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Shane Lee fulfills 2nd grade prediction at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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In Shane Lee‘s trophy room sits an accurate prediction of the future from the early 2000s.

On the left side of an open booklet is a crudely drawn portrait of a race car with the No. 00 on the side. The car is depicted racing along a road under yellow sun and whipping by green grass.

On the right side, on page 25 of the booklet he used in second grade, Lee fulfilled a teacher’s assignment: Write what you want to be when you grow up.

Courtesy: Shane Lee

Lee wrote:

“When I grow up I am going to be a NASCAR driver. I am going to race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. My number is going to be 00 because my daddy’s number was 00 when he raced.”

Lee, now 24, fulfilled two-thirds of that prophecy Monday.

In two years and 30 starts in ARCA, Lee raced at other NASCAR tracks – Pocono, Michigan, Kansas, Chicago, Kentucky and even Daytona – but for whatever reason Charlotte wasn’t one of them.

“I’ve lived 20 minutes from there and never made a lap on the track in my life,” Lee told NBC Sports the Tuesday morning after he first drove a stock car at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Instead of a No. 00 car, it had come in an open Xfinity test with Lee driving Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 Chevrolet.

Did it meet his expectations?

“It had more character to it than I thought.” Lee said. “Getting into both turns on that track is way rougher than it looked like on TV.”

Monday’s test in Charlotte was Lee’s only time in the car until the June 2 race at Pocono Raceway, a track Lee made four starts at in ARCA and earned a career-best result of fourth in 2016.

Lee admitted he was “probably more cautious” than he needed to be in the test.

“Guess I had a little bit left in me to make the car go faster,” Lee said. “Trying to make sure I don’t happen to wreck the car they’re planning on taking back for Ty (Dillon) to race (on May 26). … We went there to do what we want to do and learn as much as we could.”

Lee’s first Charlotte race will actually be on the road course layout in September.

On Jan. 24, RCR announced the five-driver lineup for its No. 3 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series.

Joining veterans Austin and Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan and Jeb Burton was Lee.

A native of Newton, North Carolina, Lee spent the previous two seasons competing in ARCA after a few years competing in late models.

He had earned the 2012 and 2013 Limited Late Model Track Championships and been recognized as the 2013 North Carolina NASCAR Late Model Rookie of the Year. During that time he drove the No. 00, which his father Mike Lee used when he raced late models at tracks like Hickory Motor Speedway.

Monday’s test wasn’t Lee’s first time in a Xfinity car. That came three weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway, another track Lee had never been on before.

Shane Lee practices a Bristol Motor Speedway (Getty Images).

You wouldn’t have known it.

“After the first day of practice I figured we’d run in the top 10 just because of how the average practice speed was,” Lee said. “Everybody looked at me like I was crazy, but I thought with the Cup guys not in there, a lot of them guys are people I’ve raced with since I started racing. You sort of know whose going to be really good and who you’re going to compete with.”

Lee qualified eighth and finished eighth in Stage 1 and placed fourth in Stage 2. But with 17 laps to go, Lee lost his right front tire and brought out the caution. He was relegated to a 14th-pace finish.

Two races later, Lee was back in the No. 3 at Talladega, a track he made two ARCA starts at, finishing 11th and fifth. But after running in the top 10 most of the day, he ran out of gas as the field took the green flag in overtime. He placed 15th.

Lee thinks he’s “definitely pretty quick” at adapting to new forms of racing, but said “every track’s going to be different.”

“Most of them will still be new tracks to me, so every time I go to the track almost (there) will be a learning curve,” Lee said. “It sort of hurts, especially in the first practice with just me learning the car before I tell them what kind of adjustments they’re looking for. Just making sure to yourself you’re not doing something wrong to mess up the car.”

Lee’s learning curve is helped slightly by a two-year engineering degree he earned at a tech school in Gaston, North Carolina, before his ARCA deal came along.

“I figured I’d better have something if something don’t come up,” Lee said. “It helps when I look at (engineer) graphs and stuff when they’re trying to explain it. Everything they’re graphing, the data stuff we’re looking at is stuff I’m used to seeing, even though it’s in different words. It helps out on that part pretty good.”

While he uses his engineering education to work on his own late model stock car, Lee would like to never have to get his four-year degree and have to use it outside racing.

“Hopefully the racing works out,” Lee said, “so I don’t ever have to apply it.”

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Xfinity practice report at Talladega

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Practice 1

Cole Custer posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the Sparks Energy 300 with a speed of 194.125 mph.

Custer beat Spencer Gallagher (193.980 mph) by .037 seconds.

Ryan Truex (193.952), Brandon Jones (193.948) and Elliott Sadler (193.322) rounded out the top five.

Sadler is one of the Dash 4 Cash contenders this week.

The other three contenders all recorded top-12 laps. Matt Tifft (192.533) had the eighth fastest time, Christopher Bell (192.393) was 10th and Austin Cindric (192.197) 12th.

Jones had the quickest, 10-lap average of 191.887 mph with Bell (191.416) second.

Click here for complete results from practice one.

Final Practice

Only 17 cars competed in final practice with Shane Lee posting the fastest lap of 187.938 mph.

Truex (186.343 mph) was second fastest in the session with Ryan Reed (186.148), Ty Majeski (185.441) and Alex Labbe (184.951) rounding out the top five.

None of the Dash 4 Cash contenders participated in this practice.

No one ran 10 or more laps.

Click here for full results from Xfinity final practice.

Qualification will take place Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

Preliminary entry lists for Cup, Xfinity at Talladega

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
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Forty cars are entered for Sunday’s Geico 500 Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Joey Gase will be in the No. 00 car for StarCom Racing.

Brendan Gaughan is back in the No. 62 this weekend for Beard Motorsports.

Timothy Peters is set to make his Cup debut in the No. 92 for RBR Enterprises.

Cole Custer is listed in the No. 51 car for Rick Ware Racing but a team spokesperson told NBC Sports that Custer will not be driving the car.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won this race a year ago in overtime, beating Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch.

Click here for Cup entry list

Xfinity Series

There are 41 cars entered for the Sparks Energy 300 Xfinity race.

The race is a Dash 4 Cash event, so no drivers who earn points in the Cup Series are permitted to race in this event.

Noah Gragson, who finished second in his series debut last weekend at Richmond, is back in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend.

Shane Lee, who finished 14th in his series debut two weeks ago at Bristol, is back in the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing.

Aric Almirola won this race a year ago, finishing ahead of Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano.

Click here for Xfinity entry list

Ryan Preece wins Xfinity race at Bristol, $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus

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BRISTOL, Tenn. — Ryan Preece took the lead from Brandon Jones on a restart with 10 laps to go and went on to win Saturday’s Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Preece also collected the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash in collecting his second career series win.

“I’m going to be paid off with everything that I risked last year,” Preece said of what he borrowed to run two Xfinity races last year with Joe Gibbs Racing before having another race added.

MORE: Race results and points report 

Preece took advantage of having four fresh tires to two fresh tires for Jones on the restart. Once Preece pulled into the lead, he was not caught.

Justin Allgaier finished second. Hemric was third and followed by Elliott Sadler and Spencer Gallgaher. Jones finished sixth.

Allgaier, Sadler and Gallagher will compete for the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus next week at Richmond. Hemric was to have filled out the Dash 4 Cash field but his car failed inspection after the race – mechanical measurement NASCAR stated – and will be replaced by Brandon Jones.

Preece wasn’t eligible for next week’s Dash 4 Cash race because he’s not entered in the event.

Christopher Bell’s chances for the Dash 4 Cash ended after a hard hit just before the halfway point in the 300-lap race. Vinnie Miller and Cody Ware crashed, and Bell’s car went into a slide when he applied the brakes and slammed Miller’s car.

Stage 1 winner: Christopher Bell

Stage 2 winner: Ryan Preece

Who had a good race: Anybody who made it through with all the cautions. … Shane Lee was impressive in his Xfinity debut, driving for Richard Childress Racing. He was headed for a top-10 finish before he got into the wall with less than 20 laps left. Still, he had a strong run and performed well throughout the race. He placed 14th. … Justin Allgaier’s runner-up finish marked his fourth topthree finish in the last five races. … Elliott Sadler is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all seven races this season. … Ross Chastain finished ninth for his third top-10 finish of the year. He had two top 10s all last season. … Alex Labbe placed a career-best 11th.

Who had a bad race: Matt Tifft finished a season-worst 35th after he was involved in two incidents. It ended his streak of 15 consecutive top-20 finishes, dating to last season. … Kaz Grala was eliminated in an early crash and finished a season-worst 38th. … John Hunter Nemechek was running third when he had a tire go down and had to pit under green with 30 laps to go, ending his chances for a win. He finished 13th.

Notable: Spencer Gallagher, making his 47th series start, earned his first career top-five finish by placing fifth.

Quote of the day: “That’s the second time this weekend that I’ve crashed from guys going seconds off the pace. Can’t slow down whenever they spin out, and it’s frustrating,’’ Christopher Bell after being eliminated by a crash.

Next: The series races at Richmond at 7 p.m. ET on April 20.

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Richard Childress Racing announces lineup for No. 3 Xfinity car

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Richard Childress Racing has announced its five-driver lineup for its No. 3 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series.

Cup drivers Austin and Ty Dillon will split time with Jeb Burton, Brendan Gaughan and newcomer Shane Lee.

Austin Dillon drives the No. 3 for RCR in the Cup Series. His brother Ty drives the No. 13 Chevrolet for Germain Racing.

Lee, a 24-year-old native of Newton, North Carolina, will make his Xfinity debut after placing third in the ARCA Racing Series standings last year. He has three Camping World Truck Series starts. He finished 16th twice at Texas Motor Speedway and Gateway Motorsports Park.

Gaughan returns to RCR for his seventh season with the team. The former driver of the No. 62 car will compete at Road America and Mid-Ohio, two of the three road courses Xfinity visits.

Gaughan earned one of his two Xfinity wins at Road America in 2014.

Burton, the son of former up driver Ward Burton, has 22 Xfinity starts since 2013. His best finish is fourth at Daytona last July.

Nick Harrison will be the crew chief for the No. 3 in all 33 races.