kentucky speedway

Saturday’s Xfinity race at Texas: Start time, forecast and more

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Austin Cindric goes for his third straight win in Saturday’s Texas Xfinity Series race.

Cindric won both races series races last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Now, Cindric and the rest of his Xfinity peers move on to another 1.5-mile track at Texas, where the race marks the start of the second half of the 2020 season for the series.

Here’s all the info you need for the Texas Xfinity Series race (all times ET):

START: The command to start engines will be at 2:51 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 8 a.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Engine prime and final adjustments are at 1 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 2:30 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:44 p.m. by Bret Shisler of Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries. The national anthem will be performed at 2:45 p.m. by Master Sergeant Erika Stevens.

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

PACE LAP: At the direction of race control, the entire field will go down pit road during a pace lap for pit road speed verification. If a driver stops in the pit box for any reason, pull over or slow down, they will start at the rear of the field.

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

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Its coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green, followed by the race broadcast at 3 p.m. Click here to view the stream. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast will begin at 2:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for sunny skies, a high of 91 degrees and a 0% of rain at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: A day after beating Riley Herbst and Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric won his second race in as many days at Kentucky by beating Chase Briscoe and Justin Haley.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup

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Xfinity team owner fined for violating COVID-19 protocol at Kentucky

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NASCAR announced on Tuesday the first fine for a violation of its COVID-19 protocols.

Anthony Clements, owner of Jeremy Clements Racing, was fined $10,000 for violating section 12.8.1.b of the Member Conduct Guidelines and section 7.7.2.j Team Event Roster Guidelines in the rulebook.

Among the potential violations in Section 12.8.1.b is that a member can be fined $5,000-$25,000 for: “Failure to comply with NASCAR’s COVID-19 Event Protocol Guidelines and/or instructions from NASCAR including screenings, social distancing, compartmentalization, and use of required personal protective equipment, etc.”

Last week, NASCAR issued a memo to teams requesting them to address “complacency” regarding its COVID-19 mask policy.

Section 7.7.2.j says “If a team is not in compliance with the Team Event Roster Rules and guidelines, that team will be subject to a Penalty as outlined in Section 12 Violations and Disciplinary Action.”

NASCAR also issued a $5,000 fine to crew chief Dave Rogers for one unsecured lug nut on Riley Herbst‘s No. 18 Toyota.

NASCAR did not issue any penalties for Friday’s post-race fight between Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton.

Last Saturday, NASCAR announced L1 level penalties for three Truck Series teams that failed pre-race inspection.

Cup playoff grid after Kentucky Speedway

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Cole Custer delivered the first curveball to the NASCAR Cup Series’ playoff chase Sunday when he won at Kentucky Speedway.

Custer entered the race 25th in the points, nine spots back from the cutoff line for 16-driver field.

Now, Custer is one of nine drivers locked into the playoffs, meaning the cutoff for the postseason is 15th in points.

Among those currently in the playoff grid who are not locked in, the last two are William Byron (+30 points) and Jimmie Johnson (+24).

The first four drivers sitting outside a playoff spot are Austin Dillon (-24 points from cutoff), Tyler Reddick (-41), Erik Jones (-42) and Bubba Wallace (-84).

Cup rookies shine going into All-Star Race

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The rookies have arrived.

On Sunday, Cole Custer was the first member of this year’s NASCAR Cup Series rookie class to plant his flag in victory lane with his dramatic win at Kentucky Speedway.

It was his second career Cup top-five finish after he claimed the first the weekend before at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But Custer isn’t the only rookie who has made their presence known in recent weeks. On Sunday, Custer was joined in the top 10 by Christopher Bell (seventh) and Tyler Reddick (10th).

It marked the second straight race that at least two rookies finished in the top 10 and third time in the last six races it has happened. At Indianapolis, Reddick placed eighth. At Miami, Reddick finished fourth and Bell placed eighth.

Through 17 races, Reddick and Bell each have five top 10s, Custer has three, including his two top fives, and John Hunter Nemechek has two. Those 15 top 10s better the total rookie top 10s from 2018 (seven) and 2019 (six) combined.

At least one rookie has finished in the top 10 in nine races in 2020. Rookies finished in the top 10 in only five races in both 2018 and 2019.

With his win Sunday, Custer jumped ahead of Reddick, Bell and Nemechek to qualify for the 16-driver playoff field in addition to Wednesday night’s All-Star Race.

“It takes a lot of stress off,” Custer said Sunday. “I mean, it was definitely really stressful. We kind of dug ourselves in a hole a little bit, not from wrecking cars or anything, just from inexperience, not knowing what to expect going into the races, not having a feel for the cars. I think we started to put the whole picture kind of together during the races.

“It’s a matter of I think we’ve at least gotten to the point now where we can take advantage of things when we’re at the front. Definitely takes a lot of stress off going into the rest of the year. We can kind of get the monkey off our back, focus on what’s ahead, not second guess ourselves.”

Winners and losers from Kentucky

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WINNERS

Cole CusterHe entered Sunday’s race well out of a playoff spot at 25th in the points. He took advantage of a series of events in the final laps to score a dramatic victory and earn a playoff spot.

Martin Truex Jr.Lost the lead on the last lap but recorded his first top-five finish since his Martinsville win last month.

Matt DiBenedetto He was 18th with 14 laps to go and finished third.

Christopher BellSeventh-place finish was his fourth finish of 12th or better in the last six races.

Austin Cindric Had not won on an oval in the Xfinity Series before sweeping both series races at Kentucky Speedway.

LOSERS

Matt KensethA week after finishing runner-up at Indianapolis, he spun twice and finished 25th at Kentucky.

Ryan PreeceFinished last for the second race in a row. He was eliminated in a pit road accident at Indy and by transmission issues at Kentucky. He has failed to finish five of 17 races this season (29.4%).

Jimmie JohnsonWas third on a late restart when contact with Brad Keselowski spun him. Instead of contending for his first victory since 2017, Johnson finished 18th and had a little warning for Keselowski.