Tommy Joe Martins

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Four Cup teams, eight Xfinity teams docked practice at Dover

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Four Cup teams, including Kurt Busch‘s team, will lose 15 minutes of practice Friday at Dover for inspection issues at Talladega. Eight Xfinity teams will lose 15 minutes of practice Friday at Dover for previous inspection issues.

In Cup, Busch’s team is being penalized for multiple inspection failures at Talladega. The teams of Ross Chastain, Chris Buescher and Cody Ware each will lose 15 minutes of practice for being late to inspection at Talladega.

Cup practice is from 11:05 – 11:55 a.m. ET Friday.

In the Xfinity Series, the teams of BJ McLeod, Joey Gase, Josh Williams, Jeremy Clements, Ronnie Bassett Jr., and Tommy Joe Martins each will lose 15 minutes of practice for being late to inspection previously.

The teams of Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg will lose 15 minutes of practice for multiple inspection failures at Talladega.

All the Xfinity penalties will be served during the first practice for that series from 12:05 – 12:55 p.m. ET Friday.

Two Xfinity crew chiefs suspended one race for Charlotte penalties

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NASCAR has issued suspensions to two Xfinity Series crew chiefs for infractions following last Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jason Ratcliff, crew chief on Christopher Bell‘s No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing, was suspended one race after the car failed front and rear body heights in post qualifying and post-race inspection.

The L1 penalty includes a $10,000 fine for Ratcliff, a 10-point deduction of driver and owner points and Bell’s third-place result won’t go toward tiebreakers in points for the playoffs.

Bell now has 385 points but remains second in the standings, 48 points behind Elliott Sadler.

Joe Gibbs Racing told NBC Sports on Wednesday that it will not appeal the penalty. Wesley Sherill will serve as the team’s crew chief this weekend at Pocono.

Keith Wolfe, crew chief on B.J. McLeod Motorsports No. 8 Chevrolet, is suspended for one race for having two lug nuts unsecured. Tommy Joe Martins finished 24th in the race.

B.J. McLeod Motorsports told NBC Sports it will not appeal the suspension and is working on a replacement crew chief.

NASCAR also fined Cole Pearn, crew chief for Martin Truex Jr., $10,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

 

 

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), Jeffrey Earnhardt (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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Tommy Joe Martins closes Truck team, to focus on Xfinity Series in 2018

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NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series driver Tommy Joe Martins announced Saturday that he has ceased operations of the Truck Series team he owns and drives for, effective immediately.

Martins tweeted the announcement about Martins Motorsports, saying “It was a hard decision, a frustrating decision, but the right one for me and my family.”

The Como, Mississippi native has competed in 28 Truck races between 2009 and 2017. His best finish to date over that time was 15th at Michigan International Speedway in 2016.

Martins had planned to go forward with another part-time schedule in the Truck Series in 2018, as well as potentially field trucks for other drivers, but according to an interview he had with Frontstretch.com, two handshake deals for sponsorship fell through.

Martins will focus on returning to Team McLeod in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2018. He has 20 career starts in the Xfinity Series, with 11 starts in 2014 and nine in 2017. He earned his best overall NASCAR finish last season (11th) in an Xfinity race at Iowa Speedway.

“I’m in a position now where my driving career isn’t tied to this race team,” Martins told Frontstretch.com. “I’ve got a deal for 10 races with BJ McLeod next year and he’s already been open to upping that to about 15 races. So I’m getting to run half the year in Xfinity anyway.”

Grant Enfinger fastest in final Truck practice at Texas

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Grant Enfinger was fastest in the final Camping World Truck Series practice at Texas Motor Speedway.

Enfinger, who drives the No. 98 Chevrolet for ThorSport Racing, posted a top speed of 185.274 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

Enfinger was followed by Myatt Snider (184.609), Austin Cindric (184.420), Justin Haley (184.370) and Johnny Sauter (184.332).

Sauter was fastest in the first practice session.

Snider recorded the most laps in the session with 42.

Christopher Bell, who was 10th fastest, has the best 10-lap average at 182.232 mph.

Tommy Joe Martins made contact with the wall in the session before he completed a lap. He was cleared and released from the infield care center.

Click here for the practice report.