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New owners purchase Furniture Row Racing’s charter

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Spire Sports + Entertainment, an agency that represents drivers and sponsors and works with some NASCAR teams, has purchased Furniture Row Racing’s charter, NBC Sports confirmed Tuesday.

The new team’s car number will be 77. The team will field Chevrolets. Driver, sponsor and an alliance will be announced at a later date.

The team will be co-owned by Jeff Dickerson and T.J. Puchyr, among the founders of Spire.

“We think this is the perfect time to buy in,” Dickerson told NBC Sports about why the company was moving into the role of a car owner and purchasing a charter. “Our guys sit in board rooms and tell people how much they believe in the sport. We believe in this sport. We believe in the leadership.”

The Furniture Row Racing charter is the most valuable charter to be sold. Part of the money paid to teams with charters is based off performance the past three years. With a championship and runner-up finish the past two years, the Furniture Row Racing charter will provide more money than any of the previous charters that have been sold. Furniture Row Racing ceased operations after this season.

A NASCAR spokesperson said that the sanctioning body does not reveal the price of charters but NBC Sports has learned that this is the most paid for a charter. The only charter price that has been revealed came from the sale of BK Racing’s charter through bankruptcy court in August. Front Row Motorsports purchased that charter and team equipment for $2.08 million.

There are 36 charters in Cup. A charter team is guaranteed a starting spot each race. To maintain the charter, a team must compete in every race.

This will be the first time for Dickerson and Puchyr to be Cup car owners. They can provide the new ownership that some have questioned for the sport as the current group of owners age.

Spire Sports + Entertainment was founded in 2010. Among the drivers the company represents are: Kyle Larson, James Hinchcliffe, Landon Cassill, Ross Chastain, Todd Gilliland, Justin Haley, Vinnie Miller and Garrett Smithley.

Spire Sports + Entertainment also provides services to Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, GMS Racing and Toyota Racing Development.

 

 

One Cup, six Xfinity teams docked practice time Friday

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Chase Elliott is the only Cup driver who will be penalized practice time Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while six Xfinity teams, including one title contender will miss practice time.

Elliott will miss 15 minutes for being late to inspection last weekend at Phoenix. Cup practice is from 1 – 2:20 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Xfinity title contender Christopher Bell will miss 30 minutes of opening practice for failing inspection three times last week at Phoenix. The cars of Josh Bilicki and Chase Briscoe also will miss 30 minutes for the same infraction.

David Starr will be docked 15 minutes of practice for being late to inspection last week at Phoenix. The cars of Vinnie Miller and Stephen Leicht will miss 15 minutes for failing inspection twice.

Opening Xfinity practice is from 2:35 – 3:25 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

One Cup team, nine Xfinity teams docked practice time Friday at Texas

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FORT WORTH, Texas – Kyle Weatherman‘s Cup car will be penalized 15 minutes of practice and nine Xfinity teams will lose 15 minutes Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Weatherman will miss practice time for being late to post-qualifying/pre-race inspection last weekend at Martinsville.

Cup practice is from 2 – 2:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In the Xfinity Series, the cars of BJ McLeod, Ryan Truex, Ryan Reed, John Hunter Nemechek, Josh Bilicki, Jeremy Clements, Bayley Currey, Bobby Earnhardt and Vinnie Miller will be docked 15 minutes.

The cars of McLeod, Bilicki, Currey, Earnhardt and Miller were penalized for being out of the garage late. The cars of Truex, Reed, Nemechek and Clements were penalized for failing inspection twice at Kansas.

The first Xfinity practice is from 3:05 – 3:50 p.m. ET today on the NBC Sports App.

Ross Chastain wins Xfinity pole for today’s race

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DARLINGTON, S.C. – Ross Chastain won the pole for today’s Xfinity race (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC). Chastain is driving this weekend for Chip Ganassi Racing. It is Chastain’s first career Xfinity pole.

Chastain won the pole with a lap of 169.531 mph.

Christopher Bell (169.263 mph) will start second and Tyler Reddick (169.048) will start third. Daniel Hemric (168.839) is fourth and Denny Hamlin (168.106) will start fifth.

The first round was stopped when Vinnie Miller stopped on the track after his car was smoking.

Brandon Jones did not make a qualifying attempt after his car failed pre-qualifying inspection four times. He will start 39th in the 40-car field.

Click here for starting lineup

JD Motorsports completes Xfinity driver lineup with Garrett Smithley

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Garrett Smithley will return to JD Motorsports with Gary Keller for a third season, the Xfinity Series team announced Wednesday. The 25-year-old Smithley will again drive the No. 0 car.

He completes JD Motorsports’ driver roster for 2018. Smithley’s teammates will be Ross Chastain, Vinnie Miller and Matt Mills.

“I’m so excited to be back with JD Motorsports with Gary Keller this season,” Smithley said in a statement from the team. “We’ve had two very successful seasons together and to be given the opportunity to continue to build on that is something I do not take for granted.

“Each and every year JD Motorsports with Gary Keller grows and improves. This offseason has been an extremely strong one for this organization, and I knew that if the opportunity presented itself to return, I wouldn’t pass it up. I can’t thank Johnny Davis and Gary Keller enough for the opportunities they have given me and this entire team for all that they do. We’re a family, and we’re in this together. It will be awesome to work with Ross once again, as well as Vinnie and Matt this season.”

Smithley finished 21st in the points last season. He finished a season-best eighth in the season opener last year at Daytona International Speedway.

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