NASCAR Xfinity Series

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Cole Custer takes pole for this afternoon’s Xfinity race at Dover

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Cole Custer earned his second Xfinity Series pole of the season and will lead the field to the green in this afternoon’s Allied Steel Buildings 200 at Dover International Speedway.

Driving the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang, Custer covered the 1-mile, concrete track at 157.329 mph. It was his eighth pole of his Xfinity career.

“I think (single car qualifying) is exciting, but it’s stressful as a driver, at least for me,” Custer told Fox Sports 1. “You’re going down that long pit road, especially if you’re going out late, and you’re just psyching yourself out the whole time, should I drive in this deep or this deep.

“You just have to stay focused with what you’re doing. I think there’s going to be some good guys out there, but we definitely have a good car that could be here for a win.”

Justin Allgaier, who failed pre-qualifying inspection three times, leading to the ejection from the speedway of his car chief, bounced back to join Custer on the front row with a speed of 157.219 mph.

Third through 10th were Austin Cindric (157.054 mph), Christopher Bell (157.048), Tyler Reddick (157.034), Zane Smith (156.461), Chase Briscoe (156.386), Brandon Jones (156.162), Noah Gragson (156.114) and Ross Chastain (156.074).

The race is slated to begin later this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Click here for the full qualifying report.

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Today’s Xfinity race at Talladega: Start time, lineup and more

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The Xfinity Series competes this afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s Dash 4 Cash race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Dee Choubey, MoneyLion CEO, will give the command to start engines at 1:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 1:19 p.m.

PRERACE: Driver/crew chief meeting is at Noon. Driver introductions begin at 12:30 p.m. The invocation will be given at 1 p.m. by Billy Irvan, Alabama Raceway Ministries. Amia Nico will perform the National Anthem at 1:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) around the 2.66-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 25. Stage 2 ends on Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will televise the race. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 12:30 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 73 degrees and a 0 percent chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Spencer Gallagher won this race last year, beating Brandon Jones and Justin Allgaier.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the lineup

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Sieg, Chastain fastest in two Xfinity practices at Talladega

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Ryan Sieg was fastest in Friday’s second and final Xfinity Series practice at Talladega Superspeedway.

Sieg recorded a speed of 187.824 mph, followed by Ross Chastain (187.108 mph), who was fastest in the first practice earlier in the day.

Third through fifth fastest were John Hunter Nemechek (184.754), Josh Williams (184.726) and Timmy Hill (184.324).

Only 13 drivers took to the track for the session. As was the case in the first practice, Chevrolet dominated the second practice with eight Camaros in the top 10.

Qualifying and the MoneyLion 300 race will take place Saturday.

Click here for the full second practice speed chart.

In Friday’s first practice:

Ross Chastain was fastest in the first Xfinity practice session Friday.

Chastain, driving the No. 10 Chevrolet, was the only driver to turn a lap over 193 mph around the 2.66-mile superspeedway, at 193.779 mph.

In addition to Chastain, four of the next five fastest cars were also Chevrolets: Noah Gragson was second (192.874 mph), Justin Haley was fourth (192.820), Justin Allgaier was fifth (192.451) and Tyler Reddick was sixth (192.235).

The only non-Chevy driver in the top 6 was Ford pilot Chase Briscoe, who was third-fastest at 192.823 mph.

Toyotas struggled for speed, with 12th-ranked Timmy Hill the fastest at 191.172 mph.

Thirty-five cars took to the track for the session.

Click here for the full first practice speed chart.

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Joe Graf Jr. joins Richard Childress Racing as Xfinity driver, intern

Official Twitter page of Joe Graf Jr.
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Richard Childress Racing on Friday announced that it has signed Joe Graf Jr. to be part of its NASCAR Xfinity Series program. He will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro in select races this season, the first being at Michigan International Speedway this June.

In addition, the 20-year-old Graf Jr., who is a freshman at New York University, will also serve as a marketing and communications intern for the team.

“For my internship to be with one of the most recognizable teams in NASCAR is unbelievable,” Graf Jr. said in a media release. “To then think that I will also have the opportunity to drive the No. 21 car is really exciting.

“I am pumped for the opportunity to learn all facets of this business. From inside the cockpit to the corporate office, the quality of the RCR organization speaks for itself, especially celebrating their 50th anniversary this season. I am eager to learn, contribute and compete.”

In addition to his new racing and internship duties with RCR, Graf Jr. will continue competing full-time in the ARCA Menards Series. In his first full season in 2018, he earned one win, six top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 19 starts. That also included the closest finish in ARCA history when he finished second at Talladega Superspeedway in a statistical tie.

So far in 2019, he’s made three starts, finishing 21st at Daytona, 11th at Pensacola and ninth in his most recent race on April 14 at Salem (Indiana).

He previously competed in the NASCAR K&N Series. He began racing bandolero cars at nine years old and recorded over 50 wins in Legends Car competition, as well as multiple track championships.

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Two-day Xfinity Series tire test concludes at Iowa Speedway

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While the Xfinity Series — as well as the Trucks and Cup teams — are off this weekend for Easter, five Xfinity teams were still in action Tuesday and Wednesday for a Goodyear tire test at Iowa Speedway.

The test on the 7/8-mile oval was in preparation for the speedway’s race weekend on June 15-16.

Teams that took part in the test were the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (driver: Cole Custer), the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (Tyler Reddick), the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet (Justin Haley), the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Christopher Bell) and the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet (John Hunter Nemechek).

Custer, Bell and Nemechek are all past winners at Iowa. Custer, who won there in the K&N East Series, is looking forward to returning to the track in hopes of securing another win there.

We were able to do a lot of different things and I think we found a little bit, for sure,” Custer said. “Our team has always struggled a little bit on short tracks so to get to come and test at one is a huge deal for us and I think it will help us a ton when we come for the race. We still have to get it a little better to be with that 20 car (Christopher Bell), but we’re right in the ballpark and just need a few more adjustments.

Everybody has worked so hard to get us where we are right now. Every single track we go to, we can compete for wins. I love the surface here, it’s so bumpy and so wore out it makes for good racing. It’s one of the best tracks we go to.”

Rain threatened to disrupt Wednesday’s action, but held off until the session was completed.

“It’s a good thing we came and did this tire test because we would have rolled into this race a good bit off the pace of the guys we need to compete with for the championship this year,” Reddick said. “We know we have to work on something and hopefully with all this data we were able to acquire, we’ll have a good sense of direction in the next coming weeks.

We found out we have some work to do compared to Cole (Custer) and Chris (Bell), especially. They were just able to be a lot more consistent and fire off faster and end the run faster, almost faster than we could start ours. That’s not very good for us but gives us something to chase after and work for.”

The next Xfinity Series race is the Dash 4 Cash event at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 27. Custer, Reddick, Austin Cindric and Justin Allgaier will compete for the $100,000 bonus to the highest-finishing driver in that race.

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