Ryan Blaney collected in crash while leading at Bristol

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – Ryan Blaney led 100 of the first 117 laps Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway but got no further after he was eliminated in a multi-car crash while lapping traffic. Blaney finished 35th.

Chris Buescher made a move on the outside and was hit by Trevor Bayne as Bayne came up the track. The contact sent Bayne into Harrison Rhodes‘ car, which shot up the track and slammed into Blaney’s car as Blaney tried to avoid the crash by running near the wall in Turns 3 and 4.

“I didn’t see much to be honest with you,” Blaney told Fox.“By the time I could see anything, they were already turned right and there was nowhere to go. Seeing the replay, I don’t know, people not cleared, clearing themselves and then wrecking and take the leader out, so that’s unfortunate. Our car was pretty good today. We just kind of got held up there and we might not have been as strong at the end of that run, but I thought we could have at least held on for that stage and never got the chance. The positives you look at is that we had a good car and that’s something to hold your head high about.”

This marks the first time Blaney has failed to finish a Cup race this season. He had not finished worse than 16th this season until this race.

NASCAR stopped the race for 6 minutes, 29 seconds to clean the track after the incident.

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Austin Dillon penalized time in both Cup practices Saturday

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – NASCAR will dock Austin Dillon 15 minutes in both Cup practices Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway for inspection issues.

Dillon will miss 15 minutes of Saturday’s first practice for unapproved adjustments. Dillon will miss 15 minutes of final practice for failing qualifying inspection twice.

Harrison Rhodes and Chad Finchum each will miss 15 minutes in the first practice Saturday for being late to qualifying inspection.

Landon Cassill will miss 15 minutes of final Cup practice for failing qualifying inspection twice.

The first Cup practice is from 8:30 – 9:25 a.m. ET.

Final Cup practice is from 11:05 – 11:55 a.m. ET.

NASCAR also announced that Ty Majeski‘s car chief was ejected after the car failed qualifying inspection three times.

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Entry lists for Martinsville (updated)

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NASCAR visits a short track for the first time this season when it heads to Martinsville Speedway, the oldest track on the circuit.

The Cup Series is joined by the Camping World Truck Series, which has been off the last two weeks.

Here are the entry lists for both races.

Cup – STP 500

There are 38 cars entered.

Jeffrey Earnhardt is listed as driving StarCom Racing’s No. 00 Chevrolet, but the team announced Sunday it has parted ways with Earnhardt.

Landon Cassill will take his place this weekend and at Texas Motor Speedway.

D.J. Kennington is entered in his third race this season, driving Gaunt Brothers Racing’s No. 96 Toyota.

Ross Chastain is entered in Premium Motorsports’ No. 15 Chevrolet for the fifth time this season.

Harrison Rhodes is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Chevrolet. Rhodes has one start in the No. 51 at Atlanta.

JJ Yeley will drive Premium Motorsports’ N0. 55 Chevrolet. Reed Sorenson was originally listed as the driver.

Last year, Brad Keselowski won this race after leading 116 of 500 laps. He beat Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott. In the fall playoff race, Busch won over Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Alpha Energy Solutions 250

There are 36 trucks entered.

Todd Gilliland will make his first start of the season in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota.

Kyle Benjamin is entered in DGR-Crosley’s No. 54 Toyota. It will be his first Truck start.

Timothy Peters will make his first start of the year driving Ricky Benton Racing’s No. 92 Ford. A former driver for the defunct Red Horse Racing, Peters’ last start was in the 2017 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Last year, Chase Elliott won this race over Johnny Sauter and Christopher Bell. The fall playoff race was won by Noah Gragson over Matt Crafton and Sauter.

Click here for the entry list.

Cole Custer to make Cup debut at Las Vegas

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Cole Custer will make his Cup debut with Rick Ware Racing in the March 4 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the team confirmed Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Custer, who is in his second full season in the Xfinity Series, will drive the No. 51 car. That car has a charter and is guaranteed a starting spot. Custer took part in the Cup test at Las Vegas last month.

Haas Automation will be Custer’s sponsor.

“This is a dream come true to compete in the Cup Series,” Custer said in a team release. “I can’t thank Rick Ware Racing and Haas Automation enough for the opportunity to race at Las Vegas. It’s going to be a new experience for me, but I feel that we can have a productive day by completing all the laps and seeing the checkered flag.”

Custer has two career starts at Las Vegas. He placed third in the 2016 Camping World Truck Series race and was 11th in last year’s Xfinity race.

Custer will drive a Ford for Rick Ware Racing. Justin Marks drove for Rick Ware Racing in the Daytona 500 when the team fielded a Chevrolet. Harrison Rhodes will make his Cup debut this weekend in Atlanta for the team. That car also will be a Chevrolet.

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Harrison Rhodes to make Cup debut at Atlanta

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Rick Ware Racing announced Thursday that Harrison Rhodes will drive the team’s No. 51 car next weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It will be Rhodes’ first Cup start.

The 24-year-old Rhodes has competed in the Xfinity Series during the past five seasons for different organizations.

“I can’t believe I have this opportunity to drive for Rick Ware Racing at Atlanta,” said Rhodes in a statement from the team. “I began my NASCAR career with Rick and now six years later I’ll have the chance to race on Sunday. It’s a blessing and a dream come true.”

A primary sponsor will be announced later.

“I’m all about giving chances,” explained Ware in a statement from the team. “There’s no doubt that Rick Ware Racing has built itself on giving opportunities to young, vibrant drivers. Harrison is no exception.
“Even though he doesn’t have any experience in Cup, he has turned countless laps in an Xfinity Series car which will make his transition to our No. 51 Chevrolet that much smoother.”