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Tonight’s Xfinity race at Kentucky: Start time, lineup and more

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The last time the Xfinity Series raced at Kentucky Speedway, Tyler Reddick won to earn his first career series victory. Could the same thing happen in tonight’s Alsco 300? Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones are among those hoping that is the case.

Here’s all the info for tonight’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Larry Bailey, Chairman, Bowling Green Area Convention Visitors Bureau, will give the command to start engines at 8:17 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:25 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at noon. Qualifying is at 5:05 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 6:15 p.m. Driver introductions are at 7:45 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: County music recording artist Andy Velo will perform the anthem at 8:11 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 8 p.m. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for sunny skies with a high of 86 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Tyler Reddick won by 14.5 seconds in September, finishing ahead of Brennan Poole and Justin Allgaier. Kyle Busch won at Kentucky last July, finishing ahead of Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying is at 5:05 p.m.

Attorneys for Chip Ganassi Racing deny ‘nefarious plot’ vs. Brennan Poole

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JOLIET, Ill. — The attorneys representing Chip Ganassi Racing say that Brennan Poole’s lawsuit is “long on conspiracy” and “woefully short on the relevant facts.”

The attorneys also deny Poole’s claim in his lawsuit that Ganassi conspired to take sponsor DC Solar.

The attorneys also noted Poole’s inability to win an Xfinity Series race with the team, stating: “CGR regrets that Mr. Poole refuses to accept that his three-year run with CGR and DC Solar came to an end not because of some nefarious plot against him, but because he never won a race despite the advantages of the best equipment in the garage. CGR will vigorously defend against these frivolous claims, and looks forward to presenting evidence that will set the record straight.”

Here is the full statement attributed to Cary B. Davis of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson and James H. Voyles, Jr. of Voyles Vaiana Lukemeyer Baldwin & Webb, the attorneys representing Chip Ganassi Racing in the Brennan Poole matter:

“Brennan Poole’s lawsuit, like so many based on so-called ‘information and belief,’ is long on conspiracy and insinuation and woefully short on the relevant facts. As will be shown by actual evidence, nobody conspired to steal a sponsor away from Brennan Poole.

“First, DC Solar’s 2017 sponsorship agreement for the No. 48 Xfinity car was with Chip Ganassi Racing, not Mr. Poole.

“Second, after three years of generously supporting the No. 48 Xfinity team, DC Solar unilaterally decided it no longer wanted to spend its motorsports sponsorship dollars on a race car driven by Brennan Poole. DC Solar decided to move its sponsorship up to the Monster Energy Cup Series and informed Mr. Poole that its future plans did not include him.

“Third, DC Solar discussed potential sponsorship packages with several Cup Series teams before ultimately deciding – well after deciding to move on from Brennan Poole – to sponsor the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by one of the sport’s brightest stars, Kyle Larson.

“Finally, throughout the 2017 racing campaign Mr. Poole was kept fully informed of DC Solar’s concerns about his performance and its plans to move up to the Cup Series.

“It is true that Mr. Poole’s driver agreement contains a non-solicitation provision. However, once there was no longer a relationship between Mr. Poole and DC Solar left to protect, Mr. Poole lost any right he arguably may have had to stop DC Solar from continuing its sponsorship of CGR, or for that matter spending its money any place it saw fit.

“CGR regrets that Mr. Poole refuses to accept that his three-year run with CGR and DC Solar came to an end not because of some nefarious plot against him, but because he never won a race despite the advantages of the best equipment in the garage. CGR will vigorously defend against these frivolous claims, and looks forward to presenting evidence that will set the record straight.”

The attorneys for Spire Sports & Entertainment – Cindy Van Horne & Lee Spinks from Poyner Spruill LLP, also issued a statement Friday.

“Spire considers it extremely unfortunate that Brennan Poole has chosen this course of action in light of the strong support he received from Spire, DC Solar and CGR. Although Spire has not been served, it understands the general nature of the allegations, denies them, and intends to vigorously defend these unfounded claims.

“Spire is gratified to be an active contributor to the success of many drivers, sponsors, race teams and manufacturers in NASCAR.  Spire is particularly proud of its success securing for Brennan an Xfinity ride for the past three years with an excellent team, CGR, and in assuring that DC Solar, his former sponsor, continued its support for Brennan throughout that time.

“While Spire defends this action in the courts, it remains committed to the success of not only those it represents, but to the entire racing community.”

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Brennan Poole files lawsuit against Chip Ganassi Racing

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Former NASCAR Xfinity driver Brennan Poole has filed a lawsuit against Chip Ganassi Racing and the agency that represented him, stating that the two “conspired” to terminate his association with sponsor DC Solar so the company could sponsor Kyle Larson’s Cup car this year.

ESPN.com first reported details of the lawsuit.

Poole drove in the Xfinity Series for Chip Ganassi Racing from 2015-17. He was winless in 83 series starts. He had eight top-five finishes and 36 top-10 finishes. He placed a career-high sixth in the points last season.  

Poole is suing Ganassi and Spire Sports and Entertainment for breach of contract in a North Carolina court. He’s also suing Spire for breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence. Poole also seeks punitive damages against both.

MORE: Chip Ganassi Racing, Spire Sports & Entertainment issue rebukes 

According to the lawsuit: “(Chip Ganassi Racing) and Spire conspired and colluded to terminate the association between Brennan Poole and his primary sponsor DC Solar and to divert and misappropriate DC Solar from Brennan Poole to sponsor CGR in the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series season. … CGR and Spire diverted DC Solar to CGR through deception, misrepresentation and the manipulation of the sponsor/driver relationship between Brennan Poole and DC Solar.

“In doing so, CGR violated the Non-Solicitation provision in the (driver services agreement). Spire violated the (personal management agreement) and breached the fiduciary duties it owed to Brennan Poole and, upon information and belief, committed acts of legal malpractice by taking actions that directly violated Spire’s duty to zealously represent its client, Brennan Poole.”

The lawsuit alleges:

— After the 2015 Xfinity season, Poole “expressed dissatisfaction  with CGR” and informed Spire he wanted to move to JR Motorsports. “Spire discouraged Brennan Poole from such a move by telling him that JR Motorsports wanted $7.5 million to place a driver in one of its cars (more than Brennan Poole’s primary sponsor DC Solar was willing to pay) and that, in any event, there were no cars available at JR Motorsports. Spire encouraged Brennan Poole to remain with CGR, representing to him that he would move into CGR’s No. 1 car in the 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series season upon the retirement of Jamie McMurray at the end of the 2016 season.” 

— Upon Ganassi announcing July 28, 2017 that Target would not return as the primary sponsor of Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet, the lawsuit states: “CGR began looking for a new sponsor to replace Target. CGR, directly and in secret actions and communications with Spire, began actively pursuing and developing a relationship with DC Solar with the ultimate goal of terminating the association of Brennan Poole and DC Solar and facilitating the diversion of DC’s sponsorship from Brennan Poole to CGR.”

— A representative of Richard Childress Racing approached Poole at the Richmond Xfinity race in Sept. 2017 about a Cup ride. The lawsuit states: The representative expressed “interest on the part of RCR for Brennan Poole to drive for RCR in the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series season and asked Brennan Poole what his plans were for the upcoming season. The inquiry surprised Brennan Poole, given (Spire President Jeff) Dickerson’s prior representations that no Monster Energy Cup Series teams were interested in him.”

— The lawsuit states that “Spire was dismissive of RCR’s interest and told Brennan Poole that RCR is ‘fool’s gold’ and that RCR really was not interested in him. … On information and belief, Spire propagated a rumor that Brennan Poole was going to be driving the Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 Monster Energy Cup Series car in 2018 so teams would not approach him.”

— “In September 2017, Chip Ganassi met with (Jeff) Carpoff (DC Solar CEO) and Spire at the Darlington NASCAR race. Neither Brennan Poole nor (his father) Tom Poole was invited or attended the meeting. Ganassi made a proposal for DC Solar to sponsor Larson in the No. 42 car for the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series season. Ganassi told DC Solar and Spire that Jamie McMurray was not retiring, that he did not have funding to run a third Monster Energy Cup Series car for Brennan Poole to drive and that he needed sponsorship for the No. 42 car. Ganassi effectively pushed Brennan Poole out of a car and out of his primary sponsor relationship with DC Solar for the 2018 season, telling DC Solar to the effect “If Brennan Poole has not won on Saturdays, he is not ready for Sundays.”

Also in the lawsuit:

DC Solar paid $2.5 million to sponsor Poole in the Xfinity Series. He ran 17 races that year for Ganassi. In 2016, DC Solar paid $5.2 million to sponsor Poole in his first full season in the Xfinity Series. In 2017, DC Solar paid $5.5 million to sponsor Poole in Xfinity.

According to the driver agreement included in the lawsuit, Poole received a base salary of $225,000 for the 2017 Xfinity season. He would 50 percent of prize money for a win, 40 percent for a finish between second and 10th, and 30 percent for a finish between 11th and 20th. A championship would have been worth a $75,000 bonus to Poole.

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Suspended Spencer Gallagher told to leave Charlotte Xfinity test

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CONCORD, North Carolina – Spencer Gallagher, suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy, briefly attended Monday’s Xfinity Series test at Charlotte Motor Speedway before he was informed he was not allowed to be there and left.

Suspended drivers are not permitted to attended any NASCAR-sanctioned events.

A NASCAR spokesperson said Gallagher was not aware he was barred from the test. Upon learning that his suspension precluded him from being in the garage, he left.

Gallagher declined to answer questions from NBC Sports.

Gallagher, who drives GMS Racing’s No. 23 Chevrolet, was suspended May 2 — four days after winning his first career Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway. He has agreed to take part in the Road to Recovery program. No timetable for his return has been announced.

Former Chip Ganassi Racing driver Brennan Poole took Gallagher’s place during the one-day open test. Poole’s name is on the car and his GMS Racing firesuit. He has not competed in a NASCAR race since last season’s Xfinity finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Johnny Sauter, who drives for GMS Racing in the Camping World Truck Series, drove the No. 23 last Saturday at Dover International Speedway. He finished sixth.

A GMS Racing spokesperson told NBC Sports on Monday that a driver for the May 26 race at Charlotte — the next Xfinity race — has not been finalized.

 

Brennan Poole’s Xfinity title hopes dashed after early Phoenix crash

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Brennan Poole‘s chances of advancing to the Xfinity Series’ championship race ended with a crash on Lap 23 of Saturday’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

Poole, who entered the race fourth in the standings, made contact with the lapped car of Caesar Bacarella when he dove inside Bacarella going into Turn 1, sending him three wide with Bacarella and Cole Custer on the outside.

Bacarella, making his first Xfinity start, came down on Poole and made contact with the No. 48 Chevrolet. The contact caused Poole to cut a tire and shoot into the outside wall.

Fellow playoff driver Daniel Hemric was behind Poole when the accident occurred, but his No. 21 Chevrolet was not damaged.

“I saw the 8 car (Bacarella) go in and we were going to kinda go to the top to go around him and he slid up so I tried to go to the bottom,” Poole told NBCSN. “Bad luck, bad circumstances. I guess I could have been a little more cautious there, but just trying to get up there to get some stage points and keep moving forward. Our car was actually pretty good. Just a bummer. I don’t know what else to say. Sometimes lapped cars are in your way and you got to navigate around them and just didn’t make it happen.”

Poole’s team attempted to make repairs on his car, but after Poole left pit road to beat the five-minute crash clock, he hit the wall again on the front stretch and went to the garage.