Results, point standings after Cup race at Charlotte

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It was a long week for Chase Elliott, but he capped it off with his first NASCAR Cup win of the season in Thursday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Elliott got past Kevin Harvick, who faded to finish 10th, with 28 laps to go and then held off late charges by runner-up Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney (third), Ricky Stenhose Jr. (fourth) and Kurt Busch (fifth).

Sixth through 10th were Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Jr. and Harvick.

Even though Harvick fell back, he earned his 13th consecutive top-10 finish, dating back to last season.

Thursday’s win marked the second straight visit to victory lane for Elliott, who held off Kyle Busch to win in Tuesday’s Truck Series race at Charlotte.

Click here for results

As for the standings after the race, Kevin Harvick remains No. 1 in the Cup Series points.

Click here for standings

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What drivers said after Charlotte

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Chase Elliott – winner: “It feels awesome. Man, it was a tough week, for sure. We’ve had some tough losses, but that deal on Sunday night was a heartbreaker. It’s not the Coca-Cola 600, but any win in the Cup Series is really hard to get, and I really appreciate everybody at Hendrick Motorsports across the street, Chevrolet, and everybody at the shop have been working really hard. … I appreciate my team. Alan (Gustafson) made a great call there at the end to get it tuned up and, luckily, the run went long and I think that fell in our favor.

“(What were the last five laps like?) I was just waiting for the caution to come out, to be honest with you. I thought either the caution was going to come out, I was going to break something or I was going to crash. Just after the last couple of weeks, I just thought surely it wasn’t going to go green until the end. Just glad it did and glad we’re hopefully back on the right path.”

Denny Hamlin – finished second: “(How were you able to rebound for the runner-up finish?) Eventually the air pressure built up enough to where it got off the race track. The pit crew just did a phenomenal job picking up a bunch of spots. Our whole FedEx team prepared a good car. Every time we come back to a race track for the second time, our results are really, really good. We’re making good adjustments, I had a really good Camry, just needed to be a little better in the short run there.

“(Did you have a chance for the win following the final restart?) We started up front there when the pit crew got us out second there and ideally we would have stayed in front. I knew the 4 (Kevin Harvick), his car typically drops like a rock in the long run. We made a good run at it, but it was just too late.”

Ryan Blaney – finished third: “We got to second and the 4 (Harvick) was really fast getting going and the 9 (Elliott) got by me. I kind of messed up three and four and allowed him to get by me. I kind of thought I was equal with him when we were both running the 4 down and I just got tight. I was a little bit free all night and we tightened it up just a touch for that last run, and it was the longest run we had, and we just kind of burned the right-front off of it and couldn’t stay with the 9 there late in the run, and then the 11 (Hamlin) got by me. Overall, not a bad day for our BODYARMOR Ford Mustang. We had two solid races here at Charlotte. We just need to find a little bit more speed, but we’re right there. I’m really proud of this team.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – finished fourth: “That was a really solid night for our Kroger Camaro ZL1 1LE. I knew we had good speed in our car from the Coca-Cola 600 the other night, we just weren’t able to put the whole race together. We worked really well together and I was happy with the handling the majority of the night. (Crew chief) Brian (Pattie) made some really good adjustments that allowed us to make passes and make aggressive moves to gain track position and hold it during the final green flag run. This is exactly the type of momentum we need heading into one of my favorite tracks – Bristol Motor Speedway – this Sunday.”

Kurt Busch – finished fifth: “Not a bad run! A top five at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) on a Thursday night. Thanks to (crew chief) Matt McCall and all the guys on this Monster Energy team. We changed a few things our car to learn as much as we could, without practice and without testing. We tried some different things and it raced differently. The car handled loose all night, but we were able to bring home a top five. We just need to fine-tune a little bit here and there. Thanks to Monster Energy, Chevrolet, GEARWERENCH and everyone else on this effort. That puts us solidly up in the points; moving forward there will be a random draw for the starting line-up, if you’re in the top 12 you have a shot at starting on the pole. We’re making steady progress and had good stage points tonight.”

Joey Logano – finished sixth: “We had a solid to okay day. Solid to start and okay to finish. We started off with some good track position on the initial start and then had the opportunity to stay out, which we were able to grab a stage win and get another playoff point for the second week in a row, which is nice. We had a decent second stage and finished third, and then had two mediocre restarts that kind of put me back in the sixth or seventh place range. It was just impossible to pass. It’s so hard to pass. I rode behind the 1 (Kurt Busch), which I was better than, but could not get to him. I was waiting for him to make a mistake, but he’s too good to make a mistake, so I rode around and waited and waited and waited. I needed a caution to have the opportunity to have a restart and a pit stop, but in this racing you just run hard, you try to get everything you can on restarts. Details mean so much. We’re detail racing for sure and after that you hope that maybe there’s a car like the 4 that is fast and falls off, and there might be one or two cars that you might get on the long haul, possibly, but it’s tough at a track that’s just not wide enough.”

Brad Keselowski – finished seventh: “It wasn’t our prettiest day, but, all in all, we were decent. We had a lot of speed in our car, not as much as maybe the 9 (Elliott) car. He was lights-out fast today, but we had enough to, I think, run in the top three or four. We had a little bit of contact early on and got a flat tire that did a lot of damage to the car, and we recovered and I got contact again and had a lot of damage to the car, but came back in to fix it. There at the end we started to recover. I think we drove up to seventh to finish the race, but it’s kind of not my strongest day. I was pushing a little bit too hard starting in the back and got us behind with damage a little bit early and had to kind of fight through it in a short race. We did the best we could to recover, but didn’t have enough laps and I put us in too big of a hole.

“(How was tonight different physically compared to the much longer Coca-Cola 600?) It feels like I just played one half of a game, rather than a full game. It’s a lot easier, for sure, but I also kind of like this format a lot. I think it makes sense. I think it makes sense to have long races on weekends and kind of shorter races, disregarding the weather, during the week. I really like the format NASCAR has here. It’s a good give-and-take. It doesn’t just completely destroy your body, so I think NASCAR has really hit something here. I couldn’t see the front, but it seemed like it was pretty racy there at the end for the win, and I think that’s always a good thing as well.

“(You’ve talked about midweek races for some time. Do you think NASCAR will schedule more?) Oh yeah, I think absolutely. NASCAR, in my opinion, has hit gold with this format. The limited practice, show up and race, and the time window that benefits both the east and west coast. No qualifying. Inversion from the week before is really good because it mixes the field up and creates some good storylines there. I think it’s fair. It’s compelling and it’s at a time where, quite frankly, the sports world, even if it wasn’t for COVID, midweek races in the summer, when you’re generally not having a lot of competition, is in a time period where everybody is hungry for content. I think they’ve got gold here. COVID or not, I hope we keep this for years to come. I think this is a great little format that’s good for the sport and good for the fans and good for everybody all around, so kudos to them.”

Austin Dillon – finished eighth: “A top-10 finish is what we deserved in both this race, and in the Coca-Cola 600 this past Sunday. It’s crazy. We’ve run 900 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the past few days and we were an eighth-place car for all of it. We had spurts where we were really fast – top five at times. (crew chief) Justin Alexander, the pit crew, my spotter Brandon, everybody did a great job. It was fun. I had fun on the restarts, and we were able to pick up some stage points. We were just a little too free tonight. It was good on the long runs because it was free, but during the first 10 laps if you didn’t get going you would lose a couple of spots. We needed a little better take off speed. We’ll keep working. Bristol Motor Speedway is next. I’m loving it. A lot of miles in a short period of time.”

Martin Truex Jr. – finished ninth: “It was quite a battle. We started the race and made a few little changes to try to be better. We tried to figure out what we needed to be a little better than the other night and we started the race and we were just crazy loose. Honestly, that’s really the whole story. It was undrivable sideways for the first two stages and we just kept taking big swings at it. Finally, I fired off for that long run in the third stage and the Bass Pro Shops Camry was pretty good. We started passing cars and making up some ground. We just continued to chug our way forward the whole time. We never gave up on it, we worked hard and salvaged something. I think we’re all a little baffled on how we could have been that far off after how good we were Sunday. We definitely need to go back to the shop and figure some things out.

“(Are you looking forward to Bristol?) Hopefully no rain. I’m about sick of getting in and out of that car and watching the radar. Sitting there thinking, ‘well we were going to go and now we’re not going.’ Then drive home, come back. We just haven’t been able to catch a break. Hopefully, all the bad luck is out of the way as far as that’s concerned and we can go have us a good race at Bristol.”

Kevin Harvick – finished 10th: “It just falls off after lap 30. We knew that’s what we had with our Busch Light Ford and it went straight 60-some laps. They did a really good job turning the car around. It was the total opposite of what we raced last Sunday, so it was a good test session for us. We just didn’t need a long run.”

William Byron – finished 12th: “It was a rough night after we got that damage. We really never were the same after that. Obviously, we never had track position or the speed. We could get the handling to be okay but it would really fall off hard on the long run. It was just never the same, but the guys did a good job fixing it, trying to get us back up to the front. The pit crew was phenomenal. We restarted eighth on that last run and ran 10th for a while. To finish 12th is not bad after getting that damage. I feel like we got a couple more spots than maybe we should have, which is great. We’ll go on to the next race, execute and have a smooth race hopefully.”

John Hunter Nemechek – finished 13th: “Overall, it was a solid night for our No. 38 Scag Power Equipment Ford Mustang. I’m worn out… It was a hard-fought night. We had to overcome a couple of mistakes and we weren’t great in traffic, but we never gave up. (Crew chief) Seth [Barbour] and the crew did a really good job of tuning her up and making improvements so we could find some speed. We were able to bring home another top-15 finish for our Front Row Motorsports team.”

Tyler Reddick – finished 14th: “Man, what an up and down night for our No. 8 Okuma Chevrolet team. We worked hard and we were able to grab a top-15 finish. The biggest challenge was managing the balance tonight. For the first two stages of the race, we were too tight on entry and exit of the turns and way too loose in the middle. It made it really hard to trust the car as we went into the corners of the track. The adjustment my Richard Childress Racing team made during the final stop of the race was the best one of the night and allowed me to race up through the field and into the top 15. We just lacked some long run speed tonight to stay up there and battle within the top 10. That’s something we’ll go back and look at to improve on for future intermediate tracks. It’s been fun racing in our backyard of Charlotte over the past week, but I’m looking forward to moving on to Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday.”

Clint Bowyer – finished 16th: “We need to figure something out for this place. We just had too many penalties tonight. We can’t make those kinds of mistakes.”

Cole Custer – finished 18th: “It didn’t start the way we wanted to tonight, but we kept chipping away at it. I think we have some stuff we can take to other tracks. We definitely learned a lot.”

Aric Almirola – finished 20th: “That was just an overall tough day for our Smithfield Ford team today. After starting in the rear we were able to get back to 16th by taking two tires and holding on, but our day went downhill from there. The car was just not where we wanted it to be and contact with the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) put us back where we started. The pit crew did a great job today and gained us some spots, but unfortunately I just couldn’t pass in traffic with the way the car handled. I’m looking forward to Bristol in a few days to get back to a short track.”

Matt Kenseth – finished 23rd: “Another tough night for the Credit One Bank Camaro. We had a flat tire early in the race, but managed to get the lap we lost back, then had a loose wheel later in the race which forced a pit stop under green. The penalty for the commitment violation when we pitted for the loose wheel certainly added to the rough night, but we kept doing all we could to gain back as many spots as possible before the end of the race. The handling on the car improved some throughout the night, but we just got too far back with the bad breaks to be able to do much more. A tough race, but better days ahead for our team.”

Michael McDowell – finished 25th: “It was an up and down night at Charlotte Motor Speedway for our No. 34 CarParts.com Ford Mustang. We fired off extremely well and ran competitively inside of the top 10 for the majority of Stage 1. However as daylight faded and the track temperature began to change, our race car started to tighten up on entry into the corners, making it tough to carry speed through the turns; something we battled all night long. (Crew chief) Drew (Blickensderfer) and my guys fought hard on pit road to make multiple adjustments on our No. 34 CarParts.com Ford Mustang, but we just ran out of time at the end.”

Ty Dillon – finished 27th: “Our GEICO Hump Day Chevrolet was actually pretty good handling wise tonight. It drove well over the bumps, which was an area we struggled with on Sunday, so (crew chief) Matt (Borland) and the guys definitely improved our setup. Unfortunately, from the moment I pulled off of pit road before the green flag, I didn’t have any power steering. We tried to fix it under caution, but when we couldn’t diagnose the problem on pit road, I had to tough it out. The pit crew had solid stops all night long and we would’ve had a strong run tonight if it wasn’t for the power steering issue. When we get back to the shop, we’ll figure out what the problem was and move forward to Bristol.”

Daniel Suarez — finished 28th: “You know, another 28th – I’m getting a little tired of those 28ths. But we have to keep working. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed about this one because I thought we were going to bring a better car than last Sunday. We made adjustments hoping for that, but obviously it didn’t work out for us. I know what I signed up for and I trust in this team and I trust everyone involved – Toyota, Coca-Cola and CommScope, everyone who is making this happen. We have to keep pushing and the results will come. I really want to thank everyone for the amazing support. Let’s see what we can do Sunday in Bristol.”

Kyle Busch — finished 29th: 

Gray Gaulding — finished 30th:

Alex Bowman – finished 31st: “That didn’t end the way we imagined. We had a great car and led some laps and got our fourth stage win of the season. I just got in the wall there at the end and it really hurt the right side. At that point, there isn’t really much we can do. We will finish one of these things here soon. It is a quick turnaround to Bristol on Sunday, but I’m ready for it.”

Quin Houff — finished 32nd:

Timmy Hill — finished 33rd:

Josh Bilicki — finished 36th:

Bubba Wallace — finished 37th: “I know there are a lot of questions to be answered. Obviously, our Richard Petty Motorsports team is frustrated. First thing, hats-off to the guys for bringing an outstanding Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. The Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 World Wide Technology Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE had a lot of speed – a big improvement from Sunday. We’ll hold everyone accountable, including myself, as a team would do for the problems that we are having right now. It takes a team effort to figure out our struggles.

“If it’s bad luck, it’s bad luck. We’ve got to shake it and the best way to do that is to show-up to the next race with our heads held high and keep that chip on our shoulder. We’ll get to the root of our problem and continue to bring a fast race car to the track. We’re showing big improvements and that’s really all we can ask for. But we’ve got to clean-up some stuff. Like I said, if it’s internally, we’ll fix it. If it’s dumb luck, then you’ll have that. On to the Bristol Motor Speedway.”

Joey Gase – finished 39th:

Garrett Smithley — finished 40th:

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Cup, Xfinity entry lists for Bristol Motor Speedway

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Almost two months it was originally scheduled, NASCAR will finally hold its first Bristol Motor Speedway race weekend of the year.

The Cup and Xfinity Series continue their marathon of races this weekend. The Cup Series will race on Sunday and the Xfinity Series will compete Monday night.

Here are the entry lists for this weekend’s races.

Cup – Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 (3:30 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox)

Forty cars are entered into the race.

JJ Yeley is entered in Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 7 Chevrolet.

Gray Gaulding is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s 27 Ford.

Kyle Busch won this race last year over his brother Kurt Busch.

Denny Hamlin won last year’s night race over Matt DiBenedetto.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Cheddar’s 300 (7 p.m. ET Monday on FS1)

There are 37 cars entered.

Modified driver Patrick Emerling will make his Xfinity Series debut in Our Motorsports’ No. 02 Chevrolet. Brett Moffitt drove the car in the first six races of the season.

Carson Ware makes his Xfinity Series debut driving SS Green Light Racing’s No. 07 Chevrolet.

A.J. Allmendinger is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 Chevrolet.

Myatt Snider is entered in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet.

Christopher Bell won this race last year over Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer. Chase Briscoe, who finished fourth, is the highest finishing returning driver from that race.

Reddick won last year’s night race over Briscoe and John Hunter Nemechek.

Click here for the entry list.

Cup Series moves from Coke 600 marathon to sprint

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After enduring NASCAR’s longest race in terms of mileage, a grueling 607.5 miles in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, tonight’s race is so much shorter that drivers may barely break a sweat.

Tonight’s race will have a definite short track feel of sorts: the length is just 310 miles/500 kilometers.

Among the unique aspects about tonight’s race is the top 20 finishers in the 600 will start tonight’s race in inverted order.

That means 600 winner Brad Keselowski and runner-up Chase Elliott will start tonight’s race from the 20th and 19th positions respectively.

Meanwhile, William Byron and teammate Alex Bowman — who finished 20th and 19th respectively in the 600 — will start tonight from the first two positions.

As for the back half of the field, drivers who finished 21-40 in the 600 will start tonight’s race from those same positions.

Stage 1 will end on Lap 55, while Stage 2 ends on Lap 115.

As a result, really the only true similarity between the 600 and tonight is the track upon which the cars will race upon.

Everything is completely different, which will lend itself to more drama and more aggressive race strategy, particularly with more gambling on pit road.

“It’s going to be tough with the invert,” said Martin Truex Jr., who finished sixth in the 600 and will start 15th tonight. “I think that’s going to be a big deal after everybody gets a chance to work on their cars and the track just seemed like it was really one groove and really, really difficult to pass during the 600.

“You give everybody two or three days to work on their cars and everybody is going to be closer yet. The invert is going to be a challenge in the shorter race for sure. We’ll see what we can do with it and do our best.”

Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Erik Jones, finished 11th in the 600 and will start 10th tonight.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to Charlotte for race two,” Jones said. “The 600 was a good race for us most of the night. We were pretty strong and ran up front.

“Hopefully we make some good changes for Wednesday night. It’s a short race, so we aren’t really going to have an opportunity to work on the car as the night goes. We’re going to have what we have when we start and as the race gets going. I’m looking forward to it.”

Teammate Kyle Busch said he and his team “were lucky to steal a fourth-place finish (in the 600) … and we’ll have to go back to work and figure out some things to make our stuff better for when we come back on Wednesday (starts 17th) and get back after it.”

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson looks to rebound from being disqualified following the 600 for failing post-race inspection. He’ll start tonight where he finished Sunday – last in the 40-car field – but believes good fortune is on the horizon.

“We’re knocking on the door and we’ll get there,” Johnson said.

Another driver who had problems and penalties of another sort in and after the 600 but hopes for a similar rebound as Johnson tonight is Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota Camry had a big chunk of tungsten ballast fall out from under his car during parade laps for the 600.

Hamlin’s crew had to replace the lost ballast, costing him an eight-lap delay before he could get his race started, finished 29th and eventually saw NASCAR hand down four-race suspensions for several team members, including crew chief Chris Gabehart.

“Our Toyota was actually pretty fast on Sunday,” Hamlin said, trying to look on the bright side. “We tried various adjustments throughout the night and learned how the car reacts in traffic and in various lines around the track.

“So, we have a good baseline to start with for Wednesday.”

Now it’s just a matter of essentially going from work boots to gym shoes when it comes to running tonight’s shorter length.

“Obviously, you’ve got a shorter distance to accomplish what you need to,” Hamlin said. “Tire and fuel mileage strategy will be different, and we’ll have shorter stages to work within.

“This one will be more of a sprint than a marathon.”

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Call him the bounty hunter: Chase Elliott beats Kyle Busch to win $100K

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Chase Elliott may have earned a new nickname Tuesday night: the Bounty Hunter.

By winning the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Elliott won a $100,000 “bounty” put up by Kevin Harvick and Gander RV & Outdoors CEO Marcus Lemonis to be a full-time Cup driver to beat Kyle Busch to the finish line, snapping Busch’s streak of seven consecutive Truck Series wins.

The money goes to a charity of Elliott’s choosing, benefitting COVID-19 relief.

“It was a lot of fun,” Elliott told FS1. “It’d been a long time. It doesn’t make up for Sunday (finished second in the Coca-Cola 600) but it was still a really good night. I’m glad to win and do some good for the relief efforts for this virus.”

Busch gave Elliott all he could handle in the last 15 laps, drawing closer seemingly on every lap, but ultimately couldn’t catch Elliott before the finish line.

“He was a little better than I was there at the end; I had gotten a little tight and I don’t think we adjusted enough on the last pit stop,” Elliott said of Busch. “Luckily, the right front stayed on it long enough to get to the end.

“To be able to come out and out-run him and him finish second, I’d rather have him finish second than wreck or something, so I feel like I did something right.”

MORE: Results, standings after Truck race at Charlotte

It was Elliott’s third win in 13 career Truck Series races.

Busch was frustrated with his truck all night.

“(The truck) just never was right, so we were out in left field the whole night, never had a real great feel for the truck, a great driving truck, so I just salvaged what I could,” Busch said in a post-race Zoom media conference call. “It was self-inflicted, threw it away. We had six months to prepare and screwed it all up.”

Chase Elliott celebrates after winning the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Busch chuckled when told that Elliott imitated Busch’s usual bow after each win he amasses.

“No, this is the first I’m hearing of it,” Busch said. “Imitation is the strongest form of flattery or I don’t know what it is. But that’s cute.”

Elliott

“It was just a spur of the moment thing,” Elliott said with a smile. “I thought we’ve had so much fun with it with Kevin (Harvick) and putting up the money, Kyle was a good sport about it.

“It was not a dig at anybody, just having fun with it. It was about beating him, so why not have some fun with it.”

Zane Smith finished third, followed by Brett Moffitt and Sheldon Creed.

John Hunter Nemechek finished sixth followed by Johnny Sauter, Ty Majeski, Austin Hill and Ben Rhodes.

Tuesday’s race was the first for the Truck Series since Busch won Feb. 21 at Las Vegas, just a couple of weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down NASCAR racing for more than two months.

It was Elliott’s first Truck race since 2017.

“It was about beating Kyle and we did that, so I guess I can quit now,” Elliott laughed.

Busch, meanwhile, saw his streak of winning the last seven Truck races he entered fall short of an eighth consecutive start and win.

Busch finished fourth in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, won Monday’s Xfinity race and was runner-up in Tuesday’s race. He goes for another win in Wednesday’s Alsco Uniforms 500, which wraps up four races in as many days at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ross Chastain (first stage win of season)

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Elliott

Who had a good race: Zane Smith was the highest finishing rookie driver, earning a career-best third-place finish. Smith has made just four starts in a Truck in his career but gave the front runners a formidable challenge, particularly in the final 15 laps. “I was so determined to get third,” the 20-year-old Smith said. “It was an awesome night.”

Who had a bad race: Brennan Poole was involved in two last segment incidents that prevented him from making his bid to collect the Harvick/Lemonis bounty. Poole finished 38th. … Matt Crafton suffered a broken track bar late in the race, ending his night prematurely. Crafton finished 35th.

Notable: Brett Moffitt continues to impress in his ongoing recovery from suffering two broken legs in mid-March. In the last five days, Moffitt has earned strong 11th (Darlington) and 6th (Charlotte) place finishes with a fourth-place finish in the Truck race.

What’s next: Vet Tix Camping World 200, Saturday June 6 at 1 p.m. ET, Texas Motor Speedway.

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