Tommy Joe Martins

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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Justin Haley wins at Talladega for first Xfinity victory

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Justin Haley won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega in a three-lap shootout to score his first career Xfinity victory.

The Kaulig Racing driver beat teammate Ross Chastain, Jeb Burton, Austin Cindric and Brett Moffitt.

Haley’s win comes in his 47th Xfinity start and gives him wins in all three of NASCAR’s national series.

“First of all I want to dedicate the win to Nick Harrison and the Harrison family, he started this journey with me last year in my rookie year, losing him was pretty big,” Haley told FS1, referring to his former crew chief who died unexpectedly in July of last year. “This is an incredible day. Emotionally, I’m fighting for a ride, fighting for the next time I get in a race car next year. Anytime you can win definitely helps.”

Haley, 21, is the third first-time winner this season, joining Harrison Burton and Noah Gragson. This was also the third race in 2020 where the winner won with a last-lap pass.

Chastain’s second-place finish earned him the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

The Dash 4 Cash lineup for next Sunday’s race at Pocono is Haley, Chastain, Cindric and Alex Labbe.

The final run to the checkered flag was set up by a large wreck on the frontstretch with nine laps to go. It began when Gragson was turned from contact with his teammate, Justin Allgaier. Other drivers involved were Brandon Jones, Brandon Brown, Myatt Snider and Tommy Joe Martins.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Haley

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

More: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Jeb Burton’s third-place finish is his best Xfinity finish in his 34th start. He started in the rear after his car failed inspection three times … Brett Moffitt’s fifth-place finish is his best Xfinity result in 12-career starts.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ryan Sieg finished 30th he had multiple tire issues early in the race … Chase Briscoe finished 18th and Riley Herbst finished 37th after they were in a wreck on Lap 77. The wreck started when Brett Moffitt turned Herbst from contact on the frontstretch … Harrison Burton was eliminated and finished 32nd after he was in a multi-car wreck with 18 laps to go. He had started the season with a rookie record 10 straight top-10 finishes.

WHAT’S NEXT: Xfinity race at Pocono Raceway at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, June 28 on FS1

Chase Briscoe wins Sunday’s Xfinity Series race at Miami in overtime

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Chase Briscoe won Sunday’s Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in overtime to cap off the series’ doubleheader weekend at the track.

The win came in the second attempt at an overtime finish and saw Briscoe hold off Brandon Jones by .072 seconds. It is Briscoe’s third win of the year.

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain, AJ Allmendinger and Noah Gragson. Allmendinger, who started the race near the rear of the field, claimed the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Briscoe won despite being without his main crew chief, car chief and an engineer, who were all suspended for four races after a piece of ballast fell off Briscoe’s car during the pace laps of Saturday’s race. Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing, served as Briscoe’s crew chief.

“That was a team win for sure,” Briscoe told FS1. “Yesterday, we were so good and then today, I don’t know if it was the heat or what, we just weren’t very good. We were decent on the long run, but (Gragson) was definitely better.”

The final overtime attempt was a result of a three-car wreck on the backstretch involving Riley Herbst, Michael Annett and Daniel Hemric. Herbst was turned off the nose of Allmendinger’s car and sent into Annett and Hemric.

The overtime period was created by a spin by Austin Cindric with two laps left in the scheduled 167-lap distance after he cut his right rear tire.

Before the caution for Cindric, Briscoe had been chasing down Gragson for the lead in the closing laps, but contact with the wall with three laps to go slowed him down. When the caution came out, all the leaders pit and Briscoe beat Gragson off pit road.

Briscoe, Jones, Chastain and Allmendinger each qualified for the next Dash 4 Cash round next weekend at Talladega.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ryan Sieg; won the first stage for both Xfinity races this weekend thanks to pit strategy

STAGE 2 WINNER: Noah Gragson

More: race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Harrison Burton managed to finished eighth after he had to pit with seven laps left in the scheduled distance for a cut tire … Ross Chastain, third, earned his best finish of the year … Noah Gragson led the most laps with 81 but finished fifth. He led 83 laps Saturday but finished third after a late caution … With Justin Haley finishing sixth, Kaulig Racing put all three of its drivers in the top six.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Tommy Joe Martins finished 20th and Caesar Bacarella finished 30th after they were involved in an incident on Lap 33 … Brandon Brown, who started second, finished 36th after suffering an engine failure in the second stage. … Justin Allgaier finished 22nd after he got into the wall and cut a tire with 21 laps to go in the scheduled distance, forcing him to pit.

WHAT’S NEXT: Unhinged 300 at Talladega Superspeedway at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1 on June 20

Harrison Burton takes lead with 2 laps to go for Xfinity win in Miami

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Harrison Burton led the last two laps, but that was enough to win his second race of the season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, capturing the first of a two-race weekend doubleheader at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“So much fun, for me especially,” Burton said. “I gave him (Gragson) the lead on the outside early and I think he chose the inside because of that. I knew I couldn’t give it to him again.

“This is such a tight series and everyone is so, so competitive that you kind of have to claw and dig every chance you get. This was one of those times where he kind of got loose and got under him and it was a good race, that’s for sure.”

The 19-year-old Burton, son of NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton, has now won twice (also won at Fontana) this season and has earned seven top-5 finishes in the first nine races.

Burton overtook runner-up Austin Cindric and prior race leader Noah Gragson, who was seeking his third win of the season, but tailed off on the last lap to finish third. Anthony Alfredo finished fourth and NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fifth in his first race since last August’s Xfinity race at Darlington.

Burton becomes the third two-time winner of the season, joining Gragson and Chase Briscoe. The series returns for its second race of the weekend Sunday at Miami.

Click here for results, standings


STAGE 2 WINNER: Noah Gragson

Who had a good race: Dale Earnhardt Jr., making his first start since late last August at Darlington, finished fifth.

Who had a bad race: Tommy Joe Martins had high hopes coming into the race, only to suffer a mechanical failure prior to the start of the race. Repairs were made and he finished 31st.

Notable: Chase Briscoe’s race started off disastrous: a piece of ballast fall off his car during the pace laps. After repairs, he rejoined the race six laps down, but was able to make up the laps and was up to sixth place by Lap 132, but hit the wall with 11 laps left and finished seventh. NASCAR announced late Saturday night that it has handed down four-race suspensions to Briscoe’s crew chief Richard Boswell, car chief Nick Hutchins and engineer DJ Vanderley, starting with Sunday’s Xfinity Series race at Miami. The trio will also miss upcoming races at Talladega, Pocono and Indianapolis. They are eligible to return at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, July 9. The incident and resulting penalty is similar to the ballast that fell off Denny Hamlin’s car prior to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24.

Next race: The Xfinity Series returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday (12 p.m. ET on FS1) for the second half of the weekend doubleheader.

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How small teams are approaching first Xfinity Series doubleheader

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When it comes to today’s Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox), Brandon Brown has one goal: keep the right side on his car.

Why? Because he wants to keep his primary car intact for Sunday’s race.

That’s right, the Xfinity Series is holding two races this weekend, the first of two doubleheaders scheduled for the series so far this year.

The Miami race weekend was originally scheduled for March before NASCAR went into its COVID-19 imposed shutdown. Now teams will be competing in much warmer June conditions.

How are smaller race teams, like Brandon Brown’s and Tommy Joe Martins‘, approaching this unique weekend?

When Brown, who starts today’s race in fifth place due to a random draw, first heard about the doubleheader, he knew that it was going to be “big” because of how hot it would be.

“Homestead is already slick and abrasive so it’s just gonna make it that much worse,” Brown told NBC Sports. “But it’s another challenge that we’ve got to tackle. So the team’s excited, I’m pretty excited. (It’s going to) be a weekend of attrition. It’s gonna be who can keep their car alive, who’s gonna be patient? You want to be as aggressive as possible to get to the front, but you’ve got to remember to stay patient because you’ve gotta race this car again the very next day and you only get three hours in-between the races to do anything.”

Brown and his team would rather not spend any of those three hours repairing their primary.

“We know that Homestead, notoriously everybody finds speed up top,” Brown said. “Our car, our biggest focus is going to be making sure that the right side stays on, body works good, crush panels are good, making sure that you know we have extra vinyl on the hauler ready to rock and roll so that as soon as we finish our race, we have everything ready to go.”

How difficult is it to prepare two cars for a race weekend when you won’t get to practice with either of them? Brown said their preparation has been aided from what they learned last year when his team ran two cars in the season finale.

“So it’s basically going there with the same setup that we did with that,” Brown said. “(With) as much pressure as people put on the drivers for (there being) no practice, when you go into Turn 1, you gotta be fast … It’s the same pressure for the guys here in the garage as to ‘I hope everything I did is right, I double and triple checked all the nuts and bolts and lines and if something breaks it’s on me.’ I think that’s the most crucial piece but now you’re just (multiplying) it by two, which is gonna be pretty big, especially if you have to end up moving to the backup car.”

Tommy Joe Martins’ backup car for the Miami weekend is one that hasn’t seen the track yet this year. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

As for not having practice, that’s completely fine for Martins and Martins Motorsports. They view a doubleheader weekend with no on-track preparation as a cost savings measure.

“When all of this was going down, NASCAR reached out to us, to the teams and the drivers, they were asking us about what would we prefer for a weekend schedule if they were to kind of alter it,” Martins told NBC Sports. “Where did we see the most value for us? What was the most important thing to kind of keep consistent? And honestly they kind of did exactly what I wanted to do. So this is one of those rare moments where I’m like really happy with NASCAR. I said we really don’t care about practice.”

Martins said doubleheader weekends “would be the the best thing because then all of a sudden we get two races, we would only have to travel once. You could make the races a little bit shorter, we could run the same car. … And it turns out, they’re gonna do that a few times this year with Homestead and Kentucky coming up. I think it’s really neat. I think it’s kind of the future of our sport. Honestly, I think that’s a great idea. I think it ought to be done all through the series, and I hope they continue to do that even after this year.”

Martins will be running the same No. 44 Chevrolet he had at Atlanta as his primary car. His backup car will be one that hasn’t seen the track yet this season.

“Obviously, we can go down here and have a problem in the first race and have to turn around and go to a backup car,” Martins said. “A lot of these teams are going to be running the same car week in and week out, you know, so this isn’t like a stretch for us.

“But having two races in a weekend, I think it’s really important that we go down there with a backup car that is more prepared than we normally do.”