Christopher Bell wins Kentucky Xfinity race after starting from rear

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Christopher Bell led the final 17 laps to win Friday’s Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway after starting from the rear of the field.

It is Bell’s second win of his rookie year.

Bell passed Justin Allgaier to take the lead with 17 to go and held off Daniel Hemric all the way to the checkered flag.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had to start in 40th after changing the tires on his No. 20 Toyota following a spin in qualifying.

“That was pretty special, man,” Bell told NBCSN. “I keep making mistakes and I’ve been feeling really bad for my team. Joe Gibbs Racing has been working really hard to build really fast race cars and I made another mistake there in qualifying, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get back on this repave. … It was just really working really good on the bottom of (Turns) 3 and 4 there. Hats off to Daniel, I know he’s been trying really hard to get a NASCAR win here for a long time.”

The top five was completed by Kyle Busch, Cole Custer and Allgaier.

The win is the third of Bell’s career and gives him 10 top 10s through 17 races.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: John Hunter Nemechek

MORE: race results and point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: John Hunter Nemechek managed to finish seventh after he lost power during a caution in the final stage, resulting in a battery change that put him a lap down … Tyler Reddick finished sixth, rebounding from two consecutive DNFs … Ryan Reed placed eighth for his second top 10 in nine races.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Blake Jones was spun by Josh Williams on Lap 100 for the first caution for an incident. Jones finished 25th … On the following restart, Brandon Jones spun on the backstretch and hit the inside wall. He finished 36th … Ty Majeski placed 27th after spinning through the infield grass on Lap 132.

NOTABLE: Elliott Sadler finished 12th. He started the season with 12 consecutive top 10s. He has finished outside the top 10 in three of the last five races. He is now tied with Daniel Hemric for the points lead with 608 points.

WHAT’S NEXT: Lakes Region 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at 4 p.m. ET on July 21 on NBCSN.

Cole Custer wins pole for Kentucky Xfinity race

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Cole Custer will start first in tonight’s Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

He qualified on the pole, his fourth of the year, with a top speed of 181.458 mph.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver is followed by Justin Allgaier (181.038 mph), Kyle Busch (181.026), Austin Cindric (180.880) and Daniel Hemric (180.578).

“It’s just getting the little things right, honestly,” Custer told NBCSN. “I was pretty down on myself yesterday when we were 15th in practice. We just made some adjustments and made good changes. I tried to look at some Dartfish for how Kyle (Busch) gets through Turn 3 and 4 and that helped me a lot.”

Christopher Bell finished the final round in 12th after he spun exiting Turn 4 while preparing to start his qualifying run.

Ryan Truex will start 13th and Paul Menard starts 14th.

Click here for the qualifying results.

 

NASCAR’s Thursday schedule at Kentucky Speedway

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Today marks the start of NASCAR’s race weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Both the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series are in action, with the Trucks holding their 12th race of the season.

Here’s the full schedule for today with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

7 a.m. – Truck garage opens

9:05 – 9:55 a.m. – Truck practice (No TV)

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV)

1 – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

4:05 – 4:50 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

5:10 p.m. – Truck qualifying; single truck/two rounds (Fox Sports 1)

6 p.m. – Truck driver-crew chief meeting

7 p.m. – Truck driver introductions

6:05 – 6:50 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

7:30 p.m. – Truck Series Buckle Up in Your Truck 225; 150 laps/225 miles (Fox Sports 1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR’s weekend schedule for Kentucky Speedway

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NASCAR heads to Kentucky Speedway this weekend with all three of its national series.

The weekend is capped off by the Cup Series’ Quaker State 400 on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

It is preceded by the Xfinity Series on Friday night (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN) and the Camping World Truck Series on Thursday.

Here’s the full schedule with TV and radio info.

All times are Eastern.

Thursday, July 12

7 a.m. – Truck garage opens

9:05 – 9:55 a.m. – First Truck practice (No TV)

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV)

1 – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

4:05 – 4:50 p.m. – First Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

5:10 p.m. – Truck qualifying; single truck/two rounds (Fox Sports 1)

6 p.m. – Truck driver-crew chief meeting

7 p.m. – Truck driver introductions

6:05 – 6:50 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

7:30 p.m. – Truck Series Buckle Up in Your Truck 225; 150 laps/225 miles (Fox Sports 1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Friday, July 13

9 a.m. – 10 p.m. – Cup garage open

Noon – Xfinity garage opens

Noon – 12:50 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN)

2 – 2:50 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN)

5:05 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (NBCSN)

6:15 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

6:40 p.m. – Cup qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

7:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

8 p.m. – Xfinity Alsco 300; 200 laps/300 miles (NBCSN, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, July 14

2 p.m. – Cup garage opens

5:30 p.m. – Driver-crew chief meeting

6:50 p.m. – Driver introductions

7:30 p.m. – Quaker State 400; 267 laps/400.5 mils (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

With 10-year-old car set to be retired, Kaz Grala earns first top five for Fury Race Cars

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Before going to Daytona International Speedway last week, Kaz Grala and Fury Race Cars made Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste a promise.

They promised to return a decade-old car with minimal racing history to the team unscratched.

They did this not knowing Friday’s Xfinity race at the restrictor-plate track would include multi-car incidents involving 17 and nine vehicles respectively.

Fury Race Cars, a team only five races old and racing week-to-week, had secured sponsorship for Daytona. But among the fleet of cars given to it by Grala’s former team JGL Racing, there wasn’t a superspeedway car.

“About two weeks ago we started making phone calls and putting feelers out saying, ‘Hey, this is the last race these steel-bodied cars could even be legal to run on a restrictor-plate track, does anyone have some extra ones, backup cars?” Grala told NBC Sports two days after he finished fifth at Daytona. “We weren’t thinking show cars at the time, but just any spare car they didn’t plan on running that weekend that would be obsolete after this weekend.”

Enter Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste.

They had a car. One that traced its origins back to Evernham Motorsports, a team that ceased to exist after 2008. From there it was owned by Richard Petty Motorsports. Then it went to Biagi-DenBeste Racing and finally Stewart-Haas Racing, who entered a partnership with Biagi-DenBeste in the Xfinity Series this season.

The car had never run a lap for SHR and with steel bodied cars in Xfinity going extinct after Saturday’s race, the team was prepping to turn it into a show car.

“I was excited about it because it was a car,” Grala said. “It might have been a show car, but Biagi and obviously Stewart-Haas always have good plate track cars so I knew it had potential. … As long we stayed out of the carnage … It’s just a lot easier to think about it beforehand than to actually get it done.”

After starting 38th due to qualifying being cancelled, Grala finished 13th in Stage 1. He then dodged his first bullet on Lap 82 when he managed to navigate his No. 61 Ford through a 17-car wreck that took “5 years off my life.”

After a Lap 88 restart, the caution returned a lap later for a three-car incident. Grala was ninth. But the 19-year-old driver felt something wrong with his car, which was loose under caution. Determining his right-rear tire was done and so was his race, he slowed to pit road speed as the rest of the field returned to racing speed.

Grala returned to the track in 24th with the field bearing down on him.

“That pack was getting a lot larger in my mirror and I was just praying that something was going to happen and there’d be a caution,” Grala said. “Sure enough my spotter said, ‘Oh, they’re wrecking behind you.’ I look in my mirror and I see smoke and sparks and a caution’s out.”

A nine-car wreck with three laps left in regulation led to Grala restarting 15th in overtime. On the last lap, he moved from the bottom to the high lane, which “panned out really good” for Grala, as momentum allowed him to push Christopher Bell and Justin Haley to the front and him to a fifth-place finish in a spotless car.

It was his second top five of the season and the first for Fury Race Cars.

“Looking at it from our organization and what we were able to do with that old show car, fifth is good no matter what,” Grala said. “We didn’t have a single scratch on our car. We didn’t even have so much as a donut. (The flat tire) must have been a stroke of bad luck, but you say that, but it’s hard to say whether it was a blessing in a disguise or not. Because obviously there was that big wreck. Whose to say whether we would have been ahead of it, behind it, in the middle of it had we been where we should have been. It’s easy to look back on it and say ‘I think we would have been better off.’ Who knows?

“All I know is that the way it did work out, it worked out for us.”

Grala announced on Twitter Tuesday his team was unable to secure sponsorship for this weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway, but that Fury has sponsorship for the July 21 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Without attempting to qualifying for every race this season, Grala will be ineligible for the payoffs were he to be inside the cutoff line at the end of the regular season. He left Daytona 14th in the standings. Twelve drivers make the playoffs.