Kyle Busch

NASCAR: Logano wins Talladega to advance in NASCAR’s playoffs

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TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — When an engine failure knocked title favorite Martin Truex Jr. from NASCAR’s playoffs, the rest of the top contenders got a little bit of breathing room.

Then Brad Keselowski suffered the same cruel elimination when his engine failed Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

There was suddenly a wide-open competition to earn the final transfer spots into the third round of the Chase, and Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon raced a tense final two laps in overtime to fill the bracket. With each pushing for every last point, it was Hamlin who advanced into the round of eight on a tiebreaker over Dillon.

Joey Logano won at Talladega Superspeedway, and Hamlin edged Kurt Busch by .006 seconds for third place and the one point he needed to tie Dillon in the standings.

Dillon was ninth, but lost the right to move into the next round based on average finish over the last three races.

Hamlin had told his Joe Gibbs Racing team not to give him points updates, and that lack of knowledge forced him to scramble through the final turn as he was undecided on how aggressive he needed to be.

“I wasn’t sure whether I needed to finish third,” he said. “I told them I didn’t want points updates. But that’s almost when I probably should have got one to figure out what I was going to do. (Dillon) is in the middle of the pack. He’s fighting and getting positions. He could change two positions in the last hundred yards.

“So you can’t really predict it. I knew I just had to try to finish as good as I could.”

With Truex and Keselowski out of the playoffs before the checkered flag, the suspense came down to final finishing order. Logano was not in a must-win situation, but the victory sure didn’t hurt.

Dillon, on a frantic dash over two overtime laps to gain as many spots as possible, called the outcome “heartbreaking.”

“It sure stinks to lose it on a tiebreaker,” Dillon said.

Also eliminated Sunday was Chase Elliott. Advancing are: Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Logano and Hamlin. There are four Toyotas remaining in the field, all from Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart-Haas Racing has Kurt Busch and Harvick — but the two had a heated exchange after the race over alleged contact on the last lap — while Hendrick Motorsports has Johnson for three Chevrolets in the field. Logano is the only Ford driver.

“Feels good to win on a clutch moment like that with the pressure on,” Logano said. “I think we ran like a champ.”

The race was stark difference from the spring stop in Alabama, when 35 cars were involved in at least one accident and two cars went airborne . And last year, it appeared that Kevin Harvick intentionally caused an accident on an overtime restart to help his championship chances.

But for mile after mile Sunday, the drivers behaved.

The only glitches came in a harried sequence early in the race in which three championship contenders had uncharacteristic gaffes within minutes of each other. First Logano left pit road with a jack wedged under his Ford, and he had to return to pit road to have it removed. Then Hamlin was flagged for speeding, then Truex lost an engine .

Keselowski’s engine went with 43 laps remaining after he’d battled climbing temperatures on his car because of debris on his front grille.

“It is unfortunate for Brad,” Logano said. “It happens as a leader picking some (debris up). We picked it up just not as much.”

Keselowski was dominant for a huge chunk of the race, even as he battled climbing temperatures on his Ford. Then, with 43 laps remaining, his engine blew and Keselowski was sent to the garage.

Kasey Kahne spun with six laps remaining to bring out the caution for a heart-pounding final restart.

The caution had terrible timing for Hamlin, and was a gift for Dillon. Hamlin was trying to hold off Dillon for the last transfer position and the Kahne spin gave Dillon another chance to gain points that would keep him in contention and bump Hamlin from the playoffs.

The restart was with three laps remaining.

The push was intense for a lap, then a spin by Alex Bowman brought out the caution for an overtime finish.

Over the team radio, Dillon was told to concentrate.

“Focus forward, man. Focus forward on what we’ve gotta do. That’s what matters, OK?” Dillon was told by a team member.

Dillon gained two spots in overtime, but it wasn’t enough to pass Hamlin in the standings.

TREUX MAKES EARLY EXIT: His engine failure ended his title chances — one round after he’d moved to the top of the list of favorites.

Truex won a pair of races in the opening round of the Chase, and was above the elimination line Sunday and only needed a decent day to advance into the third round. He appeared to be in good shape after winning the pole — overcoming a qualifying day distraction when his team had trouble in inspection — but the engine blowing on his Toyota sent him to a last-place finish.

“We had a team capable of competing for the championship, and unfortunately we’re not going to be able to show that,” he said.

KESELOWSKI ELIMINATED: Faced with a must-win situation at Talladega two years ago, Keselowski stepped up and grabbed a monumental victory.

He was certain he could do the same on Sunday and after leading 90 laps, Keselowski was definitely in play for the win.

When his engine failed, his championship chances were done .

“A lot of fun to be leading at Talladega,” he said. “We were doing the best we could to have some fun and lead some laps.”

OH WHAT A FEELING: Toyota celebrated its 1,000th race at the Cup level by advancing a manufacturer-high four cars into the round of eight.

All four Joe Gibbs Racing entries moved into the third round, with Truex’s blown engine the only hiccup on the day.

Having four drivers, from the same team, still in the playoffs led winning car owner Roger Penske to poke the Toyota camp on the stakes.

“They’ve got more to lose than I do, I guess,” Penske said. “They’ve got four.”

UP NEXT: The opening race of the third round of the Chase on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Logano swept the second round last year and seemed headed to the win at Martinsville until he was intentionally wrecked as payback by Matt Kenseth. The feud between the two ultimately cost Logano a spot in the championship round.




Sunday’s results from the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway (starting position in parentheses):

1. (16) Joey Logano, Ford, 192 laps, 0 rating, 44 points.

2. (25) Brian Scott, Ford, 192, 0, 39.

3. (8) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 192, 0, 39.

4. (7) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 37.

5. (6) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 192, 0, 37.

6. (24) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 35.

7. (22) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 34.

8. (26) Aric Almirola, Ford, 192, 0, 33.

9. (9) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 33.

10. (32) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 31.

11. (15) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 192, 0, 31.

12. (4) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 30.

13. (10) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 28.

14. (20) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 27.

15. (5) Greg Biffle, Ford, 192, 0, 27.

16. (34) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 25.

17. (11) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 192, 0, 24.

18. (36) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 23.

19. (23) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 22.

20. (30) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 21.

21. (31) Landon Cassill, Ford, 192, 0, 20.

22. (33) Chris Buescher, Ford, 192, 0, 19.

23. (17) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 18.

24. (40) David Ragan, Toyota, 192, 0, 17.

25. (29) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 16.

26. (18) Ryan Reed, Ford, 192, 0, 0.

27. (35) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 192, 0, 14.

28. (3) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 192, 0, 14.

29. (13) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 192, 0, 13.

30. (14) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 192, 0, 12.

31. (38) Bobby Labonte, Ford, 192, 0, 10.

32. (21) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 10.

33. (37) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 192, 0, 9.

34. (39) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 192, 0, 7.

35. (27) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 191, 0, 6.

36. (19) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 191, 0, 0.

37. (12) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 179, 0, 4.

38. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, engine, 144, 0, 5.

39. (28) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, accident, 113, 0, 2.

40. (1) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, engine, 41, 0, 2.


Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 159.907 mph.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 11 minutes, 38 seconds.

Margin of Victory: seconds.

Caution Flags: 6 for 25 laps.

Lead Changes: 31 among 14 drivers.

Lap Leaders: M.Truex 0; B.Keselowski 1-11; M.Truex 12-13; B.Keselowski 14-25; C.Elliott 26-27; B.Keselowski 28; C.Elliott 29-31; B.Keselowski 32-37; D.Hamlin 38; M.Kenseth 39; Ky.Busch 40; B.Keselowski 41; R.Stenhouse 42-47; B.Keselowski 48-62; C.Elliott 63; G.Biffle 64-76; C.Elliott 77-78; B.Keselowski 79; C.Elliott 80; D.Hamlin 81; C.Edwards 82; M.Annett 83-88; B.Keselowski 89-110; R.Blaney 111; D.Hamlin 112-116; A.Dillon 117; D.Hamlin 118-122; B.Keselowski 123-143; R.Blaney 144-145; T.Stewart 146; Ky.Busch 147; J.Logano 148-192

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): B.Keselowski, 9 times for 81 laps; J.Logano, 1 time for 44 laps; G.Biffle, 1 time for 12 laps; D.Hamlin, 4 times for 8 laps; M.Annett, 1 time for 5 laps; R.Stenhouse, 1 time for 5 laps; C.Elliott, 5 times for 4 laps; R.Blaney, 2 times for 1 lap; M.Truex, 2 times for 1 lap; Ky.Busch, 2 times for 0 laps; A.Dillon, 1 time for 0 laps; C.Edwards, 1 time for 0 laps; M.Kenseth, 1 time for 0 laps; T.Stewart, 1 time for 0 laps.

Wins: Ky.Busch, 4; K.Harvick, 4; B.Keselowski, 4; M.Truex, 4; D.Hamlin, 3; J.Johnson, 3; C.Edwards, 2; M.Kenseth, 2; C.Buescher, 1; Ku.Busch, 1; K.Larson, 1; J.Logano, 1; T.Stewart, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. J.Logano, 4000; 2. J.Johnson, 4000; 3. K.Harvick, 4000; 4. M.Kenseth, 4000; 5. C.Edwards, 4000; 6. D.Hamlin, 4000; 7. Ku.Busch, 4000; 8. Ky.Busch, 4000; 4. 9. M.Truex, 2191; 10. B.Keselowski, 2168; 11. A.Dillon, 2163; 12. C.Elliott, 2156; 13. K.Larson, 2155; 14. T.Stewart, 2141; 15. J.McMurray, 2110; 16. C.Buescher, 2190.

NASCAR: Truex wins pole after bolt from confiscated at Talladega

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TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. showed up at Talladega Superspeedway determined to be at the front of the field and in control of his chances in NASCAR’s playoffs.

A pole-winning run Saturday put him at the top of the field for the critical elimination race.

Truex turned a lap of 193.423 mph to earn the top starting spot Sunday. The run came after NASCAR confiscated a bolt from his Toyota, but Truex said he was not worried about ramifications to his Furniture Row Racing team.

“The jack bolt issue is really not a big issue,” Truex said. “They just took the left front, so it’s not a big issue. It was a parts manufacturing issue, no big deal at all.”

Winner of two races in the first round of the Chase, Truex is winless in round two but above the cutoff point. Four drivers will be cut from the field on Sunday.

“All we have to do is make it through to the next one,” he said. “We’ve got some good tracks coming up for us and (Sunday) is going to be a tough race. A lot is going to happen, but we just have to hope for the best and do the best job we can do.

“I feel good about my car and it’s got a lot of speed in it, obviously.”

The inspection issue with Truex provided a little early drama on qualifying day, as there was some speculation the team could face a penalty. NASCAR typically issues penalties in the middle of the week, and a point deduction could in theory knock Truex out of the Chase.

However, NASCAR vice president of competition Scott Miller said a points penalty is unlikely, and that Truex had no competitive advantage. The bolt taken could have been considered a safety issue, though.

“I would say it would be unlikely but it has to go through our process,” he said. “We don’t typically do that on a weekend. Because it is the playoffs, everyone has a heightened sense of everything. This is no different than things we have done all year, and we will treat this one like we do all year long.”

Miller was unsure if NASCAR would accelerate its review process to determine if a penalty will be issued before the race.

“We don’t have any precedent for doing that,” Miller said. “We will be circling up and trying to figure out the best way to proceed from this moment forward until (Sunday’s) race.”

Brad Keselowski, in nearly a must-win situation on Sunday, qualified second. He won the knockout race in 2014 to stave off elimination, and said his best starting position at Talladega bodes well for him.

“I feel like qualifying well is certainly a very strong omen for Talladega and Daytona,” he said. “I think all of the races I’ve won here, we’ve had good starts and the races that we haven’t won or been super-competitive we usually don’t have any speed in qualifying, so it’s certainly a confidence-builder.

“It’s not a guarantee by any means, but a confidence-builder that you carry into this weekend and carry into (the) race.”

Keselowski won at Talladega in May and at Daytona in July.

Matt Kenseth qualified third and was followed by Chase Elliott, who is also in a must-win situation on Sunday.

Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were fifth and sixth and Roush-Fenway Racing put three of its cars into the final round of qualifying as Trevor Bayne was 11th.

Rounding out the top 12 were Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Reed Sorenson was 12th. It was a huge drop-off for Sorenson, who was the fastest car in the first round of qualifying.

Hamlin is also facing a must-win situation, and said he prefers that to points racing all day at Talladega.

“I’m actually trying to lead every lap,” he said. “That’s all I can do is try to go out there and lead every single lap possible and put ourselves in position at the end. Definitely want to be in the lead if we get down to a shootout and try to defend from there, so we’ve got our work cut out for us, but it’s nothing we haven’t done before.”

Before the first round runs, NASCAR made the Joe Gibbs Racing teams of Hamlin, Kenseth and Kyle Busch adjust the top of their left-rear quarter panels. The teams were required to go back through inspection and Miller said the body of the cars had been manipulated.

“It doesn’t have to be big to be an infraction,” he said. “It just has to be fair for everybody and that’s what we strive to do.”

Truex, runner-up to Hamlin in the Daytona 500, is one of the many drivers who doesn’t plan to fade to the back of the field on Sunday in an effort to avoid potential accidents. He’s said all weekend he feels more in control of his race if he’s near the front, and the pole position puts him right where he wants to be.

“The strategy is to stay there, but the problem is that it’s pretty hard to do,” he said. “It’s definitely the place to be to start the race. This is obviously a big race with a lot on the line.”

NASCAR: Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch have advantage at Talladega

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today)    —   TALLADEGA, Ala. – Chase Elliott is in a horrible predicament. Kurt Busch is in a better situation, but hardly secure heading into the Chase for the Sprint Cup second-round elimination race Sunday. Because it’s at Talladega Superspeedway.

But oddly, they also might be the most advantaged of the 10 drivers still groping for six available transfer spots into the penultimate round.

In a sport and a playoff system where creative selfishness is a job necessity for the individual and a benefit to their teams, both Elliott and Busch are uniquely situated in having a teammate already through to the next round. That’s not to suggest that Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate (Charlotte winner Jimmie Johnson) or Busch’s Stewart-Haas Racing comrade (Kansas victor Kevin Harvick) won’t absolutely seize upon a chance to win again Sunday. But with the four Toyota drivers of Joe Gibbs Racing plus one from affiliate Furniture Row Racing attempting to wedge themselves in a half-dozen slots, and two Ford drivers of Team Penske doing the same, it won’t hurt to have a draft buddy with a punched pass to the next round and a common boss to please.

Although it’s unlikely that Johnson will be the Bandit to rookie Elliott’s Snowman all afternoon, or Harvick the Goose to Busch’s Maverick, it stands to reason they would be less inclined to forsake them in the fickle and cunning diplomacy of restrictor-plate racing. And that can’t hurt, when, in Elliott’s case, you’re attempting to come from last of 12 eligibles on the Chase grid, 25 points from eighth place, which is currently shared by Joey Logano and Austin Dillon. Busch enters sixth, 17 points ahead of the cut.

Brad Keselowski managed his must-win for advancement at Talladega in 2014 with help from Team Penske’s Logano, who nudged him to the front on a first green/white/checker attempt and allowed him to control his situation as much as possible on a decisive second.

Another seeming advantage for Elliott and Busch would be racing for four-car teams where their title-contending teammate already is secure. While the Toyota drivers joust with each other, Elliott has Johnson, Alex Bowman and Kasey Kahne in league. Busch has Harvick, Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick, who already has demonstrated a knack for the concept. Harvick lauded Patrick for her esprit de corps last fall at Talladega, helping him maintain his position near the front with drafting help as his engine spasmed in the waning laps. Harvick went on to veer into Trevor Bayne to prompt a wreck that ended the race under caution and helped him nab a 15th-place finish that advanced him to Round 3.

Still, restrictor-plate racing has a way of jumbling team dynamics, whether by design or unfortunate by-product. In trying to help or not. Brian Vickers’ attempt to push Johnson by leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the last lap of the 2006 Talladega fall race hooked his then-Hendrick teammate into a collision and off the track with Earnhardt. Vickers was credited for his first Cup win in his final season before changing teams. Johnson was displeased.

Johnson claimed he was attempting to link up for a draft when he sliced in front of the No. 24 Chevrolet as it charged forward in the 2010 spring race. Instead, he muted teammate Jeff Gordon’s momentum, sending him back into the mass and in position to be swallowed by a multi-car incident.

With five races left in the season, driver agendas are about to focus and intentions become self-serving. Talladega will be the dry run for the rest of the season. And this Sunday, it won’t hurt to have a wingman.

NASCAR: Forget about points, Logano racing to win at Talladega

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Joey Logano knows he is in the most precarious of positions heading to the Chase elimination race at Talladega, tied for the eighth and final spot for advancing to the next round of NASCAR’s playoffs.

There are two clear strategies his Penske Racing team could employ.

The first is the relatively low-risk option: They could spend the entire race at the unpredictable superspeedway spying on Austin Dillon, who is even with him in points, and Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski, who are also within striking distance, and ensure they get through on points.

The riskier option? Race to win, points be damned.

“That’s the way I race. I don’t know a different way,” said Logano, whose third-place finish behind Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards on Sunday at Kansas at least made the points route possible.

“I’m sure we’ll talk about it this week,” Logano added, “but I’m a racer.”

At least three Chase contenders don’t have the same dilemma. Harvick and Jimmie Johnson are already locked into the next round by virtue of their wins in the first two stops of the round, and Chase Elliott’s trouble for the second straight week left him in a must-win situation.

The other nine drivers are much like Logano, racing to win but keeping a wary eye on points.

“The big thing that swung everything around was Kevin winning. We would have been in pretty good shape if he had finished second,” Logano said. “It isn’t disappointing because we still should be proud of the effort we had, but it would have meant a lot if he finished second.”

That’s because Harvick had problems of his own in the round at Charlotte, which means even second place at Kansas would have put him squarely on the bubble heading to Talladega.

Logano should at least have some confidence heading to the volatile restrictor-plate track. After years of mostly terrible results, he won there to complete a sweep of the entire round last fall.

Meanwhile, Dillon was third there earlier this year, Hamlin won there a couple of years ago and Keselowski won for the fourth time there earlier this year.

“I don’t think it’s a must-win situation,” said Keselowski, who spun into the grass and tore up his car before finishing 38th at Kansas. “I’m not worried about it. I’m going to go there and bust my butt to try to win, but I don’t think it’s a must-win yet.”

Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Edwards and Kurt Busch are relatively safe after steering clear of major trouble the last two rounds, and Martin Truex Jr. has a 13-point cushion over eighth place.

For each of them, winning at Talladega would be great. But they also know that simply by staying out of trouble, their spot in the next round is virtually assured.

“It’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sport and to a huge extreme with the Chase now with this format,” Truex said. “You’ve got to perform every single week. You’ve got a bad week, it could ruin your whole season. … We’ve just got to go to Talladega and hope that nothing crazy happens.”


NASCAR could take steps soon to limit Sprint Cup driver participation in lower series, a point driven home after Kyle Busch won his ninth Xfinity Series race of the year at Kansas. NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell was asked about the dominance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio this week and said something could change in the rules by next year.

“We’ve heard the fans. It’s interesting, it’s been a balance throughout the years,” he said. “We have always had Sprint Cup drivers come into the Xfinity Series and sometimes dominate.

“As the sport has evolved, one of the great things is we’ve got more of a fan following in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. They like seeing those drivers come up through the ranks and it’s our job to make sure that Xfinity is where names are made.”

NASCAR is already prohibiting any Sprint Cup driver who was in last year’s Chase from competing in this year’s season finale for the Xfinity and Truck Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Of the 30 Xfinity races this season, 19 have been won by Sprint Cup regulars.


The Xfinity Series is on a two-week break after Kyle Busch trumped the eight Chase contenders at Kansas on Saturday. Justin Allgaier plans to do some endurance racing in Brazil, and Daniel Suarez will squeeze in a trip to Mexico before racing trucks at Martinsville.

“It’s been a while since the last time I went to Mexico to visit my family, my mom, my sisters and my dad,” he said. “We’re going to do something fun with the people from NASCAR.”


Truex’s team decided not to take part in this week’s testing at Homestead, even though it’s the site of the season-ending race next month. One reason is that it’s far from Denver, where his Furniture Row Racing team is based, and another is that he isn’t convinced it does any good.

“Every time we’ve tested this year, we’ve gone to the race track and spent the first day-and-a-half trying to regroup,” he said. “It seems like it’s probably hurt us more than helped us.”


Formula 1 team owner Gene Haas said Sunday that he wants to see how Esteban Gutierrez fares the rest of the season before deciding on a second driver for his team. Romain Grosjean has been solid in the team’s debut, and his spot for next year is secure. But while Gutierrez has been improving in recent races, he still has not earned a championship point.

“We haven’t definitively said whether Esteban is the driver for next year or not,” said Haas, whose Sprint Cup team won at Kansas. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be, either.”

NASCAR: Harvick advances in Chase as others struggle at Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — After departing the celebration in victory lane at Kansas on Sunday, Kevin Harvick reflected on how his Stewart-Haas Racing team always seems to rally when its back is against the wall.

Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski just may need to follow suit.

Harvick dealt with a mechanical issue a week ago at Charlotte that put him in a big hole heading to the second stop in the Chase’s round of 12. But he rebounded by winning the Sprint Cup race at Kansas, not only locking up his spot in the next round but taking the pressure out of Talladega.

“Things are going to happen,” said Harvick, who also rebounded from a poor Chase opener to win at New Hampshire. “Things can break and you just have to be able to rebound from them.”

Elliott and Keselowski are in precisely that situation.

While several contenders were busy wrapping up top-10 finishes — Carl Edwards was second, followed by Joey Logano, Charlotte winner Jimmie Johnson , Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon — Elliott and Keselowski had been snared by late-race trouble that leaves them in desperation mode.

Elliott was running near the front when his left rear tire began rubbing on his fender, forcing a stop that left him a lap down. He managed to get back on the lead lap, only to have the same issue with another set of tires that forced him into another unscheduled stop.

“I don’t know if we got the left rear getting up on the track or something, and it got into the fender and it cut it down. I don’t know,” Elliott said. “We had such a good car today.”

He wound up finishing 31st and is now 25 points out of the eighth and final spot in the next round, which basically turns the unpredictable race at Talladega into a must-win scenario.

“Race our hearts out and try to win, I guess,” he said. “That’s about all we can do.”

Keselowski had a similarly dreadful day. He began wiggling with 78 laps left and Denny Hamlin was unable to check up in time, the gentle tap sending the No. 2 car shooting down the track. He slammed into the grassy turf and tore up the front of his car.

Keselowski wound up 38th, putting him seven points out of the final Chase spot.

“I like Talladega. Talladega has been good to me,” said Keselowski, who has won four times there, including earlier this year. “I’m going to drive my butt off and at the end of the day I have faith that if it is meant to be, it is meant to be. We can’t get down. There is a long way to go still.”

Things are more comfortable for other Chase contenders.

Edwards ran up front all day and thought he had the car to beat at Kansas before Harvick pulled away from him on a late restart. He still finished second to move up two spots in the points race and now has a 24-point buffer between himself Logano in eighth place.

Of course, that was of little solace to the Missouri native. He considers the speedway just across the Kansas border his home track and always has thousands of fans in the stands. He’s wanted to win at Kansas more than anywhere else on the circuit but has yet to reach victory lane.

“There’s so many people that come to this track that support me,” he said. “Maybe a day or two will pass and I’ll be more excited about the points situation going to Talladega.”

Martin Truex Jr. had issues with the refueling mechanism that forced him to pit out of sequence and wound up 11th. Kurt Busch finished two spots back in 13th after having to go to his backup car following a spin in practice. Hamlin dealt with an issue with the front splitter and was 15th.

As a result, Logano sits in the tenuous eighth spot in points — tied with Dillon and six ahead of Hamlin — as the Chase heads to the elimination race at Talladega.

“We came out swinging. That’s what we had to do. We did everything we were supposed to do,” Logano said. “It’s not comfortable being tied with Austin going into next week but that’ll be fun.”

NASCAR: Kevin Harvick wins at Kansas to reach next round of Chase

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — No matter what kind of misfortune befalls Kevin Harvick in the early rounds of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, his team always seems to get things together when it matters.

The No. 4 crew did it again Sunday.

One week after a mechanical issue doomed him to a lousy finish at Charlotte, and put his hopes of advancing to the round of eight in jeopardy, Harvick roared to the front on the final restart to win at Kansas Speedway and take all of the pressure off next week’s elimination race at Talladega.

“These races are hard to win and these guys are so good at the details,” said Harvick, the 2014 champion, “and when you put their backs against the wall they’re even better. I’m so proud of them.”

Harvick was among the fastest in the final qualifying session, and hung around the front all day while other Chase contenders faltered. He was still at the front when Regan Smith brought out the final caution, and was able to keep Carl Edwards at bay over the final 30 laps.

“I was pretty sure we were in control of the race,” said Edwards, a Missouri native who has yet to win at what he considers his home track. “As much fun as I had running up front, it stings. There’s negative emotions tied up with not winning here with that fast of a car.”

It was the fourth win of the season for Harvick, and his second of the Chase — he rebounded from a poor performance at Chicago to win at New Hampshire and advance from the round of 16.

He joined Jimmie Johnson, the winner at Charlotte , in securing a spot in the next round of NASCAR’s playoffs, while also ramping up the pressure on the other 10 contenders fighting for points.

“They usually when it comes to this situation find a little more speed in their cars,” said Joey Logano, who finished third and now sits in the precarious eighth spot in points. “I don’t know how, but it seems like in must-win situations they always find a little more speed.”

Johnson was fourth, followed by fellow Chase drivers Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon. Matt Kenseth was ninth after dominating the first half of the race from the pole, giving him a nice points cushion as the series heads to the unpredictable pressure-cooker at Talladega.

Other drivers competing for the championship dealt with trouble all afternoon.

Martin Truex Jr. again found himself at the front at Kansas, only to have issues with the refueling mechanism that forced him to pit out of sequence. He wound up 11th and now sits seventh in points.

Kurt Busch finished two spots back in 13th after having to go to his backup car. He spun into the grass on the front stretch with seconds to go in the final practice session Saturday, tearing up the front of his car and forcing him to start from the back of the field.

Denny Hamlin had an issue with the front splitter that creates downforce on his car, sending him to the pits for repairs. He was also penalized for a loose tire but rallied to finish 15th.

The biggest losers on the day were Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott.

Keselowski began wiggling with 78 laps remaining, and Hamlin came up behind him and a tap sent the No. 2 car shooting down the track. He slammed into the grassy turf, tore up the front of his car and wound up 38th, putting him seven points out of the eighth and final spot in the Chase.

“It’s an automotive war zone here. There’s parts, there’s pieces, they were working under it, there was oil, there was fire at one point,” said Keselowski, who briefly got back on the track before retiring for the day. “If my guys keep putting in this effort, I’m not worried about.”

Elliott was near the front when his left rear tire began rubbing on his fender, forcing a stop that left him a lap down. He managed to get back on the lead lap, only to have the same issue with another set of tires that forced him into another unscheduled stop.

He wound up finishing 31st and is now 25 points out of the final spot in the round of eight, which essentially makes Talladega a must-win situation for the Hendrick Motorsports rookie.

In other words, all the pressure that Harvick avoided with his win.




Lap length: 1.5 miles

(Starting position in parentheses)

1. (11) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 267.

2. (3) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 267.

3. (6) Joey Logano, Ford, 267.

4. (21) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 267.

5. (2) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 267.

6. (12) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 267.

7. (5) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 267.

8. (10) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 267.

9. (1) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 267.

10. (20) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 267.

11. (4) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 267.

12. (9) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 267.

13. (15) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 267.

14. (17) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 267.

15. (7) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 267.

16. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 267.

17. (25) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 267.

18. (19) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 267.

19. (18) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 267.

20. (16) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 267.

21. (30) Chris Buescher, Ford, 267.

22. (33) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 267.

23. (29) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 267.

24. (27) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 267.

25. (22) Greg Biffle, Ford, 266.

26. (31) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 266.

27. (34) Landon Cassill, Ford, 266.

28. (32) Brian Scott, Ford, 265.

29. (26) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 265.

30. (24) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 265.

31. (13) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 264.

32. (37) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 264.

33. (36) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 262.

34. (39) Reed Sorenson, Toyota, 261.

35. (38) Joey Gase, Ford, 260.

36. (28) David Ragan, Toyota, 258.

37. (23) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 233.

38. (8) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 190.

39. (40) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Accident, 108.

40. (35) Aric Almirola, Ford, Accident, 36.

Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 133.155 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 00 Mins, 28 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.183 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 38 laps.

Lead Changes: 16 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders: M. Kenseth 1-27; Kurt Busch 28; M. Kenseth 29-86; J. Logano 87; B. Keselowski 88; D. Hamlin 89; C. Mears 90-94; M. Kenseth 95-125; K. Harvick 126-168; C. Elliott 169-172; C. Edwards 173; J. Logano 174; C. Edwards 175-221; K. Harvick 222; A. Dillon 223-224; C. Edwards 225-237; K. Harvick 238-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): M. Kenseth 3 times for 116 laps; K. Harvick 3 times for 74 laps; C. Edwards 3 times for 61 laps; C. Mears 1 time for 5 laps; C. Elliott 1 time for 4 laps; A. Dillon 1 time for 2 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 2 laps; D. Hamlin 1 time for 1 lap; B. Keselowski 1 time for 1 lap; Kurt Busch 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: J. Johnson – 3,082; M. Kenseth – 3,074; Kyle Busch – 3,072; C. Edwards – 3,069; Kurt Busch – 3,062; M. Truex Jr. – 3,058; K. Harvick – 3,048; J. Logano – 3,045; A. Dillon – 3,045; D. Hamlin – 3,039; B. Keselowski – 3,038; C. Elliott – 3,020; T. Stewart – 2,131; K. Larson – 2,120; C. Buescher – 2,090; J. Mcmurray – 2,088.

NASCAR: Kyle Busch wins third straight Xfinity race at Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kyle Busch continued his dominance of the Xfinity Series at Kansas Speedway on Saturday.

Elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez continued their chase for a title.

Pulling double-duty this weekend, Busch led 150 of the 200 laps in a thoroughly dominant performance for his ninth series win of the season. It was also his third straight Xfinity win at Kansas, where he won in his Sprint Cup car for the first time this spring.

“There were a lot of things trying to work against us toward the end, but we just persevered,” said Busch, who at one point was a lap down. “We had great speed. I think we showed it all weekend. It was just a matter of putting it all together and ending up in victory lane, where we deserved to be.”

Sadler finished second and Suarez finished third to give the Chase contenders a nice start to the three-race round of eight, which now takes a two-week break before continuing at Texas.

“Everyone is starting off square,” Sadler said, “so you’re trying to get a point here and get a point there. Now everybody will have different strategies as we go to Texas and Phoenix.”

Two more Sprint Cup regulars, Joey Logano and Kyle Larson, waged an entertaining duel to round out the top five. But it was some drama around them in the closing laps that shook up the title chase.

Justin Allgaier and Darrell Wallace Jr. were involved in a late wreck, though Allgaier’s partially destroyed car was able to finish a lap down in 14th. Wallace wound up 33rd and now has a massive deficit to make up the next two races if he wants to avoid elimination.

“Pretty hard hit. Just unfortunate,” said Wallace, who was blinking away some pain when he took off his helmet. “We were making some good calls and running our own race and that’s part of it.

“I think we could have gotten a top-10 if we hit our restarts right, but just not our day.”

Nor was it Brendan Gaughan’s day. He went slip-sliding through the grass on the front stretch late in the race and wound up 31st — though he did provide some comic relief when he sprinted from the infield care center back to his car in an attempt to squeeze a few more laps in before the finish.

It wound up having no bearing on his result.

Erik Jones also had a gripe after spending most of the day near the front. He was hit from behind by Larson on a late restart, sending him into Ty Dillon and causing enough damage to force a costly pit stop.

Jones ended finishing 15th, fifth among the eight drivers competing for a championship.

“It’s all my fault,” Larson told his spotter after the impact.

Blake Koch finished ninth in a strong start to the round for his championship hopes, while Ryan Reed dealt with a series of problems all afternoon and finished behind Allgaier and Jones in 16th.

Now, they’ll all be chasing Sadler and Suarez over the next two races.

“We had a great race. So proud of my team,” Sadler said. “We kept working on the car, working on the car, getting better and better. I just have to do a better job of out-running that 18 car.”



Lap length: 1.5 miles

(Starting position in parentheses)

1. (1) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 200.

2. (8) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 200.

3. (4) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 200.

4. (11) Joey Logano, Ford, 200.

5. (3) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 200.

6. (10) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 200.

7. (12) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 200.

8. (14) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 200.

9. (9) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 200.

10. (21) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 200.

11. (13) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 200.

12. (7) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 200.

13. (20) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 200.

14. (5) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 199.

15. (2) Erik Jones, Toyota, 199.

16. (22) Ryan Reed, Ford, 198.

17. (6) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 197.

18. (25) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 197.

19. (23) Ray Black Jr., Chevrolet, 196.

20. (16) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 196.

21. (31) Jeff Green, Ford, 196.

22. (33) BJ McLeod, Ford, 195.

23. (30) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 195.

24. (26) David Starr, Chevrolet, 195.

25. (29) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 194.

26. (34) Martin Roy, Chevrolet, 192.

27. (38) Josh Reaume, Ford, 191.

28. (27) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, Engine, 190.

29. (37) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 188.

30. (39) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 188.

31. (18) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 182.

32. (24) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 172.

33. (15) Darrell Wallace Jr., Ford, Accident, 165.

34. (17) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, Accident, 162.

35. (19) Cole Custer, Chevrolet, Accident, 162.

36. (32) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, Electrical, 142.

37. (35) Matt Waltz, Chevrolet, Engine, 126.

38. (36) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, Transmission, 91.

39. (40) Brandon Hightower, Dodge, Transmission, 62.

40. (28) Timmy Hill, Toyota, Electrical, 11.


Average Speed of Race Winner: 109.256 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 44 Mins, 45 Secs. Margin of Victory: 4.025 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 10 for 51 laps.

Lead Changes: 17 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Busch 1-10; E. Jones 11; K. Busch 12-51; D. Suarez 52-53; K. Busch 54-65; E. Jones 66-68; K. Busch 69-88; D. Wallace Jr. 89-91; K. Busch 92-114; J. Logano 115-116; K. Busch 117-147; R. Smith 148-158; T. Dillon 159; R. Smith 160-164; T. Dillon 165-175; E. Jones 176-182; D. Suarez 183-186; K. Busch 187-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Busch 7 times for 150 laps; R. Smith 2 times for 16 laps; T. Dillon 2 times for 12 laps; E. Jones 3 times for 11 laps; D. Suarez 2 times for 6 laps; D. Wallace Jr. 1 time for 3 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 2 laps.

Top 10 in Points: E. Sadler – 3,039; D. Suarez – 3,039; B. Koch – 3,032; J. Allgaier – 3,027; E. Jones – 3,027; R. Reed – 3,025; B. Gaughan – 3,010; D. Wallace Jr. – 3,009; T. Dillon – 2,114; B. Poole – 2,114.

NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson moves into 3rd round of NASCAR’s playoffs

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CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Stuck in the longest losing streak of his career, Jimmie Johnson had a chance for a critical win that could salvage this ho-hum season for Hendrick Motorsports.

Hardly a championship contender for most of this season, Johnson grabbed a victory at sun-soaked Charlotte Motor Speedway when nearly half the title contenders had horrible days.

The win Sunday was his third of the season, but snapped a 24-race losing streak dating to March. Johnson is the only Hendrick driver to visit victory lane this season, and this win earned him an automatic berth into the third round of the playoffs.

It’s the first time Johnson has made it out of the second round since the elimination format was introduced in 2014. He was knocked out at Talladega in the second round of the inaugural season, and was bounced in the first round last year.

Suddenly, the six-time NASCAR champion is a realistic contender for that elusive record-tying seventh title.

“We can’t sit back and celebrate too much on this,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to buckle down and get to work tomorrow and keep advancing our race cars. But this does buy us a couple weeks of freedom.”

The race was originally scheduled for Saturday night, but Hurricane Matthew washed out nearly the entire weekend and set up an 800-mile doubleheader of the Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series on Sunday. When the racing finally began on a beautiful North Carolina afternoon, it immediately shaped up as a Hendrick kind of day.

Johnson and Chase Elliott dominated the race, running 1-2 for a long stretch, and a Hendrick victory all but guaranteed based on the speed the Chevrolets showed. Elliott, though, was one of five Chase drivers to finish 30th or worse, and it was Johnson who had to carry the flag.

Fitting, though.

The win came on the 15th anniversary of Johnson’s debut in Cup for Hendrick, which was at Charlotte, and was his eighth career win at the track.

“Nobody ever gave up, and you know, we know what a champion Jimmie is,” team owner Rick Hendrick said.

Johnson has quietly turned up his performance in the Chase and became an official title contender as the first driver qualified for the next round. He led a race-high 155 laps Sunday, and in four Chase races this season, he’s led 363 laps and hasn’t finished lower than 12th.

“Be curious to look back, I guess, and see if these are all new cars that they’re bringing,” said reigning champion Kyle Busch. “Obviously, if it is, then they’ve found something that they’ve been waiting out and holding out on us. That’s to be expected, though, man. That’s what this sport is all about.”

Johnson certainly figured it out on a day when six Chase drivers had trouble.

Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick both had engine issues. Austin Dillon and Elliott were in accidents. Joey Logano had tire problems, and Martin Truex Jr. had an electrical issue as he left pit road after the final pit stop.

Five Chase drivers finished lower than 30th, and Harvick, the 2014 champion, is last in the standings.

Hamlin was running second when his engine blew with 25 laps remaining. As the cars left pit road, Truex seemed poised to restart in second, but he appeared to stall and instead restarted 16th.

Although Truex salvaged his day and finished 13th — lowest of the Chase drivers still running at the end of the race — Hamlin wound up 30th.

Dillon was 32nd, Elliott 33rd, Logano 36th and Harvick 38th.

The hectic day left only Johnson breathing easy at the end. Not even Matt Kenseth, who finished second to Johnson, is relaxed heading into races at Kansas and Talladega.

“Would love to have the win, would make you feel a lot better about the next two weeks,” Kenseth said.

HENDRICK RETURNS : This had been a miserable season for Hendrick Motorsports, by its own standards. Only two of its four drivers made the Chase this year and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is sidelined with a concussion.

Johnson has the only wins for the organization, but Elliott had been sniffing victory lane all season.

On Sunday, the two combined to lead 258 of the 334 laps, and Johnson and Elliott ran 1-2 for a huge chunk of the race.

Elliott was involved in an accident with 75 laps remaining and could not hide his disappointment.

“We had such a good car,” he said. “I’m devastated that we didn’t get the result that my guys deserve.”

Despite Elliott’s finish, it was a good organizational day for Hendrick: Kasey Kahne finished third and Alex Bowman showed early speed before a tire issue caused him to wreck.

HAMLIN WOES: During a lengthy red-flag, NBC Sports interviewed Hamlin while he idled in his car and said he was just cruising along for a strong finish.

Then his engine blew up and a strong points day was ruined.

It was Hamlin’s first engine failure since Talladega in 2013, and he noted afterward that he’s always hit with bad luck during NASCAR’s postseason.

“It’s just my time and it’s usually Chase time when I have these things happen,” he said. “I’ve been doing this 11 years and I can’t name anyone else who has had as bad of luck as I have in the Chase.”

DILLON GAMBLES: As the long shot in the field, Dillon likely needed tremendous luck or a stroke of strategic planning to advance out of the second round. His team gambled on a late pit stop in taking only two tires, a move that earned him nine spots and into second for a restart.

He seemed to get off cleanly at the drop of the flag, but as he shifted, he was hit from behind by Truex and spent spinning into an interior wall.

Truex accepted blame for hitting Elliott in a frustrated communication over his team radio.

“I tried to give him a shot and just turned him around like a damn idiot,” Truex radioed.

Dillon, a rookie in the Chase who is winless so far at the Cup level, figured he needs to get a victory in one of the next two races.

“We will have to work hard the next two weeks to get the points back,” he said. “We just have to do a lot, we have to win one of the next two races.”





Sunday’s results from the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway (starting position in parentheses):

1. (11) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 334 laps, 133.6 rating, 45 points.

2. (17) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 334, 91.3, 40.

3. (12) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 334, 93.4, 38.

4. (21) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 334, 99.9, 38.

5. (25) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 334, 106.1, 36.

6. (4) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 334, 108.7, 36.

7. (20) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 334, 89.7, 34.

8. (23) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 334, 78.3, 33.

9. (5) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 334, 79.2, 32.

10. (16) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 334, 90.3, 31.

11. (13) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 334, 72.0, 30.

12. (8) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 334, 101.4, 29.

13. (7) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 334, 92.1, 28.

14. (22) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 334, 64.8, 27.

15. (33) Aric Almirola, Ford, 334, 59.7, 26.

16. (26) Chris Buescher, Ford, 334, 60.8, 25.

17. (31) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 334, 61.5, 25.

18. (27) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 334, 61.8, 23.

19. (32) Landon Cassill, Ford, 334, 50.7, 22.

20. (15) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 333, 61.5, 21.

21. (35) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 333, 46.8, 20.

22. (30) Brian Scott, Ford, 333, 52.0, 19.

23. (34) David Ragan, Toyota, 331, 42.9, 18.

24. (37) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 330, 42.0, 17.

25. (24) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 329, 40.8, 16.

26. (38) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ford, 328, 33.7, 15.

27. (36) Cole Whitt, Ford, 327, 35.6, 14.

28. (39) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 321, 32.9, 13.

29. (40) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 320, 32.7, 12.

30. (9) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, engine, 308, 95.8, 12.

31. (18) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 307, 63.6, 10.

32. (19) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, accident, 258, 68.7, 9.

33. (3) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, accident, 258, 116.4, 9.

34. (28) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, accident, 258, 52.2, 7.

35. (14) Greg Biffle, Ford, accident, 257, 56.8, 6.

36. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 254, 70.2, 6.

37. (6) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, accident, 252, 77.0, 4.

38. (1) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, engine, 155, 77.1, 4.

39. (2) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, accident, 61, 51.9, 0.

40. (29) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, accident, 61, 31.2, 1.


Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 134.929 mph.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 42 minutes, 47 seconds

Margin of Victory: 1.474 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 51 laps.

Lead Changes: 17 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Harvick 1-12; C. Elliott 13-113; J. Logano 114-116; J. Johnson 117-118; D. Hamlin 119; J. Johnson 120-124; D. Hamlin 125-175; J. Johnson 176-213; R. Newman 214; Kyle Busch 215; C. Bowyer 216-217; J. Johnson 218-229; C. Elliott 230; J. Johnson 231-253; C. Elliott 254; J. Johnson 255-311; M. Kenseth 312-316; J. Johnson 317-334.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Johnson 7 times for 155 laps; C. Elliott 3 times for 103 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 52 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 12 laps; M. Kenseth 1 time for 5 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 3 laps; C. Bowyer 1 time for 2 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 1 lap; R. Newman 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: J. Johnson, 3,045; M. Kenseth, 3,040; Kyle Busch, 3,036; B. Keselowski, 3,034; Kurt Busch, 3,033; C. Edwards, 3,029; M. Truex Jr, 3,028; D. Hamlin, 3,012; A. Dillon, 3,009; C. Elliott, 3,009; J. Logano, 3,006; K. Harvick, 3,004; K. Larson, 2,109; T. Stewart, 2,106; J. McMurray, 2,084; C. Buescher, 2,070.

NASCAR: Harvick wins pole for opening race of 2nd round of Chase

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CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Harvick has already proven he’s a factor at Charlotte Motor Speedway, especially during night races. With the top starting spot Saturday night, he’ll be tough to beat in the opening race of the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs.

Harvick turned a lap at 196.029 mph in a Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet to earn the top starting spot in Thursday night qualifying. He edged Alex Bowman, the replacement driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is not racing for the championship.

It is Harvick’s first pole of the season.

“I think any time you can eliminate track position, that’s definitely a bonus for us,” he said. “This hasn’t really been our strongest day all year, qualifying day, in general has not been very good for us. So, to see the speed that the car immediately had … I’m just really proud of the guys who will hopefully catapult us in the right direction to get the night started right.”

Chase Elliott qualified third and was followed by Kyle Busch, the highest qualifying Toyota driver, Tony Stewart and AJ Allmendinger.

Martin Truex Jr., winner of two of the first three Chase races, qualified seventh.

He was followed by Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, the top qualifying Ford driver, and Jimmie Johnson as Chase drivers took eight of the top 11 spots in Thursday night qualifying.

Kasey Kahne qualified 12th as all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers made the final round of qualifying.

But it was Harvick, with his fast lap, who stole the spotlight.

Harvick, the 2014 champion, has been looking forward to racing at Charlotte and a potential automatic berth into the third round of the Chase. Harvick has three career points victories at Charlotte, including the October race during his championship season. That victory pushed Harvick into the round of eight of the Chase.

He’s also has had success racing at night, and Charlotte Motor Speedway President Marcus Smith dubbed Harvick “Nighthawk” because Harvick has not finished outside the top 10 at night in the last seven races. He’s only been outside the top-five twice in that span.

Harvick has also won six times in night races on the NASCAR schedule since 2012, and he really wants win No. 7 to take the focus off upcoming races at Kansas and then the Chase eliminator at Talladega.

“It would be a lot easier on my blood pressure,” he said. “Any of these races can jump up and bite you at really any particular time just because of the fact that you just never know. Obviously Talladega has the most things out of your control. So if you can get to victory lane, it’s a huge benefit in this first round in the next two weeks.”

DIDN’T MOVE ON: Starting position isn’t all that critical in a 500-mile race, but the drivers competing for the championship don’t want the competition to get too big of a jump on them.

But four of the drivers in the field failed to make it out of the second round of qualifying. Matt Kenseth will start 17th, Austin Dillon will start 19th, Brad Keselowski 20th and Kurt Busch 23rd.

“We just lacked a little bit of speed in qualifying trim,” Keselowski said. “You want to qualify and race good, and I think we’ve got a great Ford Fusion to do that.”

Dillon was similarly optimistic.

“We had a good car in practice, we’re going to be fine,” he said.

BOWMAN COMES CLOSE: Bowman set the standard for qualifying and appeared to have the car to win the pole for Saturday night’s race.

The replacement driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fast in practice and topped the speed chart in the second round of qualifying. Then he went out first to set the tone for the final round, only to be knocked off the pole by Harvick.

Harvick bumped Bowman by .029 seconds.

“We didn’t put the greatest lap together in the last round,” Bowman said.

It’s the best starting spot of Bowman’s career, and comes in his fifth race as Earnhardt’s replacement. He’s hopeful it leads to more work, either with Hendrick Motorsports or elsewhere.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” Bowman said. “There aren’t very many rides open for next year, so these rides might be the last of my Cup career.”

LARSON MISCUE: Kyle Larson thought he’d posted a fast enough lap to advance into the second round of qualifying.

Then Matt DiBenedetto posted a late fast lap that knocked Larson out of the top 24.

He scrambled to get back on track and run another qualifying lap, but Larson didn’t beat the clock. He’ll start 25th in Saturday night’s race.

“We were just kind of waiting and we ended up waiting too long,” said Larson. “It’s a bummer we didn’t get to go out there and make another lap.”

Larson was eliminated from the Chase last week at Dover.

FULL LINEUP: Bank of America 500 (Car number in parentheses)

1. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 196.029 mph
2. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 196.000
3. (24) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 195.759
4. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 195.228
5. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 195.228
6. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 195.087
7. (78) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 194.826
8. (19) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 194.553
9. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 194.168
10. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 194.049
11. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 192.630
12. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 188.547
13. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 194.161
14. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 194.007
15. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 193.966
16. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 193.868
17. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 193.791
18. (21) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 193.736
19. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 193.722
20. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 193.625
21. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 193.209
22. (95) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 193.009
23. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 192.205
24. (83) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 191.489
25. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 191.980
26. (34) Chris Buescher, Ford, 191.829
27. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 191.544
28. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 191.530
29. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 191.469
30. (44) Brian Scott, Ford, 191.381
31. (15) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 190.954
32. (38) Landon Cassill, Ford, 190.617
33. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 190.564
34. (23) David Ragan, Toyota, 190.054
35. (7) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 188.864
36. (98) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 186.002
37. (46) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 185.976
38. (32) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ford, 185.039
39. (55) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 183.673
40. (30) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 183.343

NASCAR: Truex dominates at Dover for 2nd Chase victory of season

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DOVER, Del. (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. watched season after empty season as other drivers hoisted trophies and celebrated championships and wondered if he was running out of time to become a winner.

Bad cars, bad teams, bad luck.

Whatever the cause, Truex was a journeyman driver seemingly doomed to a mediocre career. Now, what quantifies as a downer in Truex’s career rebirth is that he failed to actually sweep the first round of the Chase — but two of three is pretty dominant.

“We’re not messing around, I guess,” Truex said. “We are here to get it done.”

Truex’s late-season surge extended Sunday at Dover International Speedway for his second victory in the first three Chase races. Truex won for the fourth time this season in the No. 78 Toyota and paired this Chase win with his opening victory at Chicagoland.

“Kind of a bonus win,” crew chief Cole Pearn said. “We didn’t need it all.”

Well, plenty of other Chase drivers did.

Tony Stewart finished 13th and the three-time NASCAR champion was knocked out of contention in the first elimination race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Chris Buescher and Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray also dropped out of the Chase. The field was sliced from 16 drivers to 12.

Austin Dillon finished eighth and moved from outside the points cutoff of the Chase to a transfer spot and advanced to the next round.

Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch joined Truex and Dillon in the next round that opens at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch was second, followed by Chase Elliott, Keselowski, Kenseth and Logano — the only five other cars that finished on the lead lap.

Truex won his first career Cup race at Dover in 2007 and didn’t win again until 2013. But his career took off in his second year at Furniture Row Racing and he used a win at Pocono last year to make the Chase and become one of four drivers racing for the championship in the finale.

His career absolutely exploded with FRR and Toyota this season. Truex led a stunning 392 laps in a Coca-Cola 600 victory and then won at Darlington just two races before the Chase opened. He has led at least 140 laps in three of the last four races.

“The last month has just been ridiculous,” he said.

Harvick won last week at New Hampshire and was the only other driver to earn an automatic berth in the second round.

Here are other items of note from Dover:


Stewart, the 2002, 2005 and 2011 Cup champion, will retire at the end of the season without a fourth championship.

“I’ll tell you one thing, this one race, whatever happens, is not going to define the season this team has,” Stewart told his team over the radio.

He fell just short of keeping a drive for four alive.

“We kept making it better all day. That is as good as we had,” he said.


Ganassi went from two Chase drivers to none.

Larson’s race turned into a disaster early when the No. 42 Chevrolet lost power. His Chevy was pushed to pit road and a battery was changed. He then had to serve a pass-through penalty for having too many crew members over the wall during the pit stop.

Larson, one of the top, young drivers in the sport, had held the final transfer spot entering the race.

Jamie McMurray saw his Chase end at Dover for the second straight season. He battled problems in the No. 1 Chevy for most of the race before he engine blew near the halfway point. McMurray was 13th and hoped to race his way into the next round. He held the final transfer spot heading into last year’s race and lost his spot to Dale Earnhardt Jr.


Harvick had to take a deep breath in thanks that he won last week at New Hampshire or he would have faced sure elimination. Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet had a broken track bar early in the race that sent the car to the garage. Harvick returned more than 40 laps off the pace and finished 37th. Harvick, the 2014 Sprint Cup champion, had never finished last in a race in his career.


Earnhardt watched the race from atop the pit box for the first time since his season ended in July because of a concussion. Jeff Gordon finished 10th in Junior’s regular 88 Chevrolet ride. Gordon, who had retired at the end of last season, has one more race left subbing for Earnhardt later this month at Martinsville.


Daniel Suarez won the Xfinity Series delayed a day by rain to kick off 600 miles of racing. NASCAR ran its first Xfinity-Cup doubleheader since April 25, 2010, at Talladega Superspeedway.


The second round of the Chase opens at Charlotte and Logano is the defending race winner.

Citizen Soldier 400

Sunday’s results from the 1-mile Dover International Speedway (starting position in parentheses):

1. (2) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 400 laps, 0 rating, 45 points.

2. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 400, 0, 40.

3. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 400, 0, 38.

4. (1) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 400, 0, 38.

5. (4) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 400, 0, 36.

6. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 400, 0, 35.

7. (8) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 399, 0, 35.

8. (14) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 399, 0, 33.

9. (7) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 399, 0, 32.

10. (18) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 399, 0, 32.

11. (22) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 399, 0, 30.

12. (17) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 399, 0, 29.

13. (15) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 399, 0, 28.

14. (10) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 399, 0, 27.

15. (11) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 398, 0, 26.

16. (27) Aric Almirola, Ford, 398, 0, 25.

17. (19) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 397, 0, 24.

18. (25) Greg Biffle, Ford, 396, 0, 24.

19. (21) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 396, 0, 22.

20. (23) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 395, 0, 21.

21. (34) Brian Scott, Ford, 395, 0, 20.

22. (26) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 395, 0, 19.

23. (16) Chris Buescher, Ford, 394, 0, 18.

24. (28) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 394, 0, 17.

25. (12) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 394, 0, 16.

26. (29) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 394, 0, 15.

27. (35) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 393, 0, 14.

28. (24) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 393, 0, 13.

29. (31) Landon Cassill, Ford, 392, 0, 12.

30. (32) David Ragan, Toyota, 392, 0, 11.

31. (33) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 391, 0, 10.

32. (30) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 390, 0, 0.

33. (37) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 387, 0, 8.

34. (36) Timmy Hill, Ford, 386, 0, 0.

35. (39) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 385, 0, 6.

36. (38) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ford, 384, 0, 5.

37. (6) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 354, 0, 4.

38. (20) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 281, 0, 3.

39. (40) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, engine, 196, 0, 2.

40. (13) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, engine, 192, 0, 1.


Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 130.967 mph.

Caution Flags: 4 for 22 laps.

Lead Changes: 14 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: B.Keselowski 1-5; M.Truex 6-20; Ky.Busch 21-35; M.Truex 36; Ky.Busch 37-105; M.Truex 106; Ky.Busch 107-124; M.Truex 125-188; J.Johnson 189-277; B.Keselowski 278-279; G.Biffle 280-286; M.Truex 287-365; J.Johnson 366; J.Gordon 367-373; M.Truex 374-400

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): M.Truex, 6 times for 181 laps; Ky.Busch, 3 times for 99 laps; J.Johnson, 2 times for 88 laps; G.Biffle, 1 time for 6 laps; J.Gordon, 1 time for 6 laps; B.Keselowski, 2 times for 5 laps.

Wins: Ky.Busch, 4; B.Keselowski, 4; D.Hamlin, 3; K.Harvick, 3; M.Truex, 3; C.Edwards, 2; J.Johnson, 2; M.Kenseth, 2; C.Buescher, 1; Ku.Busch, 1; K.Larson, 1; J.Logano, 1; T.Stewart, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. M.Truex, 3000; 2. K.Harvick, 3000; 3. Ky.Busch, 3000; 4. M.Kenseth, 3000; 5. J.Logano, 3000; 6. C.Elliott, 3000; 7. B.Keselowski, 3000. 8. Ku.Busch, 3000; 9. D.Hamlin, 3000; 10. C.Edwards, 3000; 11. J.Johnson, 3000; 12. A.Dillon, 3000; 13. T.Stewart, 2074; 14. K.Larson, 2073; 15. J.McMurray, 2053; 16. C.Buescher, 2045.

NASCAR: Daniel Suarez wins Xfinity race at Dover

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DOVER, Del. (AP) — Daniel Suarez jumped out of his car and sprinted down the front stretch to grab the checkered flag and take an untraditional victory lap on the track.

“I had to run a little bit. That’s fine,” he said, laughing. “When you win, you can run a little bit.”

Suarez cruised into the second round of the Chase in the Xfinity Series with a win Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

He won his second career Xfinity race a day after rain washed out the race and forced a rare NASCAR doubleheader. NASCAR ran its first Xfinity-Cup doubleheader since April 25, 2010, at Talladega Superspeedway.

Suarez became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national race in June at Michigan. He became a part of NASCAR in 2011 and was involved in its Drive for Diversity and Next programs.

Team owner Joe Gibbs has been a stout supporter of NASCAR’s diversity programs.

“From a diversity standpoint and all he represents there from a Hispanic standpoint too, I think it’s huge for our sport,” he said. “He’s the perfect representative. He’s funny, he’s got a good sense of humor and I think he really, really appreciates where he is.”

Suarez said he was proud to learn in victory lane that he won during National Hispanic Heritage Month. He said he won for all of his fans across North America.

“Having all of the support that I have had from Mexico and from here in the U.S. and all of Latin America has been super special,” he said. “I really feel lucky to be in this position and to be able to represent all of them.”

Suarez led 123 of 200 laps in the No. 19 Toyota and joined Elliott Sadler in the second round of the Chase.

Ty Dillon was second, followed by Justin Allgaier, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman.

With three top NASCAR Cup stars sitting out, the top five was filled with Xfinity regulars. Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano all had replacement drivers in the Xfinity race to focus on the Cup race scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Regan Smith finished 13th driving for Dillon; Drew Herring was 21st subbing for Busch; and Blaney filled in for Logano.

Busch has eight Xfinity wins, Dillon has two and Logano has one this season.

Allgaier said that even if the three stars raced, Suarez was still the driver to beat.

“I don’t know that anybody was going to beat him today,” Allgaier said. “I think it was smart for the Cup guys to sit out. I think two races in one day would have been a strain, mentally.”

Ty Dillon, Ryan Sieg and Brandon Jones are in danger of being eliminated from the Chase next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. So is Erik Jones, one of the top rising stars in the sport who entered the Chase as the top speed. Jones finished 16th and was 28th last week.

“It’s pretty embarrassing not to even be in the Chase right now for the next round,” Jones said. “It’s just unfortunate; it’s just something that I never would have seen it coming.”


Drive Sober 200 

Sunday’s results from the 1-mile Dover International Speedway (starting position in parentheses):

1. (5) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 200.

2. (7) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 200.

3. (6) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200.

4. (3) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 200.

5. (4) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 200.

6. (19) Corey LaJoie, Toyota, 200.

7. (8) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 200.

8. (25) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 200.

9. (13) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 200.

10. (22) Ryan Reed, Ford, 200.

11. (9) Darrell Wallace Jr., Ford, 200.

12. (11) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 199.

13. (10) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 199.

14. (20) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 199.

15. (12) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 199.

16. (1) Erik Jones, Toyota, 198.

17. (16) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 198.

18. (18) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 198.

19. (14) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 198.

20. (21) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 197.

21. (2) Drew Herring, Toyota, 196.

22. (17) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 196.

23. (29) Mario Gosselin, Chevrolet, 196.

24. (23) Ray Black Jr., Chevrolet, 195.

25. (28) Brandon Hightower, Dodge, 194.

26. (33) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 191.

27. (35) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 191.

28. (31) David Starr, Chevrolet, 190.

29. (38) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 184.

30. (40) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 160.

31. (15) Justin Marks, Chevrolet, Accident, 137.

32. (26) Jeff Green, Toyota, Ignition, 103.

33. (24) BJ McLeod, Ford, Electrical, 75.

34. (34) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 65.

35. (39) Matt Waltz, Chevrolet, Engine, 64.

36. (32) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, Accident, 58.

37. (37) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 57.

38. (36) Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, Transmission, 44.

39. (30) Josh Wise, Ford, Engine, 1.

40. (27) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, Accident, 1.



Average Speed of Race Winner: 104.076 mph.

Time of Race: 1 hour, 55 minutes, 18 seconds

Margin of Victory: 5.625 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 4 for 35 laps.

Lead Changes: 11 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: E. Jones 1-9; D. Suarez 10; E. Jones 11-36; R. Black Jr. 37; E. Jones 38-56; D. Suarez 57-123; E. Sadler 124-126; B. Koch 127-141; C. LaJoie 142; D. Suarez 143-151; J. Allgaier 152-154; D. Suarez 155-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): D. Suarez 4 times for 123 laps; E. Jones 3 times for 54 laps; B. Koch 1 time for 15 laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 3 laps; E. Sadler 1 time for 3 laps; R. Black Jr. 1 time for 1 lap; C. LaJoie 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 10 in Points: D. Suarez, 2,087; E. Sadler, 2,085; J. Allgaier, 2,071; B. Gaughan, 2,068; R. Reed, 2,065; D. Wallace Jr., 2,064; B. Koch, 2,058; B. Poole, 2,057; T. Dillon, 2,054; E. Jones, 2,053.

Dover Doubleheader: Rain pushes Xfinity race to Sunday

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DOVER, Del. (AP) — Rain washed out the NASCAR Xfinity Series race and there will be a Dover doubleheader Sunday.

The second-tier series race will start at 10 a.m. at Dover International Speedway. The NASCAR Sprint Cup race is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.

Chase for the Sprint Cup championship drivers Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon are scheduled to pull double duty.

Erik Jones is on the Xfinity pole in the series’ Chase race. Elliott Sadler advanced to the second round with a win last week at Kentucky Speedway.


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tyler Reddick crashed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff party.

Reddick held off Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Daniel Hemric at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night, leading 70 of 146 laps in the second Chase race.

“Unfortunately I was a spoiler for our teammate, he was right behind us and could have got into the chase himself, locked into the next round,” Reddick said. “We were spot on really, from the drop of the green to the end of the race. Everyone did a heck of a job all weekend long. This was not an easy weekend.”

Reddick and Hemric combined to lead 63 of the first 100 laps, and Reddick took the lead for good following a restart on Lap 98.

Reddick joked he knew Hemric might be a bit mad at him. However, Hemric said he was happy his team was able to pull off the exacta.

“It’s easy to be very frustrated but overall in the big picture it’s a huge night for Brad Keselowski Racing,” Hemric said. “He knows my situation, and I know his situation and we’re both doing all we can to win these races. He did everything he was supposed to do.”

Cole Custer was thord, followed by Ben Kennedy and William Byron, the winner of the Chase opener last week at New Hampshire.

The series will be at Talladega next week, with the eight drivers in the Chase looking to fill six spots available in the next round.

Notably finishing 15th was Matt Tifft, who made his second start since undergoing brain surgery in June, when he had a low-grade glioma removed. Tifft made his return at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 16. The 20-year-old rookie has four starts this year, with his best finish of fifth coming at Charlotte in May.


DOVER, Del. — It’s NASCAR race day at Dover International Speedway, and we’ve got all the information you need to get ready for today’s Sprint Cup Series race.

START TIME: Joe Walsh, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer from his days with The Eagles, will instruct drivers to start their engines at 2:07 p.m. ET today, followed by the green flag at 2:15 p.m.

RACE DISTANCE: The Citizen Soldier 400 is 400 laps around the 1-mile Dover International Speedway for a total of 400 miles.

NATIONAL ANTHEM/FLYOVER: Country artist Easton Corbin will sing the national anthem today, followed by a flyover from two F-16s out of the Texas Air National Guard.

TV/RADIO SCHEDULE: NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will broadcast the race on TV and has a pre-race show beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius/XM Radio will call the race on the radio.

LIVE STREAMING: NBCSN is offering a live stream through its NBC Sports app.

WEATHER: The National Weather Service is calling for drizzle, fog and showers in the morning but mostly sunny skies and a high near 79 in the afternoon.

LAST TIME: In one of the best races of the season, Matt Kenseth held off Kyle Larson in a thrilling battle during the Dover race in May. And one year ago, Kevin Harvick staved off elimination with a victory in the Chase race.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying was rained out, meaning the starting lineup was determined by owner points. That put Brad Keselowski on the pole (he is the current points leader), followed by Martin Truex Jr.

Here’s the starting lineup for today’s race at Dover:

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Matt Kenseth
  5. Joey Logano
  6. Kevin Harvick
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Jimmie Johnson
  9. Chase Elliott
  10. Carl Edwards
  11. Kurt Busch
  12. Kyle Larson
  13. Jamie McMurray
  14. Austin Dillon
  15. Tony Stewart
  16. Chris Buescher
  17. Kasey Kahne
  18. Jeff Gordon
  19. Ryan Newman
  20. Ryan Blaney
  21. AJ Allmendinger
  22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  23. Trevor Bayne
  24. Danica Patrick
  25. Greg Biffle
  26. Paul Menard
  27. Aric Almirola
  28. Clint Bowyer
  29. Casey Mears
  30. Ty Dillon
  31. Landon Cassill
  32. David Ragan
  33. Regan Smith
  34. Brian Scott
  35. Matt DiBenedetto
  36. Timmy Hill
  37. Michael Annett
  38. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  39. Reed Sorenson
  40. Josh Wise

NASCAR: Keselowski sits on 3rd Chase race pole after rain at Dover

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DOVER, Del. (AP) — Brad Keselowski says having all 16 Chase drivers start in the front of the field will be “fun to watch.”

He just won’t catch much of the action.

Keselowski has the pole after rain wiped out qualifying Friday at Dover International Speedway. It was the third straight Dover race where qualifying was canceled because of rain.

Keselowski benefited this time because Sunday’s Sprint Cup race was set on owner points. The 16 Chase drivers make up the first eight rows in the field, and it should be a battle from the start — the playoff field is cut from 16 to 12 drivers following Dover.

“I won’t get to see it, but you will,” Keselowski said. “That will be fun to watch.”

Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick have already advanced to the next round with Chase victories. Truex joins Keselowski on the front row. Kyle Busch starts third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.

Other Chase qualifiers, from sixth to 16th are: Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, and Chris Buescher.

Buescher made the Chase on the back of a rain-shortened victory at Pocono and made the rookie driver perhaps the most surprising playoff entrant in NASCAR history.

He pretty much has to win to advance to the second round, akin to a No. 16 seed beating a 1 in the NCAA tournament.

“It’s kind of nice to be able to go into a race and just worry about doing the best you can,” he said. “It’s going to make it where we’re able to go out here and not worry about it, take some chances, try and utilize some risk, and see if we can pull something off.”

Here are some other items of note from a short day at Dover:

PRACTCE: Larson turned the fastest practice lap of the day with a speed of 165.578 mph. Kyle Busch had the best 10-consecutive lap average at 159.336.

Larson holds the final transfer spot by five points over Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon.

Larson finished second in the spring at Dover.

OVER AT DOVER: McMurray was eliminated from the Chase at Dover last season after finishing fourth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed McMurray late in the race to tie him in points for the final transfer spot. Earnhardt advanced because his best finish of third in the opening round was better than McMurray’s top finish of fourth.

“Last year was a lot of fun, getting to race with the No. 88 and knowing that I had to finish ahead of him in order to advance to the next round,” McMurray said. “He was ahead on one restart and I’d be ahead on the next, so that was a fun battle.”

WIN AND IN: McMurray, Dillon, Stewart and Buescher can only guarantee a clinch with a win. Each could clinch without a win, but would need varying levels of help.

FIRST IS TOPS: Keselowski took pride in starting first on points because it mean his Team Penske has the been the best this late into the season.

“It’s certainly still something to be very proud of, this far into the season and being the points leader,” he said. “There are the perks you get when you’re in that position.”

Keselowski has four wins in the No. 2 Ford and is going for his first championship since 2012.

NASCAR: Harvick wins at New Hampshire to advance to 2nd round

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LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Kevin Harvick has thrived as NASCAR’s version of a Game 7 master, steeling his nerves and flourishing in those win-or-else races that kept a championship push alive.

His Chase off to a rocky start, Harvick injected the Chase again with a rousing finish that eliminated a must-win race for him and parked him in the next playoff round.

Harvick won Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to earn a spot in the second round of the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, pulling away off a restart a year after a late loss at the track.

“It’s kind of like an addiction,” Harvick said. “You just love the rush of being able to be behind and be able to perform and make that happen.”

Harvick finished 20th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship opener which stuck him 15th in the standings. With another weak finish at New Hampshire, Harvick would have faced yet another race at Dover he may have had to win to advance.

His lap times in the No. 4 Chevrolet only got faster deeper into the race and he was soon nipping at Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth at the front of the field. Kenseth dominated the second half of the race and seemed poised to win the New Hampshire race for the third straight time.

Harvick, the 2014 Sprint Cup champion, had enough juice in the Chevy to zip past Kenseth with five laps left and join Truex as the drivers locked in the next round. Truex won the Chase opener at Chicagoland and he led a race-high 141 laps at New Hampshire.

Harvick ran out of fuel late last year at New Hampshire to lose and faced a win-or-elimination race the next week at Dover. Harvick, who won for the third time this season, rallied for one of the biggest wins of his career to survive another round.

He won in a similar situation in 2014 at Phoenix when he needed a victory to advance to the championship race. Harvick won the finale and the championship at Homestead.

“The last two years we’ve kind of just worn ourselves out and really stressed out over trying to perform at this level,” he said.

At Dover, it’s up to 14 other drivers to worry about a win.

Chase drivers took the top eight spots. The 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field will be cut to 12 after Dover.

Kenseth led 105 of 300 laps and would have clinched with the win, just as he did last season at New Hampshire when he was in perfect position to take advantage of Harvick’s fuel foul up. Kenseth appeared to slow down just a bit off the last restart with five laps left, allowing Harvick to race side-by-side before he took off for his 11th win in 100 career starts at Stewart-Haas Racing.

“It was just a smooth restart. I just didn’t want to spin the tires,” Harvick said. “I don’t know what happened to him, or if I just timed it right.”

Kenseth won the May race at Dover and appears in solid shape to reach the second round.

“I let Kevin lay back on me, which we’re supposed to be side-by-side. I should have known better,” Kenseth said. “I should have just went really late in the zone and wait until he had to get up to my nose because he anticipated it just right and laid back. Plus, I spun the tires and I got beat through one and two and then it was over.”

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kenseth and Kyle Busch were second and third. They were followed by Chase drivers Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Truex and Jimmie Johnson.

Other Chase results: Kyle Larson was 10th, Joey Logano 11th, Chase Elliott 13th, Denny Hamlin 15th, Austin Dillon 16th, Jamie McMurray 19th, Tony Stewart 23rd, and Chris Buescher 30th.

McMurray, Dillon, Stewart and Buescher are the bottom four drivers in the standings.

WARNING: Good news for the NASCAR PR machine — no Chase driver failed post-race inspection.

NASCAR issued a stern warning to the Sprint Cup garage before the race not to “circumvent what happens with postrace inspection.”

The sanctioning body decided not to penalize race winner Truex Jr. and Johnson for failing inspection after the opening Chase for the Sprint Cup championship race at Chicagoland Speedway. Both cars failed the laser inspection with infractions that should have drawn 10-point penalties.

NASCAR spent the week talking lasers — after spending a chunk of the season on lug nuts — instead of celebrating the playoffs.

“We ask all of you not to put it in our hands because we will react if we have to,” NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said. “I think everybody knows what that means. We want to concentrate on the race.”

All remaining Chase cars will go through laser inspection after only nine were picked after the Chase opener.

BELIEVE IT: Danica Patrick finished 18th and actually led nine laps. Her 30 laps led this season are three more than her combined total the last three seasons.


The first Chase elimination race takes place at Dover International Speedway. Harvick is the defending race winner.




Lap length: 1.058 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (19) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 300 laps, 115.6 rating, 44 points.

2. (8) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 300, 130.4, 40.

3. (12) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 300, 118.7, 39.

4. (11) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 300, 91.7, 38.

5. (13) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 300, 91.7, 36.

6. (1) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 300, 107.7, 36.

7. (2) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 300, 132.7, 36.

8. (4) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 300, 106.2, 33.

9. (9) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 300, 89.4, 32.

10. (6) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 300, 95.7, 31.

11. (15) Joey Logano, Ford, 300, 77.8, 30.

12. (16) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 300, 76.0, 29.

13. (10) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 300, 106.5, 29.

14. (18) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 300, 82.3, 0.

15. (5) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 300, 90.7, 26.

16. (29) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 300, 62.0, 25.

17. (26) Aric Almirola, Ford, 300, 67.9, 24.

18. (24) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 300, 67.5, 24.

19. (7) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 300, 86.7, 22.

20. (3) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 300, 79.7, 21.

21. (17) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 300, 70.2, 20.

22. (37) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 300, 47.5, 19.

23. (22) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 299, 71.8, 18.

24. (21) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 299, 57.6, 17.

25. (14) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 299, 62.5, 16.

26. (20) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 298, 56.5, 15.

27. (31) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 298, 50.0, 14.

28. (33) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 298, 39.5, 13.

29. (34) Landon Cassill, Ford, 298, 40.9, 12.

30. (28) Chris Buescher, Ford, 298, 48.8, 11.

31. (25) Brian Scott, Ford, 298, 46.0, 10.

32. (23) David Ragan, Toyota, 297, 39.5, 9.

33. (32) Greg Biffle, Ford, 297, 41.9, 8.

34. (30) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 297, 37.5, 7.

35. (36) Cole Whitt, Ford, 294, 30.8, 6.

36. (38) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 293, 28.3, 5.

37. (40) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ford, 290, 24.8, 4.

38. (27) Trevor Bayne, Ford, accident, 282, 49.5, 3.

39. (39) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 268, 25.2, 2.

40. (35) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, garage, 236, 29.0, 1.


Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 109.292 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 54 minutes, 15 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.442 seconds.

Caution Flags: 6 for 31 laps.

Lead Changes: 14 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: C.Edwards 1-30; M.Truex 31-75; C.Edwards 76; Ky.Busch 77-78; B.Keselowski 79-80; M.Truex 81-124; Ky.Busch 125; M.Truex 126-166; C.Elliott 167; M.Truex 168-178; M.Kenseth 179-231; K.Harvick 232-233; D.Patrick 234-242; M.Kenseth 243-294; K.Harvick 295-300

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): M.Truex, 4 times for 137 laps; M.Kenseth, 2 times for 103 laps; C.Edwards, 2 times for 29 laps; D.Patrick, 1 time for 8 laps; K.Harvick, 2 times for 6 laps; Ky.Busch, 2 times for 1 lap; B.Keselowski, 1 time for 1 lap; C.Elliott, 1 time for 0 laps.

Wins: Ky.Busch, 4; B.Keselowski, 4; D.Hamlin, 3; M.Truex, 3; C.Edwards, 2; K.Harvick, 2; J.Johnson, 2; M.Kenseth, 2; C.Buescher, 1; Ku.Busch, 1; K.Larson, 1; J.Logano, 1; T.Stewart, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. M.Truex, 2050; 2. B.Keselowski, 2049; 3. Ky.Busch, 2046; 4. D.Hamlin, 2045; 5. J.Logano, 2043; 6. C.Elliott, 2039; 7. M.Kenseth, 2038; 8. J.Johnson, 2037; 9. C.Edwards, 2032; 10. Ku.Busch, 2031; 11. J.McMurray, 2030; 12. T.Stewart, 2028; 13. A.Dillon, 2027; 14. K.Harvick, 2027; 15. K.Larson, 2026; 16. C.Buescher, 2016.

NASCAR: Carl Edwards wins pole at New Hampshire

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LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Carl Edwards has mastered the art of starting first at New Hampshire.

It’s winning the race that has caused him fits.

Edwards turned a lap of 135.453 mph to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He took the top spot Friday for the third time in the last four New Hampshire races and he won his sixth pole of the season.

“We need to turn that into a race win,” Edwards said.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has failed to win in 24 career starts at New Hampshire. Edwards finished seventh and fifth off his two poles last season. Edwards would advance to the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with a win on Sunday.

He’d rather take the checkered flag in the No. 19 Toyota and not have to worry about taking care of business next week at Dover.

“If we have a bad day here, I’m going to be real upset about it for about three or four days and then if you have a bad day at Dover, you’re going to be upset for the rest of the year,” he said.

Edwards led the way for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship drivers. Martin Truex Jr. followed his Chase win at Chicagoland Speedway with a solid qualifying run to join Edwards on the front row.

Ryan Newman will start third, followed by Chase drivers Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, and Matt Kenseth.

Chase drivers Chris Buescher and Austin Dillon failed to advance out of the first round of qualifying. Fellow Chase drivers Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart failed to get out of the second round.

Edwards won his 22nd career pole. He had never won more than three poles in a season.

“The cars are great, but it’s not just that,” Edwards said.

It’s Toyota. It’s crew chief Dave Rogers. It’s the support of having three stellar teammates in Kenseth, Hamlin and Kyle Busch (who starts 12th).

Kenseth has won the last two New Hampshire races for JGR.

“I became a lot better certainly when I started driving there. It’s funny how that works,” he said.

Here are some other items of note from Friday at New Hampshire.

DELAY OF GAME: Inspection issues delayed several cars from taking the track in the first round of qualifying. Nearly a dozen cars were in line at the inspection station once qualifying started. Clint Bowyer spun during his lap to bring out the red flag and buy time for the rest of the cars to complete inspection.

TOUGH BREAK: Chris Buescher (28th) and Austin Dillon (29th) have the worst starting spots among Chase drivers. Dillon qualified in a back-up car following an accident in practice.

“It’s not the exact same car, it’s a little older car, but same type of car we ran here the first time and we ran pretty solid in that race,” Dillon said. “We will just go out there and drive it hard and see what it gives me.”

Buescher realized that just making the Chase because of a rain-shortened win at Pocono will stand as the highlight of his season.

“We’re playing our own game right now,” he said. “We know that if we come out of here and do the best we can, put in our maximum effort, that’s all we can do.”

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS: NASCAR drivers have found the violent protests in Charlotte, North Carolina in the wake of the fatal shooting of a black man by police unsettling.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte had its exterior damaged this week during violent protests.

“A lot of times when you see things like this happen it’s in a different city and you don’t recognize where it’s at, but when you see the NASCAR building getting vandalized and you see areas of the city that you know very well with just crazy things happening, it makes you sick to your gut,” Logano said.


After Friday qualifying; race Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H. Lap length: 1.058 miles (Car number in parentheses)

1. (19) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 135.453 mph.

2. (78) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 135.212.

3. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 134.896.

4. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 134.858.

5. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 134.796.

6. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 134.682.

7. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 134.477.

8. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 134.363.

9. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 134.221.

10. (24) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 133.901.

11. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 133.694.

12. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 133.445.

13. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 134.359.

14. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 134.354.

15. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 134.184.

16. (21) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 134.108.

17. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 134.032.

18. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 133.750.

19. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 133.717.

20. (95) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 133.133.

21. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 133.031.

22. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 132.980.

23. (23) David Ragan, Toyota, 132.776.

24. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 131.815.

25. (44) Brian Scott, Ford, 132.966.

26. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 132.887.

27. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 132.688.

28. (34) Chris Buescher, Ford, 132.618.

29. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 132.595.

30. (7) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 132.586.

31. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 132.485.

32. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 132.177.

33. (83) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 131.952.

34. (38) Landon Cassill, Ford, 131.624.

35. (46) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 131.528.

36. (98) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 131.510.

37. (15) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 131.031.

38. (55) Reed Sorenson, Toyota, 130.693.

39. (30) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 129.503.

40. (32) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ford, 127.701.

NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr. rallies to win NASCAR Chase opener

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JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. went from a completely unraveled tire that left him a lap down to the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship lead for the first time in his career.

He can thank a late caution in what has been an emotional year for the small-team driver.

Truex shot to the front after a late re-start and pulled away to give Furniture Row Racing a NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff-opening victory Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.

“I’ve had a lot of practice at it,” Truex said about the on-track obstacles. “I think my approach really changed two years ago when (girlfriend) Sherry got diagnosed with cancer. My approach to all those things changed and made me a better driver.”

NASCAR announced after the race that Truex’s No. 78 Toyota failed the laser inspection, but the infraction was not at the level of negating the victory for Chase qualification purposes. Truex is expected to receive a point penalty this week.

Rookie Chase Elliott appeared on his way to an easy win until Michael McDowell blew a tire and spun out to bring a caution with five laps left.

Elliott and Truex came in to pit for tires, with some non-Chase drivers Ryan Blaney and Kasey Kahne and Chase contender Carl Edwards staying on the track.

Truex restarted fourth and Elliott fifth, and Truex quickly got to the front and held off Joey Logano on the final lap for his third victory of the season. Truex is guaranteed to move on when the Chase field is cut from 16 to 12 in two weeks.

Truex, whose team gets technical support from Joe Gibbs Racing, made the last four in the 2015 Chase. His 2016 season started with near miss at the Daytona 500 and a Coca-Cola 600 win, while Sherry Pollex has battled ovarian cancer. She’s now in remission.

“You have to understand, this isn’t the end of the world.” Truex said of racing setbacks. “We can overcome it. That’s what we did today.”

Elliott, a rookie, finished third, followed by Blaney and Chase driver Brad Keselowski, who sits second in points.

“It’s not yours until it’s over,” the 20-year-old Elliott said. “That’s part of life, man. You’re not dumb. We’ve all watched this stuff long enough to know these races don’t go green that long.”

Truex led early in the race only to have his tire come completely unraveled. It led to an unscheduled stop that left him a lap down in the 400-mile race.

“The hard compound came off it,” Cole Pearn, Truex’s crew chief, said. “I guess (Goodyear) saw a couple other tires and came down and told us a certain sequence number had an issue.”

Truex had no other tire issues on the 1.5-mile oval and outraced Kevin Harvick, who also got into early trouble, to be in position for the free pass to the lead lap on the next caution.

Jimmie Johnson dominated the middle of the race, leading 118 laps, until Elliott got by him on lap 176 of 267.

Johnson was running second when he was caught speeding on pit road during the last green-flag stop, yelling “no way!” on his radio when told he had to serve a pass-through penalty. Johnson finished 12th, but his car also failed laser inspection and he could plummet in the points standings.

Elliott led for 75 laps in what was a clean race with only three cautions until McDowell’s late wreck changed the dynamic of the race.

“I feel for Chase. I know what he’s going through,” Truex said. “I wasn’t going to catch him.”

WHO’S HOT: Chase drivers Truex, Logano, Elliott, Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth all finished in the top 10. Jamie McMcMuray was 11th, Kurt Busch 13th, Austin Dillon 14th, Carl Edwards 15th and Tony Stewart 16th.

WHO’S NOT: Kyle Larson, who had the fastest car in Saturday’s practice, had to change a transmission and start from the back. He finished 18th. … Harvick ended up 20th amid multiple issues. … Rookie Chris Buescher fell a lap down 41 laps in and two laps down before the 100th lap. He finished 28th.

PENALTIES: Based on new rules announced last week, Johnson could receive a 10-point penalty, which would drop him into a tie for 12th in the Chase standings. Truex could be docked 15 points, but the win locks him into the second round.

DILLON SUBS: Ty Dillon finished 27th filling in for Regan Smith in the No. 7 Chevrolet. Smith left the track Friday and returned to North Carolina after his wife went into labor.

COWABUNGA: With Nickelodeon the race sponsor, the winning trophy was a gold base with the four Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles on top in various poses. Truex plans to put it in his shop so visiting kids can get a picture with it.

UP NEXT: Two races remain before the Chase field is cut to 12. Next Sunday is a 300-mile race at New Hampshire, where Kenseth won in July.



NASCAR: Chase usually produces temper tantrums

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Based on history, the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship will produce pushing and shoving, ruined cars and a whole lot of yelling and finger-pointing.

The third year of NASCAR’s elimination-style, 10-race dash for the series title begins Sunday with the 400-mile race at Chicagoland Speedway. Drivers, start your aggression.

“I just know for us, it’s kind of a one-way street,” Kevin Harvick, the 2014 champion, said of his approach. “You do what you have to do for your team, whatever that may be, and worry about the consequences later.”

In last year’s Chase opener at the 1.5-mile oval, Harvick shoved Jimmie Johnson after a contentious race. It was similar to Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski brawling in 2014 at Charlotte and Jeff Gordon and Keselowski exchanging blows at Texas.

Last year there was bad blood between Joey Logano and Kenseth that ended with Logano’s car rammed into the wall at Martinsville.

“This is a mental game,” Logano said. “It is all about what is up in your head.”

There have already been clashes over this championship race. Ryan Newman’s faint Chase hopes were dashed when Tony Stewart intentionally wrecked him in last weekend’s final qualifying race at Richmond. Newman ripped Stewart, saying he was “bipolar” and “should be retired the way he drives.” The two were called to a meeting Friday with NASCAR executives.

“They’re trying to make sure they don’t have a scenario like what they had last year with Joey and Matt,” Stewart said.

That feud last year started at Kansas when Logano wrecked Kenseth. Then at Martinsville, with Kenseth out of the running to advance and nine laps down, he wrecked Logano to end his chances to move on.

Kenseth was suspended two races, but Logano’s season was over despite a dominating stretch when he won three straight Chase races.

Kyle Busch, the 2015 champ, has led the most laps this season and is the top-seed in the 16-driver field. He’ll also start Sunday’s race from the pole after Friday’s qualifying was washed out.

There will be three rounds of eliminations before four drivers are left to contend for the title at the finale on Nov. 20 at Homestead.

The format has led to high tension and unpredictability since its 2014 debut. Jimmie Johnson, a six-time series champion, has yet to be in contention going into the final race.

“It is shocking we haven’t made it past the second round,” he said.

Johnson, the No. 8 seed, is the highest-ranked Hendrick Motorsports driver with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota dominating the first 26 races. Practice times at Chicagoland seemed to show the gap is still there

Busch is joined by JGR teammates Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth in the Chase. And Martin Truex Jr., whose team is aligned with Gibbs, is considered a contender.

Team Penske, led by No. 2 seed and 2012 champ Brad Keselowski, and Logano, are back in the Chase, too.

“No, we aren’t going to crash each other,” Logano said of his teammate. “If that is the answer you are looking for, it isn’t what you are going to get. We would race each other hard. I don’t think it will get dirty for no reason at all. I wouldn’t want to do that to anybody. I want to win the right way.”

While NASCAR may wink at the arguments and rough racing, the sanctioning body has vowed to crack down on cheating in the garage. Penalties for cars that fail inspection could cost a driver the title.

But many drivers are too focused on their own work.

“I got the email and I hit ‘delete’ because it didn’t pertain to anything with driving the car,” Harvick said. “Really just trying to focus on what I need to do. I think everybody else is really focused on their jobs as well.”

Here are some other things to watch at Chicagoland:

STEWART’S FINALE: Retiring at the end of the season, Stewart will try to depart with his fourth title and first since 2011. “You’re not going to win the championship in this first segment, but you can sure take yourself out of an opportunity to win it,” he said.

JOHNSON: He begins his quest for a record-tying seventh title at a track where he’s never won and in a format he’s yet to master. “I guess it’s 10 years since my first championship, so there’s only four years I’ve missed,” he said. “I don’t think that’s too bad of a stat.”

YOUNGINS: The Chase includes two rookies for the first time. Chris Buescher is seeded 13th and Chase Elliott 14th.

THREE FINGERS: Others making Chase debuts include Kyle Larson, who had the fastest car in Saturday’s practice, and Austin Dillon, who has the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet in the playoffs for the first time.

BABY ALERT: Regan Smith, who is not in the Chase, returned to North Carolina with his wife in labor. Ty Dillon will replace him in the No 7 if he doesn’t get back in time.


NASCAR: Kyle Busch wins Truck race; Hemric, Peters earn Chase spots

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JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Kyle Busch overcame a race-record 11 cautions for his 46th career NASCAR Truck Series victory Friday night, dashing the hopes of full-time drivers needing wins to claim a spot in the debut Chase for the championship.

The Sprint Cup star’s second circuit win of the season and fifth trucks win at Chicagoland Speedway meant Daniel Hemric and Timothy Peters earned the final two spots in the eight-driver playoff field based on points.

Busch took on four tires and re-started ninth with 42 laps to go before quickly charging to the front just before Johnny Sauter clipped Ben Kennedy to ignite a crash and red flag.

There were four more cautions before Busch blew past Cameron Hayley on an overtime restart and had the lead when the final caution flew on the last lap. Busch led 95 of the 150 laps on the 1.5-mile oval for his 167th win on NASCAR’s top three circuits.

Hemric finished second, followed by Cameron Hayley and Christopher Bell.

The race began with six of the eight Chase spots already determined. John Hunter Nemechek was the last to clinch after he tangled with Cole Custer in the grass before claiming claiming a win in Canada.

Top-seeded William Byron, 2015 champion Matt Crafton, Kennedy, Sauter and Bell also were safely in.

Custer, who announced earlier Friday that he would move to the Xfinity Series next season with Stewart-Haas Racing, was penalized for speeding on pit road with 84 laps left. He still got into the top 10 late before being involved in a wreck that caused a tire rub. He finished 10th.

Spencer Gallagher earned his first pole and John Wes Townley joined him on the front row. It rekindled memories of their on-track wrestling and boxing match after an incident at Gateway Motorsports Park in June that included takedowns and punches to the face.

But mistakes kept both out of the Chase, with Townley sparking an accident that caused the final caution and Gallagher finishing sixth.

Peters qualified for the Chase by finishing eighth despite hitting the wall and having a right-front tire go down on the 67th lap.

Byron, a five-time winner, scraped the outside wall after four laps and headed to the garage. He returned 40 laps later only to again crash and finished 30th.

Kennedy’s car was destroyed and damaged the SAFER barrier, causing a 14-minute delay. He was treated and released from the infield care center.

Matt Tifft had to pit early with a loose wheel and finished 12th in his first race since undergoing surgery to remove a non-cancerous brain tumor. Tifft received applause when he was introduced in the pre-race driver meeting.


JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway was canceled because of rain Friday for the third consecutive year.

The lineup for Sunday’s 400-mile race will be based on the playoff seeding, putting Kyle Busch on the pole with Brad Keselowski joining him on the front row.

Denny Hamlin will start third, followed by Kevin Harvick, Cal Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. The 16 drivers who qualified for the 10-race playoff will all start at the front of the field.

Busch is seeking his second straight Sprint Cup title. He’ll need to get past two elimination rounds to get into the group of four drivers eligible going into the last race Nov. 20 at Homestead.

“We kind of look at this round as don’t make any mistakes,” Busch said. “Just kind of keep preparing yourself, keep getting ready for how the pressure will continue to rise.”

Rain started falling at midday and wiped out the only Sprint Cup practice scheduled at the 1.5-mile asphalt oval before the evening qualifying. The weather later cleared and an hour Sprint Cup practice was added around dusk.

Jimmie Johnson, who will start eighth Sunday, was the fastest in that session, followed by Edwards and Denny Hamlin.

Johnson has never won at Chicagoland and hasn’t made it out of the second round in the two years of the elimination format.

“There’s a lot of optimism and a lot of great things happening,” Johnson said. “We just need to deliver consistently and execute at the track.”

Alex Bowman, filling in for Dale Earnhardt as he recovers from a concussion, spun out in the closing seconds of practice trying to get onto pit road. He didn’t appear to damage his car.

Regan Smith, who will start 33rd based on the standings, left the track to return home after his wife went into labor. Ty Dillon filled in during the practice session, but it’s possible Smith will return for Sunday’s race.

“Big thanks to everybody who helped me back and those who offered,” Smith tweeted after landing in North Carolina.

With only 40 cars entered, none were eliminated without a qualifying session. The teams are scheduled for a final practice Saturday before the 267-lap race.

NASCAR: Hamlin wins again at Richmond but Newman steals spotlight

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — It was yet another Denny Hamlin runaway for Joe Gibbs Racing on Saturday night in what turned out to be an anticlimactic end to NASCAR’s regular season.

The fireworks came off the track at Richmond International Raceway, where Tony Stewart intentionally wrecked Ryan Newman before Newman angrily chided his former boss for the accident that officially ended Newman’s chances to make the playoffs.

The verbal beat down from Newman came with 37 laps left, before Hamlin finished off his third career Sprint Cup win at his home track while giving JGR its third consecutive victory at the track and ninth in the last 15 races.

Newman called Stewart “bipolar,” said the retiring race car driver had anger issues, and all but outright referenced the 2014 incident in which Stewart fatally struck a sprint car driver.

“I guess he thought he was in a sprint car again and didn’t know how to control his anger,” Newman said after the two made contact three times before finally wrecking. Dylan Lupton couldn’t avoid the accident and his car ended up wedged between the wall and on top of Newman’s car when the crashing finally ceased.

Stewart admitted to wrecking Newman.

“He’s right, that was the third time he had driven into me. How many times is he supposed to hit you before you say, ‘I’ve had enough of it?'” Stewart said.

The wreckage caused a stoppage of just over 20 minutes and sent Newman’s temperature soaring. Newman’s team was penalized 15 points this week by NASCAR for failing post-race inspection at Darlington, and the punishment made his task of trying to race his way into the Chase extremely difficult.

But few expected him to be so harsh toward Stewart, who employed Newman for five years until Newman was let go from Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the 2013 season.

“Just disappointing that you have somebody old like that that should be retired the way he drives. It’s just ridiculous,” Newman said. “I don’t think there was any reason other than him just being bipolar and having anger issues. Google Tony Stewart, you’ll see all kinds of things he’s done. Look it up on YouTube, everything else. Quite the guy.”

Stewart, who last week intentionally wrecked Brian Scott, is retiring at the end of the season and already had his spot in the Chase secure headed into Richmond. He’d had time to cool down before addressing the incident and Newman’s comments, joking Newman will get “his wish in 10 weeks” for Stewart to retire.

“He’s got to do his part, too, to race for a championship,” Stewart said. “This night didn’t dictate it for him.”

He didn’t get it, and the remaining playoff positions in the 16-driver field went to rookie Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray. Chris Buescher also made the Chase by virtue of his win at a rain-shortened race and by maintaining a spot in the top 30 in points.

The rest of the Chase field is made up of the other 12 race winners this season.

Once again, Gibbs has all four of its cars in the Chase, and a bonus, too, with sister team Furniture Row Racing with driver Martin Truex Jr. And just like last year, when Kyle Busch won his first Cup title and ended a 10-year title drought for Gibbs, the team again is the favorite.

The JGR cars and Truex dominated at Richmond and Hamlin seemed to have the win locked up until an accident — the race record 16th yellow flag — forced Hamlin to win it in overtime. Kasey Kahne, needing a win to make the Chase, pitted for tires in a last-ditch effort for a miracle, but he didn’t have anything for Hamlin in the end.

JGR drivers and Truex led 385 of the 407 laps.

JIMMIE’S LONG NIGHT: Six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson didn’t appear to be Chase ready in the final tuneup. He had a tire go down, hit the wall, and his crew had an uncontrolled tire on pit road during Johnson’s 11th-place finish. Although he has two wins this year, he’s at career lows in nearly every category, including laps led.

BUSTED BLANEY: It was a short night for Ryan Blaney, who guessed stubbornness was to blame for an accident just 11 laps into the race. Blaney made contact with Trevor Bayne that caused a flat tire and sent Blaney into the wall. He was baffled because he thought he was clear of Bayne, but figured Bayne thought otherwise and neither driver would yield.

“I should know better than that,” Blaney said. “We didn’t even give ourselves a shot at it, that is something I will have regret about.”

UP NEXT: The opening race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. The field starts with 16 drivers, which will be whittled down over nine rounds to create a final four to race for the title Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.




Lap length: .750 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (1) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 407 laps, 0 rating, 44 points.

2. (2) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 40.

3. (6) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 407, 0, 40.

4. (17) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 407, 0, 37.

5. (19) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 36.

6. (7) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 35.

7. (4) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 34.

8. (5) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 34.

9. (9) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 407, 0, 32.

10. (12) Joey Logano, Ford, 407, 0, 31.

11. (10) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 30.

12. (27) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 29.

13. (8) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 28.

14. (18) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 407, 0, 27.

15. (29) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 26.

16. (11) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 25.

17. (23) Aric Almirola, Ford, 407, 0, 24.

18. (22) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 407, 0, 23.

19. (34) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 22.

20. (16) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 21.

21. (26) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 20.

22. (33) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 407, 0, 19.

23. (28) Greg Biffle, Ford, 407, 0, 18.

24. (31) Chris Buescher, Ford, 407, 0, 17.

25. (39) Dylan Lupton, Toyota, 406, 0, 0.

26. (38) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 404, 0, 15.

27. (40) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ford, 403, 0, 15.

28. (15) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 402, 0, 13.

29. (24) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, accident, 397, 0, 13.

30. (36) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 396, 0, 11.

31. (37) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 390, 0, 10.

32. (13) Carl Edwards, Toyota, suspension, 366, 0, 9.

33. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, accident, 363, 0, 8.

34. (21) David Ragan, Toyota, accident, 362, 0, 7.

35. (35) Brian Scott, Ford, accident, 362, 0, 6.

36. (32) Landon Cassill, Ford, 358, 0, 5.

37. (25) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, accident, 352, 0, 4.

38. (3) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, accident, 335, 0, 4.

39. (20) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 279, 0, 2.

40. (30) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, accident, 264, 0, 1.


Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 85.778 mph.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 33 minutes, 31 seconds.

Margin of Victory: seconds.

Caution Flags: 16 for 89 laps.

Lead Changes: 21 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: D.Hamlin 1-12; J.Earnhardt 13-14; D.Hamlin 15-51; M.Truex 52-85; M.Kenseth 86; Ku.Busch 87; D.Hamlin 88-100; M.Truex 101-202; M.Kenseth 203; M.Truex 204-222; D.Hamlin 223; M.Truex 224-228; Ku.Busch 229-230; M.Truex 231-245; M.Kenseth 246; R.Smith 247-248; D.Hamlin 249-267; K.Larson 268-271; D.Hamlin 272-292; K.Larson 293-303; M.Truex 304-321; D.Hamlin 322-407

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): M.Truex, 6 times for 187 laps; D.Hamlin, 7 times for 182 laps; K.Larson, 2 times for 13 laps; Ku.Busch, 2 times for 1 lap; J.Earnhardt, 1 time for 1 lap; R.Smith, 1 time for 1 lap; M.Kenseth, 3 times for 0 laps.

Wins: Ky.Busch, 4; B.Keselowski, 4; C.Edwards, 2; D.Hamlin, 2; K.Harvick, 2; J.Johnson, 2; M.Kenseth, 2; M.Truex, 2; C.Buescher, 1; Ku.Busch, 1; K.Larson, 1; J.Logano, 1; T.Stewart, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. K.Harvick, 840; 2. B.Keselowski, 797; 3. J.Logano, 752; 4. C.Edwards, 746; 5. D.Hamlin, 729; 6. Ku.Busch, 728; 7. Ky.Busch, 727; 8. M.Truex, 696; 9. M.Kenseth, 669; 10. C.Elliott, 659; 11. J.Johnson, 656; 12. A.Dillon, 651; 13. J.McMurray, 642; 14. R.Newman, 620; 15. K.Larson, 606; 16. K.Kahne, 598.


NASCAR Driver Rating Formula

A maximum of 150 points can be attained in a race.

The formula combines the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish.

Kyle Busch dominates NASCAR Xfinity race at Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Kyle Busch took the lead on pit road after just over 50 laps and showed why he’s the NASCAR Xfinity Series career victory leader with a dominant run at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night.

The defending Sprint Cup Series champion led 197 of 250 laps en route to his 84th victory in the series. He also won for the eighth time in 14 starts this season, and the sixth time in his career at Richmond. It was his first victory since July 23 at Indianapolis.

And while Busch has plenty of experience dominating at Richmond, he called this victory, “Unexpected.”

“We just kind of missed it all through practice. It wasn’t good there, and then we qualified and it was just a handful in qualifying. We didn’t qualify very well. Seventh, it’s not very well for my expectations, but we just worked on it,” he said in Victory Lane.

“There at the start of the race we were really out of control and loose and I got to fourth but I thought that was where we were going to kind of be, but then my guys had an awesome pit stop and got me out front. … After that it was lights out, man. It was on a rail from there.”

The race was slowed by caution flags just twice, and that allowed Busch to build leads as high as 7 seconds, or more, and to put virtually the entire field a lap down. At one point, there were only five cars on the lead lap.

His margin of victory was a whopping 6.453 seconds. Only 11 cars finished on the lead lap.

Erik Jones, Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, finished second, followed by Brad Keselowski and points leader Elliott Sadler.

“We were second best for sure,” Jones said. “We were running away from everybody else.”

Pole-sitter Austin Dillon led the first 51 laps, but Busch led virtually from the rest of the way, only relinquishing the top spot to Jones for two laps during green flag pit stops.

WHO’S HOT: Brennan Poole started 31st and had raced himself into the top 10 before the race reached the halfway point, even though there was only one caution for seven laps in that time. He ran in the top 10 the rest of the way and finished 10th. … Ryan Reed finished 11th and became the 10th series driver to lock himself into the series playoffs with one race left in the regular season.

WHO’S NOT: Points leader Elliott Sadler, a native of Emporia about 70 miles from Richmond, rallied to finish fourth, but was having a rough night through much of the race. He got lapped by Busch just past the midpoint and later got a stop-and-go penalty for speeding on pit road. He finished 12.8 seconds behind the race winner.

THEY SAID IT: “It’s been a good track for me over the years. I’m not sure why. I remember the first time I was here, I think I knocked every wall down.” — Kyle Busch.

UP NEXT: The series move to Chicagoland Speedway for the last race before its 12-driver championship playoff begins.



FULL RESULTS: Virginia 529 College Savings 250 

1. (7) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 250.
2. (4) Erik Jones, Toyota, 250.
3. (6) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 250.
4. (8) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 250.
5. (3) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 250.
6. (18) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 250.
7. (1) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 250.
8. (10) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 250.
9. (2) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 250.
10. (31) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 250.
11. (17) Ryan Reed, Ford, 250.
12. (14) Darrell Wallace, Jr., Ford, 249.
13. (11) Gray Gaulding, Ford, 248.
14. (19) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 248.
15. (5) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 248.
16. (9) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 247.
17. (12) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 247.
18. (20) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 247.
19. (13) Jeb Burton, Ford, 247.
20. (23) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 246.
21. (27) David Starr, Chevrolet, 246.
22. (25) Justin Marks, Chevrolet, 246.
23. (33) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 245.
24. (15) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 245.
25. (29) Ray Black, Jr., Chevrolet, 245.
26. (16) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 244.
27. (22) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 244.
28. (21) Hermie Sadler III, Toyota, 244.
29. (26) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 243.
30. (28) Clint King, Ford, 243.
31. (32) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 243.
32. (39) BJ McLeod, Ford, 239.
33. (34) Mario Gosselin, Chevrolet, 238.
34. (35) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 236.
35. (36) Brandon Hightower, Dodge, 235.
36. (38) Alli Owens, Chevrolet, Clutch, 156.
37. (40) Austin Theriault, Chevrolet, Overheating, 84.
38. (37) Mike Harmon, Dodge, Oil Leak, 51.
39. (30) Timmy Hill, Dodge, Electrical, 21.
40. (24) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, Vibration, 4.

Average speed of race winner: 103.687 mph.
Time of race: 1 hour, 48 minutes, 30 seconds.
Margin of victory: 6.453 seconds.
Caution flags: 2 for 14 laps.
Lead changes: 3 among 3 drivers.
Lap leaders: A.Dillon 1-51; K.Busch 52-157; E.Jones 158-159; K.Busch 160-250.

Leaders summary (driver, times lead, laps led): K.Busch 2 times for 197 laps; A.Dillon 1 time for 51 laps; E.Jones 1 time for 2 laps.

Top 10 in points: 1. E.Sadler 852; 2. D.Suarez 794; 3. J.Allgaier 786; 4. T.Dillon 777; 5. B.Gaughan 755; 6. E.Jones 753; 7. B.Poole 736; 8. B.Jones 702; 9. D.Wallace, Jr. 659; 10. R.Reed 626.

NASCAR: Larson takes advantage of late restart for first Cup victory

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BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — During the last couple laps of his first Sprint Cup victory, Kyle Larson was emotional.

“I think with two to go, I was starting to get choked up,” he said. “We worked really, really hard to get a win, and just haven’t done it. Finally all the hard work by everybody, hundreds of people at our race shop, people who have got me through to the Cup Series, it was all paying off.”

Larson took the lead on a restart with nine laps remaining and held off Chase Elliott at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday in a duel between two of NASCAR’s up-and-coming standouts. Elliott had a comfortable lead before a tire problem on Michael Annett’s car brought out the yellow flag. Larson had the better restart and went on to win by 1.48 seconds.

Brad Keselowski finished third.

Larson’s victory in his No. 42 Chevrolet snapped a 99-race losing streak for Chip Ganassi Racing dating to Jamie McMurray’s victory at Talladega in 2013.

Larson secured a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with two races left in the regular season. Elliott remains winless, but is in solid shape to make the Chase field on points if need be.

It was the 99th career start for the 24-year-old Larson, who had 14 top-five finishes before Sunday but hadn’t won at the Cup level. The 20-year-old Elliott is winless in 29 starts, but this was an impressive showing for him after eight consecutive races outside the top 10.

Elliott finished second at Michigan in June as well, losing to Joey Logano.

“That’s a couple races in a row in just a few short months here at this place we had a really good car, had an opportunity,” Elliott said. “That’s one thing I try really hard to do is make the most of opportunities when they’re presented. Obviously I didn’t do a very good job of that here both trips.”

Elliott led by 2.86 seconds with 28 laps to go Sunday, and it looked as if Larson’s chance to catch him had been derailed when he lost ground passing a lapped car. The caution gave him another shot, though, and he took advantage.

“We both spun our tires really bad, and the No. 2 (Keselowski) pushed me really good,” Larson said. “He could have probably pulled underneath me and went by, but he stayed with me and got me the lead.”

There were only four cautions in the 200-lap, 400-mile race. Larson led a race-high 41 laps. Logano, the pole winner, finished 10th.

Chris Buescher, who has a victory but still needs to stay in the top 30 in points to make the Chase, finished 35th after some early engine trouble. Buescher is seven points ahead of David Ragan for 30th place on the season.

Alex Bowman, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 car, had a problem with the ignition system and finished 30th.

Twelve drivers have wrapped up Chase berths. Tony Stewart, who has a victory, has clinched a top-30 finish in points to secure his spot.

Buescher’s situation is still uncertain, so there could end up being as many as four drivers making it in on points. Elliott is 11th in the standings, the top driver with no victories.

WHO’S HOT: Points leader Kevin Harvick followed up his win at Bristol with a fifth-place showing at Michigan. He has 11 top-five finishes in 24 starts this year.

WHO’S NOT: It was another rough day for Kyle Busch at Michigan. He’d finished out of the top 30 in five of his previous six races at the track, and he was no factor Sunday after an early spin, although he did recover well enough to come in 19th.

“We actually had a pretty fast car. We ran some really fast laps, but we just got in a bad spot there on the restart and got sucked around and wore off part of our splitter,” crew chief Adam Stevens said. “Even after that we were one of the probably five or six quickest cars on the race track and just whenever we got in the lucky-dog spot we ran there for I can’t tell you how many laps and just didn’t get a caution.”

INSPECTION: Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford failed post-race laser inspection.

SKID: Hendrick Motorsports is winless in 19 races after Elliott fell short, but there were some positive signs for the team. At the midway point, Hendrick cars were 1-2, with Jimmie Johnson leading Elliott at the front. Kasey Kahne was in fifth at that point.

Johnson ended up sixth, and Kahne finished 14th. Bowman was the only driver for Hendrick who finished way behind.

This is Hendrick’s longest losing streak since a 22-race dry spell from 1993 into 1994.

UP NEXT: Darlington Raceway, Sept. 4. Carl Edwards is the defending race winner.


Pure Michigan 400

Sunday’s results from the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway (starting positions in parentheses):

1. (12) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 200.

2. (5) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 200.

3. (18) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 200.

4. (7) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 200.

5. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 200.

6. (2) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 200.

7. (9) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 200.

8. (8) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 200.

9. (3) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 200.

10. (1) Joey Logano, Ford, 200.

11. (22) Greg Biffle, Ford, 200.

12. (19) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 200.

13. (13) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 200.

14. (11) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 200.

15. (25) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 200.

16. (17) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 200.

17. (10) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 200.

18. (20) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 200.

19. (16) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 199.

20. (14) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 199.

21. (15) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 198.

22. (28) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 198.

23. (23) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 198.

24. (24) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 198.

25. (26) Aric Almirola, Ford, 198.

26. (31) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 198.

27. (29) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 198.

28. (30) Brian Scott, Ford, 197.

29. (32) David Ragan, Toyota, 196.

30. (6) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 195.

31. (35) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 195.

32. (34) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 195.

33. (36) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 195.

34. (37) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 194.

35. (21) Chris Buescher, Ford, 193.

36. (39) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 193.

37. (40) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ford, 192.

38. (38) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 192.

39. (33) Landon Cassill, Ford, Suspension, 174.

40. (27) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 160.

Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 162.73 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 27 minutes, 29 seconds. Margin of Victory: 1.478 seconds.

Caution Flags: 4 for 17 laps.

Lead Changes: 20 among 13 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J.Logano 1-22, R.Smith 23, J.Logano 24-25, K.Harvick 26-57, M.Truex Jr 58-64, K.Harvick 65, C.Elliott 66, B.Keselowski 67-70, J.Johnson 71-107, C.Elliott 108, B.Keselowski 109-117, C.Elliott 118-124, K.Larson 125-155, B.Keselowski 156, M.Kenseth 157-164, A.Dillon 165, R.Newman 166, C.Edwards 167, G.Biffle 168, C.Elliott 169-190, K.Larson 191-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K.Larson 2 times for 41 laps, J.Johnson 1 time for 37 laps, K.Harvick 2 times for 33 laps, C.Elliott 4 times for 31 laps, J.Logano 2 times for 24 laps, B.Keselowski 3 times for 14 laps, M.Kenseth 1 time for 8 laps, M.Truex Jr 1 time for 7 laps, R.Smith 1 time for 1 lap, G.Biffle 1 time for 1 lap, C.Edwards 1 time for 1 lap, A.Dillon 1 time for 1 lap, R.Newman 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: K.Harvick, 799, B.Keselowski, 774, C.Edwards, 724, Kurt Busch, 721, J.Logano, 716, Kyle Busch, 696, D.Hamlin, 691, M.Truex Jr, 652, J.Johnson, 648, M.Kenseth, 633, C.Elliott, 628, A.Dillon, 622, J.Mcmurray, 616, R.Newman, 601, K.Larson, 582, K.Kahne, 564.

NASCAR: Kevin Harvick wins rain-delayed NASCAR race at Bristol

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BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Kevin Harvick wasn’t worried about his poor qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway. In fact, starting 24th gave Harvick exactly what he wanted to win at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“It kind of motivates me,” Harvick said Sunday. “I think it’s exciting. I like to pass cars.”

Harvick made the biggest pass with 70 laps to go, sweeping by Denny Hamlin and holding on to take the rain-delayed race at the half-mile concrete track.

The victory was Harvick’s second of the season and second at Bristol — his first in 11 years. It also moved him atop the points standings and gave his program a jolt with only three races left until NASCAR’s Chase starts.

Harvick had 13 top-10 finishes in the 18 races since winning at Phoenix in March.

“It’s been one of those deals where things have just not gone exactly right,” said Harvick, who led 128 laps. “But to have the win now and just try to get that momentum before we get into the Chase and get things rolling is really what we needed.”

Fittingly for a race halted because of Saturday night storms, Harvick had to sit out one last rain delay before easily pulling away on the restart and cruising to victory.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Harvick said over the radio as he crossed the line.

Harvick enticed his car owner — and retiring driver — Tony Stewart to do burnouts with him to celebrate the three-time champion’s last race at Bristol. He wanted Stewart to share the victory lap, but “Tony and I aren’t very good at sign language from one seat to another,” he said.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was second, followed by Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Chris Buescher.

Kyle Busch, who led 256 laps, clearly had the strongest car, leading a race-high 256 laps. But he spun on Lap 358 when a part broke and Justin Allgaier, driving in relief of Michael Arnett, hit the No. 18 car flush to end the defending series champ’s race.

Busch was angered by his equipment failure and said the race shop “was going to hear about it Tuesday.” He also blasted Allgaier and his spotter, saying they should’ve seen Busch’s spin and moved clear instead of hitting him. “I don’t know. Frustrating day. Let’s go home,” Busch said.

Allgaier apologized to Busch. “That is the worst possibly scenario when the leader spins out and you hit them,” Allgaier said.

That was the sentiment of many at Bristol. The end was a welcome relief for race teams, track officials and those who came back out after last night’s soaking rains.

It was the second time in three races — Pocono’s Sunday race ended on a Monday three weeks ago — that rain impacted a Sprint Cup race and only a fraction of the 160,000 in the stands Saturday night returned for the conclusion.

The finish also meant Bristol could begin the massive conversion of its race track to a football field for No. 9 Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech, an event that track GM Jerry Caldwell expects will draw in excess of 155,000 fans.

WHO’S HOT: Austin Dillon, the surprise winner of the Xfinity race here Friday night, found himself competing for the victory on the final restart with 51 laps to go. He got as high as second before finishing fourth. The result was a boost to Dillon’s Chase chances, too, who came in as one of the drivers qualifying on points and left with that intact.

WHO’S NOT: Tony Stewart was hoping to lock up his Chase spot — he’s got a win but stands 27th in points — with a strong Bristol finish. Instead, he went behind the wall with a vibration just past the halfway point. Stewart finished 30th.

THEY SAID IT: “The person that’s really the biggest moron out there is the spotter of the 46 and driver of the 46 (Justin Allgaier). I’ve been wrecking half a lap and they just come up and clean us out. That’s stupid,” said Kyle Busch, who wrecked on lap 373 after leading 258 laps.

THE BIG ONE: It came on lap 373 on a restart after Kyle Busch was knocked out by an accident. Kurt Busch slid up and was hit by Brad Keselowski, touching off a 10-car wreck that caught up contenders Kyle Larson, Blaney, Chase Elliott and Matt Kenseth. Keselowski said Kurt Busch got loose “and by the time I saw it, I was already making contact. It was one of those Bristol things.”

UP NEXT: Michigan International Speedway, Aug. 28. Matt Kenseth is the defending champion.

Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

Sunday’s results from the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway (starting position in parentheses):

1. (24) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 500 laps, 0 rating, 44 points.

2. (25) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 500, 0, 39.

3. (2) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500, 0, 39.

4. (13) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 500, 0, 37.

5. (12) Chris Buescher, Ford, 500, 0, 36.

6. (1) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 500, 0, 36.

7. (16) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500, 0, 34.

8. (28) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 500, 0, 33.

9. (8) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 500, 0, 32.

10. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 500, 0, 32.

11. (11) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 500, 0, 30.

12. (22) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 500, 0, 29.

13. (19) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 500, 0, 28.

14. (17) Aric Almirola, Ford, 500, 0, 27.

15. (6) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 500, 0, 27.

16. (34) Greg Biffle, Ford, 500, 0, 25.

17. (18) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 500, 0, 24.

18. (30) Brian Scott, Ford, 499, 0, 24.

19. (26) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 499, 0, 22.

20. (32) Landon Cassill, Ford, 497, 0, 21.

21. (37) David Ragan, Toyota, 497, 0, 20.

22. (29) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 496, 0, 19.

23. (7) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 496, 0, 18.

24. (23) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 495, 0, 17.

25. (21) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 495, 0, 16.

26. (33) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 491, 0, 15.

27. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 489, 0, 14.

28. (15) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 487, 0, 14.

29. (38) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ford, 479, 0, 12.

30. (27) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 471, 0, 11.

31. (31) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 470, 0, 10.

32. (20) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 458, 0, 9.

33. (9) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 458, 0, 8.

34. (35) Cole Whitt, Ford, 442, 0, 7.

35. (4) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 437, 0, 6.

36. (40) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 416, 0, 5.

37. (5) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, accident, 373, 0, 4.

38. (14) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, accident, 372, 0, 3.

39. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, accident, 357, 0, 4.

40. (39) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, accident, 354, 0, 0.


Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 77.973 mph.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 25 minutes, 5 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 1.933 seconds.

Caution Flags: 9 for 106 laps.

Lead Changes: 20 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: C.Edwards 0; D.Hamlin 1-8; C.Elliott 9-22; Ky.Busch 23-87; B.Scott 88-92; R.Newman 93-101; Ky.Busch 102-160; C.Edwards 161-189; Ky.Busch 190-226; C.Edwards 227; Ky.Busch 228-250; C.Edwards 251; Ky.Busch 252-285; K.Harvick 286-309; Ky.Busch 310-347; K.Harvick 348-366; J.Logano 367-403; K.Harvick 404-417; J.Logano 418; D.Hamlin 419-429; K.Harvick 430-500

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): Ky.Busch, 6 times for 250 laps; K.Harvick, 4 times for 124 laps; J.Logano, 2 times for 36 laps; C.Edwards, 4 times for 28 laps; D.Hamlin, 2 times for 17 laps; C.Elliott, 1 time for 13 laps; R.Newman, 1 time for 8 laps; B.Scott, 1 time for 4 laps.

Wins: Ky.Busch, 4; B.Keselowski, 4; C.Edwards, 2; D.Hamlin, 2; K.Harvick, 2; J.Johnson, 2; M.Kenseth, 2; C.Buescher, 1; Ku.Busch, 1; J.Logano, 1; T.Stewart, 1; M.Truex, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. K.Harvick, 762; 2. B.Keselowski, 735; 3. Ku.Busch, 692; 4. C.Edwards, 689; 5. J.Logano, 684; 6. Ky.Busch, 674; 7. D.Hamlin, 659; 8. M.Truex, 630; 9. J.Johnson, 612; 10. M.Kenseth, 604; 11. A.Dillon, 596; 12. C.Elliott, 588; 13. J.McMurray, 583; 14. R.Newman, 576; 15. T.Bayne, 541; 16. K.Kahne, 537.

NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol suspended until Sunday

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BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — The water-logged Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway was called after just 48 of 500 laps were run because of rainstorms throughout Saturday night.

The race will resume Sunday at 1 p.m.

NASCAR officials finally called it after more than three hours of delays. The race started more than an hour late because of rain, lightning and hail near the track. After just 38 laps, the race was halted as rain, somewhat heavy at times, hit the half-mile track.

Things cleared after a delay of 1 hour, 24 minutes and drivers got back in their cars. But after 10 slow caution laps, the heavy rain returned and things ended for good.

Kyle Busch had the lead, followed by Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.

“We haven’t really even got going so I think until we get some laps and get racing it is really kind of hard to say how it’s going to go,” Elliott said. “I’m looking forward to the NAPA Auto Parts team getting back going tomorrow.”

Pole-sitter Carl Edwards, the winner at the track in the spring, led a top five qualifying filled with Joe Gibbs Racing racers. Along with Edwards, JGR teammates Hamlin was second, Busch was third and Kenseth fifth on Friday.

All four Gibbs’ drivers remained in the top seven with Edwards sliding down from No. 1 to seventh.

It’s the second time in three races weather has altered the Sprint Cup schedule. Rain at Pocono Raceway three weeks ago pushed that finish until Monday when rookie Chris Buescher won his first Sprint Cup title as continued bad weather shortened that race.

NASCAR may have looked hard for any free, dry windows of race time given that Bristol will begin transforming the race track into a football field to host Tennessee and Virginia Tech on Sept. 10. The track’s timeline gave them 19 days to convert the infield to a football field and make things ready for what Bristol executive vice president and general manager Jerry Caldwell figured would be more than 155,000 fans coming out to watch the game.

The conversion was expected to start early Sunday once the last NASCAR hauler had left the track. Now, that time line is crunched as the track must finish with its main attraction, the Sprint Cup series.


People look at the threatening sky as stormy weather delays the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 ,in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

NASCAR: Dillon wins Xfinity race at Bristol in wild finish

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BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Austin Dillon figured fourth place was about all he could get Friday night until the old Brad Keselowski-Kyle Busch rivalry reared up at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Keselowski hit the back of Busch’s car as the defending Sprint Cup champ tried to clear him from the lead, cutting down a tire and sending Busch into the wall four laps from the scheduled end. Then just as suddenly Keselowski ran out of gas during the caution — leaving a happily surprised Dillon out front to win the Xfinity race in overtime Friday night.

“I was actually just enjoying what was going on (up front) trying to get there,” Dillon said about the chaos.

For the last 50 laps, the race looked like a classic faceoff between Busch and Keselowski who no one would consider friends.

While Keselowski’s tactic to many diehards was just a traditional Bristol bump-and-run, it’s sure to stir up a Busch-Keselowski tussle that’s frequently goes from zero-to-60 in seconds.

Keselowski described Busch as another name for a donkey during driver intros at Bristol in 2010. Keselowski detailed their rocky relationship on and off track in a blog last year.

The two get a chance to tangle once more here Saturday night in the Sprint Cup event.

“We were battling really hard and definitely didn’t want to see it end that way,” Keselowski said.

“He’s a dirty racer,” Busch responded when asked by ESPN.

Dillon didn’t care about the circumstances only that he was broke cleanly in the green-white-checkered finish to beat Justin Algaier in second and Kyle Larson in third.

“Even when they were pushing us, we had to remain calm,” said Dillon’s crew chief, Justin Alexander. “Things unfold and you’re sitting there pretty much where you need to be.”

Larson had led for 200 of 308 laps, but was overtaken the Keselowski and Busch.

Dillon’s younger brother, Ty Dillon, made it a three-car race as he mixed it up between the two Sprint Cup champs. In fact, it was Ty Dillon, who emerged on top when that trio raced three-wide on Bristol’s slippery, tight track. But Dillon couldn’t sustain his edge and his chances ended for good when he hit the back of Busch’s slowed machine.

Dillon thought the Keselowski-Busch dustup might increase the walk-up sales for Saturday night’s next round. “We should sell some tickets tomorrow night,” he said.

All the fussin’ and fuedin’ up front was just fine with Dillon, who won his eighth career Xfinity victory and first at Bristol.

“It was just a war of attrition and we had a pretty good car,” Dillon said. “Maybe not the fastest car, but the car that won.”

WHO’S HOT: Justin Algaier figured on finishing seventh until the late chaos lifted him to second. It was his fifth top-10 finish in his past six Xfinity races at Bristol.

WHO’S NOT: Daniel Suarez, who had a strong run at Bristol Motor Speedway ruined for the second time in three days. Suarez led 77 laps in the truck series here Wednesday night when a late crash doomed him to 29th. He led Xfinity practice Thursday and was bidding for a top-10 finish when another accident knocked him back.

THEY SAID IT: “I’ve never seen the fans get that involved in something like that that really wasn’t a major deal, nobody wrecked each other in a caution or something like that. But fans were definitely getting excited,” runner-up Justin Algaier said of the Busch-Keselowski tangle.

THE BIG ONE: Teammates Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez clipped each other on lap 245, causing significant damage to the two Joe Gibbs Racing entrants. Jones, the pole sitter, was running ninth at the time. The crash collected four other cars. Jones had won the Xfinity race here this past April.

UP NEXT: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Aug. 27. Paul Menard is the defending race winner.

Full results:

Lap length: .533 miles(Start position in parentheses)

1. (5) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 308 laps, 0 rating, 0 points.

2. (8) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 308, 0, 39.

3. (7) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 308, 0, 0.

4. (15) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 308, 0, 37.

5. (14) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 308, 0, 36.

6. (12) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 308, 0, 35.

7. (6) Darrell Wallace Jr, Ford, 308, 0, 35.

8. (17) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 308, 0, 33.

9. (4) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 307, 0, 32.

10. (20) Corey Lajoie, Toyota, 307, 0, 31.

11. (9) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 306, 0, 0.

12. (11) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 306, 0, 0.

13. (21) Gray Gaulding, Ford, 303, 0, 28.

14. (28) Ray Black Jr, Chevrolet, 302, 0, 27.

15. (18) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 301, 0, 26.

16. (30) David Starr, Chevrolet, 301, 0, 25.

17. (25) Mario Gosselin, Chevrolet, 301, 0, 24.

18. (29) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 301, 0, 23.

19. (26) B J McLeod, Ford, 300, 0, 22.

20. (27) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 299, 0, 0.

21. (32) Brandon Gdovic, Chevrolet, 299, 0, 20.

22. (31) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 299, 0, 19.

23. (38) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 299, 0, 18.

24. (2) Kyle Busch, Toyota, accident, 296, 0, 0.

25. (10) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, accident, 296, 0, 17.

26. (39) Camden Murphy, Ford, 295, 0, 15.

27. (19) J.J. Yeley, Toyota, 293, 0, 14.

28. (13) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 291, 0, 13.

29. (35) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 290, 0, 12.

30. (3) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 286, 0, 11.

31. (37) T.J. Bell, Chevrolet, 286, 0, 10.

32. (16) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, accident, 278, 0, 9.

33. (1) Erik Jones, Toyota, accident, 244, 0, 9.

34. (36) Hermie Sadler, Toyota, fuelpump, 228, 0, 7.

35. (22) Ryan Reed, Ford, 226, 0, 6.

36. (40) Mike Harmon, Dodge, brakes, 168, 0, 5.

37. (23) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, suspension, 165, 0, 4.

38. (34) Harrison Rhodes, Toyota, engine, 36, 0, 3.

39. (33) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, handling, 27, 0, 2.

40. (24) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, brakes, 3, 0, 0.


Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 84.815 mph.

Time of Race: 1 hour, 56 minutes, 7 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.277 seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 54 laps.

Lead Changes: 16 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: E.Jones 1; D.Wallace 2-5; E.Jones 6-31; K.Larson 32-33; E.Jones 34; K.Larson 35-77; E.Jones 78; K.Larson 79-153; E.Jones 154; K.Larson 155-234; E.Jones 235; B.Keselowski 236-287; K.Busch 288; B.Keselowski 289; T.Dillon 290; B.Keselowski 291-304; A.Dillon 305-308

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Larson, 4 times for 196 laps; B.Keselowski, 3 times for 64 laps; E.Jones, 6 times for 25 laps; A.Dillon, 1 time for 3 laps; D.Wallace, 1 time for 3 laps; K.Busch, 1 time for 0 laps; T.Dillon, 1 time for 0 laps.

Wins: K.Busch, 7; E.Jones, 3; A.Dillon, 1; K.Larson, 1; E.Sadler, 1; D.Suarez, 1.

Top 10 in Points: 1. E.Sadler, 700; 2. D.Suarez, 675; 3. T.Dillon, 667; 4. E.Jones, 648; 5. J.Allgaier, 646; 6. B.Gaughan, 631; 7. B.Poole, 618; 8. B.Jones, 595; 9. D.Wallace, 539; 10. R.Reed, 526.


NASCAR Driver Rating Formula

A maximum of 150 points can be attained in a race.

The formula combines the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish.

NASCAR: Ben Kennedy passes William Byron to win NASCAR Truck race at Bristol

This gallery contains 1 photo.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Ben Kennedy moved past NASCAR Truck season leader William Byron with 19 laps to go and held at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night for his first series victory.

Kennedy, the son of International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy and great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., became the first France family member to win a NASCAR national series race. He was making his 63rd career start.

“I can’t put it into words,” Kennedy said. “Someone asked me earlier today what it’s like going to Bristol for your first time and to win here is just so cool. I’m speechless. The guys gave me an awesome truck. Everyone at GMS Racing, Jacob Companies, the fans in the stands, everybody watching on TV, gosh this is just the coolest day of my life.”

Byron, a rookie won has won five races this season, looked as he would make it six when he took the lead from teammate Daniel Suarez with 21 laps left. But Byron went high into a turn and Kennedy was able to sweep past him. Kennedy had to hold on through a restart with seven laps to go, fending off Brett Moffitt the rest of the way for the victory.

“I was just thinking go as fast as possible on this last lap,” Kennedy said. “I knew Brett was putting pressure on me from behind. I appreciate him racing me clean. This is just so cool. These guys deserve it. They work so hard.”

The victory locked up a spot for Kennedy in the series’ eight-driver championship chase that begins in New Hampshire next month.

Daniel Hemric was third, followed by Byron and Johnny Sauter.

Kennedy had not led a lap all season before moving in front on a damp night at Bristol. The race’s start was delayed more than an hour when storms hit the area. When the green flag dropped, it looked as if Christopher Bell and Suarez had the strongest machines.

Each, though, couldn’t sustain things.

Bell led a race-high 101 of 200 laps until spinning out while racing Suarez up front. Suarez led 77 laps until he was passed by Byron.

Bell held on for seventh, while a late spin dropped Suarez to 29th in the 32-car field.


Byron has not cooled off. The rookie driver followed up a win at Pocono, his fifth of the season, with a fourth-place run at Bristol. It was his eighth top-10 finish in 13 races this season.


Two-time series champion Matt Crafton continued his disappointing summer, going only 70 of 200 laps before having to leave the track after he said “something broke.” Crafton started the season with six top-10s, including two victories, over the first eight races. He’s had only one top-10 finish in the past five times out and was dead last at Bristol, his worst finish of 2016.


Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick qualified at 128.917 mph, nearly 2 mph hour quicker than the 12-year-old qualifying record held by Ken Schrader since August 2004. Reddick led nine drivers who finished under Schrader’s speed in setting the grid for the truck race at Bristol Motor Speedway.


The start was delayed more than an hour because of rain. A caution came out early on Lap 28 when drizzle began to fall. NASCAR had scheduled a competition caution 40 laps in to see if the machines would be affected by the soggy conditions.


Michigan International Speedway, Aug. 27. Kyle Busch is the defending race winner.


Lap length: .533 miles(Start position in parentheses)

1. (13) Ben Kennedy, Chevrolet, 200 laps, 107.3 rating, 36 points.

2. (8) Brett Moffitt, Toyota, 200, 110.4, 31.

3. (12) Daniel Hemric, Ford, 200, 84.6, 30.

4. (6) William Byron, Toyota, 200, 94.5, 30.

5. (7) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 200, 94.4, 28.

6. (9) Cole Custer, Chevrolet, 200, 79.1, 27.

7. (5) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 200, 129.2, 28.

8. (16) John Hunter Nemechek, Chevrolet, 200, 84.0, 25.

9. (15) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 200, 74.1, 0.

10. (19) John Wes Townley, Toyota, 200, 80.1, 23.

11. (10) Kaz Grala, Chevrolet, 200, 68.4, 22.

12. (14) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, 200, 62.5, 21.

13. (25) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 200, 69.5, 20.

14. (1) Tyler Reddick, Ford, 200, 93.4, 20.

15. (21) Caleb Holman, Toyota, 200, 85.6, 18.

16. (22) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 200, 53.0, 17.

17. (11) Jesse Little, Toyota, 200, 58.5, 16.

18. (27) Austin Cindric, Ford, 199, 39.5, 15.

19. (18) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 199, 56.9, 14.

20. (24) Parker Kligerman, Ford, 199, 46.8, 13.

21. (26) Austin Wayne Self, Toyota, 198, 41.5, 12.

22. (23) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 198, 40.0, 11.

23. (28) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 197, 47.1, 10.

24. (3) Cameron Hayley, Toyota, 197, 87.6, 9.

25. (30) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 197, 34.4, 8.

26. (20) Rico Abreu, Toyota, 194, 44.4, 7.

27. (31) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 191, 28.6, 6.

28. (32) Bryce Napier, Chevrolet, 191, 27.8, 5.

29. (2) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, accident, 186, 113.8, 0.

30. (4) Ben Rhodes, Toyota, engine, 128, 88.4, 3.

31. (29) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, garage, 71, 29.0, 2.

32. (17) Matt Crafton, Toyota, engine, 70, 56.3, 1.


Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 74.382 mph.

Time of Race: 1 hour, 25 minutes, 59 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.274 seconds.

Caution Flags: 9 for 55 laps.

Lead Changes: 7 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders: T.Reddick 1; D.Suarez 2-39; C.Bell 40-135; D.Suarez 136; C.Bell 137-141; D.Suarez 142-179; W.Byron 180; B.Kennedy 181-200

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): C.Bell, 2 times for 99 laps; D.Suarez, 3 times for 74 laps; B.Kennedy, 1 time for 19 laps; W.Byron, 1 time for 0 laps; T.Reddick, 1 time for 0 laps.

Wins: W.Byron, 5; M.Crafton, 2; C.Bell, 1; J.Nemechek, 1; J.Sauter, 1.

Top 10 in Points: 1. W.Byron, 319; 2. M.Crafton, 294; 3. D.Hemric, 282; 4. T.Peters, 282; 5. J.Sauter, 278; 6. C.Bell, 268; 7. J.Nemechek, 256; 8. C.Hayley, 251; 9. B.Kennedy, 251; 10. T.Reddick, 250.


NASCAR Driver Rating Formula

A maximum of 150 points can be attained in a race.

The formula combines the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish.

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