NEWS & NOTES
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.