Round 2, it was an uncharacteristically bad day for points leader Christopher Bell, who had to pit during Stage 1 to replace a carburetor, dropping him 14 laps behind the leaders. Bell returned to the race and finished 25th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier 

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier (seventh stage win of season; second time he’s swept both stages in a race this season – also did it at Bristol in spring).

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Cole Custer is one of Xfinity’s so-called “Big 3” and showed why he is in that elite company Saturday. He may not have had the best car, but great pit strategy and staying out of trouble brought home the win and put him in second place in the reset points heading into Round 2 of the playoffs. … And don’t overlook Chase Briscoe’s rally from last for unapproved adjustments after a misfire in qualifying to first before finishing fifth. He led a race-high 71 laps before the misfire returned late in the event.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brandon Jones’ hopes to advance to the second round of the Xfinity playoffs lasted just two turns before he was involved in a first lap wreck with Harrison Burton that left Jones’ car unable to be repaired. “I always try to find the positives with this kind of stuff, obviously none today,” Jones, who finished 37th, told NBSCN. … Jeremy Clements’ motor blew up on Lap 10, ending his day (finished 36th).

NOTABLE: Brandon Brown‘s 11th-place finish was his best finish since placing sixth at Daytona in July. Saturday’s finish marked the second time he’s placed better than 12th this year. 

WHAT’S NEXT: The Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway kicks off the Round of 8 second round of the Xfinity playoffs on Oct. 19 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

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