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Xfinity practice report at Road America

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FINAL PRACTICE

Justin Marks posted the fastest lap in final practice for the Johnsonville 180 at Road America with a speed of 109.603 mph.

He beat James Davison (109.179 mph) by more than half a second (.517).

Austin Cindric (109.147), Justin Allgaier (109.070) and Matt Tifft (108.884) rounded out the top five.

Making his return to NASCAR, Hall of Famer Bill Elliott (105.791) posted the 26th fastest time.

Last year’s winner, Jeremy Clements had a left front tire go flat in turn five 20 minutes into final practice and brought out a red flag.

Kaz Grala and Brian Henderson had off-course excursions in Canada Corner.

After driving off course in the rain in practice one, Tyler Reddick spun with Katherine Legge in Turn 5 with 50 minutes remaining in the session. Both drivers returned to the pits under their own power. Reddick had damage on the right front; Legge had damage on the left rear.

Legge (106.524) ended the session 23rd on the chart.

Click here for complete results

FIRST PRACTICE

Wet conditions kept most of the competitors off track in the first practice session.

Rookies Reddick and Conor Daly were the only two drivers to take to the track.

Reddick made several laps practicing his entry onto pit road. Only one circuit was completed at speed (152.280).

Midway through the session, Reddick had an off-course excursion.

“Got a little wheel hop in the brakes and as soon as I tried to go down into the next gear, it went into neutral and didn’t catch third,” Reddick said on the NBCSN Sports App. “At that point, just hoping that when I hit the sand pit it wouldn’t do too bad a damage, but unfortunately it tore the splitter up pretty bad. “

Justin Allgaier wins Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio

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Justin Allgaier passed Austin Cindric with four laps remaining in the Xfinity race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and held the advantage to win his third race of the season. This is the most wins in a season for Allgaier.

Allgaier survived an off track incident on lap 25 and a spin on lap 59 on his way to victory lane.

Custer and Allgaier provided the fireworks on lap 59.

“It was a frustrating day, to say the least,” Custer said in a press release. “Our Haas Automation Mustang was really good. I thought we were a second-place car. We probably could’ve kept up with the 22 (Austin Cindric). I have to apologize to Justin (Allgaier). It worked out for him, but I hit him in the wrong spot there and spun him around. That’s my fault and I’ll apologize. We’ll just move on to Bristol. I want to win. That’s what we want to do. It’s frustrating when things don’t go your way. I thought we were doing everything right, we just need everything to fall into place.”

After losing the lead to Allgaier, Cindric held off a battle from Daniel Hemric, who was also on fresher tires. Hemric finished third.

Matt Tifft and Ryan Truex rounded out the top five.

In only his third road course race in the Xfinity Series, Christopher Bell was well on his way to score his first top five on this track type until he was spun by Elliott Sadler on a lap-65 restart while racing for second. Bell fell to 28th and pitted during the next caution with eight laps remaining . He took four fresh tires and was able to climb back to 11th. Last week, Bell finished ninth at Watkin Glen.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Austin Cindric (first stage win of 2018)

MORE: Complete Results
MORE: Points Standings

HOW JUSTIN ALLGAIER WON: After winning Stage 1, Allgaier was mired in traffic. On the restart, he attempted to go four-wide and ran off track, costing him track position. That allowed him to pit off-sequence with the leaders and with 20-lap fresher tires, he drove through the field and was able to get to Cindric’s back bumper with five laps remaining.

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Cindric failed to win, but he scored a career-best finish of second. His previous best was a fourth at Pocono in June. … After finishing 18th last week at Watkins Glen, Truex scored his first road course top 10 in his third start. … Alex Labbe in ninth scored his career best finish in his 24th race. … Spencer Gallagher started 20th and finished eighth for the greatest advancement in the field.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Dylan Murcott’s debut in the Xfinity series did not last long. Locking up his tires on lap 1, he drove off track and into the tire barrier. … Brandon Jones faded to eighth from his third-place starting position and spun in Turn 2. Another off course excursion on lap 34 contributed to a 23rd-place finish. … Chase Briscoe spun when the pack stacked up in front of him. He was tagged by Kaz Grala into the spin and lost his back bumper on lap 33 after contact with Cody Ware. … Tyler Reddick cut a tire after contact from behind from Matt Tifft on lap 60 and destroyed his right rear quarter panel. … With nine laps remaining, Katherine Legge lost an engine and retired. … Ross Chastain (16th) and Joey Gase (24th) got into a last lap incident. After the race, Gase told NBC’s Parker Kligerman that he could make it difficult for Chastain to make the playoffs.

NOTABLE: Strategy trumped raw speed on Saturday. Cindric led four times for 59 laps and was not passed for the lead under green until the closing minutes. Allgaier was forced into an alternate strategy by a series of incidents, including an off track excursion on lap 25 while battling for a top 15 position. Contact with Cole Custer on lap 59 while battling for fifth cost both multiple positions and encouraged Allgaier to pit on lap 62 while Cindric stayed out. Allgaier led eight laps.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “That call there at the end is what did it. Austin (Cindric) had the best car today and I thought we gave it away there. We were on the outside and got pushed off the race track, but was able to come back.” – Justin Allgaier in victory lane on NBCSN

WHAT’S NEXT: Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Aug. 17 on NBCSN

Xfinity practice report from Mid-Ohio

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Ryan Reed was the fastest in opening Xfinity practice Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Reed led the way with a lap of 94.709 mph. He was followed by Andy Lally (94.499 mph), Kyle Benjamin (94.371), Brendan Gaughan (94.295) and Austin Cindric (94.277).

Benjamin ran the most laps at 26. Kaz Grala was next with 25 laps. Grala was 19th on the speed chart with a top lap of 93.241 mph.

A few cars had issues.

Christopher Bell, who was 10th on the speed chart at 94.009 mph, spun off course but continued. Daniel Hemric, Dylan Murcott and Gaughan also slid off course but continued.

Click here for Xfinity practice report

Final Xfinity practice will run from 4:05 to 4:55 p.m. ET today and can be seen on the NBC Sports App and online. Rain is in the forecast there this afternoon.

FINAL PRACTICE 

Because of rain only five cars recorded a lap in the final session. Most teams did not go out since Saturday’s race is expected to be in dry conditions.

Brendan Gaughan had the fastest lap at 87.738 mph. He ran five laps in the session.

Click here for final practice report

Xfinity practice report at Watkins Glen

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FINAL PRACTICE

Rain continued to play havoc with practice. It stopped about halfway through the scheduled distance, but not in time for the track to dry.

Nine drivers took time in this session with sports car driver Mike Skeen topping the leaderboard at 95.620 m.p.h.

He had more than one second (1.069) lead over Kaz Grala (94.525 m.p.h.).

Alex Labbe (93.479), Timmy Hill (91.992) and Joey Gase (91.697) rounded out the top five.

Grala (8) posted the most laps.

Click here for complete results.

FIRST PRACTICE

Rain kept most of the competitors off the track since Saturday’s race at Watkins Glen is scheduled to run under dry conditions.

Rookies are required to make at least one lap in practice, so that drove a few drivers onto the track.

With a lap of 89.513 m.ph., Tyler Reddick topped the speed chart among five drivers who made laps.

He beat Austin Cindric (89.344) by .187 seconds

Justin Haley (86.891) Christopher Bell (82.232), and Ryan Preece (81.648) were the only drivers to take time.

Haley (2) was the only driver who turned more than one lap.

Click here for complete results.

With 10-year-old car set to be retired, Kaz Grala earns first top five for Fury Race Cars

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Before going to Daytona International Speedway last week, Kaz Grala and Fury Race Cars made Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste a promise.

They promised to return a decade-old car with minimal racing history to the team unscratched.

They did this not knowing Friday’s Xfinity race at the restrictor-plate track would include multi-car incidents involving 17 and nine vehicles respectively.

Fury Race Cars, a team only five races old and racing week-to-week, had secured sponsorship for Daytona. But among the fleet of cars given to it by Grala’s former team JGL Racing, there wasn’t a superspeedway car.

“About two weeks ago we started making phone calls and putting feelers out saying, ‘Hey, this is the last race these steel-bodied cars could even be legal to run on a restrictor-plate track, does anyone have some extra ones, backup cars?” Grala told NBC Sports two days after he finished fifth at Daytona. “We weren’t thinking show cars at the time, but just any spare car they didn’t plan on running that weekend that would be obsolete after this weekend.”

Enter Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste.

They had a car. One that traced its origins back to Evernham Motorsports, a team that ceased to exist after 2008. From there it was owned by Richard Petty Motorsports. Then it went to Biagi-DenBeste Racing and finally Stewart-Haas Racing, who entered a partnership with Biagi-DenBeste in the Xfinity Series this season.

The car had never run a lap for SHR and with steel bodied cars in Xfinity going extinct after Saturday’s race, the team was prepping to turn it into a show car.

“I was excited about it because it was a car,” Grala said. “It might have been a show car, but Biagi and obviously Stewart-Haas always have good plate track cars so I knew it had potential. … As long we stayed out of the carnage … It’s just a lot easier to think about it beforehand than to actually get it done.”

After starting 38th due to qualifying being cancelled, Grala finished 13th in Stage 1. He then dodged his first bullet on Lap 82 when he managed to navigate his No. 61 Ford through a 17-car wreck that took “5 years off my life.”

After a Lap 88 restart, the caution returned a lap later for a three-car incident. Grala was ninth. But the 19-year-old driver felt something wrong with his car, which was loose under caution. Determining his right-rear tire was done and so was his race, he slowed to pit road speed as the rest of the field returned to racing speed.

Grala returned to the track in 24th with the field bearing down on him.

“That pack was getting a lot larger in my mirror and I was just praying that something was going to happen and there’d be a caution,” Grala said. “Sure enough my spotter said, ‘Oh, they’re wrecking behind you.’ I look in my mirror and I see smoke and sparks and a caution’s out.”

A nine-car wreck with three laps left in regulation led to Grala restarting 15th in overtime. On the last lap, he moved from the bottom to the high lane, which “panned out really good” for Grala, as momentum allowed him to push Christopher Bell and Justin Haley to the front and him to a fifth-place finish in a spotless car.

It was his second top five of the season and the first for Fury Race Cars.

“Looking at it from our organization and what we were able to do with that old show car, fifth is good no matter what,” Grala said. “We didn’t have a single scratch on our car. We didn’t even have so much as a donut. (The flat tire) must have been a stroke of bad luck, but you say that, but it’s hard to say whether it was a blessing in a disguise or not. Because obviously there was that big wreck. Whose to say whether we would have been ahead of it, behind it, in the middle of it had we been where we should have been. It’s easy to look back on it and say ‘I think we would have been better off.’ Who knows?

“All I know is that the way it did work out, it worked out for us.”

Grala announced on Twitter Tuesday his team was unable to secure sponsorship for this weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway, but that Fury has sponsorship for the July 21 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Without attempting to qualifying for every race this season, Grala will be ineligible for the payoffs were he to be inside the cutoff line at the end of the regular season. He left Daytona 14th in the standings. Twelve drivers make the playoffs.