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Speedway Motorsports Inc. enters into merger agreement with Sonic Financial

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Speedway Motorsports Inc. announced Wednesday morning that it has entered into a “definitive merger agreement” with Sonic Financial Corp.

Bruton Smith and his family own and control Sonic Financial Corp. Smith is the founder and majority stakeholder in Speedway Motorsports Inc. SMI operates eight tracks that host Cup races, including Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

The move would take SMI private just as International Speedway Corp. is in the process of doing with its agreement to have its outstanding shares sold to NASCAR. The France family owns both ISC and NASCAR. The NASCAR-ISC deal is expected to close this year.

SMI’s deal would call for Sonic Financial to acquire all the outstanding shares of SMI common stock at a price of $19.75 per share in cash. Speedway Motorsports’ stock closed at $18.95 a share Tuesday, its highest price in the last year. SMI’s stock was at $13.94 on April 23, the day before SMI announced receiving an offer from Sonic Financial.

In a memo to employees, SMI stated that once the merger is complete: “Speedway Motorsports, Inc. will continue its focus on owning and operating first-class, modern facilities in premier geographic markets, and providing our individual and corporate fans and customers with the best entertainment experience and marketing value in the motorsports industry.”

Also in the memo to employees, SMI stated: “We have no current plans for job eliminations as a result of the proposed transaction. Rather, the proposed transaction will enable us to accelerate our long-term growth plan and transformation, and maintain our focus on providing the best entertainment experience and marketing value in the motorsports industry.”

Just like old times: Greg Biffle celebrates first Truck win in 18 years

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Greg Biffle, running in his first Gander Outdoors Truck Series race since 2004, survived a caution-filled event to win Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

Biffle led the final 13 laps in the 167-lap race.

It is Biffle’s 17th Truck win but first series victory since 2001 at what is now ISM Raceway. Biffle, 49, ran Friday’s race for Kyle Busch Motorsports. It is his only scheduled start for the team this year.

“It was not easy,” Biffle said. “I had my work cut out for me. At the beginning of the race, so much odd stuff happened. We ran five laps at a time and then the caution would come out. There was a lot of people wrecking in front of me and behind me. I was just trying to keep the truck clean and stay out of trouble. Then we got four-wide off of turn 2, and I didn’t know you could do that here.

“We beat the fenders in a bit, but the Mobil 1 Toyota ran really good tonight. I want to thank those guys for coming on board and helping us. Kyle Busch assembles a great group of guys. The pit stops were phenomenal. Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) did a great job calling the race from the top of the box. It’s not easy to win these, but I can see how Kyle has done very well.”

The race featured a record 13 cautions. The previous record was 10 on two different occasions.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points report

Friday’s race was the opening round of the Triple Truck Challenge, awarding a $50,000 bonus to Biffle and the team. This is Biffle’s first NASCAR win since a Cup victory at Michigan in June 2013.

Matt Crafton finished second and was followed by Tyler Ankrum, Grant Enfinger and Harrison Burton.

Stage 1 winner: Johnny Sauter

Stage 2 winner: Ben Rhodes

Who had a good race: Rookie Tyler Ankrum finished a career-high third. Grant Enfinger’s fourth-place finish was his sixth consecutive top 10.

Who had a bad race: After winning the first stage, Johnny Sauter hit the wall. Austin Hill drifted up and made contact with Sauter, sending both into the wall early in Stage 2. That ended Sauter’s hopes of a win. Sauter placed 13th. … Todd Gilliland lost control when his Truck broke loose while battling for the lead on a restart in the second stage. He finished 27th.

Notable: Ross Chastain finished 10th and scored 38 points in his first race since declaring points for the Truck Series. He is 35th in the points. Chastain needs to be in the top 20 by the end of the regular season and have a win to be eligible for the playoffs. He is 64 points from 20th in the standings.

Next: June 15 at Iowa Speedway

 

Todd Gilliland to start on pole for Truck race in Texas

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Todd Gilliland won his first pole of the season and will lead the Gander Outdoors Truck Series field to the green tonight at Texas Motor Speedway.

The pole comes after a crew chief change this week at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Wes Ward, a shop foreman at KBM, is serving as Gilliland’s crew chief this weekend.

Gilliland starts first after a lap of 184.761 mph in qualifying. He will be joined on the front row by Johnny Sauter (184.634 mph).

They will be followed by Grant Enfinger (184.237 mph), reigning series champ Brett Moffitt (183.924) and Austin Hill (183.636). Greg Biffle, making his first Truck series start since 2004, qualified sixth for Kyle Busch Motorsports at 183.592 mph.

Stewart Friesen qualified 14th but will start at the back of 32-truck field because of a crash Thursday that sent him to a backup.

Green flag is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET

Click here for starting lineup

Friday schedule at Michigan, Texas

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All three of NASCAR’s top national series are on track today but in two different locations.

Cup and Xfinity teams are at Michigan International Speedway. Gander Outdoors Truck Series teams are at Texas Motor Speedway.

The wunderground.com forecast for this weekend at Michigan calls for high temperatures in the 70s all weekend. There’s a small chance of rain throughout the weekend.

The wunderground.com forecast for Friday at Texas will see high temperatures in the high 80s.

Here is the day’s schedule for all three series:

(All times are Eastern)

Michigan International Speedway

10 a.m. – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

1:05 – 1:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NASCAR.com, Motor Racing Network)

2:05 – 2:55 p.m. – Cup practice (NASCAR.com, MRN)

3:05 – 3:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (FS2)

4:05 – 4:55 – Final Cup practice (FS2, MRN)

 

Texas Motor Speedway

1 p.m. – Truck garage opens

5:35 p.m. – Qualifying; single truck/one lap (NASCAR.com)

7 p.m. – Driver-crew chief meeting

8:30 p.m. – Driver introductions

9 p.m. – SpeedyCash.com 400; 167 laps/250.5 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Truck Series practice report from Texas

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Johnny Sauter had the fastest lap in Thursday’s final practice session for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway.

Sauter went 183.237 mph. He was followed by Matt Crafton (183,138 mph), Austin Hill (183.057), Tyler Dippel (182.902) and Anthony Alfredo (182.865).

Click here for report on final Truck practice

The series has qualifying and its race Friday.

2nd session

Johnny Sauter posted the fastest lap in Thursday’s second Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice at Texas Motor Speedway.

Sauter had a top lap of 184.168 mph. He was followed by Grant Enfinger (183.667 mph), Sheldon Creed (183.045), Matt Crafton (182.266) and Todd Gilliland (182.094).

Click here for practice 2 report

Stewart Friesen, who finished second at Texas in March, crashed late in the session. He was 11th on the speed chart with a top lap of 181.519 mph. He went to a backup.

Final Truck practice will be from 7-7:45 p.m. ET.

Session 1

Ben Rhodes turned the fastest lap (180.681 mph) in the first Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway.

ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter was second, followed by Grant Enfinger, Sheldon Creed and Brett Moffitt.

Ross Chastain, who switched to earning 2019 truck points this week and became eligible for the race, was 10th fastest.

Click here for speeds from the first truck practice Thursday at Texas.

The second truck practice is at 5:05 p.m. ET, and the final session is at 7 p.m. ET. Check back for more speeds.

NASCAR also announced Thursday afternoon that the No. 45 Chevrolet of Kyle Benjamin will be held out of the final 30 minutes in the last practice for an unapproved splitter during inspection.

Qualifying is Friday at 5:35 p.m. ET (click here for the order), followed by the race at 9 p.m. ET on FS1.