Quin Houff

Ryan Newman will start at rear after car fails inspection

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SPARTA, Ky. – Ryan Newman, who holds the final playoff spot, will start at the back of the field after his car failed inspection Saturday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway.

Newman was to have started 23rd but an issue with the car’s body caused the failure. That led to his qualifying time being disallowed for tonight’s race (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Quin Houff was the only other driver whose car failed inspection. Houff is with Spire Motorsports, which won last weekend’s Daytona race with Justin Haley.

On Friday, Newman noted that passing could be difficult in the race.

“The cars are so fast, and the track is gripped up so much that it’s going to be a challenge,” Newman said Friday about this race. “We’re going to move around, but if you move around like for instance in (Turns) 1 and 2, you can’t outrun the guy that is wide open in front of you running the shortest distance, it’s just not going to happen. You’ve go to be way way faster.

“That’s not the case. The cars are so similar now that you really can’t just drive around somebody when they’re driving a straight line almost. I think that passing, it’s going to be probably the biggest challenge we’ve had this year this weekend.”

Newman enters tonight’s race 16th in points, holding what would be the final playoff spot. He has a three-point lead on Daniel Suarez, who starts on the pole and seeks his first Cup victory. Erik Jones trails Newman by 13 points.

Newman climbed into a playoff spot by scoring three top-10 finishes in the last four races, including a fifth-place finish last weekend at Daytona International Speedway. But Newman said Friday that his team can be better.

“I’m not proud of how we’ve done it,” Newman said of his recent run of top 10s. “We’ve kind of skipped by, whatever you want to call it, not been as good as we need to be and that’s my focus. It’s good to have some decent results, but it’s not good to have decent results when other guys are collecting top fives and wins.”

So what does his team need to get to Victory Lane?

“Just raw speed,” Newman said Friday. “We’ve been off on raw speed. Trying to figure out downforce vs. drag. Obviously, we can’t complain about a Roush Yates Engine when they’ve been to Victory Lane. So knowing that Doug (Yates) does a great job with all that stuff, we’ve got to work on our cars more.”


Tonight’s Cup race at Kentucky: Start time, lineup and more

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Everything is trending in Stewart-Haas Racing’s direction. Is this the night SHR scores its first victory of the season?

Daniel Suarez was the fastest qualifier on Friday. All four SHR cars qualified in the top 10. Then later that night, Cole Custer won the Xfinity race.

Kevin Harvick has been strong on 1.5-mile tracks all season but misfortune has kept him out of Victory Lane. Is this his night? Or will this be the night Suarez scores his first Cup win? There have been first-time winners the past two Cup races and Suarez said Friday why not make it three in a row. Or could this be the night for Aric Almirola or Clint Bowyer?

Here’s all the info you need for tonight’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: NASCAR Analyst Larry McReynolds will give the command to start engines at 7:38 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 7:46 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 1:30 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 6:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 7:30 p.m. by Larry Campbell, Track Chaplain, Kentucky Raceway Ministries. Audrey Belle Adams of Louisville, Kentucky, will perform the National Anthem at 7:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 267 laps (400.5 miles) around the 1.5-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race at 7:30 p.m. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with NASCAR America on NBCSN. Countdown to Green airs at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 6:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

STREAMING LINK: http://stream.nbcsports.com/nascar/monster-energy-nascar-cup-series

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for sunny skies with a high of 88 degrees and zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Martin Truex Jr. swept all three stages in winning last year’s race. Ryan Blaney finished second. Brad Keselowski was third. 

TO THE REAR: Ryan Newman (failed inspection), Quin Houff (failed inspection)

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the lineup.

Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Kentucky Speedway

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NASCAR makes its annual trip to Kentucky Speedway this weekend with all three of it national series.

The weekend is capped off by the Cup Series’ Quaker State 400 Saturday night.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for the weekend.

Cup – Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

There are 36 cars entered into the race.

Quin Houff is entered in Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet a week after Justin Haley earned the team’s first Cup win.

There are no drivers listed for Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 and No. 52 cars.

Last year Martin Truex Jr. swept both stages and won over Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski for his second straight win at Kentucky.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Alsco 300 (7:30 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN)

There are 38 cars on the entry list.

Ryan Truex is entered in JR Motorsports No. 8 Chevrolet for the second time this year.

BJ McLeod is entered in JD Motorsports’ No. 4 Chevrolet.

Riley Herbst is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota.

There is no driver listed for MBM Motorsports’ No. 13 Toyota.

Last year, Christopher Bell won over Daniel Hemric and Kyle Busch.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 (7:30 p.m. ET Thursday on FS1)

There are 34 trucks entered. Two trucks will not make the race.

Dylan Lupton is entered in his second race in DGR-Crosley’s No. 15 Toyota.

Jeb Burton is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 44 Chevrolet.

Brandon Jones is entered in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota.

Last year, Ben Rhodes won over Stewart Friesen and Matt Crafton.

Click here for the entry list.

Kurt Busch posts fastest lap in final Cup practice at Pocono

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Kurt Busch had the fastest lap in Friday’s final Cup practice session at Pocono Raceway.

Busch ran a lap of 172.712 mph. He was followed by Brad Keselowski (171.798 mph), Kyle Larson (171.612), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (171.018) and Kyle Busch (170.849).

Click here for practice report

Busch had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 170.042 mph. He was followed by Keselowski (169.548 mph) and Chase Elliott (169.482).

Joey Logano ran the most laps at 43. He was 13th on the speed chart with a top lap of 170.148 mph.

Matt DiBenedetto will start at the rear of the field Sunday after his team changed engines Friday. He was one of four drivers who did not get on track in the final practice session. Also not running in the session were Quin Houff, Reed Sorenson and Ross Chastain.

Qualifying is Saturday. The race is Sunday.

Penalty report from Kansas Speedway

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NASCAR has issued fines to two Cup Series crew chiefs for unsecured lug nuts during the Kansas Speedway race weekend.

Paul Wolfe, crew chief for race winner Brad Keselowski, and Peter Sospenzo, crew chief on Quin Houff‘s No. 77 car, were each fined $10,000 for having one unsecured lug nut each.

There were no other penalties.