Vinnie Miller

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Four Cup, eight Xfinity teams will lose practice time at Auto Club

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NASCAR announced that four Cup teams and eight Xfinity teams will lose practice time Friday at Auto Club Speedway for inspection issues last week at Las Vegas.

In Cup, Chase Elliott‘s team will lose 15 minutes of practice in the final session for failing inspection twice last weekend. The cars of Michael McDowell and JJ Yeley will lose 15 minutes each in the final practice session for being late to inspection. Also, the car of Garrett Smithley will lose 30 minutes of final practice for failing inspection three times.

Final Cup practice will be from 5:35 – 6:25 p.m. ET

In Xfinity, the cars of Ryan Sieg, Austin Hill, Stephen Leicht, Mike Harmon, Vinnie Miller and Josh Williams each will miss 15 minutes of first practice for being late to inspection. Also, the cars of Brandon Brown and Josh Bilicki each will miss 15 minutes of first practice for failing inspection twice.

First Xfinity practice will be 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET.

Practice holds for Cup, Xfinity teams at Las Vegas

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UPDATED with inspection issues in Cup Friday …

Six Cup and 12 Xfinity teams will miss practice Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for inspection issues last week at Daytona.

NASCAR announced Friday that the Cup teams of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones and Christopher Bell will each have 15-minute holds in practice because those teams used bondo to change the manufacturer’s shape of the fender.

Earlier, t he Cup, the teams of Hamlin and Brennan Poole each will miss 15 minutes of opening practice for failing inspection twice at Daytona.

MORE: NASCAR penalizes four Truck teams for inspection issues at Las Vegas

In Xfinity, the teams of Daytona winner Noah Gragson, Matt Mills, David Starr, Robby Lyons II, Joe Nemechek, Vinnie Miller, Josh Williams, Mason Massey and the No. 74 car of Mike Harmon Racing each will miss 15 minutes of practice for being late to inspection at Daytona.

The Xfinity cars of Justin Haley and Joey Gase each will miss 15 minutes of practice for failing inspection twice.

The Xfinity car of Stephen Leicht will miss 30 minutes of practice for being late and failing inspection twice.

Xfinity practice is from 2:35 – 3:55 p.m. ET Friday. Opening Cup practice is from 4:05 – 4:55 p.m. ET Friday.

Cup, Xfinity practice holds for Michigan, Mid-Ohio

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Here are the practices holds this weekend for the Cup and Xfinity Series.

Cup at Michigan International Speedway

Will be served during the last 15 minutes during today’s practice session.

15 minutes: Clint Bowyer (Late out of the garage before qualifying)

Xfinity Series at Mid-Ohio

All penalties will be served at the end of first practice (1:35 – 2:25 p.m ET today on the NBC Sports App)

15 minutes: Tyler Reddick, Vinnie Miller, Justin Allgaier, Chad Finchum, Tommy Joe Martins, Brandon Brown (late to inspection)

15 minutes: Jack Hawksworth (team failed inspection twice)

30 minutes: Joey Gase (late to inspection and failed inspection twice)

New NASCAR Cup team owners invest in minor league hockey team

Spire Sports + Entertainment
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You might say that the newest NASCAR Cup team owner is now in a Rush.

Spire Sports + Entertainment, which recently purchased the Cup charter of former NASCAR championship team Furniture Row Racing, has branched out, taking a minority ownership share in the Rapid City (South Dakota) Rush of the 27-team East Coast Hockey League.

Spire co-founders Jeff Dickerson and T.J. Puchyr will become active minority partners in the Rush, hoping to bring the team back to past prominence.

“We aren’t going to be saviors here,” Spire co-founder Jeff Dickerson said in a press conference at the team’s Rushmore Plaza Civic Center home. “There’s no magic bullet. It’s going to take all of us to create the culture that builds excitement and value. The city loves the Rush and we hope to get it back to where it was.”

Rush majority owner, Rapid City businessman Scott Mueller, sees better days ahead for his club.

“The biggest thing is (Spire’s) sports industry knowledge,” Mueller said, according to the Rapid City Journal. “It’s about putting people in seats, selling advertising and they have a lot of knowledge on that. (Dickerson) sees so many venues, and I think he’s going to be involved in changes that are needed.

“We’ve taken some steps in the last few months. These are great days for us, and we’re really excited about our future.”

The Rush is mired in sixth place in the ECHL’s seven-team Mountain Division.

In addition to purchasing Furniture Row Racing’s charter, Spire represents several race car drivers including NASCAR’s Kyle Larson, Landon Cassill, Ross Chastain, Justin Haley, Todd Gilliland, Garrett Smithley and Vinnie Miller and IndyCar’s James Hinchcliffe.

Spire isn’t the only NASCAR Cup team owner involved in other sports. Roush Fenway Racing’s co-owner John Henry owns Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club of soccer’s Premier League, while Chip Ganassi previously was a minority owner in MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates. Felix Sabates, who also holds a minority ownership stake in Chip Ganassi Racing, is also a minority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.

“We have been looking for several years to find something in minor league sports and see if what we do in motorsports translates to this space,” Puchyr said, according to The Journal. “Our due diligence indicates that it does.”

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Tommy Joe Martins returns to BJ McLeod Motorsports for 2019 Xfinity season

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B.J. McLeod Motorsports on Thursday announced that Tommy Joe Martins will return to the Xfinity Series team for a third season.

Martins joined the team in 2017. In 28 starts, his best finish with the team has been 11th at Iowa (in 2017).

“It is with great enthusiasm to have Tommy Joe Martins back with the team,” team co-owner Jessica McLeod said in a media release. “Martins has played a great part in helping us improve our on-track performance over the last two years and we are looking forward to what’s to come.”

The team, which recently moved into a new shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, will field three full-time cars in the Xfinity Series in 2019, its fourth year of operation.

Its two full-time drivers will be Vinnie Miller in the No. 78 and Matt Mills in the No. 8, while Martins will be part of a rotating cast of drivers in the No. 99 that will also include team co-owner B.J. McLeod, J.A. Avila Jr., and other drivers that may be added.

Click here to read the full press release.

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