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

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The Xfinity Series races on a short track for the first time this season with today’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The 300-lap race is also the first round of the Dash 4 Cash program, which means this is the first event of the year to not feature a Cup driver.

Here’s all the info for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START:  U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn will give the command to start engines at 1:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1:13 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 300 laps (159.9 miles) around the .533-mile track.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 40 (NASCAR is seeing additional wear on tires. NASCAR also allowing teams to purchase extra set of tires for the race).

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 85. Stage 2 ends on Lap 170.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7 a.m. Qualifying is at 9:35 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 10:40 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM:  Julia Cole, CMT’s Next Artist Discovery and current American Idol Contestant, will perform the anthem at 1:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race beginning at 12:30 p.m. Race coverage begins at 1 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 12:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 77 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Erik Jones won this race over Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez after leading 27 laps. Kyle Busch won the August race from the pole, placing ahead of Suarez and Elliott Sadler.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup

NASCAR’s Saturday schedule at Bristol

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On-track action starts early today at Bristol Motor Speedway and ends with the Xfinity Series race at the half-mile track.

Here’s the day’s schedule with TV and radio info.

(All times Eastern)

7 a.m. — Xfinity garage opens

7 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Cup garage open

8:30 a.m. – 9:25 p.m. — Cup practice (Fox Sports 1)

9:35 a.m. — Xfinity qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (FS1)

10:40 a.m. — Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. — Final Cup practice (FS1)

12:30 p.m. — Xfinity driver introductions

1 p.m. — Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300; 300 laps/159.9 miles (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Xfinity Series practice report from Bristol

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Cole Custer was fastest in the final Xfinity practice at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Custer led the session with top speed of 123.570 mph.

He was followed by Daniel Hemric (123.182), Brandon Jones (123.118), Ryan Preece (122.968) and Christopher Bell (122.725).

Custer, Hemric, Preece and Bell are this week’s Dash 4 Cash drivers.

John Hunter Nemechek recorded the most laps in the session with 82.

Custer had the best 10-lap average at 121.830 mph

There were multiple accidents in the session. Tony Mrakovich, making his Xfinity debut, crashed for the second time today. Bell and Ross Chastain sustained damage trying to avoid him. Neither will go to a backup car.

BJ McLeod brought out the red flag for hitting the wall.  Tyler Reddick spun twice in the session.

“I was trying different things in the car to get more speed out of it, just kept finding the edge and crossing it and somehow not wrecking the car, which is a miracle,” Reddick told Fox Sports 1.

With about 10 minutes left, Ryan Reed made contact with the Turn 4 wall and spun.

“It’s ice once you get into the marbles,” Reed told FS1. Reed will not have to go to a backup car.

Click here for the final practice report.

First practice

Brandon Jones led the first practice, posting a top speed of 123.833 mph.

Jones led Justin Allgaier (123.515), Preece (123.499), Bell (123.491) and Austin Cindric (123.348).

Custer was sixth fastest and Hemric eighth.

Bell had the best 10-lap average at 122.385 mph.

Shane Lee, who is making his Xfinity debut driving the No. 3 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, recorded the most laps with 72.

Click here for the practice No. 1 report.

NASCAR’s Friday schedule at Bristol

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The first Bristol race weekend of the year begins today.

Cup and Xfinity Series teams will be in action at the half-mile track. The day ends with qualifying for the Food City 500.

Here’s the full schedule with TV and radio info.

(All Times are Eastern)

8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. — Cup garage open

10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. — Xfinity garage open

Noon – 12:55 p.m. — Cup practice (Fox Sports 1)

1:05 – 1:55 p.m. — Xfinity practice (FS1)

3:05 – 3:55 p.m. — Final Xfinity practice (FS1)

4:45 p.m. — Cup qualifying; three rounds/multi-car (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Dash 4 Cash drivers gear up for first battle for $100,000 at Bristol

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Burt Reynolds’ character, the Bandit, drove from Georgia to Texarkana and back again in 28 hours with 400 cases of Coors for very specific reasons in the 1977 film, Smokey and the Bandit.

“For the money, for the glory, and for the fun. Mostly for the money.”

And the prize money was only $80,000.

For the next four weeks, the Xfinity Series will give four different sets of drivers a chance at the money, the glory and the fun with the return of the Dash 4 Cash program.

The Money

Each week, beginning this Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, four drivers will compete for $100,000. The competition continues at Richmond Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway and Dover International Speedway.

The Glory

Whoever finishes highest among the four drivers each week wins the money. That driver and the three drivers placing behind him advance to the next Dash 4 Cash round.

The Fun

For these four races, Cup Series drivers are not permitted to compete.

That means the money, the glory, the fun – and the race wins – will only be enjoyed by Xfinity drivers. Through six races, Xfinity regulars have won once, in the season-opener at Daytona.

The Drivers

As the highest finishing Xfinity regulars last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Daniel Hemric, Christopher Bell, Ryan Preece and Cole Custer are the first set of four competing for $100,000.

Hemric, in his second full-time year with Richard Childress Racing, is the only of the four who participated in the Dash 4 Cash last year and won money. The 27-year-old driver won $100,000 at Bristol when it was the second stop among the Dash 4 Cash races.

“As young as we are we get to run for a hundred grand, there’s not a lot of people (who) can say that,” Hemric said after the Texas race. “Having the opportunity to taste that last year and experience that was really something that we definitely enjoyed and hopefully we can do that again next week.”

Hemric enters Bristol with two consecutive top fives, including placing third at Texas. His first two Xfinity starts at Bristol resulted in a top five and a top 10.

Cole Custer. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Custer, 20, is also in his second full-time season and was part of the Dash 4 Cash last year at Bristol. Custer wrecked out of that race and finished 10th in the August Bristol race.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver enters the weekend coming off his first top five of the year, placing fourth in Texas.

“I think at the start of the year we had some speed, we just had some bad luck with things going wrong and getting in wrecks,” Custer said after the race. “As it went, we’ve cleaned ourselves up a little bit and haven’t had the bad luck. We’ve had fast cars, so I think we just have to get a little bit better and I think just have a really smooth and everything go right race and I think hopefully we can put that together next week.”

The other half of the four drivers are made up of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Bell and Preece.

Bell is in his first full-time season in Xfinity and Preece is competing part-time after a four-race tryout last season.

Preece has two starts at Bristol that came in 2015 when he competed with JD Motorsports in his only full-time Xfinity season.

He likely wouldn’t be in the position to race for $100,00 if not for two things – gambling on himself last season and the retirement of Carl Edwards.

“I think I’m pretty grateful for just having the opportunity,” Preece said. “Did I think this (would be possible) last January in 2017? Absolutely not. I fully intended on pretty much settling and racing modifieds for the rest of my life. When Carl Edwards retired and everything kind of shifted, I was like, ‘OK, there’s an opportunity here. I need to try and take advantage of this’ and it got me to those two races and I think you’ve seen how things have kind of taken off from there.”

Preece, 27, earned one win and four top fives in all of his starts with JGR last year. That resulted in 10 more races this season for the Connecticut native.

“Every time I show up to the race track, I’m almost treating it like it’s my last, even though I know I have 10 races right now,” Preece said. “Each one of these races could determine my future. That’s pretty much how I show up and that’s how I’m going to race.”

Ryan Preece. (Getty Images)

Preece said winning the $100,000 would help him finish building a race car.

Preece is well aware of the backgrounds of his Dash 4 Cash competitors entering the first short track race of the season.

“Daniel and I, he’s from late models, I actually raced Daniel in modifieds growing up quite a while ago,” Preece said. “So we’re kind of from the same old deal on the East Coast and then you got Bell, he’s a midget driver from out west and then you got Cole who is (from the) K&N (Pro Series) and all that. We’re all from the short tracks.”

How will these kindred spirits race each other for the money, the glory and the fun without those pesky Cup drivers getting in the way?

According to Bell, who has four top fives through six races, just like they would at “any rental go-kart track.”

“We’re going to run just as hard as we would for a Cup win,” Bell said. “We’re race car drivers. It doesn’t really matter what we’re racing for, we’re going to go give it our all no matter what.”

Hemric said  it’s “very humbling” knowing where his competitors come from.

“It’s just a nature of something that we’ve all been passionate about and love to do since a time we could remember,” Hemric said. “I think we all know each other’s stories pretty well. It’s pretty special to share a moment like that next week with these guys and look forward to battling to the end with them.”

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