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Chip Ganassi Racing shuts down No. 42 Xfinity team

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Citing a lack of sponsorship, Chip Ganassi Racing has shut down its No. 42 Xfinity Series team. The move leaves Ross Chastain without a ride in that series.

Chastain was to have driven the car this season. DC Solar was to have sponsored the car, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted raids last month on the home of DC Solar CEO Jeff Carpoff in Martinez, California, and DC Solar’s headquarters in Benicia, California.

Without funding from DC Solar, Ganassi cut the team.

“Due to a lack of sponsorship funding we will cease operation of the No. 42 Xfinity team in 2019,” car owner Chip Ganassi said in a statement Friday. “This was a difficult decision for me to make and it comes with much anguish as this is a championship caliber team (having won six races and finished second in the owners championship) and more importantly because it affects a number of good people’s livelihoods. Running a car without proper funding is difficult to do.”

Chastain declined comment to NBC Sports.

Chip Ganassi Racing is the second organization to announce this week cuts to its Xfinity program. Roush Fenway Racing President Steve Newmark announced this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the organization will not field a car in the Xfinity Series this season. Roush Fenway Racing is the winningest organization in that series.

The No. 42 car finished second in the car owner points in the Xfinity Series last season. That was the only car the organization ran in that series. The car had five drivers last season – John Hunter Nemechek (18 races, won one), Kyle Larson (six races, won four), Chastain (three races, won one), Jamie McMurray (three races) and Justin Marks (three races).

Chip Ganassi Racing states that the move will not impact its Cup program with Kurt Busch (in No. 1 car) and Kyle Larson (in the No. 42 car).

Long: Will Roval open door to Cup race on street course?

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With NASCAR President Steve Phelps saying that “everything is in play” in regards to the sport’s future combined with the successful debut of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval this past weekend, now is the time to think bigger.

Along with the notion of midweek races, doubleheaders and a race on a dirt track for Cup, the thought of a street course race shouldn’t be too far-fetched.

The Roval, as close to a street course as any road course with its walls and minimal run-off space, showed that NASCAR drivers and cars could handle running on a tight circuit. And do it two-wide and even three-wide in at times.

Now, the sport should look to take that racing to the people and compete on the streets of a city.

“I think if somebody wanted to do that and put that on, it would be very interesting,” said car owner Roger Penske, who brought the Detroit Grand Prix to the streets of Belle Isle.

Justin Marks, a road racer who competed in this weekend’s Xfinity and Cup races at the Roval, is all for a NASCAR street course event because of what it could mean to the sport.

“I’m a huge believer you have to take your product to the people,” Marks said. “In 2012, I went to the Long Beach Grand Prix as a competitor in the Pirelli World Challenge Series and I remember spending the weekend at that race there looking around at 100,000 people and thinking that 90,000 of these people aren’t racing fans. They’re here because it’s a great cultural event.

“I think that the days of people driving 500 miles from their home to spend four days at a race track camping are numbered.”

Marks admitted there would be challenges to do a Cup street race but “I think it could be a hell of a show if they did it, especially if they went to a market like Detroit or LA or South Florida or if they managed to pull something off in Nashville or Austin or something like that, great cultural hubs and great markets.

Former IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani, who has run select Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series along with competing full-time in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, said Toronto could be a good place for NASCAR to run. IndyCar runs on a street circuit there.

“I would not give up (on) a track like this because it would be tough to reproduce the atmosphere, the event downtown, the feeling,” Tagliani said. “I think it’s worth to have an event like this in our country.”

The challenges or racing on a street course, though, wouldn’t be only for teams and competitors.

Marcus Smith, chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc., and the creator of the Roval for Charlotte, raises questions about a street race.

“For a driver, it’s not really a problem, but hosting the race is a big problem with street courses, they’re incredibly expensive to put on,” Smith said on the NASCAR on NBC podcast. “They’re temporary so you have no benefit to amortize expense over the years.

“Street courses just tend to fail. I’m not a fan of street courses for that purpose. It’s interesting, but they’re just incredibly expensive and bad business models. Things that are good for NASCAR overall need to also be good for the business of the sport.”

The Detroit Grand Prix and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which oversees Belle Isle, reached an agreement in August to continue the event there for three more years. The deal includes an option to extend the length two more years.

As part of the agreement, the Grand Prix will increase its annual total contribution to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for hosting the event on Belle Isle from $200,000 to $450,000 each year.

Among the series, the Grand Prix hosts are the IndyCar Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series.

Now could be a good time to consider at a street course option. NASCAR is looking to revamp its schedule beginning with the 2021 season. NASCAR’s five-year contracts with tracks expire after the 2020 season.

“There are a lot of things in play,” Phelps said. “We would rule out nothing at this particular point. We need to make sure that we have all the input, all the information necessary to make an informed decision that will allow us to get to what that 2020 schedule will look like.”


Jimmie Johnson was two turns from advancing to the second round of the playoffs. He was safe, running second and needed only to finish to keep his hopes alive for a record eighth Cup championship.

Instead, Johnson went for the win, locked his brakes, spun and took out leader Martin Truex Jr., allowing Ryan Blaney to win.

Johnson crossed the line eighth to finish in a three-way tie for the final two transfer positions. Kyle Larson and Aric Almirola grabbed those spots over Johnson because they each had a better finish than him in the first round.

Johnson’s title hopes are over.

But he made the right decision to go for the win.

A seven-time champion who was on a 51-race winless drought showed how much winning means to him when he risked it all to be victorious. This isn’t an aging athlete mailing it in.

Frankly, Johnson would have made the playoffs had Jeffrey Earnhardt not spun after contact from Daniel Hemric and stalled less than 100 yards from the finish. With Earnhardt unable to cross the line, Larson chugged by after blowing a tire and hitting the wall twice in the final third of a mile to gain the spot — and the extra point that forged the three-way tie with Johnson and Almirola.

Yes, Johnson was greedy. Yes, it would have been easier to back off but what if he had finished second? 

Just as no one could have imagined Larson, driving a battered and broken vehicle, would pass a car stopped so close to the finish line to knock Johnson out of the playoff, who is to say Johnson might not have needed those playoff points with a win to get to the third round?


While it’s easy to say Jimmie Johnson’s move at the end of the Roval cost him a chance to advance in the playoffs but he had opportunities to get that one extra point throughout the playoffs and couldn’t.

Looking back at the end of the first two stages at Las Vegas and Richmond, one can see the opportunities lost earlier in the first round.

At Las Vegas, Johnson scored no points in the first stage. In the second stage, he was sixth with five laps to go. He gained two spots, collecting two additional points.

But at Richmond, he was 11th with eight laps left in the first stage and could not get into the top 10 to score any points. In the second stage, he was eighth with eight laps to go and couldn’t gain another spot.

Meanwhile, Larson found himself in a desperate situation at the end of the Roval race because of what happened in the first two stages at Las Vegas and Richmond.

The biggest blow to Larson was that 10 laps from the end of stage 1 at Las Vegas, he had to give up third place and pit for a right front tire issue. Had he finished third in that segment, he would have had eight more points and would not have been in a three-way tie for the final two transfer spots.

Aric Almirola can look back at a move at Las Vegas with helping create that tie after the Roval race. Almirola was 10th with five laps to go in the first stage. He passed Clint Bowyer before the end to finish the stage ninth and gain an extra point. If Almirola doesn’t get that spot, he’s not tied with Johnson and is eliminated.

Every point matters.


Saturday’s Xfinity race lasted 1 hour, 32 minutes, 35 seconds. It was the shortest Xfinity race on a road course since June 1991 at Watkins Glen. That race lasted 1 hour, 36 minutes, 5 seconds.

Excluding the Dash4Cash races that had been shortened when those were paired with heat races, last weekend’s event was the shortest Xfinity race since Darlington in September 2015. That race lasted 1 hour, 25 minutes, 14 seconds.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, said that the sanctioning body would increase the number of laps for the race next year. It was 55 laps this year.

The question is what should be the proper length of a race? The Xfinity Series has had one race last three hours (season opener at Daytona) and seven races last more than 2 hours, 20 minutes. The series has had five races (other than the Roval) last less than two hours. The shortest race had been Michigan (1 hour, 45 minutes) before the Roval.

So what should be the proper length of a race? Does it matter if a race lasts barely 90 minutes?

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Xfinity Roval race results, points standings

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CONCORD, N.C. – Chase Briscoe‘s win Saturday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval meant no one automatically advanced to the second round of the Xfinity playoffs since Briscoe is not racing for a title.

He didn’t mind. He was too busy celebrating his first career series win. Justin Marks placed second. The rest of the top five had Austin Cindric, Ryan Preece and Christopher Bell.

Click here for race results

The points were jumbled by Saturday’s results. Tyler Reddick climbed from seventh to third in the points (behind Christopher Bell and Daniel Hemric) after placing ninth in Saturday’s race. Cole Custer went from ninth to fourth in the points after finishing seventh in the race. Justin Allgaier, who spun after contact from Cindric and placed 15th, fell from third to seventh in the points.

Ross Chastain holds the last cutoff spot by nine points on Cindric. Next weekend’s race at Dover will trim the playoff field from 12 to eight.

Click for points report

Xfinity practice report at Charlotte Roval

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CONCORD, N.C. – Cole Custer topped the field in Thursday’s second Xfinity practice at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

The two-hour session was stopped 20 minutes early because of severe weather in the area.

Custer posted a lap of 103.223 mph. He was followed by Austin Cindric (102.896 mph), Tyler Reddick (102.895), Daniel Hemric (102.759) and Justin Allgaier (102.708).

Chase Briscoe ran the most laps in the session at 26. Custer ran 25 laps. Reddick ran 24 laps.

Thirty cars ran at least a lap in the session.

Allgaier had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 102.034 mph. He was one of only four drivers to run 10 consecutive laps. Cindric was next at 102.004 mph.

First Practice

Austin Cindric posted the fastest lap in the first of two optional Xfinity practices Thursday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Cindric topped the field with a lap of 102.603 mph.

ref=”https://nbcnascartalk.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/835f446b-b85b-4d9d-82f5-f5a12190c117.jpeg”> Damage to Spencer Gallagher‘s car Thursday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. (Photo: Dustin Long)[/ca
He was followed by Daniel Hemric (101.495 mph), Ryan Truex (101.139), Ryan Preece (101.075) and Justin Marks (101.022).

Matt Tifft was sixth on the speed chart with a lap of 100.902 mph. He was followed by Elliott Sadler (100.626 mph), Brendan Gaughan (100.601), Justin Allgaier (100.524) and Alex Labbe (100.490)

Click here for practice report

Twenty-five cars ran at least one lap in the session.

There were no cautions for incidents on track. Spencer Gallagher had damage to the right rear of his car. His team pulled out the backup car.

Ryan Reed ran the most laps in the two-hour session that was interrupted by moisture on track. Reed ran 21 laps. Michael Annett ran 20 laps. Tyler Reddick ran 17 laps. Teams will have another practice. The track will be open from 2-4 p.m. ET. Teams will have two practices on Friday before they race on Saturday (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Tifft said the course is challenging. He said the infield section reminded him of the back section at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He said he ran most of that infield course section on the Roval in second gear.

He also said the backstretch chicane is attention grabbing.

“You go in so hard and use up all the curbs there and you’re jumping curbs right,” he said. “Right now with the blue curbs (which are larger), you are probably going to just pull out the transmission because they’re so stacked so high right there it’s going to be dangerous for the cars. That’s a little bit strange.

“The entry off the oval to the frontstretch chicane … the transitions there are pretty interesting. I had to pass a slower car getting through there. That’s the part I think that is going to be interesting when we do start working in traffic. There are so many awkward spots on this track that it’s going to put drivers in a really tight position to try to get around those guys. I think it’s going to be a race of attrition and trying to make sure you get yourself in the right spot because if you catch anybody in the wrong spot, there’s just not really that many places to get around somebody, you’re just kind of stuck.”

Tifft also said Turns 3, 4, 5, 6 on the infield portion of the course remained slick. The track had run the tire dragon in those sections only but Tifft said morning rain made those areas slick.

Preliminary entry list for Xfinity, Cup at Charlotte Roval

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The Xfinity and Cup Series each race on the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. Here are the preliminary entry lists for both series.

Bank of America Roval 400 Cup race (2 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

There are 40 entries for the cutoff race of the opening round of the playoffs.

Justin Marks is in the No. 15. Ross Chastain moves to the No. 7 for Premium Motorsports, Marks tweeted this will be his final Cup race.

Click here for Cup entry list

Drive for the Cure 200 Xfinity race presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (3 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN)

Forty cars are entered for the Xfinity event. This is the second race in the first round of the Xfinity playoffs.

Click here for Xfinity entry list