Kyle Busch leads field in first of two Friday Nationwide practices at Bristol

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Thus far Friday, it’s been a Busch brothers beatdown at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Kurt Busch was the fastest in Friday’s solo Sprint Cup practice session.

And in the first of two Nationwide Series practice sessions this afternoon, Kyle Busch picked up where older brother Kurt left off, leading all 39 drivers that took part in practice.

Busch’s Toyota Camry covered the .533-mile high-banked track at 123.079 mph, followed by three other Sprint Cup regulars: Matt Kenseth (122.318), Kyle Larson (122.007) and Kevin Harvick (121.798).

The fastest and first true Nationwide competitor was Cale Conley, who got around BMS at 121.582 mph.

Needing to really pick up speed was the slowest driver out there, Ryan Sieg, whose best lap was a mere 98.415 mph.

See how your driver did in the first practice chart below:

1 Kyle Busch 123.079 mph

2 Matt Kenseth 122.318

3 Kyle Larson 122.007

4 Kevin Harvick 121.798

5 Cale Conley 121.582

 

6 Chase Elliott 121.558

7 Brian Scott 121.451

8 James Buescher 121.389

9 Ty Dillon 121.228

10 Regan Smith 121.221

 

11 Ryan Blaney 121.205

12 Trevor Bayne 121.198

13 Elliott Sadler 120.626

14 Mike Bliss 120.422

15 Brendan Gaughan 120.068

 

16 Chris Buescher 119.985

17 Landon Cassill 119.72

18 Matt DiBenedetto 119.611

19 Dylan Kwasniewski 119.522

20 Jeffrey Earnhardt 119.254

 

21 Ryan Reed 119.239

22 Kevin LePage 119.151

23 Will Kimmell III 119.010

24 Joe Nemechek 118.833

25 Mike Wallace 118.503

 

26 Josh Wise 118.466

27 Carl Long 118.452

28 Jeremy Clements 117.805

29 Jamie Dick 117.617

30 Kelly Admiraal 117.559

 

31 Timmy Hill 117.387

32 Tanner Berryhill 117.121

33 Dakoda Armstrong 116.993

34 Blake Koch 116.957

35 Derrike Cope 115.947

 

36 Matt Carter 115.611

37 Joey Gase 114.555

38 Eric McClure 108.850

39 Ryan Sieg 98.415

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Street race in Vietnam could lead Formula One’s Asia expansion

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TOKYO (AP) — Formula One is expected to add more races in Asia, including a street circuit in the capital of Vietnam, a country with little auto racing history that is on the verge of getting a marquee event.

“We think Hanoi could come on in the next couple of years, and we’re working with the Hanoi government to that end,” Sean Bratches, Formula One’s managing director of commercial operations, told the Associated Press.

There is even speculation it could be on the schedule next season, which Bratches rebuffed.

Vietnam would join countries like Azerbaijan, Russia and Bahrain, which have Grand Prix races, little history in the sport, and authoritarian governments with deep pockets that serve F1 as it tries to expand into new markets.

“This (Hanoi) is a street race where we can go downtown, where we can activate a large fan base,” Bratches said. “And you have extraordinary iconography from a television standpoint.”

A second race in China is also likely and would join Shanghai on the F1 calendar. Bratches said deciding where to stage the GP will “be left to local Chinese partners” – Beijing is a strong candidate.

Bratches runs the commercial side of Formula One, which was acquired last year by U.S.-based Liberty Media from long-time operator Bernie Ecclestone.

Formula One’s long-term goal is to have 24-25 races – up from the present 21 – and arrange them in three geographical segments: Asia, Europe and the Americas. Bratches said the Europe-based races would stay in middle of the calendar, with Asia or the Americas opening or ending the season.

He said their positioning had not been decided, and getting this done will be slowed by current contracts that mandate specific places on the calendar for several races. This means eventually that all the races in Asia would be run together, as would races in Europe and the Americas.

The F1 schedule is now an inefficient jumble, allowing Bratches to take a good-natured poke at how the sport was run under Ecclestone.

“We’ve acquired an undermanaged asset that’s 67-years-old, but effectively a start-up,” Bratches said.

Early-season races in Australia and China this year were conducted either side of a trip to Bahrain in the Middle East. Late in the season Formula One returns to Asia with races in Japan and Singapore.

The Canadian GP this season is run in the middle of the European swing, separated by four months from the other races in the Americas – the United States, Mexico and Brazil. These three are followed by the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, which means another trip across the globe.

“With the right economics, with the right structure and cadence of events across territories, 24 or 25 is probably where we’d like to be from a longer-term standpoint,” Bratches said.

Big changes are not likely to happen until the 2020 season ends. This is when many current rules and contracts expire as F1’s new owners try to redistribute some income to allow smaller teams to compete.

“There’s more interest than we have capacity in the schedule,” Bratches said, firing off Berlin, Paris or London as potentially attractive venues. “We want to be very selective.”

“Those cites from an economic impact standpoint would find us value, as do others around the world,” Bratches added. “It’s very important for us as we move forward to go to locations that are a credit to the Formula One brand.”

An expanded schedule would have to be approved by the teams, which will be stretched by the travel and the wear-and-tear on their crews. The burden will fall on the smaller teams, which have significantly smaller revenue compared with Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull.

Bratches also envisions another race in the U.S., joining the United States Grand Prix held annually in Austin, Texas. A street race in Miami is a strong candidate, as are possible venues like Las Vegas or New York.

“We see the United States and China as countries that could support two races,” he said.

Liberty Media has reported Formula One’s total annual revenue at $1.8 billion, generated by fees paid by promoters, broadcast rights, advertising and sponsorship. Race promotion fees also tend to be higher in Asia, which makes the area attractive – along with a largely untapped fan base.

In a four-year cycle, F1 generates more revenue than FIFA or the International Olympic Committee, which rely almost entirely on one-time showcase events.

Reports suggest Vietnamese promoters may pay between $50-60 million annually as a race fee, with those fees paid by the government. Bratches said 19 of 21 Formula One races are supported by government payments.

“The race promotion fee being derived from the government … is a model that has worked historically,” Bratches said.