TALLADEGA, Al.— Carl Long will return to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition next weekend at Kansas Speedway. Long has been banned from the MENCS Garage since 2009 after an illegal engine was found at the All-Star Race.
Long was unable to pay the fine of $200,000 imposed in 2009. Long bought an engine from a supplier, but had claimed that he had no idea that the engine was illegal. Long has been competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as part-time owner and driver.
According to a Facebook post, Long will be heading to Kansas with MBM Motorsports. Long hops to sign a couple of sponsors to get them to Kansas. He has asked some NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers if they could get money from their sponsors in return for a ride in the Cup Series.
A NASCAR spokesman has stated that Long has met all the necessary requirements to obtain his Cup license and that the sanctioning body wishes him the best.
Long competed in the Cup series for 11 years and has 23 career starts in the series.
TALLADEGA, Al.— Blake Koch will start from the pole in today’s Sparks Energy 300 from Talladega Superspeedway. This is Koch’s and Kaulig Racing’s first pole in the Xfinity Series.
The first round of qualifying was slowed once by transmission issues on the car of BJ McLeod. Because of his transmission issues, McLeod will be sent home. Blake Koch was the fastest in the opening round at 182.522 mph. Kasey Kahne was second fastest at 182.407 mph, Joey Logano was third fastest at 182.327 mph, Brandon Jones was fourth fastest at 182.116 mph, and Brennan Poole rounded out the top-five at 182.029 mph.
The second round of qualifying went without a hitch. Koch posted a speed of 183.490 mph. Kahne qualified second at 183.112 mph, Daniel Hemric qualified third at 182.431 mph, Ben Kennedy qualified fourth at 182.424 mph, and Jones rounded out the top-five at 192.299 mph.
The Sparks Energy 300 will be broadcasted live on Motor Racing Network and FOX beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST.
TALLADEGA, Al.— Due to an afternoon shower, all on-track activity at Talladega Superspeedway is done for the day. Saturday’s schedule for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series has been unchanged.
However, today’s General Tire 200 for the ARCA Racing Series has been postponed until after Cup qualifying on Saturday. The green flag is slated to fall at 6:13 p.m. EST.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway for the Sparks Energy 300. This weekend is the only stop at Talladega Superspeedway for the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017.
There have been 25 Xfinity Series events from Talladega. During that time, there has been 18 different pole winners and 20 different race winners. Only two races have been won from the pole position. Mark Martin set the race record in 1997 at 168.937 mph. Joe Nemechek set the qualifying record in 1997 at 193.517 mph.
42 drivers will try to compete for 40 spots on Saturday morning in qualifying. Six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup full-time drivers are slated to compete in the Saturday afternoon spectacular. Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, and Aric Almirola are scheduled to run on Saturday.
Daniel Hemric will be without his crew chief, Danny Stockman Jr, this weekend at Talladega. Stockman was suspended for one race due to having two lugnuts not installed properly at Richmond.
Although he is without his crew chief, Hemric talks about the differences between Daytona and Talladega. "The one thing that sticks out to me is the amount of grip that Talladega seems to have in the racetrack compared to Daytona. The racetrack is so much wider than Daytona, too. Anything you do to help your car handling-wise at Daytona, you take some of that out at Talladega. With all the action we saw at Daytona with the cars moving around in the draft and suddenly losing the aero-grip while in the pack, it is easy to get yourself in trouble like I did at Daytona. You have got to make sure we creep back toward the direction of having our cars handle like they did at Daytona to be good and be able to make moves at Talladega. You've got to make sure you can maneuver your car and you can drive the thing. That's going to be the biggest thing. If we can do that with our No. 21 Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet, we'll have a good day,” said Hemric.
For Darrell Wallace Jr., the 2017 season has been filled with sixth and 33rd place finishes. Wallace Jr. is ready for Talladega:
“I’m ready to hit the track this weekend in Talladega. It’s a place where anything can happen. We had a really fast car in February at Daytona and I know that Roush Fenway always brings a strong superspeedway car to the track. I’m also pumped to have the Globe Life colors on our Ford Mustang this weekend. Hopefully we can keep it clean all day long and run up front and give the Globe Life folks a great show on Saturday.”
Ben Kennedy returns to competition this weekend at Talladega with Richard Childress Racing for eight races. He will also being racing with GMS Racing as well beginning in Charlotte.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to the track and in the car in Talladega. It's been a long offseason for me, and there's a lot of anticipation going into the weekend. I think we'll have a good shot with the No. 2 Rheem team and Justin Alexander calling the shots atop the pit box. Hopefully we'll get up to speed quick and be in contention to win, but my goal is to learn a lot this year behind the wheel,” said Kennedy.
Xfinity drivers will hit the track on Friday for two practice sessions, which will be live on Fox Sports 1. Qualifying will be at 10:30 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. The Sparks Energy 300 will be broken into two 25-lap stages and a final stage of 63 laps. The race will be broadcasted on FOX and Motor Racing Network at 1:00 p.m. EST.
The Toyota Care 250 at Richmond International Raceway was calm and smooth until the final couple of restarts. The restarts that caused confusion amongst drivers, media, and fans.
The first incident happened on the lap 245 restart. Ty Dillon was the control car. Justin Allgaier line up second and Kyle Larson third. As the field was about to hit the restart zone, T. Dillon accelerated before the zone. NASCAR reviewed the restart and deemed that Dillon did in fact jump the start and was to start at the end of the field. When T. Dillon was relayed the message, he was hot.
Dillon started in the back of the field because shortly after the green flag waved again, the caution flag flew on lap 247 for an accident that involved six cars in the third turn. That caution also brought out the red flag for two minutes and 43 seconds.
Larson was deemed the leader after passing Allgaier on the first restart. The second caution would send the race in NASCAR Overtime. With NASCAR’s Overtime procedures, the race is deemed official when the leader crosses a pre-determined line on the first lap of overtime.
On the restart, Larson and Allgaier were battling for position and crossed the overtime line as three cars made contact towards the back of the field that would bring out the caution to end the race. Larson and Allgaier were in the third and fourth turn when the caution lights were illuminated.
However, as they were about to take the white flag, the caution flag was not waving. According to the NASCAR Rule Book, the race is deemed under caution when the lights are illuminated and/or the yellow flag is waving.
After the race, NASCAR would not allow anybody near T. Dillon to talk and Allgaier went up to a NASCAR Official to express his displeasure of how the race was handled in the end.
Once cooled down, Allgaier made comments to the media about the debacle in the closing laps.
“I wanted to punch and kick the side of the car once the race was over, but I felt like there were enough camera around that it might look goofy. I am frustrated, very frustrated actually. When you have these races, every scenario we could do something different and you could change the way you did it. You look back on it. It sucks. I just wish I could have done a few things differently. I wish other competitors would have done things differently. I think being that close to victory and having that dominant of a car with not really anything to show for it was probably the hardest part,” said Allgaier post-race.
While sitting under the red flag, Allgaier mentioned that his heart rate was 205 to 210 because of his frustration in the final laps.
Larson had a different approach and viewpoint to the final few laps in the race.
“I figured he (T. Dillon) would take off early. Ty got a little aggressive taking off too soon. This is kinda a tougher place to see where the zone starts because we are still turning when we get to the zone. It’s hard to see the zone start. He pushed early and definitely jumped a few feet and NASCAR made the right call,” said Larson of the restart that ultimately have him the victory.
After serving the penalty, T. Dillon ultimately finished in the 19th position.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Sparks Energy 300 from Talladega Superspeedway.