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Speedway Motorsports Inc. announces weather guarantee for fans

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Speedway Motorsports Inc. announced Thursday a weather guarantee for fans.

If a NASCAR race is postponed due to weather and the ticket holder is unable to attend the rescheduled date, a ticket credit can be issued toward a qualifying NASCAR race at any Speedway Motorsports venue.

This covers events at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.

MORE: Is it time for all tracks to adopt a rain ticket policy?

“Of all major professional sports, none is as heavily impacted by adverse weather as NASCAR,” said Speedway Motorsports’ President and CEO Marcus Smith in a statement. “With drivers already racing on the very edge at nearly 200 mph, even a little rain can have a dramatic impact on race weekend schedules. What we want to do is take weather out of the ticket-buying equation so fans can focus on having a great time and making memories on our premier NASCAR event weekends.”

Fans with an unused, eligible ticket will have 60 days from the original race date to request a ticket credit on a qualifying future event. The credit must be used toward another Speedway Motorsports’ NASCAR event within one calendar year of the original race date or the same event the following year, even if it takes place beyond the one-year mark. Certain restrictions may apply. Click here for further details on the Speedway Motorsports Weather Guarantee.

This season, snow postponed the Martinsville Cup race a day and the Camping World Truck Series there two days. Martinsville is owned by International Speedway Corp.

NASCAR docks 3 Cup, 5 Xfinity teams practice time at Phoenix

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Jimmie Johnson‘s team is among three Cup teams that will be penalized track time during today’s practice session at ISM Raceway, NASCAR announced Friday morning.

Johnson’s team will lose 30 minutes for failing pre-race inspection three times last weekend at Las Vegas. The No. 15 team with Ross Chastain faces the same penalty for the same infraction.

Matt DiBenedetto‘s team will lose 15 minutes for failing pre-race inspection twice last weekend at Las Vegas.

Cup teams have a 50-minute practice from 12:35 – 1:25 p.m. ET today.

In the Xfinity Series, the cars of Kaz Grala, Chad Finchum, Josh Bilicki, Timmy Hill and Cole Custer will each be docked 15 minutes of practice. The teams of Grala, Finchum, Bilicki and Hill are penalized for being out of the garage late for inspection last weekend at Las Vegas. Custer’s team is penalized for failing pre-race inspection twice last weekend at Las Vegas.

Those penalties will be served in the first Xfinity practice, which is from 2:05 – 2:55 p.m. ET.

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Cole Custer glad to not make any headlines in Cup debut

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One of the more surreal moments of Cole Custer‘s Cup debut came in the middle of Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Looking out the windshield of his No. 51 Ford, Custer bore down on none other than seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.

“It was definitely kind of surreal racing against some of those guys out there,” Custer told NBC Sports two days after his 25th-place finish in the Pennzoil 400.

When Johnson made his Cup debut in October 2001 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Custer was 3 years old.

Now 20, Custer is the latest member of NASCAR’s youth movement at the Cup level, albeit one race for now. Custer’s full-time job is driving Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 00 Ford in the Xfinity Series.

After starting 30th, Custer quickly found out his level of aggression in the lower series won’t cut it in the premier series.

Cole Custer pits during his Cup debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

“The restarts are always pretty crazy so it’s hard to just jump right in there and be really aggressive when you don’t really know what the car’s going to be doing around 10 other cars,” Custer said. “Just getting used to that and what it felt like and everything. That was probably the biggest thing and really just trying to get used to the track bar adjuster and just really the whole weekend. I’ve never had to do a qualifying trim setup. Just the whole weekend in general was a new experience.”

It wasn’t his first time in a Cup car. Custer took part in a Jan. 31 – Feb. 1 organization test at the 1.5-mile track. Then he drove the No. 32 Ford owned by Go Fas Racing.

“I was definitely pretty nervous, just trying to get used to not really knowing what to expect,” Custer said. “You do all the preparation you can leading up to it, watching a lot of video and looking at data and stuff like that. But it still really isn’t enough because you still have to try and get a feel for the car and what it feels at the end of the straightaways and the corners and the motor. It’s just a lot to take in.”

On Sunday, he drove the No. 51 owned by Rick Ware Racing with support from SHR.

Custer attempted to approach the race like it was any other, despite the fact he was racing against drivers like Johnson for the first time on their level.

With his parents, sister, aunts and uncles present, Custer outran Daniel Suarez, rookie William Byron and AJ Allmendinger. Custer took the checkered flag in one piece while veterans Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray wrecked.

“For a first race I think it’s acceptable that we brought our car home,” Custer said. “Didn’t really have any scratches on it or anything.”

But it took until last November for Custer to be convinced he was worthy of competing in the Cup Series.

It came when he put together the most dominating performance of his young career in the Xfinity Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

After earning seven top 10s in the previous eight races, Custer led 182 of 200 laps and beat Sam Hornish Jr. by 15.4 seconds.

“When I was going into Xfinity last year I didn’t have the highest confidence or anything,” Custer said.

He attributed it to a lackluster final season in the Camping World Truck Series in 2016. He failed to win in 23 races and had five top fives. He had won one race in each of the previous two seasons as a part-time driver.

“By the end of (2017) I felt I had a decent amount of confidence and we won that race and that kind of makes you feel like you can kind of do it,” Custer said.

Custer believed a good day for his first outing would have been a top-20 finish. But he still managed to give Rick Ware Racing its best finish at a non-restrictor-plate track in 33 Cup starts (Justin Marks finished 12th in the Daytona 500).

Custer was surprised by one thing.

“It was actually not the hardest race in the world,” Custer said. “I thought it was going to be a lot harder. I thought the Xfinity race was actually a little harder than the Cup race, just because Saturday I was running around a lot more and had practices and qualifying and the race. So there was a lot more going on. The Cup race wasn’t too bad, I was surprised by that.”

As a native of Ladera Ranch, California, there was only one downside to his busy weekend.

He didn’t get the chance to enjoy his favorite fast food chain, In-N-Out Burger.

“I didn’t have any in Vegas because I was doing double duty, but I’m definitely going to get something next week in Fontana,” Custer said. “That’s always my No. 1 place to go.”

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NASCAR America: Scan All from Las Vegas

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Another race, another dominating Kevin Harvick performance.

The latest edition of NASCAR America’s “Scan All” looks back at Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Harvick earned his second win of 2018.

Here are some highlights.

Watch the above video for more.

Rodney Childers explains what happened to Kevin Harvick’s rear window (video)

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Crew chief Rodney Childers said a brace failed, causing a portion of the right rear window to bow, but that he doesn’t believe it helped Kevin Harvick win last weekend’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Speaking on “The Morning Drive” Tuesday, Childers detailed what happened:

“Basically, we had a rear window brace fail and NASCAR mandates that we run a certain T-bar in the back glass and that T-bar is actually pretty strong,’’ Childers said. “Then also over the winter they wanted the rear package to raise the bottom of the rear glass to be really stiff and stay controlled — there were some guys that were having their rear package trays falling an inch at the end the year last year.

“The bottom of the glass got strengthened up and the T-bar is stiff and the center brace that holds that T-bar is what bent and failed and the T-bar ends up being stronger than the back of roof at that point and then pulled the back of the roof down.

“To be honest, that stuff has been a struggle over many, many years. I can remember being at Michigan with Mark Martin in 2012. You’re just going so fast at those intermediate tracks and you’ve got so much air pushing down on that stuff. I remember Mark coming off the race track and we had a 2-inch gap from the bottom of the glass to the deck lid when we came in from practice and had to modify all that stuff.’’

Childers said the team has made provisions to avoid a repeat of what happened at Las Vegas.

“We’re going to learn from this,’’ Childers told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “It’s not something that we wanted to happen. You definitely don’t want the back of the roof sharp. You want the back of the roof round and you want that to be a smooth transition. I think that everybody thinks that it helps. I would suggest that it probably didn’t help.

“The wind tunnels don’t blow fast enough to even to get to that speed to know whether it was good or bad. It’s something that we’ve got to address.

“We’ve already addressed on the California cars and making the roof stiffer in that area and trying to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Like I said, the car was plenty fast enough before that happened, and I think everybody in the garage knows that and it’s just something that we need to put behind us and move on.’’

Asked if he anticipated any more conversations with NASCAR about the matter, Childers said:

“I wouldn’t think so. I think the biggest thing is getting it fixed and making sure that it doesn’t happen again. I think all the guys there they understand aerodynamics and they understand what goes on. We all communicate and we try to do the right things. I think also my reputation over there is pretty good.

“Like I said, it’s not something to be proud of. We’re proud of winning races and having fast cars. Whether a brace failed or not, we were going to win the other day. That’s really the whole story.’’

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