Cecil Whig - - SPORTS -

HEAT RACES ON THE HORI­ZON FOR SPRINT CUP? On Satur­day at Bris­tol Mo­tor Speedway, the NASCAR XFINITY Series tried a “heat race” for­mat sim­i­lar to pro­cesses used at lo­cal short tracks across the coun­try. It’s a new con­cept for a NASCAR na­tional series (ex­cept for when the Camp­ing World Truck Series races on dirt at El­dora Speedway), and NBC Sports re­ported over the week­end that NASCAR may seek to broaden the for­mat’s use to the Sprint Cup Series. Satur­day’s for­mat saw the XFINITY Series field split in half for two 50-lap races that set the field for a 200-lap main event. Com­peti­tors who crashed in a heat would have been forced to re­pair the car for the main event as back­ups weren’t al­lowed. Erik Jones won the race af­ter pass­ing Kyle Lar­son late for the lead. The for­mat re­turns Satur­day at Rich­mond In­ter­na­tional Race­way for the XFINITY group. BAD LUCK HITS KENSETH ONCE AGAIN He needed a pos­i­tive re­bound at Bris­tol Mo­tor Speedway af­ter a start to this sea­son that has been fraught with dis­ap­point­ing fin­ishes. But just as so many other races have gone for Matt Kenseth this sea­son, things ended on a sour note at Bris­tol. Kenseth led three times for 142 laps in the first 187 laps Sun­day at Bris­tol be­fore a tire is­sue put his No. 20 in the wall while he was lead­ing. He hit the wall again on Lap 327 with a sim­i­lar is­sue and fin­ished 36th. “The first thing on my mind right now is Matt,” team owner Joe Gibbs said af­ter the race. “Every sin­gle week he’s been up front, had a chance, I think, to lead laps and have a chance to win, and some­thing hap­pens to him.” Kenseth is now 18th in points and has just one top-10 fin­ish in eight races this sea­son.

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