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Harvick hits wall in first practice

Kevin Mays • Updated Apr 13, 2018 at 6:53 PM

BRISTOL — The hottest driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series hit a cold spell on the track Friday.

Kevin Harvick, who has three wins and five top-five finishes in the series’ first seven races, hit the wall just eight laps into practice Friday for Sunday’s running of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Something obviously either came off or broke in the front suspension. It looks more like the right-front, to tell you the truth. It definitely wasn’t a tire failure or anything like that, but just going in the corner as soon as I let off the gas it just hung a right, so it’s unfortunate.”

The incident forced Harvick to qualify in a back-up car. He’ll start Sunday’s race in the 39th position, the final one in the field.

No Cup cars in Saturday’s Xfinity race

BMS fans are used to seeing some of their Monster Energy Cup drivers racing on Saturday at the famed half-mile oval.

This year that will not be the case.

NASCAR rule changes this year means Cup series regulars will be watching, not driving, during Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.

That has its good and bad points, according to a couple of Xfinity full-time drivers.

“We all want to race those guys because they make us better, but the flip side of that is you see guys like John Hunter Nemechek, Shane Lee and others get in cars that wouldn’t have had that opportunity if the rules weren’t laid out like they are this year,” said Daniel Hemric. “The series is all about coming up here and making a name for yourself. All of us hopefully will have the opportunity the next four weeks to shine a little bit.”

Ryan Preece has a similar view.

“I’m on the receiving end of being able to race this weekend,” Preece said. “As much as I like racing the Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch, I wouldn’t have this opportunity if they raced all these races. It creates opportunity to show us what we can really do.”

Navy represented in the K&N Series race

Saturday’s NASCAR K&N Series race field will include Lt. Jessee Iwuji, of the U.S. Navy Reserves.

The Dallas native played collegiate football at the U..S. Navy Academy in Annapolis and then served seven years in the Navy before entering the reserves.

Iwuji is now driving in the K&N and ARCA circuits with hopes of advancing to the Xfinity Series and eventually catching a ride in the Monster Energy series.

The K&N race is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

Father vs. son in Xfinity race

Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity race will feature a father-son duo racing against each other.

Xfinity regular John Hunter Nemechek will be driving in his Chevrolet as part of the field.

The field will also include Joe Nemechek, John Hunter’s father.

Joe Nemechek, the 1992 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, will be driving for JD Motorsports in Saturday’s Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at BMS.

The elder Nemechek has competed at BMS 20 times in the Xfinity series and has two top-five and four top-10 finishes. He also has 36 starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol.

“I’m very thankful to Johnny Davis for the opportunity to race this weekend,” said Nemechek. “It’s going to be very special to be on the track racing with my son John Hunter at Bristol Motor Speedway.”

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