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McClure, Martin form K&N Pro Series team
Single-car team to debut at Iowa Speedway this weekend RELATED: Get more NASCAR K&N Pro Series East coverage with Home Tracks NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Eric McClure and Hal Martin announced Tuesday that they have joined forces to field a single-car team for developmental drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Martin -McClure Racing is scheduled to debut with Chad Finchum at the wheel of the No. 39 entry this weekend at Iowa Speedway, which plays host to Friday's #ThanksKenny 150, a combination race for the K&N Pro Series' East and West tours. "This team is something Eric and I have discussed in great depth over the past few months and the timing is right for us to enter competition and lay the foundation for an organization that will meet the long-term goals we’ve laid out," Martin said in a release provided by the team. "It's an opportunity for us to give back to the sport we love, while providing a competitive and professional environment for young drivers as they transition from their respective backgrounds to the NASCAR national series." Finchum, 20, has 10 K&N starts spread over a part-time schedule since 2011. He also claimed two track championships (at Kingsport Speedway in Tennessee and Lonesome Pine Raceway in Virginia) in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition last season. "Since I started driving go-karts at age 6, I've always wanted to compete as a driver in the top levels of NASCAR," Finchum said. "This is a step forward in achieving that goal. It's hard to put into words what this opportunity means to me, but I think competing for MMR is a great fit. I've never been to Iowa Speedway, but I'm looking forward to getting there and getting on track." The Martin -McClure team also plans to compete in the season-ending race for the K&N East Series on Oct. 2 at Dover International Speedway. McClure, 36, currently ranks 20th in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings. Martin , 29, competed in 17 XFINITY events from 2012-14.
Martin upset after run in with Teague
Hal Martin is taken out by Brad Teague soon after getting back on the lead lap.
Heads up: Talladega weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Talladega Superspeedway . WEATHER Can you say "Chamber of Commerce weather?" That's what you'll get at Talladega. It'll be sunny all weekend, with a high of 70 on Friday and a high of 68 on Saturday, with the temperature nosing up to 77 degrees on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Beautiful outlook for a pair of elimination races. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The biggest change this weekend is Coors Light Qualifying. Rather than qualifying on Friday, the Sprint Cup Series will do so on Saturday afternoon after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. The single-car spectacle is set for 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The race is Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, also on NBCSN. Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series has a pair of Friday practices (beginning at 1 p.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET, both on FS1). The race is Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX with Keystone Light Pole Qualifying just before at 10:30 a.m. ET (FS1). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Talladega media center at NASCAR.com/presspass . Among the notables Friday: Chase Elliott (12:30 p.m. ET), Joey Logano (12:45 p.m. ET) and Martin Truex Jr . (3:30 p.m. ET). Click here for a full schedule. LAST TIME Joey Logano swept the Round of 12 last year, beating Alabama's favorite son Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- and eliminating him from the Chase -- in the process. The Team Penske driver led 20 laps to Earnhardt Jr.'s 61, and he held off Junior on an abbreviated green-white-checkered finish. Logano was first and Earnhardt Jr. second as the field's only attempt at a GWC conclusion went green. A wreck just past the start/finish line brought out the caution, ending the race just as Logano and Earnhardt Jr. were racing for the lead. Logano was in the lead at the time and declared the winner. Eventually, NASCAR tweaked its green-white-checkered rule in the offseason, leading to the addition of the overtime line. YOU SHOULD KNOW • With Dale Jr. sidelined for the rest of the season, Brad Keselowski may hold the mantle as the best restrictor-plate racer in NASCAR. The driver of the No. 2 Ford has three top-five finishes in the past four Talladega races, including two wins -- to bring his total 'Dega wins to four. He also won at Daytona in July. And following a wreck at Kansas last week, Keselowski likely has to win to advance in the postseason. • It's not just Keselowski who is in win-or-else mode. Chase Elliott essentially is facing a "must-win" scenario to advance into the next round. The rookie is 25 points behind the cutoff line. • Keep an eye on Joey Logano and Austin Dillon . They are tied for the final transfer spot, with Logano currently owning the tiebreaker thanks to his third-place finish at Kansas. Their stories are quite different. Logano won all three Round of 12 races last year, but his performances and speed slipped this year; Dillon is in his first postseason and one race away from making the Round of 8 after being seeded 15th out of 16 drivers at the start of the Chase. • This is the first elimination race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, with two drivers getting knocked out of the postseason. Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek are both 15 points below the cutoff line and will need to make up some serious ground.
Top consecutive 10-lap averages for Talladega
Final practice: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 18 Kyle Busch (C) 11 20 195.398 2 20 Matt Kenseth (C) 11 20 195.348 3 78 Martin Truex Jr . (C) 3 12 195.314 4 11 Denny Hamlin (C) 3 12 195.314 5 5 Kasey Kahne 2 11 193.453 6 99 * Ryan Reed (i) 2 11 193.394 7 88 Alex Bowman (i) 2 11 193.376 8 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) 2 11 193.348 9 24 Chase Elliott # (C) 2 11 193.133 Practice 1: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 16 Greg Biffle 2 11 195.657 2 44 Brian Scott 4 13 194.855 3 95 Michael McDowell 2 11 194.531 4 4 Kevin Harvick # (C) 4 13 194.201 5 43 Aric Almirola 3 12 194.173 6 88 Alex Bowman (i) 8 17 193.979 7 22 Joey Logano (C) 5 14 193.941 8 24 Chase Elliott # (C) 7 16 193.927 9 10 Danica Patrick 3 12 193.909 10 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) 3 12 193.895 11 21 * Ryan Blaney # 3 12 193.886 12 47 AJ Allmendinger 6 15 193.883 13 5 Kasey Kahne 7 16 193.849 14 42 Kyle Larson 7 16 191.233 15 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . 2 11 191.115 16 6 Trevor Bayne 2 11 191.073 17 3 Austin Dillon (C) 6 15 189.066 18 2 Brad Keselowski (C) 1 10 188.422 19 1 Jamie McMurray 24 33 187.786 20 34 Chris Buescher 1 10 185.131 -- Car must run 10 consecutive laps on the track to be included in the above charts. (C) indicates driver is in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . (#) indicates Sunoco Rookie of the Year Candidate. (*) indicates driver required to qualify on time. (i) indicates ineligible for Sprint Cup championship points.
Talladega Sprint Cup qualifying order
RELATED: How qualifying works at Talladega # Car Driver Team 1 32 Bobby Labonte VisoneRV.com Ford 2 93 * Matt DiBenedetto Dustless Blasting Toyota 3 7 Regan Smith Golden Corral Chevrolet 4 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 5 55 * Reed Sorenson Toyota 6 35 * David Gilliland Dockside Logistics Ford 7 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet 8 83 Jeffrey Earnhardt # Starter Toyota 9 23 David Ragan sweetFrog Toyota 10 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Chevrolet 11 41 Kurt Busch (C) Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet 12 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 13 3 Austin Dillon (C) American Ethanol Chevrolet 14 22 Joey Logano (C) Shell Pennzoil Ford 15 21 * Ryan Blaney # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 16 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 17 2 Brad Keselowski (C) Miller Lite Ford 18 14 Tony Stewart Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 19 10 Danica Patrick Nature's Bakery Chevrolet 20 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 21 11 Denny Hamlin (C) FedEx Ground Toyota 22 42 Kyle Larson Energizer Chevrolet 23 78 Martin Truex Jr (C) Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota 24 18 Kyle Busch (C) Snickers Halloween Toyota 25 99 * Ryan Reed (i) Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford 26 27 Paul Menard SYLVANIA/Menards Chevrolet 27 88 Alex Bowman (i) Mountain Dew Chevrolet 28 5 Kasey Kahne UniFirst Chevrolet 29 19 Carl Edwards (C) Subway Toyota 30 24 Chase Elliott # (C) NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 31 20 Matt Kenseth (C) DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota 32 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) Lowe's Pro Services Chevrolet 33 4 Kevin Harvick (C) Jimmy John's Chevrolet 34 38 Landon Cassill FR8 Auctions Ford 35 44 Brian Scott # Goody's Ford 36 95 Michael McDowell KLOVE Radio Chevrolet 37 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 38 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Zest Ford 39 34 Chris Buescher # Love's Travel Stops Ford 40 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/Scott Products Chevrolet 41 16 Greg Biffle Cheez-it Ford *Driver is required to qualify on time, (i) ineligible for driver points in this series
No. 88 crew chief Greg Ives fined, others receive warnings post-Kansas
NASCAR officials handed down a P2 penalty to the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team for not having lug nuts properly installed during Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway . The infraction also brought a fine of $10,000 to Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 88 Chevrolet. The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team received a written warning and a loss of 15 minutes practice time for failing pre-race LIS three times. The cars of Carl Edwards , Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr . failed pre-race LIS twice and received written warnings. The cars of Austin Dillon and Regan Smith failed pre-race template inspection twice and received written warnings. Cole Whitt 's No. 55 Chevrolet failed pre-qualifying LIS twice and received a written warning. The cars of Jamie McMurray and Martin Truex Jr . failed pre-qualifying template inspection twice and received written warnings. Other warnings issued after last weekend's events at Kansas Speedway : The XFINITY Series cars of Cole Custer and Brandon Brown failed pre-race LIS twice and received written warnings. Also, the cars of Brennan Poole and Derrike Cope failed pre-race template inspection three times and received written warnings.
H2H: Chase hits halfway; Talladega tempest next
RELATED: See the Chase grid " Chase Bubble Watch The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason is making the turn for home -- five races down and five to go. This weekend's stop on the 10-race ride is among the most pivotal of them all, Sunday's Alabama 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) at Talladega Superspeedway . With the playoff field about to be cut from 12 drivers to a final eight, our Holly Cain and Zack Albert tackle pressing topics ahead of a true Chase wildcard: *** Halfway through the Chase, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr . have each won twice, leaving Jimmie Johnson as the only other race winner in the postseason's first five races. Will the champion be one of these three or is there still room for a Chase dark horse? Cain: It is highly likely that the champion will come from among these three drivers, who have not only won lately but set the bar this year. With half the Chase remaining, someone else may -- and needs to -- step up, figuring it would be Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano or one of the four remaining Toyota drivers who have led the way. No dark horse here. Albert: There's time left, but that clock -- not to be confused with the Camping World Truck Series' caution clock -- is ticking more urgently. Harvick, Truex and Johnson may be the main Chase triumvirate so far, but I'm holding the door open for a Keselowski-led Penske effort or another Joe Gibbs Racing entry to stage a Round of 12 rally, starting at Talladega. Next year, a schedule shake-up for the Chase's Round of 12 will have Kansas trading places with Talladega to be the three-race series' elimination event. Do you favor the move or was the Charlotte-Kansas-Talladega progression a suitable schedule? Cain: Depending on whom you talk to, Talladega settling the third-round Chase grid was either a huge opportunity or a crazy wild card. Everyone goes into the unpredictable Talladega race feeling like either he/she has a big opportunity or scant chance to emerge. That makes for a heightened excitement level, but the question is whether this type of race should solidify the next round of elimination. Cases can be made either way, but I think the switch-up is a good idea. Albert: Talladega races are heart-clenching enough as it is -- whether it's in the regular season in May, in the playoffs in October or a 20-lap offseason trophy dash for funsies (just a suggestion). Making the schedule shift may slightly reduce spectator palpitations, but the track loses little in stature as the middle event in a three-race series. A more conventional venue such as Kansas makes more sense as the host of an elimination race. The Chase's current bottom four: Austin Dillon , Denny Hamlin , Brad Keselowski , Chase Elliott . Of those four, who is best positioned to take out the math and guesswork and emerge with a season-saving Talladega win? Cain: I truly see any and all four of these with the possibility of point-climbing their way up to Chase advancement. Among them, it's hardest to argue with Keselowski's Talladega resume. He already has two restrictor-plate wins at Daytona in July and at Talladega in the spring. He has lots of good Alabama juju -- scoring his first-ever Cup win at Talladega in 2009 and amassing four total wins there. He's finished in the top five in three of his last trips to the track. Albert: With such a stacked quartet in the Chase basement, this is a tough one. All four drivers have the backing of teams with standout superspeedway programs, and Keselowski has evolved into one of the sport's best at the large, fast ovals where horsepower is restricted. While still imagining some No. 3 magic for Dillon or a No. 24 breakthrough for Elliott, Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin gets the slight nod from these parts in a plate-track pick 'em.
Talladega clinching scenarios for Round of 8
RELATED: Current Chase Grid " Driver standings Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway will shrink the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field from 12 drivers to eight. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are already locked into the Round of 8 with victories at Charlotte and Kansas, respectively, which leaves 10 drivers battling for six spots. Here's a look at how drivers can clinch spots in the next round. Tune in to the Alabama 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to see who advances and who is eliminated. Of the drivers below, a win would automatically advance them into the next round. Otherwise ... • Matt Kenseth : Would clinch with 13 points (28th and no laps led, 29th and led at least one lap, 30th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch with 11 points. • Kyle Busch : Would clinch with 15 points (26th and no laps led, 27th and led at least one lap, 28th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch with 14 points. • Carl Edwards : Would clinch with 18 points (23rd and no laps led, 24th and led at least one lap, 25th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch with 16 points. • Kurt Busch : Would clinch with 25 points (16th and no laps led, 17th and led at least one lap, 18th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch with 24 points. • Martin Truex Jr .: Would clinch with 29 points (12th and no laps led, 13th and led at least one lap, 14th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch with 28 points. • Joey Logano : If there is a repeat winner, would clinch with 41 Points (2nd and led most laps). • Austin Dillon: If there is a repeat winner, would clinch with 41 points (2nd and led most laps). • Denny Hamlin : Could clinch on points with help, but does not control his own destiny without a win. • Brad Keselowski : Could clinch on points with help, but does not control his own destiny without a win. • Chase Elliott : Could clinch on points with help, but does not control his own destiny without a win.
Larson loves Miami, joins teams testing at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Kyle Larson is hopeful his fast performance in Tuesday's rain-interrupted NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be a harbinger of good things to come when the series returns to the track for the Nov. 20 season finale. The 24-year-old, who was eliminated after the opening round of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, would have preferred that his test session work contribute to deciding the Sprint Cup championship later at Homestead. But he will gladly go for the track trophy instead this year. "Homestead is probably my favorite track for racing the trucks and XFINITY series and for Cup, it's my second favorite to Bristol," said Larson, who has a win here in the XFINITY Series. "I always enjoy coming here and running really close to the wall. It's a real race track where I feel like driver can make up a lot. You always have to have a good car but I feel like the driver can have an impact here." Larson's No. 42 Target Chevrolet paced the field in the morning session at the 1.5-mile track, just ahead of fellow Chevy driver Chase Elliott , who sits 25 points back from the cutoff as the series heads to the Talladega eliminator this weekend. Ryan Blaney was third fastest in the opening session. Elliott led Larson in the afternoon session, which was extended two hours because of the rainy weather, lasting till 7 p.m. Larson, Kurt Busch , Carl Edwards and Austin Dillon rounded out the top five on the speed charts in the afternoon session. Many of the teams here were specifically non-specific in their goals for the two-day test, guarding their objectives and the pursuit of them. Ford driver Brad Keselowski was less circumspect and certainly less technical in explaining his team's intent this week. "It's always a little complicated to explain," he said smiling. "We're always working on them, always making them better and we've come up with a couple things and we try to validate them on track. "We put them through all these engineering tests with all these fancy computer simulations telling us if it's going to work or not work. And we get pretty confident it's going to work, but like to backstop check it. We're going through a lot of things we've been doing with the proper implementation of all these gizmos to check things you're allowed to use in testing. Just validating the parts and pieces." Veteran Carl Edwards said he just likes to get laps here in advance of the series crowning its champion and that his Joe Gibbs Racing Team welcomed the opportunity to try new things. "We're just working on a bunch of different things," Edwards said. "This sport is evolving so quickly and all of the teams are pushing. I talked to (crew chief) Dave (Rogers) this morning and all the Chase contenders are up there and fast. We're working on a bunch of different things." Some teams, most notably, Martin Truex Jr .'s Furniture Row Racing team opted not to use the Homestead test -- something Edwards said he understood as well. RELATED: Truex, No. 78 team to pass on Homestead test "One of the things that can happen is you can come test and be too confident in what you find out," Edwards said. "We're just kind of going through some things and really having fun.. …Even if we don't gain anything huge for the car, we're having a good time." The series is set to conduct another full-day test at Homestead on Wednesday. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Best in-car audio from the Kansas Chase race
Take a listen to all the action from Kansas Speedway through the in-car radios, including Martin Truex Jr.'s fuel issues and Brad Keselowski's tussle with Denny Hamlin.