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Cup team’s debut stirs debate on value of smaller part-time teams

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The entry of NY Racing for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 has stirred talk about the value of smaller teams unable to compete a full season in Cup after a comment from the chairman of the Race Team Alliance.

NY Racing is entered in its first Cup race of the year. JJ Yeley is the driver. The team announced Tuesday a multi-year deal with Steakhouse Elite as sponsor. The team is owned by John Cohen, whose previous Cup teams ran 16 races between 2012-15. His team’s best finish was 32nd in the 2015 Daytona 500 with Reed Sorenson. His teams also failed to qualify for seven races and withdrew five times.

The entry of NY Racing means one car will fail to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. The five teams going for the four spots available for non-charter teams are those of BJ McLeod (No. 52, Rick Ware Racing), Sorenson (No. 55 Premium Motorsports), Timmy Hill (No. 66, Motorsports Business Management), Parker Kligerman (No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing) and Yeley.

NY Racing’s entry drew the ire of Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing and chairman of the Race Team Alliance. Kauffman tweeted about NY Racing’s entry and then responded to a few who questioned him.

Kauffman’s tweet drew a response from Xfinity driver Tommy Joe Martins, who has been vocal about the importance of smaller teams in NASCAR’s national series and the need to raise the profiles of such teams. Martins responded to Kauffman’s comments with a series of tweets.

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Four Cup teams to miss 15 minutes of Friday practice

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BRISTOL, Tenn. — Four cars, including both Chip Ganassi Racing cars, will miss the final 15 minutes of Cup practice Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Those docked practice time will be the teams of Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Paul Menard and Reed Sorenson. All are being penalized for failing inspection before last weekend’s race at Texas. Cup practice is from noon to 12:55 p.m. ET.

Several Xfinity cars will be docked practice time Friday for various violations.

The cars of Cole Custer, Joe Nemechek, Daniel Hemric, Kaz Grala, Tony Mrakovich, Josh Bilicki and Stephen Leicht will be held 15 minutes during the first practice for being out of the garage late for inspection last week at Texas.

The cars of Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Chase Briscoe will miss 15 minutes in the opening practice for failing inspection twice last week at Texas.

The car of Josh Williams will serve a 30-minute penalty for failing inspection three times at Texas.

Opening Xfinity practice is from 1:05 – 1:55 p.m. ET.

One Xfinity car will be docked 15 minutes in the final practice session. Nemechek is being docked the time for failing inspection twice at Texas. Final Xfinity practice is from 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET

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Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at Bristol Motor Speedway

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NASCAR heads to a short track for the second time in the Cup series and the first in the Xfinity series with a doubleheader from Bristol Motor Speedway.

Cup – Food City 500

There are 39 cars entered.

This is the most entries in a Cup race since the Daytona 500.

Along with the fulltime series regulars, Chad Finchum will make his series debut in the No. 66 Motorsports Business Management Toyota.

Harrison Rhodes will be back behind the wheel of the Rick Ware‘s No. 51.

Corey LaJoie takes over the No. 72 this week from Cole Whitt, who has been behind the wheel for the past three weeks.

Gaunt Brothers Racing will field their No. 96 for DJ Kennington.

Last year, Jimmie Johnson won the spring event over Clint Bowyer. Kyle Busch won in August over Erik Jones.

Click here for the complete Cup entry list

Xfinity – Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300

There are 41 cars entered for 40 spots.

No full Cup drivers are entered as this is one of the Dash 4 Cash races.

Austin Cindric will race the No. 22 that Ryan Blaney took to Victory Lane last week at Texas Motor Speedway. If he can win, he will be the fourth different driver to win in this car in the past four weeks.

John Hunter Nemechek will be behind the wheel of the No. 42 of Chip Ganassi Racing.

Chase Briscoe will race the No. 98 Biagi-DenBeste Racing.

Ross Chastain (in the No. 4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet) and Finchum (in the Motorsports Business Management Toyota) will be doing double duty.

Tony Mrakovich will make his first series attempt in the No. 28 JGL Racing Ford.

Last year, Jones won over Ryan Blaney in the spring. Kyle Busch won in August over Daniel Suarez.

Click here for the complete Xfinity entry list

Tommy Baldwin Jr. joins Premium Motorsports as crew chief, competition director

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Veteran NASCAR crew chief and team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. will return atop the pit box, named Friday as crew chief for the No. 15 NASCAR Cup Toyota of Premium Motorsports.

Team owner Jay Robinson announced that Baldwin will serve both as crew chief for the No. 15, as well as competition director, effective immediately. Reed Sorenson is driving the No. 15 this weekend at Darlington.

“Tommy’s passion, experience and knowledge will serve Premium well in its quest to become more competitive in the future,” Robinson said in a statement.

Baldwin previously served as crew chief for Bill Davis Racing, Evernham Racing and Robert Yates Racing, working with several drivers including Ward Burton, Jimmy Spencer and Kasey Kahne. He has five wins as a NASCAR Cup crew chief, including the 2002 Daytona 500 with Burton.

Baldwin started a Cup team in 2009 that he ran full time until the end of 2016 when he sold its charter to Leavine Family Racing.

Scott Eggleston will remain as team manager at Premium Motorsports, while Pat Tryson will move to crew chief of the No. 55 car, driven primarily by Derrike Cope.

Robinson said additional changes will be coming to Premium.

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Five Cup teams to miss practice time at Darlington

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Reed Sorenson, Corey LaJoie and Michael McDowell each will miss 15 minutes of the opening Cup practice Friday at Darlington Raceway for being late to qualifying inspection at Bristol two weeks ago, NASCAR announced.

Rookie Erik Jones will miss 15 minutes in Friday’s final practice for failing inspection before the Bristol race two times.

David Ragan will miss 30 minutes in Friday’s final practice for failing inspection before the Bristol race three times.

Opening Cup practice is from 1 – 2:25 p.m. ET.

Final Cup practice is from 3:30 – 4:55 p.m. ET.

Both practices will be on NBCSN.