Brandon Jones

NASCAR penalty report after Las Vegas

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NASCAR on Wednesday issued five penalties to crew chiefs in the Cup or Xfinity series following this past weekend’s racing action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In the Cup Series, crew chiefs Greg Ives (No. 88 driven by Alex Bowman), Adam Stevens (No. 18 driven by Kyle Busch) and John Klausmeier (No. 10 driven by Aric Almirola) were each fined $10,000 apiece for lug nut(s) not properly installed, found during post-race inspection.

In the Xfinity Series, crew chiefs David Elenz (No. 9 driven by Noah Gragson) and Jeff Meendering (No. 19 driven by Brandon Jones) were each fined $5,000 apiece for lug nut(s) not properly installed, found during post-race inspection.

There were no other penalties assessed.

In addition, driver Bayley Currey was reinstated after completing NASCAR’s Road To Recovery substance abuse program.

Xfinity practice report at Las Vegas

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There was no slowing down Tyler Reddick during Friday’s two Xfinity Series practices at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as he was fastest in both sessions.

In the second session, Reddick covered the 1.5-mile oval at 175.644 mph, just about a half-second slower than his speed in the first practice.

Click here for second Xfinity practice results.

Justin Allgaier was second-fastest in the second session (175.120 mph), followed by John Hunter Nemechek (174.593 mph), Christopher Bell (174.407) and Noah Gragson (174.227).

Sixth through 10th were Brandon Jones (174.227 mph), Austin Cindric (173.930), Chase Briscoe (173.784), Justin Haley (173.728) and Landon Cassill (173.650).

Only 34 cars took to the track in the second session.

Qualifying takes place Saturday at 2:35 p.m. ET, with the 200-lap final playoff qualifying race set to take the green flag shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET.

FIRST PRACTICE SESSION

Tyler Reddick was fastest in the first of two Xfinity Series practices Friday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Reddick, driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro, covered the 1.5-mile oval with a top speed of 176.131 mph, the only driver to exceed 176 mph.

Click here for first Xfinity practice results.

Chase Briscoe was second-fastest (175.781 mph), followed by Austin Cindric (175.256 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (175.075 mph) and Brandon Jones (174.938 mph).

Sixth through 10th were Noah Gragson (174.859), Ryan Truex (174.814), Cole Custer (174.808), Christopher Bell (174.803) and Ryan Sieg (174.718).

A total of 37 cars took to the track for the session.

The second and final practice session will be today from 6:35 p.m. ET to 7:25 p.m. ET.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Xfinity practice report from Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS – Justin Haley posted the fastest lap in Friday’s final practice session for the Xfinity Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Haley led the way with a lap of 168.227 mph. He was followed by Tyler Reddick (168.199 mph), Brandon Jones (168.196), Austin Dillon (167.713) and Kyle Busch (167.710).

The only incident involved Michael Annett when his bumper cover was knocked off after contact from Mike Harmon. Annett’s team were repairing the car.

“Arguing with an idiot,” Annett said of his conversation with Harmon after the incident.

“Watched (Bell) go underneath him going into 3 so I was following the 20. He just kept coming down and coming down. … He just kept coming down. My left sides were on the curbing and in the grass. He said his spotter told him he was clear, he was coming down pit road. Spotter tells our spotter he never said anything. Just a bunch of idiots. We’re going too fast to have people like that out there. If he’s blaming it on the spotter, he better have someone else up there.”

Click here for final practice report

Jones had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 166.151 mph. He was followed by Christopher Bell (165.934 mph) and Austin Cindric (165.614.)

 

FIRST PRACTICE

Joe Gibbs Racing cars went 1-2-3 in the first of two Xfinity practice sessions Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Christopher Bell led the way with a lap of 168.218 mph. He was followed by JGR teammates Brandon Jones (168.215 mph) and Kyle Busch (167.782). Michael Annett was next at 167.682 mph and Ryan Sieg was fifth at 167.635 mph.

Click here for practice results

There were no incidents in the session. No driver ran 10 or more consecutive laps.

Final Xfinity practice will be from 4:05 – 4:55 p.m. ET Friday.

Qualifying will take place Saturday. The series races at 3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN.

Xfinity Series playoff clinching scenarios for Indianapolis

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While the Cup Series’ regular season comes to a conclusion this weekend in Indianapolis, the Xfinity Series still has two races before its 12-driver playoff field is settled.

The first of those two races is Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Four spots remain to be finalized in the playoff field. The drivers who have already clinched via a win or points are: Tyler Reddick (four wins, standings leader), Christopher Bell (six wins), Cole Custer (six wins), Austin Cindric (two wins), Chase Briscoe (one win), Michael Annett (one win), Justin Allgaier (points) and Noah Gragson (points).

Reddick, the defending series champion, can lock up the regular-season title and 15 playoff points this weekend.

He’ll clinch the title if he leaves Indy with a 61-point lead above second place. He currently holds a 51-point lead on Bell.

Here are the three other drivers who can clinch a playoff spot this weekend and their clinching scenarios.

Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing No. 11 Chevrolet (+88 points above cutline) – The rookie driver would clinch with a win or would clinch on points with 45 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Allgaier, Gragson, John Hunter Nemechek or Brandon Jones), he would clinch on points with 23 points.

Haley will be making his first start at IMS.

John Hunter Nemechek, GMS Racing No. 23 Chevrolet (+35 points) – Would clinch with a win or could clinch on points with help.

Making his second start at IMS. Finished 25th last year after being involved in an incident.

Brandon Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota (+22 points) – Would clinch with a win or could clinch on points with a repeat winner (or a win by Allgaier, Gragson, Haley or Nemechek) and help.

Jones has made three series starts at Indianapolis, posting three top 10s and an average finish of 9.7.

Every other driver in the series can only clinch a spot this weekend via a win.

Ryan Sieg currently holds the 12th and final playoff spot with 647 points.

Behind him is Gray Gaulding, who trails Sieg by 119 points.

NASCAR Darlington penalty report

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NASCAR on Wednesday issued five penalties — four in Cup and one in the Xfinity Series — stemming from last weekend’s Cup and Xfinity races at Darlington Raceway.

In Cup, four crew chiefs were each fined $10,000 apiece for lug nut(s) not properly installed:

* Mike Wheeler, No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota (driver Matt DiBenedetto).

* Greg Ives, No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (driver Alex Bowman).

* Chad Knaus, No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (driver William Byron).

* Chad Johnston, No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet (driver Kyle Larson).

In the Xfinity Series, one crew chief was fined $5,000 for lug nut(s) not properly installed:

* Jeff Meendering, No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (driver Brandon Jones).

There were no other penalties issued.

Follow @JerryBonkowski