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Matthew Dillner takes you through the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage as teams prepare for 200 laps around Dover International Speedway .
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Dover International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway . WEATHER The weekend forecast for Dover , Delaware, looks like there's a chance for rain. Friday for Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole qualifying there is a 60 percent chance for precipitation. For the XFINITY Series race on Saturday, there is an 50 percent chance for precipitation with a high of 76 degrees. And for the Sprint Cup race on Sunday, there's a 30 percent chance for precipitation and a high of 76 degrees. For Las Vegas, site of this weekend's Camping World Truck Series events, it will be clear and 70 degrees for the start of Saturday's practices. And on Saturday it will be clear and 90 degrees for the start of the race. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The Sprint Cup Series holds its first practice Friday at 10 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) followed by Coors Light Pole qualifying at 3:40 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The Citizen Soldier 400 is at 2 p.m. ET Sunday (NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). XFINITY Series: The XFINITY Series opens practice on Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) and qualifies Saturday at 11:45 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The Drive Sober 300 is on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series is scheduled for a Keystone Light Pole qualifying session Saturday at 6:10 p.m. ET on FS2, followed by the DC Solar 350 race at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Dover media center at NASCAR.com/presspass. Click here for a full schedule. Click here to tune into the live stream . LAST TIME In September of 2015, Kevin Harvick punched his ticket to advance to the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by leading 355 of 400 laps at Dover International Speedway , a career-best at any track. Harvick beat out eventual 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch by 2.639 seconds for the victory. YOU SHOULD KNOW • Chris Buescher (-30 from 12th place), Tony Stewart (-11), Austin Dillon (-5) and Jamie McMurray (-5) are all on the outside looking in as far as the Chase Grid standings are concerned. Of those drivers, Stewart is the only one who has won at the "Monster Mile" -- three times to be exact. Stewart's most recent win came in 2013. • With 10 wins, six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has been to Dover's Victory Lane more times than any NASCAR driver. Johnson is looking to punch his ticket to the next Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup round and a win at his best track could be in the cards. • Winning the opening XFINITY Series Chase race at Kentucky, Elliott Sadler continues his momentum to Dover where he has earned three top five and 10 top-10 finishes, two of which came in the last two XFINITY Series races at the 1-mile track. Sadler's experience in 17 starts at Dover could shine through on Saturday compared to the young guns he's competing against for the championship. • Of the Camping World Truck Series Chase drivers, only Johnny Sauter and Timothy Peters have wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Canadian Tire Motorsport Park winner John Hunter Nemechek has the best average finish of 4.0 out of the Truck Series Chase drivers. Behind Nemechek is Ben Kennedy with 5.0. Nemechek has run just one Truck Series race at Dover , while Kennedy has experienced two. In 15 starts, two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton has an average finish of 11.9, but is still seeking a win.
RELATED: Find NBCSN in your area " Watch live online at NBCSports.com The NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series will gather for a doubleheader showing at Dover International Speedway this weekend. The Camping World Truck Series will race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Check out the full schedule below. Note: All times are ET SUNDAY, OCT. 2: ON TRACK: XFINITY Series at Dover -- 10 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive Sober 200 (200 laps, 200 miles), CNBC ( Results ) ON TRACK: Sprint Cup Series at Dover --1:30 p.m.: NCSC Driver Introductions with NASCAR Special Awards --2:00 p.m.: Presentation of Colors by Dover Air Force Base Color Guard --2:00:20 p.m.: Invocation by Pastor Dan Schafer, Calvary Assembly of God in Heightstown, NJ --2:01 p.m.: National Anthem by Easton Corbin --2:02:30 p.m.: (2) F-16's of the 149th Fighter Wing of the Texas Air National Guard (Turns 3 – 2) --2:07:30 p.m.: "Drivers, Start Your Engines" by Grammy Award Winner & Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Joe Walsh -- 2:15 p.m.: Start of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Citizen Soldier 400 (400 laps, 400 miles), NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 5:30 p.m. approx.: Post-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race DAILY ROUNDUP -- Suarez wins delayed Dover race -- At-track photos: Sunday, Dover -- Larson, McMurray in Chase trouble -- Chase Round of 12: Who's in, who's out -- Truex scores second win of Chase; Round of 12 set -- As career winds down, Stewart eliminated from Chase -- Dillon on Chase advancement: 'Man, we got it done' -- Before and after photos: Dover FRIDAY, SEPT. 30: ON TRACK: Dover -- 10-11:25 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series first practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series first practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 1:30-2:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 3:40 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ***CANCELED DUE TO RAIN*** ( Results ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 1 p.m. NASCAR XFINITY Series PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 8:30 a.m.: Chris Buescher -- 8:45 a.m.: Chase Elliott -- 9 a.m.: Jamie McMurray -- 9:15 a.m.: Jimmie Johnson -- 9:45 a.m.: Erik Jones -- 12:30 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr . -- 12:45 p.m.: Regan Smith -- 4:40 p.m. approx.: Post-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying DAILY ROUNDUP -- Larson tops practice speeds in opening round at Dover -- Hendrick Chase surge a group effort SATURDAY, OCT. 1: ON TRACK: Dover -- 10:30-11:25 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series second practice, CNBC/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 11:45 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, CNBC/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 1:30-2:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ***CANCELED DUE TO RAIN*** -- 3 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive Sober 200 (200 laps, 200 miles), NBCSN/NBC Sports App ***POSTPONED DUE TO RAIN*** GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 10 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 5 p.m. approx.: Post-NASCAR XFINITY Series race ON TRACK: Las Vegas -- 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series first practice ( Results ) -- 1-2 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice ( Results ) -- 6:10 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS2 ( Results ) -- 8:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series DC Solar 350 (146 laps, 219 miles), FS1 ( Results ) DAILY ROUNDUP -- Johnson on Dover : You can't take a track for granted -- Gordon tops rain-shortened practice -- Dale Jr. returns to Dover -- Jones tops rain-shortened qualifying at Dover -- Weather delays Saturday's action -- Chase challenge? Lack of practice time could impact the field -- At-track photos: Dover and Las Vegas -- Weather cancels on-track events -- Snapshot: Dover -- Peters on the pole at Las Vegas -- Reddick captures first win of season -- Fear, faith and racing: How NASCAR began to heal in September 2001
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway : 1. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex dominated the first round of the Chase with two wins and a total of 360 laps led. The 78 team is a serious threat for the championship if its performance (and lack of bad luck/mistakes) continues. Grade: A+ 2. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch earned his third top-10 finish in the Chase with a runner-up effort Sunday. Add in 102 laps led in Dover and the defending Sprint Cup Series champion is doing what's necessary to get back to Homestead. Grade: A 3. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott continues to knock on the door by putting in quiet but solid runs. In a format that has proven consistency can carry a driver through each round, Elliott certainly looks like he can be this year's beneficiary. Grade: A 4. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski started on the pole and led seven laps, but was hardly a factor. Still, he was near the top of the leaderboard at the end, and the 2012 champion is still in Chase contention. Grade: A 5. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Unlike last weekend when he finished second, Kenseth put in an unassuming day to grab his third consecutive top-nine finish. He'll move on in the Chase with a chance at that elusive second title. Grade: A- 6. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano rounded out the Penske pair with a sixth-place finish after starting fifth. He'll move on to the Round of 12, which he dominated in the Chase last year with three straight victories. Grade: A – 7. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson found himself in contention for a victory for the second time in three Chase races before a mistake on pit road cost him -- again. This time it was by his crew. If Johnson is going to advance into the Round of 8 for the first time, the No. 48 team needs to get buttoned up . Grade: A- 8. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Problems for Kyle Larson aided his cause, but Dillon rose to the occasion to advance in the Chase. The No. 3 solidly improved throughout the day and scored its first top 10 in the Chase. Grade: A 9. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin has been only hot or cold at Dover -- with little in between -- and Sunday was just his eighth top-10 finish in 22 starts. Grade: A- 10. Jeff Gordon , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . It took Gordon seven starts to earn a top 10 filling for Dale Earnhardt Jr this season. He also led seven laps during a cycle of green flag pit stops. Grade: A- 11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . The good news? Stenhouse steadily climbed the leaderboard on Sunday. The bad news? He hasn't had a top-10 finish since Bristol in August. Grade: B+ 12. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne was the worst of the Hendrick cars while finishing outside the top 10 for the first time in five races. Grade: B+ 13. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart's late-season slide continued with his seventh consecutive finish outside the top 10 -- as well as his elimination from the Chase in his final season of full-time Sprint Cup driving. Grade: B 14. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards admittedly struggled in this first round of the Chase (with finishes of 15th, sixth and 14th) and has plenty of work to do if he's going to keep up with his Toyota teammates from here on out. Grade: B 15. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . An unimpressive first round for Busch, who was the first car two laps down in Dover . Now it's time to improve upon just two top-10 finishes in the last five races. Grade: B 16. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Through 29 races (30 straight if you go back to last season), Almirola has still not scored a top-10 finish. Grade: B- 17. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . After fighting for a spot in the Chase, Newman has been a non-story the last three weeks. He was up and down the leaderboard throughout the race, but wound up finishing around where he started (19th). Grade: B- 18. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Green flag pit stops helped Biffle lead seven laps. He ended the day the first car four laps down. Grade: B- 19. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Sunday was Allmendinger's first top-20 finish at Dover since the spring 2012 race. Grade: B- 20. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne stayed out of trouble and now has two top-20 finishes in four career Dover starts. Grade: B- 21. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott earned a career-best Dover finish on Sunday in addition to picking up his first top-25 finish in six races. Grade: B- 22. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Pairing with crew chief Danny Stockman still has not brought the consistency or improvement Menard and company are looking for. Grade: C 23 . Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Buescher's best Chase finish wasn't enough to carry the him through to the next round as the Cinderella story came to an end in Dover . Grade: B- 24. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer was oh-so close, but his streak of consecutive 22nd-place finishes ended at four Sunday. Grade: C 25. Kyle Larson , No. 42, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Lightning did not strike twice for Larson at Dover (where he finished second in May), as his Chase came to an end following repeated miscues. A power problem led to a pit road penalty and Larson later hit the wall to end up six laps down. Grade: C 26. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears has little to add to his Dover notebook after duplicating his finish from May. Grade: C 27. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto earned his best Dover finish in four starts there. Grade: C 28. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick now has finished 25th or worse in four of her nine Dover starts. Grade: C- 29. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill is now on a three-race streak of finishing 29th, nice. Grade: C- 30. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan was eight laps back and remains 31st in points. Grade: C- 31. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith was the first car nine laps down. Grade: C- 32. Ty Dillon , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing . Sunday was Dillon's worst finish in his 10 Sprint Cup starts this season. Grade: C- 33. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett has not finished in the top 30 in the last four races. Grade: D 34. Timmy Hill , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Hill finished 14 laps off the pace. Grade: D 35. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Toyota, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson finished where he ran (35.33) throughout the event on Sunday. Grade: D 36. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Earnhardt finished 16 laps off the pace in his second Dover start. Grade: D 37. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Locked into the Round of 12 in the Chase after winning in New Hampshire, Harvick was unaffected by a broken track bar mount that led to him finishing 46 laps down. Grade: F 38. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney hit the wall hard off Turn 2 when he blew a tire on Lap 106. Grade: F 39. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise earned his sixth DNF of the season following a blown engine. Grade: F 40. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray went from looking like he had a spot in the Round of 12 to missing the cut after his engine expired on Lap 194. Grade: F
RELATED: Chase Grid " Sunday's full lineup DOVER , Del. -- The track that has brought Jimmie Johnson so much success is also the site of one of his biggest disappointments. It was here at year ago at Dover International Speedway that Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet was felled by a broken axle seal, relegating the Hendrick Motorsports driver to a 41st-place finish. RECAP: What plagued Johnson at Dover last year One of the favorites in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup suddenly found himself out of title contention. NASCAR's only six-time champion would remain just that for another year. That the failure happened at Dover , at track Johnson has 10 career wins at, was stunning. "I think last year shows that you really can't count on a race track always being kind to a driver or always working in their favor," Johnson said Friday at DIS. "It's part of racing. I've learned it through many different lessons over my racing career. "Last year, I think, kind of showed everybody … that you just can't take a race or a track for granted for anybody." That disappointment hasn’t lingered, however. Once again NASCAR's Chase is underway and once again Johnson is a player. He isn't a lock to advance to the Round of 12, but he is among those expected to remain above the cutline after Sunday's Citizen Soldier 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) here at DIS. After finishes of 12th and eighth in the first two Chase races, Johnson sits eighth in points, 18 ahead of the first driver outside the top 12 -- currently, Jamie McMurray . It also hasn't changed his outlook toward Dover as he and his team prepare for the 400-mile race. Rain on Friday forced the cancellation of qualifying, leaving Johnson to line up eighth in the 40-car starting grid. "We're back with high hopes," he said. "I love being here." And with good reason. In addition to his victories, Johnson has finished fifth or better at Dover in more than half of his career starts. He has started from the eighth position three other times at Dover -- winning twice (2009 and 2013) and finishing third once (2014). Brad Keselowski ( Team Penske No. 2 Ford) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota) will start first and second, respectively, on Sunday.
RELATED: Jones talks about wreck at Kentucky DOVER , Del. -- The XFINITY Series rewrote history books last weekend when it kicked off the series' inaugural 12-driver Chase at Kentucky Speedway . Points leader Elliott Sadler used a late pass to win in the Bluegrass State and simultaneously punch his ticket to the next round of the Chase. This Saturday's race at Dover International Speedway (3 p.m. NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) marks the second of three races in the opening round of the playoffs. May's Dover winner Erik Jones -- who dropped from first to ninth in the Chase standings after a late wreck at Kentucky -- hopes he's not one of those unlucky four. "It's been fun so far," Jones said of the format. "Obviously, only one race in, not the finish we wanted but had a really fast car and had one that could've won the race, but ended up being our own biggest enemy in that one. "Hopefully we can get it back on track here at Dover -- another really good race track for us." For these 12 championship contenders, the "win-and-you're-in" format lends itself to Victory Lane remaining the goal. Spectators saw championship hopes glimmer in the eyes of the Chasers last week, as aggression heated up on track . But with only two races to make up positions on the Chase Grid, it's a balance between staying out of trouble on track but not getting eliminated, either. "You've got to control what you can control and at Kentucky I didn't do a very good job of that. ... I put myself in a situation to make a mistake and ended up doing that and taking ourselves out," Jones said. "If we're caught up in something and it's something out of our control, that's nothing we can do about that. "We still need to put ourselves in a good position and one where we're running up front and hopefully in the mix for a win. If we can do that, I think we'll be just fine." Sadler enters Saturday's race at the Monster Mile atop the Chase Grid, followed by Daniel Suarez , Brendan Gaughan , Ryan Reed , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Justin Allgaier , Brennan Poole , Blake Koch , Jones, Ryan Sieg , Brandon Jones and Ty Dillon , who was also caught up in a late-race wreck at Kentucky. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
RELATED: Chase Grid " Bubble Watch Story lines abound, NASCAR.com's Holly Cain and Zack Albert tackle three pressing topics before the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason makes its first elimination at Dover International Speedway . 1. Which driver currently below the Chase cutoff line is most likely to advance to the Round of 12? Cain: I realize this is a long-shot and a sentimental pick, but I'm not counting Tony Stewart out of his final Chase run quite yet. I remember watching him win five of the 10 Chase races -- including the 2011 season finale -- to grab his third title from Carl Edwards ' clutches. Stewart is 11 points from the transfer position heading into the weekend, but he also is a three-time winner at Dover . Albert : Jamie McMurray , primarily based on the performance increase that Chip Ganassi Racing has enjoyed in recent weeks. While his teammate Kyle Larson has more regularly competed for wins, McMurray has been a tick more consistent. In the opening round, staying steady and avoiding the Monster Mile's pitfalls may be enough. 2. Which driver currently above the Chase cutoff line is most likely to be eliminated at Dover ? Cain: Kurt Busch has only one top-10 finish in his last nine starts at Dover . Similarly, Carl Edwards has only a single top 10 in his last eight starts at the Monster Mile. They are 16 and 15 points, respectively, above the cutoff line. While that's some cushion to the good, they will need to perform well Sunday as this is a place where crazy things have happened. Ask Jimmie Johnson . Albert : The provisional top 12 is a pretty stout list. While Chase Elliott has righted the ship to a degree from his dreadful July and August stretch, he'll need to conjure up the positive mojo from his third-place finish at Dover in May and avoid the mistakes that he tends to lament so bitterly. 3. Of the two, who is more likely to win the championship: Martin Truex Jr . or Kevin Harvick ? Cain: This is the $10 million question. In the preseason and again before the Chase I picked Jimmie Johnson to hoist the trophy. But clearly Truex and Harvick have proven themselves -- again -- as the drivers to be dealt with. Truex drives a Toyota, which has shown itself the power of the field, and his Furniture Row Racing team is exactly the kind of "all-in," underdog, feel-good story that would make anyone smile. But as Harvick showed this past weekend, he should never, ever be underestimated. He's as motivated, focused and ready as he's ever been for a title and is the only driver in the series that has been in the Championship 4 each year of the new elimination format. Albert : Truex and Harvick have certainly made a case for their championship credentials in the opening two races of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason. No weak links, regardless of the venue, for either of these two, save for Truex's early season tendencies to have odd occurrences make victories somehow slip away. Still, it's hard to anoint either one with eight races left in the 10-race playoffs with plenty of opportunity for mess-ups, especially at wild-card tracks Talladega and Martinsville. Forced to pick one of the two, I'll call the coin toss in the air for Harvick.