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X-Finity Series:
Saturday, 7/22, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Lilly Diabetes 250, 3pm, PRN/IMS

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series:
Sunday, 7/23, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Brickyard 400, 1:30pm, PRN/IMS


Monday: Fast Talk, 9-10pm

Tuesday: NASCAR Live, 9-10pm

Wednesday: The Pit Reporters, 9-10pm

Monday-Friday: NASCAR Today, 6:45pm

Monday-Friday: Garage Pass, 8:30pm

NASCAR News (courtesy of John Singlar, MRN Radio)

24-Year-old Alex Bowman will replace Dale Earnhardt Junior in the Number-88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet starting with the 2018 Monster Energy Series. Thursday’s announcement also included a nineteen-race majority sponsorship from Nationwide Insurance to help fund Bowman’s effort. Earlier this year, Earnhardt said he would retire at the end of the current season. Bowman drove in ten races last year while “Junior” was recovering from a concussion and posted a best finish of sixth at Phoenix Raceway.

ON THE TRACK, THE NEXT STOP IS INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY … for Sunday’s Brickyard 400, the twentieth round of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. With just seven races left in the regular season, Matt Kenseth – though winless this year – has a tight hold on the sixteenth and final playoff spot. He’s fifty-two points in front of his nearest challenger, Joey Logano. Both drivers are seeking their first Cup Series victory on the famed Indy oval. In last year’s race, Kenseth finished second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch while Logano placed seventh … Similarly, there isn’t much drama at the top of the standings as drivers vie for the fifteen bonus playoff points that’ll be awarded to the regular-season champion. Heading into the weekend, Martin Truex Junior leads second-place Kyle Larson by thirty-eight points with Busch a distant third, 108 back. Truex and Larson have combined to win five of the season’s first nineteen races … Busch, one of eight Monster Energy Series drivers doing double duty at Indy this weekend, will be seeking an unprecedented third straight Brickyard victory. He’s one of only two drivers with back-to-back Cup Series wins on the two-point-five-mile oval. Jimmie Johnson doubled up in 2008 and 2009 but fell far short of a third straight win with a twenty-second-place finish in 2010, when Jamie McMurray was victorious.

THE NASCAR X-FINITY SERIES … also runs at Indianapolis this weekend with Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 while THE CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES … is idle after Matt Crafton won Wednesday’s Eldora Dirt Derby. Next up on their schedule is the Overton’s 150 on July 29th at Pocono Raceway.

► Thanks to a sixth-place finish in New Hampshire, Daniel Suarez of Joe Gibbs Racing has reclaimed the top spot in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He enjoys a four-point edge over Erik Jones, who finished last in the Overton’s 301. Ty Dillon, Corey LaJoie and Gray Gaulding once again complete the top five.
► With his third-place finish last weekend in New Hampshire, William Byron of Junior Motorsports has opened up a sixty-point lead over Daniel Hemric in the
X-finity Series rookie chase. Hemric finished twelfth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Cole Custer, Matt Tifft and Spencer Gallagher occupy positions three through five.
► With the regular season heading into the final two months, ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger and Chase Briscoe of Brad Keselowski Racing found themselves tied at the top of the Camping World Truck Series rookie standings, twelve points ahead of third-place Noah Gragson. Kaz Grala and Austin Cindric rounded out this week’s top five with Justin Haley close behind in sixth place, five points farther back.

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" will provide exclusive radio coverage of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 late-model race from Martinsville Speedway on Saturday night, September 23rd. It'll be the first event run under the track's new L-E-D lighting system and is NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious late-model race. The event is expected to draw more than eighty of the top late-model competitors from throughout the southeastern United States and pays twenty-five thousand dollars to win … Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-877-RACE TIX ... 722-3849 ... or visiting Martinsville Speedway-dot-com.

TRACK INFORMATION: Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Central Indiana is a two-point-five-mile oval with nine degrees of banking in the turns and flat straightaways. The length of both the frontstretch and backstretch is thirty-three hundred feet. Grandstand seating capacity is 250,000-plus.

Last Year’s Race: Kyle Busch made NASCAR history with his dominating performance in winning at the famed “Brickyard.” His bid for history started the day before, when Busch also won the X-finity Series race from the pole – leading all but one lap. Taking the green flag from the Number-1 starting position in Sunday’s headliner was the next step. History would be made three hours later when Busch took the checkered flag and became the first driver in NASCAR history to sweep a weekend’s two races after starting from the pole position in both. The win was not without late-race drama as he had to survive several restarts before holding off teammate Matt Kenseth at the checkered flag, giving Joe Gibbs Racing a one-two finish. Jimmie Johnson battled back from an early speeding penalty to finish third. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.
Track Position at Indy: Fourteen of the twenty-three Cup Series races run have been won from a starting position of seventh or better. Three winners have come from a starting position of twentieth or worse … Winning From the Pole in Indy: Just four of twenty-three Cup Series races have been won from the pole position – by Kevin Harvick in 2003, Johnson in 2008, Ryan Newman in 2013 and Busch last year … Track Qualifying Record: Harvick (Chevrolet) … 188.889 miles per hour … 47.647 seconds … July 2014 … Track Record, Race Speed: Bobby Labonte (Pontiac) … 155.912 mph … 2 hours, 33 minutes, 56 seconds … August 2000
Length of Stages in Sunday’s Race: 50-50-60 Laps … Practice Schedule: Saturday from 9 to 9:55 a.m. and 11 to 11:55 a.m. (ET) … Qualifying: Saturday at 6:15 p.m. (ET).

Last Year’s Race: Kyle Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing team dominated, leading every lap of his heat race and all but one of the sixty-lap main event to take the checkered flag. Despite race-long domination, Busch had to hold off Kevin Harvick on a two-lap dash after the final restart to secure the overtime win. Holding off Harvick and the rest of the field was not an easy task on tires that were twenty-three laps older than those of his competitors. Paul Menard, Kyle Larson and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five. Although he finished fifth, Allgaier was the winner of the one prize that Busch was not eligible for, the “Dash-4-Cash” bonus available only to X-finity Series regulars. As the highest-finishing eligible driver, Allgaier received a one hundred thousand-dollar bonus. There were only two lead changes as Brendan Gaughan led Lap-28 during a cycle of green-flag pit stops.
Length of Stages in Saturday’s Race: 25-25-50 Laps … Friday’s Practice Schedule: From 1 to 1:55 p.m. and 3 to 3:55 p.m. (ET) … Qualifying: Saturday at 12:45 p.m. (ET) … In five years of X-finity Series competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Busch is the only multi-race winner. He has three victories – for two different car owners: himself and Joe Gibbs … The two other race wins belong to Brad Keselowski in 2012 and Ty Dillon in 2014 … Busch owns the track qualifying record of 180.527 miles per hour that was set in July 2015 … The track record for winning average speed belongs to Dillon, who was victorious three years ago at a winning pace of 137.153 miles per hour.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 

Sunday, 7/30, Pocono Raceway, Overton's 400, 12 noon, MRN
Sunday, 8/6, Watkins Glen Int'l, I Love New York 355 at the Glen, 12 noon, MRN
Sunday, 8/13, Michigan Int'l Speedway, Pure Michigan 400, 2pm, MRN
Saturday, 8/19, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, 6:30pm, PRN
Sunday, 9/3, Darlington Raceway, Bojangles' Southern 500, 5:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/9, Richmond Raceway, Federated Auto Parts 400, 6:30pm, MRN
Sunday, 9/17, Chicagoland Speedway, Tales of the Turtles 400, 2pm, MRN
Sunday, 9/24, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, New Hampshire 300, 1pm, PRN
Sunday, 10/1, Dover Int'l Speedway, Dover 400, 1pm, MRN
Saturday, 10/7, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bank of America 500, 6pm, PRN
Sunday, 10/15, Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama 500, 1pm, MRN
Sunday, 10/22, Kansas Speedway, Hollywood Casino 400, 1pm, MRN
Sunday, 10/29, Martinsville Speedway, Old Dominion 500, 2pm, MRN
Sunday, 11/5, Texas Motor Speedway, AAA Texas 500, 1pm, PRN
Sunday, 11/12, Phoenix Int'l Raceway, Can-Am 500, 2pm, MRN
Sunday, 11/19, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ford EcoBoost 400, 2pm, MRN

NASCAR X-Finity Series

Saturday, 7/29, Iowa Speedway, U.S. Cellular 250 presented by American Ethanol, 3pm, MRN
Saturday, 8/5, Watkins Glen Int'l, Zippo 200 at the Glen, 1:45pm, MRN
Saturday, 8/12, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Mid-Ohio 200, 2:15pm, MRN
Sunday, 8/27, Road America, Road America 180, 2:15pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/2, Darlington Raceway, VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200, 7:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/16, Chicagoland Speedway, Chicagoland 300, 3pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/23, Kentucky Speedway, Visit 300, 7:30pm, PRN
Saturday, 9/30, Dover Int'l Speedway, Drive Sober 200, 2pm, MRN
Saturday, 10/21, Kansas Speedway, Kansas Lottery 300, 12:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 11/4, Texas Motor Speedway, O'Reilly Auto Parts 300, 8pm, PRN
Saturday, 11/11, Phoenix Int'l Raceway, Ticket Galaxy 200, 3:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 11/18, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ford EcoBoost 300, 4pm, MRN

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Saturday, 7/29, Pocono Raceway, Overton's 150, 12:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 8/12, Michigan Int'l Speedway, Michigan 200, 12 noon, MRN
Sunday, 9/3, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Chevrolet Silverado 250, 1pm, MRN
Saturday, 9/23, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, UNOH 175, 12:30 PM, MRN
Saturday, 9/30, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas 350, 9:30pm, MRN
Saturday, 10/14, Talladega Superspeedway, Fred's 250, 3pm, MRN
Saturday, 10/28, Martinsville Speedway, Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions, 12:30pm, MRN

Indy Car Series

 2017 NASCAR Race Format and Points System:

• Races will now consist of three stages, with championship implications in each stage.
• The top-10 finishers of the first two stages will be awarded additional championship points.
• The winner of the first two stages of each race will receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to his or her reset total following race No. 26, if that competitor makes the playoffs.
• All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8), with the Championship 4 racing straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.
• Championship points following the first two stages will be awarded on a descending scale, with the stage winner receiving 10 points, second receiving 9 points, and so on.
• The race winner following the final stage will now receive 40 points, second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on.

(All content in this article courtesy of MRN Radio, source:

NASCAR announced enhancements to the race format and points system for the 2017 season during a press conference Monday evening, January 23rd, at the Charlotte Convention Center.

After listening to the fans, industry key stakeholders - teams, drivers and tracks - met to help plan out the new format that is intended to help create more compelling racing early in each race and add additional incentives for competitors during the events.

“Simply put, this will make our great racing even better,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “I’m proud of the unprecedented collaboration from our industry stakeholders, each of whom had a common goal – strengthening the sport for our fans. This is an enhancement fully rooted in teamwork, and the result will be an even better product every single week.”

Starting with the season-opening races at Daytona International Speedway, each race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series - will be divided into three stages with no changes to the advertised distance. Each of the first two stages (approximately 25-30 percent of the race distance) will end at the designated lap count regardless of race flag conditions. The four drivers racing for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in each respective series will not score stage points.

Once stage 1 or 2 ends, which will use an alternate checkered flag, the race will go into caution to allow for a commercial break. Pit road will also be closed at least five laps prior to the stage coming to a completion. For each stage, the top 10 drivers will receive championship points (10 for the winner, 9 for second place, etc.). The winner will also receive one-point for seedings for the playoffs. The driver who takes the checkered flag in the final stage will be the race winner and will also get five points for the playoffs and will receive a total of 40 championship points for the win. Second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on. The green-white checkered rule still applies to the final stage.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski were the drivers that participated in the press conference.

"I think the stages, and I think more chances to win, more chances to perform and more spotlights, so I look at races as soon as the plate tracks, especially Talladega, and you might have seen cars that have lagged back in the past," Keselowski said. "You're not going to do that anymore. The single-file, high-line ride out, those days are gone, and I think that's great. We're going to go out there and we're going to race to a new level that we haven't seen before, and I'm really pumped about being a part of that in the future of this sport.

"To me, you look at NASCAR and you look at the way our races were formatted back in the 40s and 50s, it was formatted around endurance, long races, trying to make sure you were there until the end, but today's technology, the teams are just so smart, and if we created motorsports from scratch today, this is exactly how we would have done it, so it's is something I'm very proud of."

The stage points structure will officially start in the Can-Am Duel at Daytona with each race being treated as a stage. However, no bonus points will be issued for playoff seedings and each race winner will not earn a playoff berth.

“Today’s announcement will take NASCAR competition to new levels beginning with Speedweeks,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “Race fans will see more can’t-miss moments on the track as every lap of every race is going to impact championships for all three national series. The enhanced format also heightens the importance of the Can-Am Duel At Daytona as the 150-mile qualifying races will now determine both starting positions for ‘The Great American Race’ but also award points that will impact the championship. Today’s news is the product of the industry working together as well as listening to the fans.”

One topic that has been brought up numerous times in the past is awarding the points leader at the conclusion of the regular season. This year that will come to fruition as the driver highest in points following race 26 at Richmond International Raceway will get a 15-point seeding bonus to the 2,000-point base reset. The top-10 drivers in regular-season points also will receive playoff points with second place earning 10 points, third place getting eight points, fourth place obtaining seven points, and so on. All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8).

"I love the fact that the bonus points or the playoff points will carry through the playoffs all the way to the last round," Earnhardt Jr. said. " So everything you do throughout the season is really going to help you throughout the playoffs. That's a great change."

If weather becomes a factor in the race, the completion of Stage 2 is the marker for it to become official if the race is called.

"Let's take Pocono for this year - so if we got to the conclusion of Stage 2, that would be our rain halfway point where we declare it a full race," said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "If it rained at the conclusion of Stage 2, we would pay out Stage 2 points and then also award all of the race points. If we started the final stage, wherever rain came, then we would pay out the points based on that."

This season, lap leader points will no longer be issued and race wins will have a greater weight than bonus points for playoff seeding.

The caution clock will be eliminated from the Truck Series.

The Chase, which was the name for the NASCAR post-season in previous seasons will now be simply be known as the playoffs.

"I think that for all the folks that have been asking us to get rid of the Chase for years, this is a great day for them," Earnhardt Jr. said.

NEXT STOP … DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY … for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola, the seventeenth round of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.  With ten races left in the regular season, drivers and teams are zeroing in on playoff berths.  Ten drivers have qualifying race wins, which means that as many as six will get in based on points.  Heading into Saturday’s race, three drivers are locked in a tight battle for what would be the final two post-season berths.  Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth are all within eleven points of each other.  Logano and Kenseth are past winners at Daytona.  Bowyer is not … Practice opened Thursday with Kyle Busch atop the speed chart, posting a lap of 197.438 miles per hour.  Logano, defending race winner Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney completed the top five … Seven drivers are entered in both the X-finity and Monster Energy Series races this weekend: Logano, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Erik Jones, Elliott Sadler, Ryan Sieg and Daniel Suarez.THE NASCAR X-FINITY SERIES … shares the spotlight at Daytona with tonight’s Coca-Cola Firecracker 250.  Playoff spots are getting a lot of attention in this garage, also, with twelve races left before the post-season field is set.  Three series regulars have qualifying wins – Justin Allgaier, Ryan Reed and rookie William Byron, which means as many as nine drivers would qualify based on the point standings.  Sieg and Gaughan are separated by just two points in the fight for what would be the final playoff spot, with Sieg currently having the upper hand.  J-J Yeley is lurking, twenty-four points behind Gaughan … Teams got two practice sessions Thursday with Jeb Burton posting the fastest lap at 190.215 miles per hour.  Rookies Cole Custer and Spencer Gallagher followed in second and third place, respectively.  Casey Mears and Ty Dillon completed the top five … Reed was seventh.  He won this year’s first race at Daytona during Speedweeks in February and is bidding to become the first driver to record an X-finity Series season sweep there since Dale Earnhardt Junior doubled up in 2003.THE CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES … is idle this weekend and returns to action Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway.
FRIDAY FRESHMEN► Despite finishing only sixteenth last weekend in Sonoma, California, Daniel Suarez of Joe Gibbs Racing still holds a seven-point lead over Erik Jones in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.  Jones finished twenty-fifth in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.  Ty Dillon, Corey LaJoie and Gray Gaulding once again complete the top five.► With his victory six days ago at Iowa Speedway, William Byron of Junior Motorsports has opened up a thirty-one-point lead over Daniel Hemric in the X-finity Series rookie chase.  Hemric finished twenty spots behind Byron in the American Ethanol 250.  Cole Custer, Matt Tifft and Spencer Gallagher occupy positions three through five.► Grant Enfinger’s fourth-place finish last weekend in Iowa enabled him to take over sole possession of first place in the Camping World Truck Series rookie standings.  The ThorSport Racing driver holds a five-point edge over Chase Briscoe, who shared the top spot with Enfinger a week ago and finished seventh at Iowa Speedway.  Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Austin Cindric round out this week’s top five.
TRACK INFORMATION: Daytona International Speedway in Central Florida is a two-point-five-mile oval with thirty-one degrees of banking in the turns, three degrees on the straights and eighteen degrees through the frontstretch tri-oval.  The length of the frontstretch is thirty-eight hundred feet, the backstretch three thousand feet.
55th RUNNING OF THE COKE ZERO 400 POWERED BY COCA-COLA CUP SERIES RACEAT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY … Saturday, 6:30 p.m. (ET)Last Year’s Race: Brad Keselowski led a race-high 115 laps, including the final seventeen, to claim his twentieth career victory.  The final caution period forced the race one lap past its scheduled distance.  On the restart, Keselowski darted away from the field and beat runner-up Kyle Busch to the checkered flag by fifteen one-hundredths of a second.  Trevor Bayne finished third with Joey Logano fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Junior fifth.  Fords claimed four of the five top finishing positions with Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota the only “outsider” among them.  Keselowski started fifth, took his first lead nine laps into the race and ran steadily in the top five throughout the night … The race included five cautions, most notably for a massive crash that gobbled up half the field early in the second half.  The twenty-two-car melee was triggered when Jamie McMurray brushed teammate Kyle Larson and then went up the track across the nose of Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet.  Dale Earnhardt Junior and Kevin Harvick were among those victimized.  Earnhardt was able to complete the race and finished twenty-first.  Harvick could not and he placed thirty-ninth.This Year’s First Race at Daytona: On February 26th, Kurt Busch led just one lap of the season-opening Daytona 500, but it was the one that counted the most.  After race leader Chase Elliott slowed with a fuel pick-up problem and then Larson ran out of gas on the final lap, Busch’s Number-41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford was well-positioned – sweeping around Larson’s sputtering Chevrolet to win “The Great American Race.”  His margin of victory was twenty-two one-hundredths of a second over Ryan Blaney as Ford swept the top two spots.  A-J Allmendinger, Aric Almirola and Paul Menard completed the top five.  Elliott, bidding to become the first pole winner to also win the “five hundred” since Dale Jarrett in 2000, led thirty-nine laps before yielding the lead less than three laps from the finish … Harvick started fifth and led a race-high fifty laps, placing twenty-second in the forty-car field.Length of Stages in Saturday’s Race: 40-40-80 Laps … Qualifying: TODAY at 4 p.m. (ET) … Greg Biffle won the pole last year and finished eighth in the race.
16th RUNNING OF THE COCA-COLA FIRECRACKER 250 X-FINITY SERIES RACEAT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY … TODAY, 7 p.m. (ET)Last Year’s Race: Aric Almirola found himself in the right place at the right time – in first place when the night’s final caution froze the field.  Almirola had his Number-98 Biagi-Denbeste Racing Ford a nose in front of Justin Allgaier coming off the final turn of the final lap when an eight-car accident along the backstretch produced the eighth yellow flag of the race and sent Almirola to Victory Lane.  Allgaier took second place with Ryan Sieg third.  The top three finishers led just five laps among them all night.  Fourth-place Joey Logano led a race-high forty-six laps with Brendan Gaughan completing the top five.This Year’s First Race: On February 25th, Ryan Reed held off a trio of Cup Series regulars down the stretch to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.  Reed’s Number-16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford pulled away from Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski on the day’s final restart to notch his second victory in three years at “The World Center of Racing.”  Brendan Gaughan completed the top five.Length of Stages in Today’s Race: 30-30-40 Laps … Qualifying: TODAY at 2:10 p.m. (ET) … David Ragan won the pole last year but finished twenty-first in the race.

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