WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET – SpinGate flashback, 14 left to win to get in Chase, Keselowski/Burton

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On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, we look back in time one year ago at the “SpinGate” controversy at Richmond, as well as this Saturday’s final Chase qualifying race, also at Richmond.

Leigh Diffey and Kyle Petty anchor today’s show from our Charlotte studios.

Here’s more on today’s show rundown:

* In last year’s final Chase qualifying race at Richmond, NASCAR suffered through one of its biggest scandals in years. Many dubbed it “SpinGate,” when Clint Bowyer brought out a caution by appearing to cause his own car to intentionally spin out, with the goal of helping teammate Martin Truex Jr., gain a berth in the Chase. We revisit the incident and dig into how NASCAR’s penalties and rule changes amid the controversy have affected the sport and Bowyer and Truex in particular.

* There are 14 winless drivers outside of the Chase Grid that can punch their ticket into the upcoming playoffs with a win in the regular season finale this Saturday night at Richmond. We discuss which driver is most capable of pulling off the surprise win.

* A radio conversation between Kevin Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers at Atlanta revealed that there is something different about the air guns used by Joe Gibbs Racing that make them superior to the rest of the field. Our Marty Snider traveled to JGR headquarters to chat with crewman Hollywood Armstrong about their pit lane tools.

* Brad Keselowski sits down with our Jeff Burton for the Part 2 of our Driver2Driver feature.

If you’re not near a TV, you can CLICK HERE to stream NASCAR AMERICA online and on your mobile device through NBC Sports Live Extra.

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Follow me @JerryBonkowski

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.