NASCAR 2018 at Michigan and Mid-Ohio: ‘Young Guns’ look for win

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Perhaps it is a direct reflection of ‘Back To School’ fever, but NASCAR is alone this weekend with its race schedule paced by the Consumer’s Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, 2:30 p.m. Sunday on NBCSN. The Xfinity series is also racing Saturday at Mid-Ohio.

Live streaming for the Consumer’s Energy 400 qualifying and race are available at snnow.ca  SportsnetNOW and NBCSports.com.

Live scoring and updates are available at NASCAR’s Race Center.

This week will be a test to see if Chase Elliott’s victory last week at Watkins Glen not only cracked the ceiling for the highly-hyped but marginally productive ‘Young Guns’ to make their NASCAR presence felt, but also slowing the role of veterans Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.

That trio has effectively dominated the season so far when Elliott, Kyle Larson and several other ’20-somethings’ were expected to be the season-long story instead.

NASCAR continued to make its bit of news off the track as well. Amidst rumors the patriarchal France Family may be listening to offers to sell NASCAR, chairman Brian France was arrested recently for DUI. He has since taken a leave of absence.

NASCAR
CONSUMER’S ENERGY 400
Site: Brooklyn, Michigan.
Schedule: Friday, practice, 12:05 p.m. (NBCSN), qualifying, 5:05 p.m., (NBCSN); Saturday, practice, 8:35 a.m. (CNBC), practice, 11:30 a.m.; Sunday, race, 2:30 p.m., NBCSN.
Track: Michigan International Speedway (oval, 2 miles).
Race distance: 400 miles, 200 laps.
Last year: Kyle Larson led only two laps, but they were the last two.
Last race: Chase Elliott, 22, won his first career race at Watkins Glen.
Fast facts: Elliott’s first victory came in his 99th Cup series start. But it’s not as though it was a fluke, considering that the young Elliott already has 49 top-10s, 28 top-5s and four poles to his credit. Elliott also won the Xfinity series title in 2014 at just 18 years old. …Another young driver that seems to be putting things together is Mexico’s Daniel Suarez. He has posted back-to-back top-4 finishes — and Suarez claimed the pole at Pocono as well. Suarez also won an Xfinity race at Brooklyn two years ago. …Kyle Busch remains in first, 70 points ahead of Kevin Harvick.
Next race: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, Aug. 18, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee.

XFINITY
ROCK N ROLL TEQUILA 170
Site: Lexington, Ohio.
Schedule: Friday, practice, 1:35 p.m. & 4:05 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 11:30 a.m., race, 3 p.m., NBCSN.
Track: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (road, 2.258 miles)
Race distance: 169.35 miles, 75 laps.
Last year: Sam Hornish came out of semi-retirement to win from the pole.
Last race: Joey Logano won Watkins Glen after also being the fastest in qualifying.
Fast facts: Logano beat among others Christopher Bell, who had won the previous three races. Bell was attempting to become the first series driver with four wins in a row since Sam Ard in 1983. …Bell finished ninth, but he retained the series lead at 22 points over Cole Custer. Daniel Hemric and Elliott Sadler are in third and fourth place respectively. … NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, 62, is set for a one-off Xfinity start at Road America on Aug. 25. Elliott hasn’t run a NASCAR event in six years.
Next race: Food City 300, Aug. 17, Bristol Motor Speedway.

CAMPING WORLD TRUCK
CORRIGAN OIL 200
Site: Brooklyn, Michigan.
Schedule: Friday, practice, 1:05 & 3:05 p.m., FS1; Saturday, qualifying, 9:30 a.m., (FS1), race, 1 p.m., FS1
Track: Michigan International Speedway.
Race distance: 200 miles, 100 laps.
Last year: Bubba Wallace took first in his only truck race of 2017.
Last race: Busch won at Pocono for the 51st time in a NASCAR truck, tying him with Ron Hornaday Jr. for the most all time.
Fast facts: Busch’s truck numbers are astounding. He has won 51 times in just 145 starts, with 93 top-5s and 114 top-10s. Slowing down in the series hasn’t been an issue for Busch either. Busch has just 20 starts since 2015, and yet he’s won nine of them. …Johnny Sauter enters Michigan with a 65-point lead over Noah Gragson.
Next race: UNOH 200, August 16, Bristol Motor Speedway.

VERIZON INDYCAR
Last race: Alexander Rossi won Mid-Ohio. He’s second in the standings, 46 points behind Scott Dixon.
Next race: ABC Supply 500, Aug. 19, Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

FORMULA ONE
Last race: Lewis Hamilton won in Hungary, extending his lead over Sebastian Vettel to 24 points.
Next race: Belgian Grand Prix, Aug. 26, Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING
Last race: Antron Brown took top honors in Top Fuel in Washington.
Next race: Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Aug. 16-19, Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minnesota.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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