Cole Custer

NASCAR to move location of car numbers for All-Star Race

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NASCAR will use the July 15 All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway to experiment with the location of numbers on race cars.

Instead of the traditional location of numbers on car doors, those numbers will be pushed back toward the rear wheel. All teams competing in the All-Star Race and All-Star Open are required to have the car number in this location. The move allocates more space on car sides for sponsors, something teams have requested.

On Wednesday’s Motor Racing Network’s Crew Call, NASCAR president Steve Phelps explained the reason for the change to show host Mike Bagley:

“I think the All-Star (Race) historically has been an opportunity for us to test things, and I think that’s exactly what we’re doing with this,” Phelps said. “Teams have asked us to take a look at this, provide some additional visibility for sponsors, so that’s what we’ll test.”

The change will be for the All-Star Race and All-Star Open only.

“We’ll evaluate it,” Phelps said. “Is it the right thing to do? Is it not the right thing to do? I  know some folks that came out and said ‘this is not for me, I don’t like it,’ so we’ll take that all under consideration and as we move past the All-Star (Race) we’ll see what it looks like moving forward.”

In addition to having another option to increase sponsor visibility on cars, the move of the car number is also seen as a combination of catering to tradition and existing fans along with attracting new fans.

“I think not in every instance, but there are instances where you actually can do both,” Phelps told Bagley. “I don’t think you have to have the two at odds with each other. Sometimes that’s going to happen, but for us, we’ve talked about hearing from the core fans and we do.

“We want to hear from the core fans and what they think, traditional fans. There are certain things we want to try out or we believe is in the best interest in the sport after collaborating with the industry and saying this is something we should test. This is one of those opportunities.

“I don’t know if it appeals to a newer fan vs. a fan for 40 years, the changes in the paint schemes. But again, it’s one race, the All-Star Race, what better time to test it?”

This would not be the first time where car numbers have been placed on areas other than the door. It was a practice for some teams in the early 1950s, according to NASCAR historian Ken Martin, per a story on NASCAR.com.

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Fifteen drivers are locked into the All-Star Race by virtue of wins in 2019 and 2020 (to date): Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman, Justin Haley and Matt Kenseth.

There are five opportunities remaining for other drivers to get automatic berths in the All-Star Race field by virtue of winning at any of the five races still to be held prior to the All-Star Race: Talladega, the Pocono doubleheader, Indianapolis and Kentucky.

Several other drivers are eligible to be voted in as part of the NASCAR Fan Vote, currently under way through noon ET July 14. Click here to vote. Drivers are eligible for the Fan Vote by having attempted to qualify for the 2020 Daytona 500.

Those drivers are: Quin Houff, Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, Ty Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Brennan Poole, Chris Buescher, Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, Reed Sorenson, Corey LaJoie, Michael McDowell, David Ragan, Ryan Preece, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer, Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chad Finchum, Joey Gase, B.J. McLeod, JJ Yeley, Brendan Gaughan, Timmy Hill, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell and Daniel Suarez.

If any of those drivers win a stage in the NASCAR Open qualifying race prior to the All-Star Race, that driver will be locked into the field and not eligible to be the Fan Vote winner.

One Fan Vote winner has gone on to win the All-Star Race in the event’s history: Kasey Kahne in 2008.

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Saturday Night Thunder Richmond iRacing event: Start time and more

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Fans hungry for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 150 iRacing race at a virtual Richmond Raceway will get an appetizer tonight when the second edition of iRacing’s Saturday Night Thunder takes place.

Tonight’s event will be run with digital Xfinity Series cars. NASCAR Cup drivers not competing in Sunday’s show are eligible for tonight’s race, as well as Xfinity, Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, NASCAR Peak Mexico Series, Pinty’s Series, Whelen Euro Series and ARCA drivers.

Forty-three drivers are on the preliminary entry list for tonight’s race, which is scheduled to begin shortly after 8 p.m. ET. Among notable entries is Elliott Sadler, who retired from NASCAR Xfinity Series racing after last season. This will be Sadler’s first virtual race.

FORMAT: Practice will be held at 7 p.m. ET. Qualifying begins at 8:05 p.m. ET. There will be four 10-lap heat races. The top six finishers in each heat advance to the main event. Rounding out the 26-car field for the main event will be the top two finishers of a 15-lap consolation race, which will be held after the heat races and will include all drivers who have not advanced.

FEATURE RACE: The 125-lap feature race will follow the heat and consolation races. Competitors will be allowed one reset to repair crash damage. There will be a maximum of three green-white-checkered attempts. No one will transfer to Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race.

ONLINE: Watch at NASCAR’s YouTube channel and eNASCAR.com/live.

ENTRY LIST OF DRIVERS SCHEDULED TO COMPETE (Subject to change):

NAME CAR #
Alex Labbe 90
Angela Ruch 00
Anthony Alfredo 33
Austin Cindric 22
Bayley Currey 5
Blake Koch 57
Brennan Poole 15
Chad Finchum 13
Chase Briscoe 98
Chase Cabre 4
Christian Eckes 81
Cole Custer 41
Derek Kraus 19
Drew Dollar 015
Elliott Sadler 99
Harrison Burton 20
Jeb Burton 8
Jesse Iwuji 36
JJ Yeley 85
Joey Gase 53
Josh Berry 88
Josh Bilicki 099
Justin Allgaier 7
Justin Haley 10
Kyle Weatherman 54
Landon Cassill 89
Landon Huffman 75
Logan Seavey 67
Matt Mills 5
Michael Annett 1
Michael McDowell 34
Myatt Snider 93
Noah Gragson 9
Ruben Garcia 27
Ryan Ellis 78
Ryan Truex 40
Scott Stenzel 63
Spencer Boyd 2
Stephen Leicht 25
Stewart Friesen 52
Todd Gilliland 35
Ty Majeski 45
Will Rodgers 55

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Starting lineup for the Daytona 500

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The 40-car field has been set for the 62nd running of the Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox).

The starting lineup was established through Thursday night’s twin qualifying races, won by Joey Logano and William Byron.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. sits on the pole and Alex Bowman will start second.

After their race wins tonight, Logano will start third and Byron will start fourth.

Ryan Blaney and Corey LaJoie will start from the rear after going to backup cars.

Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson raced their way into the 500 after being the highest finish non-chartered – or “open” – drivers in their respective qualifying races.

Seven drivers will compete in their first Daytona 500: Brennan Poole, Justin Haley, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer, Hill and Christopher Bell.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Today’s Xfinity race at Texas: Start time, lineup and more

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The middle race of the Xfinity Series Round of 8 takes place under the lights tonight at Texas Motor Speedway.

The eight playoff drivers are: Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Noah Gragson, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe.

Here’s the information for tonight’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Brian Wallace, District Manager, Kwik Kar Lawe Group, will give the command to start engines at 8:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 8:48 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 2 p.m. Qualifying is 5:35 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 6:45 p.m. Driver introductions are at 8 p.m. The invocation will be given at 8:30 p.m. by Bret Shisler, Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries. The National Anthem will be performed at 8:31 p.m. by the Cantare Performance Choir from White’s Chapel in South Lake, Texas.

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

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

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage will begin at 8 p.m. with Countdown to Green. The race broadcast beginning at 8:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 8 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

WATCH ONLINE: Click here for NBC’s live stream of the race.

FORECAST: Wunderground.com forecasts a high of 55 degrees, clear skies and a 0% chance of rain for the start of the Xfinity race.

LAST TIME: Cole Custer won this race last fall, taking the lead away from Tyler Reddick on the final lap, while Kyle Busch won this race in the spring.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

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Xfinity results, points after Round of 8 begins at Kansas

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Brandon Jones may have been eliminated from advancement in the Xfinity Series playoffs after the cutoff race at Dover two weeks ago, but on Saturday he lived up to his promise that he’d still win a race in the remainder of the playoffs as the Round of 8 kicked off.

It was Jones’ first win in 134 career Xfinity Series starts. It also was his 14th top-10 finish of 2019.

MORE: Brandon Jones rallies late to earn first career Xfinity win at Kansas

Tyler Reddick finished second, followed by Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the race results.

POINTS:

Even though he finished 12th after being involved in a late race wreck with Briscoe and Garrett Smithley, Christopher Bell still maintains his lead at the top of the heap of the Xfinity Series point standings.

Bell holds an 11-point lead over Cole Custer and is 12 points ahead of Tyler Reddick and 47 points ahead of Justin Allgaier.

Fifth through eighth are Chase Briscoe (-49 points), Michael Annett (-59 points), Noah Gragson (-64 points) and Austin Cindric (-77 points).

Click here for the updated point standings.

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