NASCAR Xfinity Series

Penalty report from Indianapolis

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NASCAR issued penalties Tuesday to two Xfinity Series teams for infractions that incurred during this past weekend’s racing action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The more serious infraction — a loss or separation of an improperly installed rear axle — was assessed to Daniel Johnson, crew chief for Xfinity Series driver Tommy Joe Martins, after the axle broke during Saturday’s race on the IMS road course.

Johnson has been suspended for the next Xfinity Series points event, which will be the first race of this weekend’s Xfinity doubleheader at Kentucky Speedway (Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

The other penalty was assessed to Brian Wilson, crew chief for Austin Cindric, due to an unsecured lug nut. Wilson has been fined $5,000.

There were no other penalties issued.

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Results, standings after Indianapolis Xfinity race

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After being pushed out of the lead, Chase Briscoe roared right back in the closing laps to win Saturday’s inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s Briscoe’s fifth win of the season. He predicted in the preseason that he would win eight races in 2020. He’s now just three wins away from that goal.

Justin Haley finished second, followed by Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger and Austin Cindric.

Click here for results

Ranked No. 1, Briscoe opened his lead on Noah Gragson to 21 points in the driver standings and a 55-point edge over third-ranked Ross Chastain.

Updated Xfinity driver points after Indy

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Xfinity Series playoff grid after Pocono

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Things are getting tight in the Xfinity Series playoff standings.

After 12 races, four points separate the last playoff-eligible driver, 12th-ranked Myatt Snider, and Brandon Brown. Snider finished fourth on Sunday at Pocono. Brown was 33rd at Pocono. Snider gained 40 points on Brown in that race.

Next up for the series is Saturday’s race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

Race winners this season who are locked into the playoffs are Chase Briscoe (22 playoff points), Noah Gragson (15), Harrison Burton (10), Brandon Jones (7) and Justin Haley (6).

 

 

 

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Erik Jones: It’s time for better finishes and future

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Erik Jones doesn’t need to look at a clock to know now is his time.

The Michigan native earned a season-best third-place finish – and his second top-five in the last three starts – in Sunday’s back half of the NASCAR Cup doubleheader weekend at Pocono Raceway.

It couldn’t have come at a better time, as Jones is closing in on the end of a one-year contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing he signed last year. His future remains uncertain.

“We started talking to them about next year and what we’re going to do moving forward,” Jones said after the race.

“I feel like right now that’s kind of the plan, working with them. We’ll see what happens, but I feel good about it right now moving forward.”

David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, said on June 17 that it’s his hope to keep both Jones and Christopher Bell in the manufacturer’s fold.

“We all know that Erik is at the end of his current contract,” Wilson said. “What’s the plan there? We don’t know. We’re working on that. (Car owner Joe Gibbs) and I are talking about that now every week. Our desire obviously is to keep both of those young men in our company. How we do it is yet to be determined.”

Jones’ finish Sunday was a strong rebound after finishing 38th in Saturday’s race due to a wreck.

“We needed a good run, a good rebound,” he said. “It’s great we finished third, but in a way it’s frustrating because I think our primary car (in Saturday’s) race was quite a bit better than our backup car was today, but obviously third is a good run.”

After struggling through much of the season – including seven showings of 20th or worse in the first 14 events – Jones believes he’s turned a corner and sees more promising results ahead.

“It’s nice to rebound and hope we can keep the momentum going next week and keep going strong,” Hamlin said. “It’s nice to run a normal race. I think on a normal weekend we can run top five and I think we showed that today.”

Sunday’s finish – Jones’ sixth top-10 in eight career Cup starts at Pocono – also put Jones back in the top 16 Cup playoff rankings.

“We feel like we definitely should make the playoffs,” said Jones, who entered Sunday six points out of a playoff spot. “We’ve done that the last few years and I don’t see this year as any different.

“Hopefully we can keep moving forward. We’ve got good racetracks coming up for us, places we’ve run well at in the past, I think we’re going to keep racking up some good finishes here and hopefully get a win here pretty soon.

“I think our cars are way faster than a 16th-place team. Hopefully we can keep up the good runs. We just need three-four more races running strong like we need to, get some stage points and we’ll be in the top 12 pretty quickly.

“… It’s not even a question in my mind, making the playoffs or not. I feel we’ll be strong enough here to get a win at a race here in the next month or two.”

Earlier in the day, Jones drew attention for a tweet he posted criticizing over-aggressive driving by many in the field of the Xfinity Series race, which preceded the Cup race.

The most notable example of that was when Justin Haley hooked Riley Herbst on the Pocono straightaway. NASCAR held Haley for two laps on pit road after the incident and met with Haley and crew chief Alex Yontz after the race.

“The Xfinity Series is in kind of a weird spot right now,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of young guys, very talented guys, don’t get me wrong, but definitely some of the guys can click it down a notch.

“I watch it on TV every week and it’s like, man, some of those guys are so fast and some of the things they do just blows your mind. The way I grew up racing, hooking somebody on the straightaway is pretty out there. I don’t think you want to face the repercussions of what would have happened coming into the pits.

“It’s just kind of a lack of respect. I grew up with a lot of respect in racing and respect for my equipment and competitors. I don’t believe in intentionally wrecking people. I think that’s pretty low, low-class and doesn’t belong in our sport. It’s just Saturday night, Mickey Mouse stuff and I don’t like to see it.”

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Brandon Jones goes from Truck race winner to Xfinity race wreck

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The exhilaration of Brandon Jones’ first career win in Sunday morning’s Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway was short lived: just over one hour, to be exact.

To borrow a line from the old TV show, Wide World of Sports, Jones quickly went from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat, as he wrecked hard on the first lap of Sunday’s Xfinity Series race at Pocono.

It appeared Austin Cindric‘s Ford may have tapped the rear of Jones’ Toyota, sending the driver of the No. 19 spinning and slamming head-on into an inside retaining wall.

Jones was taken to the infield care center to be checked out. He has since been released.

“I’m 10-4 (alright), we’re junk,” Jones told his team on the radio.

Later, Jones told FS1, “From my vantage point, we were trying to go three-wide. …  I’m sure I was a moron for trying to go three-wide and do it early. But there’s got to be some give-and-take. It’s just early. It doesn’t take much when you’re three-wide to get pushed around, but from my vantage point, I got hit from the back.

“We just have to keep going. We had a real good positive, we won the Truck race and I had such high hopes for this one too.”

Cindric said on his team radio, “I think (Jones) got loose, checked up and I couldn’t avoid him.”

Cindric subsequently took the lead in the race but said he wasn’t in too much of a hurry on the opening lap.

“I can tell you one thing, there’s no such thing as too much of a hurry when it comes to racing unless you’re on worn out tires,” Cindric told FS1 during a race stoppage following a subsequent wreck and resulting red flag. “I’m having a lot of fun. We have a fast Ford Mustang and I intend to try and keep us here (in the lead) in the whole race.”

Four laps after Jones’ wreck, Josh Williams and Joe Graf Jr. were involved in another crash.

Then, on Lap 14, in virtually the same place as where Jones wrecked, Xfinity Series rookie of the year points leader Harrison Burton spun exiting Turn 1 and also hit the inside wall head-on. The race was red-flagged at that point for track cleanup. The red flag stoppage lasted nearly 21 minutes.

“The way it happened so fast and the way I spun, it felt like there was oil (on the track),” Burton told FS1. “It’s hard to say. I was racing with the 1 (Michael Annett) and felt good and then just instantly came around. It was a weird place to come around.

“That hit looked harder than it was. I’m alright and thankful my team builds safe race cars. I’ve unfortunately tested that out twice this year. Bummer, but we’ll be back and hopefully win some more.”

Then, on the final lap of Stage 1, Canadian driver Alex Labbe, one of four drivers in contention for the final Xfinity Dash 4 Cash race, spun in Turn 1 and suffered minor damage to his front end.

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