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Brad Keselowski Holds Off Chase Elliott for Martinsville Victory

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Image

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Brad Keselowski led 446 of 500 laps in winning Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

An easy victory, right?

Well, not exactly. After Keselowski’s pit crew put him in the lead for a restart on Lap 380, the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford spent the rest of the race fending off a determined charge from Chase Elliott.

Ultimately, Keselowski got to the finish line .594 seconds ahead of Elliott and 1.335 seconds in front of Kyle Busch, who was attempting to win his third straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in his 1,000th national series start. But it wasn’t easy, as both Elliott and Busch were close enough to capitalize on even the smallest potential mistake.

The victory was Keselowski’s second of the season, second at Martinsville and the 29th of his Cup. It was also Team Penske’s third triumph of the season in six races, equaling the total of Joe Gibbs Racing and the third Cup win for the Ford Mustang, which debuted in the series this year.

“The car was really good,” Keselowski said. “This Ford Mustang… Ford worked really hard in the offseason to build these cars and make them real strong, and so far, so good. Just a great day for our team.

“Awesome execution on pit road, and big credit to (engine builder) Doug Yates and all the engine stuff. Those guys worked really hard. But just one of those days you dream of as a race car driver where you’ve got a great car.”

Before Keselowski could claim the grandfather clock trophy that goes to the winner, he had to go to school. Elliott’s No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was a superior short-run car, enabling Elliott to pass Keselowski for the lead on Lap 325, five laps after a restart necessitated by a caution for William Byron’s spin in Turn 4.

Keselowski followed Elliott for 48 green-flag laps—until Matt Tifft spun in Turn 2 on Lap 372—and learned a valuable lesson.

“I don’t know if we were as good as the 9 car, Chase Elliott,” Keselowski said. “He was really strong, but he passed me there with about 200 to go, and I watched him and studied him and kind of broke it down and knew what I had to do to hold him off with that fast of a car.

“And we were able to pull it off that last run.”

Busch was hounding Elliott as fiercely as Elliott was dogging Keselowski, but when Busch was held up in traffic in the late going, Elliott began experimenting with a higher line in the corners.

“I felt like we were about as even with him as we could be,” Elliott said. “There was a little… I felt like when he did get the lead, there was a little advantage to being out front, being able to work traffic your way and kind of play off it and whatnot.

“But, yeah, I tried to move up there at the end, and I don’t know if I could have got to him. Maybe if I moved up a little sooner. But I tried to get to him there in (Turn) 3 (on the final lap). I was pretty well content on moving him out of the way. But maybe next time.”

Ryan Blaney finished fourth, followed by Denny Hamlin, who recovered from a penalty for an uncontrolled tire. Kevin Harvick was sixth, Clint Bowyer came home seventh, despite being sent to the rear twice for speeding on pit road. Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola and Daniel Suarez completed the top 10.

Notes: Elliott’s No. 9 Camaro was the only Chevrolet in the top 10 at the end of Sunday’s race… All four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers—Harvick, Bowyer, Almirola and Suarez—finished in the top 10… With Keselowski leading 446 laps, there were four lead changes among three drivers. Pole winner Joey Logano led the first five laps but faded to 19th at the finish.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – 70th Annual STP 500

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Sunday, March 24, 2019

  1. (3)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 500.
  2. (7)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 500.
  3. (13)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500.
  4. (17)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 500.
  5. (5)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500.
  6. (4)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500.
  7. (10)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500.
  8. (8)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 500.
  9. (2)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 500.
  10. (9)  Daniel Suarez, Ford, 500.
  11. (29)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 500.
  12. (19)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 500.
  13. (22)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 500.
  14. (16)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 500.
  15. (14)  Paul Menard, Ford, 500.
  16. (15)  Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 500.
  17. (26)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 500.
  18. (6)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 500.
  19. (1)  Joey Logano, Ford, 500.
  20. (21)  Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 500.
  21. (12)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 499.
  22. (34)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 499.
  23. (20)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 499.
  24. (11)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 498.
  25. (24)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 498.
  26. (25)  David Ragan, Ford, 496.
  27. (28)  Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 496.
  28. (27)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 494.
  29. (31)  Matt Tifft #, Ford, 494.
  30. (18)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 491.
  31. (23)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 491.
  32. (35)  DJ Kennington(i), Chevrolet, 489.
  33. (32)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 489.
  34. (30)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 365.
  35. (36)  Jeb Burton(i), Chevrolet, Brakes, 163.
  36. (33)  Cody Ware #, Chevrolet, Brakes, 55.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  78.158 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 21 Mins, 54 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .594 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  7 for 56 laps.

Lead Changes:  4 among 3 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   J. Logano 1-5;B. Keselowski 6-324;C. Elliott 325-373;B. Keselowski 374-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Brad Keselowski 2 times for 446 laps; Chase Elliott 1 time for 49 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 5 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,9,10,11,12,14,22,19,18,3

Stage #2 Top Ten: 2,12,11,9,19,10,4,14,41,22

 

Kyle Busch Overcomes Speeding Penalty to Snag 200th NASCAR Victory

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

 

 

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

FONTANA, Calif. – Let the debate begin.

Recovering from a pit road speeding penalty with the help of a timely caution, Kyle Busch collected his 200th NASCAR national series victory with a dominating win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

At the same venue that gave Busch his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2005, the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota beat runner-up Joey Logano to the finish line by a comfortable 2.354 seconds to earn his 53rd win in the series and his second straight this season.

With 53 victories in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and 94 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series—both records—Busch reached the milestone a day after a pit road penalty cost him a chance to hit the magic number in the Xfinity race at the two-mile track.

But on Sunday, he overcame the pit road speeding penalty incurred during the break after Stage 2 and powered back to the lead with 26 laps left. Now Busch will leave it to others to debate where his 200 victories stack up against the record 200 Cup wins accumulated by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty.

Driving a Day-Glo green Camry carrying the livery of long-time sponsor Interstate Batteries, Busch led 134 of 200 laps despite the penalty and became the season’s first multiple winner.

“Feels just like number one,” Busch said after taking the checkered flag. “Feels just like yesterday. Man, that was such an awesome race car. I mean, dang! This Interstate Batteries Camry was awesome today. I’m glad we put on a heck of a show for all these fans out here in California at Auto Club Speedway.

“It takes green to get in Victory Lane today. Today is St. Patty’s day. All these other guys were at a disadvantage. The Interstate Batteries Green Machine was flying today. Just awesome. Just awesome. To win 200, I mean, whatever it means, it means a lot to me. It means a lot to all my guys, everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing. You guys are all the best.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to drive for Joe Gibbs. I cherish every minute of it, love it always. Just wish that we could keep it going, keep it going like this, running strong, running well, and winning these races.”

Busch’s crew chief, Adam Stevens helped put the milestone in perspective.

“Two hundred is just another number,” Stevens said. “He was going to get there—it was inevitable. But it’s an honor to be the guy on the pit box when he does it.”

Brad Keselowski came home third, followed by Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney, as Ford drivers grabbed the next four positions behind Busch’s Toyota. Sixth-place Kurt Busch, brother of the race winner, drove the highest-finishing Chevrolet.

As he had done a day earlier in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Kyle Busch swept the first and second stages of the Auto Club 400. But if Busch sailed to the stage wins with relative ease—finishing more than five seconds ahead of second-place Brad Keselowski in Stage 2—other potential contenders had issues in the early going that cost them dearly.

For Clint Bowyer, it was simply a matter of a sour engine that caused him to fall two laps down by the end of the second stage. For pole winner Austin Dillon, it was a flat right rear tire that interrupted a promising top-five run with four laps left in the first stage. Dillon battled back to finish 10th.

For defending race winner Martin Truex Jr., it was hard contact with the No. 17 Ford of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in Turn 2 after a restart on Lap 60. The accident, which caused extensive damage to the right rear of Truex’s No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, took the 2017 out of contention. Nevertheless, Truex soldiered on to an eighth-place result.

The race winner had a turn with adversity, too. His stroll to victory in the Inland Empire hit a major obstacle with the pit road speeding penalty under caution during the break after Stage 2. After restarting 18th on Lap 128, Busch diced his way through the field and was running fifth at the start of a green-flag pit stop cycle on Lap 160.

Stevens kept Busch on the track after all the other frontrunners had come to pit road, and on Lap 164, the gamble was rewarded. The left front tire on Bubba Wallace’s Chevrolet exploded, strewing debris on the track and causing the caution Busch desperately needed.

With fresh tires after a pit stop on Lap 166, Busch restarted second on Lap 170, fell back to fourth briefly and but charged forward and passed Logano for the lead on Lap 175. Game over.

“We only raced for two laps before the 18 blew our doors off and drove away from us,” Logano said. “Fastest car in the race. We’ve got a little bit of work to do.

“Solid run for the Auto Club Mustang here. You want to win at your sponsor’s home track. Gosh, we came so close. Proud of the effort. Hung in there all day, hung strong. Just didn’t have enough for the green car.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – 23rd Annual Auto Club 400

Auto Club Speedway

Fontana, California

Sunday, March 17, 2019

  1. (4)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 200.
  2. (5)  Joey Logano, Ford, 200.
  3. (13)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 200.
  4. (2)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 200.
  5. (10)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 200.
  6. (21)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 200.
  7. (6)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 200.
  8. (27)  Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 200.
  9. (3)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 200.
  10. (1)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 200.
  11. (8)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 200.
  12. (15)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 200.
  13. (20)  Daniel Suarez, Ford, 200.
  14. (12)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 200.
  15. (22)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 200.
  16. (14)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 200.
  17. (11)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 200.
  18. (24)  Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 200.
  19. (18)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 200.
  20. (25)  Paul Menard, Ford, 200.
  21. (23)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 200.
  22. (7)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 199.
  23. (26)  Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 199.
  24. (29)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 198.
  25. (19)  David Ragan, Ford, 198.
  26. (32)  Matt Tifft #, Ford, 197.
  27. (16)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 197.
  28. (31)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 195.
  29. (33)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 195.
  30. (28)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 194.
  31. (30)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 193.
  32. (34)  Cody Ware #, Chevrolet, 192.
  33. (17)  Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 192.
  34. (35)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 192.
  35. (38)  Joey Gase(i), Toyota, 188.
  36. (37)  Garrett Smithley(i), Chevrolet, 188.
  37. (36)  BJ McLeod(i), Ford, 172.
  38. (9)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, Overheating, 130.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  143.113 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 47 Mins, 42 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.354 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 22 laps.

Lead Changes:  18 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Dillon 0;D. Hamlin 1-2;A. Almirola 3-9;D. Hamlin 10-12;K. Busch 13-30;W. Byron 31-33;K. Busch 34-56;D. Hamlin 57-59;K. Busch 60-69;J. Logano 70-71;K. Busch 72-122;B. Keselowski 123-160;K. Busch 161-165;R. Stenhouse Jr 166;R. Blaney 167-168;K. Busch 169;B. Keselowski 170-173;J. Logano 174;K. Busch 175-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 7 times for 134 laps; Brad Keselowski 2 times for 42 laps; Denny Hamlin 3 times for 8 laps; Aric Almirola 1 time for 7 laps; Joey Logano 2 times for 3 laps; William Byron 1 time for 3 laps; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 2 laps; Ricky Stenhouse Jr 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,22,11,4,10,20,41,48,12,8

Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,2,12,22,10,4,20,1,11,9

 

Kyle Busch is One NASCAR Win Away from 200 After Phoenix Cup Victory

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

 

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

AVONDALE, Ariz. – There was an air of inevitability to Kyle Busch’s closing run in Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway.

Busch was tracking down race leader Ryan Blaney after restarting fourth on Lap 239 of the fourth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season. Running in Blaney’s wake for 37 laps, Busch finally made the winning pass on Lap 296 of 312 and nursed his car to the finish line.

Busch’s third victory at the one-mile track and his 52nd in the series left him one win short of his goal of 200 aggregate victories across NASCAR’s three national series. Combined with Saturday’s win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Phoenix, the Sunday triumph gave Busch the 12th two-race weekend sweep of his career.

Busch, Blaney and most of the rest of the front-running cars pitted for tires and fuel on Lap 221, leaving 91 laps to the finish in a race that featured a projected fuel run of 81 laps. Both made it to the finish line with room to spare, though Martin Truex Jr. charged through the field to grab second place after Blaney surrendered the lead and went into serious fuel-saving mode.

Truex made up roughly seven seconds over the last 22 laps and finished 1.259 seconds behind Busch.

“I knew before we went back green (on Lap 239), that we were going to be right on the verge (of getting to the finish on fuel),” Busch said. “You got to go race hard first and then you have to worry about fuel afterwards.

“Once I got to Blaney, I was able to save a little bit. Then I tried to take care of my tires for the rest of the traffic that we had to get through and make sure we had enough fuel to make it to the end. This makes last weekend so much stupider (in a potential victory spoiled by a pit road speeding penalty). I wish we could have swept last week, too.”

Busch can reach his stated goal of 200 combined victories next weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., where he will race in both the Xfinity and Cup events. But the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has scrupulously avoided comparisons with the record 200 victories recorded by seven-time champion Richard Petty, who posted all his wins in the Cup series.

“It’s not for me to worry about,” Busch said. “It’s for everyone else to discuss and talk about and argue over and debate. For myself and the career that I’ve had, I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of top people and a lot of great sponsors.

“To work with my guys and take them to Victory Lane is what it’s all about.”

Once Busch gets to his magic number, the 33-year-old from Las Vegas will set his sights on 100 wins in the Cup series. Behind Petty, David Pearson is second with 105 victories, followed by Jeff Gordon with 93.

“Might as well set your goals high, go out there and achieve,” Busch said. “Let’s set it at a 100 and see if we can’t get there. That would certainly put us up there with the top guys, being one of the best of the best.

“But, overall, that’s a long ways to go. You’ve got to win a lot of races, a lot of years, to be able to tally up that many. I’m not quite as good as Jeff Gordon any more with being able to win 10 races a year or 13 races a year. I don’t know if those deals will happen that much anymore. Last year, we gave it a shot with eight. See if we can’t keep firing them off like we are right now and living the dream, baby.”

Aric Almirola, who like Blaney took two tires on the Lap 221 pit stop, ran fourth, followed by Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin and Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch. Jimmie Johnson came home eighth for his second top 10 and best result of the season.

Nine-time Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick drove to ninth place after an extra pit stop on Lap 234 for tires and fuel. Las Vegas winner Joey Logano rolled home in 10th.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – 15th Annual TicketGuardian 500

ISM Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Sunday, March 10, 2019

  1. (4)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 312.
  2. (9)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 312.
  3. (1)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 312.
  4. (14)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 312.
  5. (3)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 312.
  6. (31)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 312.
  7. (16)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 312.
  8. (15)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 312.
  9. (8)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 312.
  10. (12)  Joey Logano, Ford, 312.
  11. (26)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 312.
  12. (18)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 312.
  13. (19)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 312.
  14. (2)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 312.
  15. (20)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 312.
  16. (22)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 312.
  17. (17)  Paul Menard, Ford, 311.
  18. (11)  Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 311.
  19. (5)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 311.
  20. (30)  Matt Tifft #, Ford, 311.
  21. (13)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 311.
  22. (23)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 311.
  23. (28)  Daniel Suarez, Ford, 311.
  24. (7)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 310.
  25. (29)  David Ragan, Ford, 310.
  26. (24)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 310.
  27. (33)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 308.
  28. (25)  Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 308.
  29. (10)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 304.
  30. (35)  Quin Houff, Chevrolet, 302.
  31. (36)  Bayley Currey(i), Ford, 301.
  32. (34)  Cody Ware #, Chevrolet, 300.
  33. (32)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 267.
  34. (21)  Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, Accident, 229.
  35. (6)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, Accident, 191.
  36. (27)  Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 157.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  101.693 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 4 Mins, 5 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.259 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  9 for 57 laps.

Lead Changes:  17 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   R. Blaney 1-35;K. Busch 36-40;R. Blaney 41;D. Hamlin 42-45;K. Busch 46-65;D. Hamlin 66;R. Blaney 67-79;K. Busch 80-152;D. Hamlin 153;K. Busch 154-195;R. Blaney 196;J. Johnson 197-200;K. Busch 201-220;D. Hamlin 221;D. Hemric # 222-225;A. Almirola 226-251;R. Blaney 252-295;K. Busch 296-312.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 6 times for 177 laps; Ryan Blaney 5 times for 94 laps; Aric Almirola 1 time for 26 laps; Denny Hamlin 4 times for 7 laps; Jimmie Johnson 1 time for 4 laps; Daniel Hemric # 1 time for 4 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 12,10,22,88,18,42,3,24,9,4

Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,14,4,19,11,6,48,22,9,1

 

Joey Logano Outduels His Teammate for Las Vegas Victory

Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

LAS VEGAS – It was a victory for Joey Logano.

It was a victory for Team Penske.

It was a victory for NASCAR’s new higher-downforce, lower-horsepower competition package, which debuted in full flower on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In a pitched battle between teammates, Logano held off Brad Keselowski on the final lap of the Pennzoil 400 to score the second straight victory for Team Penske and the second straight for the new Ford Mustang, which was introduced into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this year.

Pennzoil sponsored both the race and Logano’s car.

“I said we’re going to do donuts on that giant infield logo after the race, and we were able to do it,” said Logano, who won for the first time this season, the first time at Las Vegas and the 22nd time in his career.

“What a great race. Brad and I were so evenly matched, and you just can’t drive away (with the lead). In the last five or six laps, Brad was catching me so quick, and I got stuck behind a lapped car. Man, it was so close. Lots of fun – my hearts still running hard.”

Keselowski, who won last week at Atlanta, had a huge run through Turns 3 and 4 on the final lap, but Logano was able to clear his teammate off the final corner – with inches to spare – straighten his No. 22 Ford and head for the checkered flag.

“Yeah, I figured he’d run up against the wall there, and he made up more ground than I thought he would,” Logano said. “He made such a good run and I just barely cleared him there at the end.

“Team Penske going 1-2 shows the kind of speed we’ve got this season.”

On Lap 240 of 267 in a race whose only two cautions were the breaks between stages, Keselowski passed Logano in traffic to take the lead. Four laps later, Logano returned the favor and held the top spot the rest of the way.

“It was a good battle,” Keselowski said. “We were both running really hard on the top. It seemed to come down to what the lapped cars were going to do. The lapped cars screwed the leader, and the second-place guy got a really good run.

“It happened over and over again. First, Joey got hosed by a lapped car, and I got by him. Then I got hosed by a lapped car, and he got by me. But it was definitely a good event.”

In the end, the event came down to the final few laps, with Keselowski trimming Logano’s lead from just over a second to next-to-nothing with two laps left. Keselowski’s last-ditch try through the final two corners came up just short. The driver of the No. 2 Ford would have liked one more lap to settle the issue.

“I’d sure like to find out,” Keselowski said. “I passed Joey with the lapped traffic there and caught a break there, and then lapped traffic cost me the lead to Joey and he pulled a good slide job (off Turn 4 on the final lap).

“I tried to pull it back, and I was just a touch too nice to him.”

Kyle Busch recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to run third, his chances to make the final run a three-way fight for the win ending when he ran afoul of traffic on the final three laps. Pole winner Kevin Harvick dominated the first stage, but the handling of his No. 4 Ford deteriorated in the second half of the race, as it had done last week at Atlanta. He finished fourth.

Kurt Busch parlayed a divergent pit strategy into a fifth-place run. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin completed the top 10.

Logano led 86 laps, second only to Harvick’s 88. With the race running green except for the stage breaks, 18 cars finished on the lead lap.

The new competition package kept the racing closer at the front and more fluid within the pack. The event produced 47 green-flag passes for the lead versus nine in last year’s race. All told, there were 19 lead changes at the completion of laps as opposed to 11 in 2018.

Seventeen drivers each accounted for more than 100 green-flag passes, according to NASCAR’s loop data.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – 22nd Annual Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Sunday, March 3, 2019

  1. (10)  Joey Logano, Ford, 267.
  2. (19)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267.
  3. (3)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 267.
  4. (1)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 267.
  5. (28)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 267.
  6. (8)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 267.
  7. (25)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 267.
  8. (23)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 267.
  9. (12)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 267.
  10. (2)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 267.
  11. (11)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 267.
  12. (7)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 267.
  13. (18)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 267.
  14. (17)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 267.
  15. (15)  Paul Menard, Ford, 267.
  16. (20)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 267.
  17. (22)  Daniel Suarez, Ford, 267.
  18. (27)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 267.
  19. (9)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 266.
  20. (4)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 266.
  21. (26)  Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 266.
  22. (13)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 266.
  23. (5)  Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 265.
  24. (29)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 265.
  25. (24)  Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 265.
  26. (21)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 265.
  27. (30)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 264.
  28. (6)  David Ragan, Ford, 264.
  29. (14)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 264.
  30. (16)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 263.
  31. (32)  Parker Kligerman(i), Toyota, 263.
  32. (31)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 260.
  33. (38)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 259.
  34. (35)  Matt Tifft #, Ford, 259.
  35. (33)  Cody Ware #, Chevrolet, 253.
  36. (37)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 252.
  37. (34)  BJ McLeod(i), Ford, 220.
  38. (36)  Joey Gase(i), Toyota, Engine, 10.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  154.849 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 35 Mins, 11 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .236 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  2 for 12 laps.

Lead Changes:  19 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Harvick 1-43;J. Logano 44-49;D. Suarez 50-61;K. Harvick 62-83;B. Keselowski 84-96;J. Logano 97-119;K. Busch 120-128;W. Byron 129-149;J. Logano 150-163;K. Busch 164-168;J. Logano 169;K. Busch 170-187;K. Harvick 188-210;J. Logano 211-215;K. Busch 216-219;R. Stenhouse Jr. 220-224;A. Dillon 225-226;J. Logano 227-239;B. Keselowski 240-243;J. Logano 244-267.

 

RACING RESULTS   RACING RESULTSRACING RESULTS   RACING RESULTS

XFINITY SERIES

 
Cole Custer wins at Fontana, hits pause on Kyle Busch's run to 200

Robert Laberge/Getty Images



By Reid Spencer NASCAR Wire Service

FONTANA, Calif. - Thanks to Cole Custer, Kyle Busch will have to wait at least one more day.

With a determined run to the finish in Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway, Custer kept Busch at bay after a restart with 20 laps left and thwarted Busch’s march toward 200 victories across NASCAR’s top three national series.

In winning for the third time in his career and the first time at his home track, the Ladera Ranch, Calif., native grabbed the lead from Christopher Bell on Lap 132 of 150 and pulled away to beat Busch to the finish by 1.927 seconds, after Busch passed Bell for second on Lap 136.

For his part, Busch fell one spot short of win No. 200 after a self-inflicted wound by his pit crew sent the No. 18 Toyota to the back of the field for a restart on Lap 118. Four circuits earlier, under caution, a problem with the jack on the left side of the car cost Busch 10 spots on pit road.
 

But the coup de grace was a penalty for an uncontrolled tire that forced him to restart at the tail end of the field and gave Custer a chance out front in clean air.

"It means a ton," said the 21-year-old Custer. "As great a driver as Kyle Busch is, he’s going to be one of the legends of our sport. To keep him one race more from getting 200 means a lot. I’m sure he’s a little bit frustrated, but we have a great time racing him."

Once Custer passed Bell for the lead, his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford took off.

"We had a pretty good car all day," said Custer, who led four times for a total of 29 laps. "It was just a matter of getting out front. We got our car to turn a little better, and that was kind of the difference."

After restarting sixth on Lap 131, Busch, who won the first two stages and led 98 laps, couldn’t match Custer’s speed over the last 20 circuits.

"Lack of grip there at the end," said Busch, who will have his next shot at his 200th win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "We just didn't have the speed we needed with the No. 00.

"Earlier in the day we were two tenths (of a second) better than some of the guys, and there at the end, we weren't. It is what it is, I guess… Our Supra was fast, just not enough at the end. At the end there, he (Custer) was really good and really fast and had a good car. They got better throughout the day and got closer to our rear bumper there on that second-to-last run before we had our pit road problems and dropped us back in the pack.

"Obviously, we were able to rebound, but when you have a fast guy out front and a fast guy in second, they run the same times, and they stay the same distance apart. We just weren’t quick enough there at the end to chase them down."

Bell held third despite fighting handling issues throughout the afternoon. Polesitter Tyler Reddick recovered from several brushes with the outside wall to run fourth. Chase Briscoe was fifth in the No. 98 Ford.

Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones and Ryan Preece all recovered from spins to come home sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Justin Allgaier and Justin Haley completed the top 10.

Asked how he planned to celebrate the victory, Custer had a ready reply.

"This year, I can drink," he quipped.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race - 21st Annual Production Alliance Group 300

Auto Club Speedway

Fontana, California

Saturday, March 16, 2019

1. (3) Cole Custer, Ford, 150.

2. (2) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 150.

3. (4) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 150.

4. (1) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 150.

5. (6) Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 150.

6. (11) Austin Cindric, Ford, 150.

7. (9) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 150.

8. (7) Ryan Preece(i), Chevrolet, 150.

9. (8) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 150.

10. (12) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 150.

11. (14) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 150.

12. (5) Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 150.

13. (16) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 150.

14. (13) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 150.

15. (18) Brandon Brown #, Chevrolet, 150.

16. (17) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 150.

17. (21) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 148.

18. (15) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 147.

19. (25) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 147.

20. (23) Tommy Joe Martins, Toyota, 146.

21. (28) David Starr, Chevrolet, 146.

22. (29) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, 145.

23. (30) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 145.

24. (27) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 143.

25. (33) Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 143.

26. (36) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, 142.

27. (20) Joey Gase, Toyota, 141.

28. (10) John Hunter Nemechek #, Chevrolet, Accident, 82.

29. (22) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, Vibration, 79.

30. (35) John Jackson, Toyota, Vibration, 50.

31. (34) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 43.

32. (24) Chad Finchum, Toyota, Axle, 39.

33. (19) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, Engine, 37.

34. (26) Timmy Hill, Toyota, Transmission, 34.

35. (31) Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, Overheating, 14.

36. (32) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Brakes, 10.

37. (37) Caesar Bacarella, Chevrolet, Vibration, 1.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 130.703 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 17 Mins, 43 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.927 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 28 laps.

Lead Changes: 13 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: T. Reddick 0;K. Busch(i) 1;T. Reddick 2-11;K. Busch(i) 12-86;N. Gragson # 87-89;C. Custer 90-91;K. Busch(i) 92;C. Custer 93;K. Busch(i) 94-114;C. Bell 115-118;C. Custer 119-125;M. Annett 126-130;C. Bell 131;C. Custer 132-150.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch(i) 4 times for 98 laps; Cole Custer 4 times for 29 laps; Tyler Reddick 1 time for 10 laps; Christopher Bell 2 times for 5 laps; Michael Annett 1 time for 5 laps; Noah Gragson # 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,2,00,7,9,1,22,8,20,39

Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,2,7,00,19,20,8,22,1,98
 

 

 

Kyle Busch Gets 11th Phoenix Win, Ties NASCAR Xfinity Series Record

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

AVONDALE, Ariz. – How did Kyle Busch win Saturday’s IK9 Service Dog 200 at ISM Raceway?

Poof! His closest pursuers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

Busch was out front on Lap 130 when the engine in the No. 01 Chevrolet of Stephen Leicht exploded in front of Justin Allgaier and pole winner Christopher Bell, who were running second and third at the time.

Enveloped in a Days-of-Thunder-style cloud of smoke, Allgaier spun in the fluid from Leicht’s car, hitting the outside wall and damaging the rear of his car. Bell, the series leader entering the race, fared far worse.

His No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota backed into the outside wall, crumpling the rear of the car beyond repair. Bell exited the race in 30th place.

With his two most formidable challengers out of the picture, Busch led the field to the subsequent restart on Lap 143 and stayed out front the rest of the way, beating runner-up Ryan Truex to the finish line by 3.025 seconds.

The victory was Busch’s 11th at ISM Raceway, tying him with NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Mark Martin for most Xfinity wins at a single track. Martin accomplished the feat at Rockingham.

Busch won for the second time in two starts this season and for the record 94th time in the series, bringing his total victories across NASCAR’s three national series to 198 and putting him within reach of his stated goal of 200 during the current West Coast Swing.

Three races remain before NASCAR heads back east to Martinsville. Busch will compete in Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at ISM Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) before running both the Cup and Xfinity races next weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

“Christopher was certainly going to give me a run for my money today,” Busch said of his JGR teammate. “I can’t say enough about the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing. Obviously, they build really fast Supras … Christopher, I hate he got caught up in that mess. Obviously, it was going to be a really fun run to the end there.”

Busch deflected the notion that he’s toying with the competition in the lower series.

“There’s a lot of talk and that sort of stuff, but if I’m allowed to enter a race, I’m going to enter the race and go out there and try to win it,” said Busch, who led 116 of the 200 laps. “If I win, I win. If not, we’ve got to go again the next time.”

Bell led 68 laps and won the second stage but fell to third soon after a restart on Lap 101 and couldn’t advance. Then came Leicht’s engine explosion and the end of Bell’s race.

“As soon as I entered the smoke wall, I couldn’t see anything,” Bell said. “I lost my bearings of where I was and the next thing you know, I was in the wall. Frustrating and very disappointing, because our Rheem Supra was extremely strong.

“I don’t know, it was weird. My car didn’t really feel that much worse that run, but once I got back behind those guys, I just really couldn’t pass them.”

Truex started ninth, fell back early but worked his way back through the field in his first run in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. After Bell and Allgaier crashed, Truex restarted second on Lap 143 and kept reigning series champion and eventual third-place finisher Tyler Reddick behind him.

“I guess it’s good when you lose to Kyle Busch,” Truex said. “I just got us behind there at the start. I was too free, and I couldn’t run anywhere on the track, so I lost a lot of track position early. We worked hard all day to get it back.

“I got that restart behind Kyle and was able to get a huge run in (Turns) 1 and 2. Our car was just so good on the long runs that I was able to hold Reddick off.”

For his part, Reddick inherited the series lead from Bell.

“I’m not very good at this race track,” said Reddick, who leads Bell by four points. “But hats off to RCR (Richard Childress Racing), they brought a fantastic Chevrolet. Our Camaro was great through most of this race. I honestly couldn’t give us a good sense of direction, so we just kind of threw in here what Daniel (Hemric) ran last year.

“Had a pretty good setup under this thing. Hopefully, I can figure out what I need to break through and contend with the 18 (Busch) in the end. All in all, it’s better than what I’ve run in the past. I’m just not very good at this race track.”

Cole Custer ran fourth, followed by fellow Ford drivers Austin Cindric (the Stage 1 winner) and Chase Briscoe, who fought his way forward after a pit road speeding penalty with an impressive closing drive. Brandon Jones was seventh, ahead of Daytona winner Michael Annett, John Hunter Nemecheck and Ryan Sieg, who recorded his third top-10 finish in four starts.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 15th Annual iK9 Service Dog 200

ISM Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Saturday, March 9, 2019

  1. (3)  Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 200.
  2. (9)  Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 200.
  3. (2)  Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 200.
  4. (4)  Cole Custer, Ford, 200.
  5. (8)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 200.
  6. (12)  Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 200.
  7. (11)  Brandon Jones, Toyota, 200.
  8. (5)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 200.
  9. (13)  John Hunter Nemechek #, Chevrolet, 200.
  10. (15)  Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200.
  11. (6)  Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 200.
  12. (10)  Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 200.
  13. (14)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 200.
  14. (7)  Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 199.
  15. (19)  Brandon Brown #, Chevrolet, 199.
  16. (17)  Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 199.
  17. (16)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 199.
  18. (18)  Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 199.
  19. (20)  Chad Finchum, Toyota, 197.
  20. (27)  Tyler Hill(i), Toyota, 197.
  21. (25)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 196.
  22. (28)  Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 196.
  23. (34)  Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 196.
  24. (21)  Joey Gase, Toyota, 195.
  25. (35)  Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, 192.
  26. (22)  Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, 189.
  27. (30)  David Starr, Chevrolet, 188.
  28. (31)  Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 182.
  29. (32)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, Ignition, 173.
  30. (1)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, Accident, 130.
  31. (26)  Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, Engine, 129.
  32. (36)  Ronnie Bassett Jr, Chevrolet, Brakes, 61.
  33. (23)  Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Vibration, 59.
  34. (33)  Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Brakes, 56.
  35. (29)  Tommy Joe Martins, Toyota, Fuel Pump, 49.
  36. (37)  Stan Mullis, Toyota, Carburetor, 35.
  37. (24)  Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 30.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  100.897 mph.

Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 59 Mins, 30 Secs. Margin of Victory:  3.025 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 35 laps.

Lead Changes:  12 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   C. Bell 1-34;C. Custer 35;A. Cindric 36-48;C. Bell 49-52;K. Busch(i) 53-57;C. Bell 58;K. Busch(i) 59-69;C. Bell 70-94;N. Gragson # 95;C. Bell 96-99;K. Busch(i) 100-132;C. Custer 133;K. Busch(i) 134-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch(i) 4 times for 116 laps; Christopher Bell 5 times for 68 laps; Austin Cindric 1 time for 13 laps; Cole Custer 2 times for 2 laps; Noah Gragson # 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 22,20,18,1,2,23,9,8,7,11

Stage #2 Top Ten: 20,18,2,7,9,22,00,39,8,11

 

Kyle Busch Sets Up Possible Vegas Weekend Sweep with NASCAR Xfinity Win

 

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

 

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

LAS VEGAS – It took successful a gamble, a serendipitous caution and a couple of overtimes for Las Vegas native Kyle Busch to win a second NASCAR Xfinity Series race on his home track, but Busch beat the odds in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300.

A lap down at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel, Busch rallied to win his 93rd Xfinity race, extending his series record and bringing his victory total across NASCAR’s three national series to 197.

Having also won Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series event, Busch will now go for the third three-race weekend sweep of his career in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race (12:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

After a wreck in the first overtime ruined the chances of reigning champion Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric and Zane Smith, Busch held off John Hunter Nemechek in the second overtime, clearing the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet off Turn 4 on Lap 212 and beating Nemechek to the checkered flag by .192 seconds a lap later.

But it was an early caution in the second stage of the race that put Busch in position to win. Busch had come to pit road with the loose wheel on Lap 15 and lost a lap to the frontrunning cars. At the end of Stage 1, won by Cole Custer, Busch’s crew chief, Ben Beshore, took a gamble in keeping the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on the track under caution for the stage break.

Busch returned to the lead lap with a wave-around but had to fight through traffic on old tires. A caution on Lap 59, however, gave Busch the opportunity he needed to pit for tires, and after restarting 17th on Lap 63, Busch charged to third by the end of the stage on Lap 90.

Passing Reddick for the lead on Lap 111, Busch was out front for a total of 98 laps, as the race went 13 laps beyond its scheduled distance.

“It was really tough to come back from one of those setbacks,” Busch said. “I wasn’t sure how we were going to be able to do it down a set of tires. We got a lucky break with a caution during the second stage.

“That kind of got us back on cycle, and we were able to put the first set (of tires) back on with fresh wheels so we didn’t have any more issues there.

With Bell winning last week at Atlanta, the new Toyota Supras have won two straight races.

“It’s cool to be able to back up Christopher’s win last week and get the Supra back in Victory Lane with me,” said Busch, who won in his first of seven Xfinity starts this season. “I wanted to be the first one, but he had to show me up a little bit last week.”

Busch is the only driver to sweep three national-series events in the same weekend, a feat he accomplished twice at Bristol, in 2010 and 2017. But a sweep at his home track would be all the more meaningful.

“I thought this was going to be the toughest of the three (races), because we could never get the balance right,” Busch said of the Xfinity event. “I was either way too tight or way too loose. I could never find a happy medium.

“Overall, I feel like our Cup car is pretty good. The car has some speed. We ran a lot out there in the pack and in traffic, and it’s going to be an interesting race (on Sunday). Make sure everybody tunes in.”

Las Vegas native Noah Gragson ran third, followed by Austin Dillon and Daytona winner Michael Annett.

Ryan Sieg, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe, Custer and Justin Haley completed the top 10.

Nemechek ran side-by-side with Busch but couldn’t keep up off Turn 4 on the penultimate lap.

“We gave him a run for his money,” Nemechek said. “I’ve been beaten by Kyle too many times, in late model races and now in the Xfinity Series. Hopefully, we can come out on top and build momentum off of this.”

Bell grabbed the lead from Busch on Lap 181 but brushed the outside wall soon thereafter, and Busch regained the top spot on Lap 182. Busch was a quarter-lap away from the white flag when contact between Custer’s Ford and the Toyota of Brandon Jones caused the sixth caution and forced overtime.

On the first attempt, Reddick spun beneath Busch’s Toyota in Turn 4, knocked Bell’s Toyota sideways, and triggered a wreck that also collected Smith and Cindric.

That accident set up Busch’s winning dash and primed him for a possible sweep on Sunday.

“To do it here in Las Vegas at my home track would be huge,” Busch said.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 23rd Annual Boyd Gaming 300

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Saturday, March 2, 2019

  1. (8)  Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 213.
  2. (10)  John Hunter Nemechek, Chevrolet, 213.
  3. (4)  Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 213.
  4. (31)  Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 213.
  5. (16)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 213.
  6. (18)  Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 213.
  7. (15)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 213.
  8. (28)  Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 213.
  9. (1)  Cole Custer, Ford, 213.
  10. (13)  Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 212.
  11. (20)  Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 211.
  12. (35)  Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 211.
  13. (3)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 210.
  14. (12)  Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, Accident, 208.
  15. (17)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 208.
  16. (19)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 208.
  17. (11)  Brandon Brown #, Chevrolet, 208.
  18. (22)  Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 208.
  19. (27)  David Starr, Chevrolet, 208.
  20. (29)  BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 208.
  21. (2)  Chad Finchum, Toyota, 207.
  22. (5)  Austin Cindric, Ford, Accident, 206.
  23. (34)  Timmy Hill, Toyota, 206.
  24. (6)  Zane Smith, Chevrolet, Accident, 205.
  25. (24)  Ja Junior Avila, Toyota, 205.
  26. (14)  Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 202.
  27. (30)  Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, 200.
  28. (9)  Brandon Jones, Toyota, Accident, 198.
  29. (25)  Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 196.
  30. (37)  Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, 194.
  31. (7)  Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Engine, 119.
  32. (26)  Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Suspension, 99.
  33. (38)  Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 61.
  34. (21)  Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 24.
  35. (36)  Stan Mullis, Toyota, Vibration, 14.
  36. (32)  Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, Electrical, 13.
  37. (23)  Donald Theetge, Chevrolet, Accident, 1.
  38. (33)  Joey Gase, Toyota, Accident, 1.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  123.518 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 35 Mins, 12 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.192 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  7 for 37 laps.

Lead Changes:  12 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   C. Custer 1-8;A. Cindric 9;C. Custer 10-48;T. Reddick 49-93;G. Gaulding 94-95;T. Reddick 96-111;K. Busch(i) 112-147;C. Bell 148-149;K. Busch(i) 150-180;C. Bell 181;K. Busch(i) 182-204;T. Reddick 205;K. Busch(i) 206-213.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch(i) 4 times for 98 laps; Tyler Reddick 3 times for 62 laps; Cole Custer 2 times for 47 laps; Christopher Bell 2 times for 3 laps; Gray Gaulding 1 time for 2 laps; Austin Cindric 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 00,19,2,20,23,1,7,22,11,9

Stage #2 Top Ten: 2,20,18,00,23,7,19,1,39,98

 

RACING RESULTS   RACING RESULTS RACING RESULTS   RACING RESULTS

gander outdoors TRUCK SERIES

Kyle Busch Keeps Rolling with Truck Series Win at Martinsville

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – A week after locking up his 200th NASCAR national series victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Kyle Busch took the first step toward the next century mark.

Holding off challenges from Ross Chastain and runner-up Ben Rhodes, Busch survived a late restart in winning Saturday’s TruNorth Global 250 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

The race ended under a last-lap caution, after Reid Wilson’s No. 44 Chevrolet spun in Turn 4 and nosed toward the inside wall. Rhodes was running second when the yellow flag waved, with reigning series champion Brett Moffitt third and Chastain fourth.

The victory was Busch’s second at the .526-mile short track in his own Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Busch has won each of his three starts this season and now has 54 victories in Trucks, extending his series record.

“These guys worked really, really hard this weekend,” Busch said of crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 51 team. “We unloaded, and I didn’t like where we were at. We made wholesale changes to this thing all weekend long and just tried to keep improving this Cessna Beechcraft Tundra and make it faster…

“All these guys kept trying to make it turn the center (of the corner) better. At Martinsville, you have to turn the center without getting too loose in or too loose off… And we had enough tire at the end to hold them all off.”

Busch led 174 of the 250 laps, including the final 66. He passed Chastain for the top spot on Lap 185 and held it the rest of the way through four subsequent cautions before the final restart with three circuits remaining.

“Today we just kind of let the race play out and come to us,” Busch said.

Rhodes had a second-place car but not a race winner—and he knew it.

“It was a good day at Martinsville,” Rhodes conceded. “It was the best finish I’ve had here yet. I was surprised—qualifying 16th. We had a fast Ford F150, but we just needed a little more. We got beat by the best in the business. He knows what he’s doing here.

“It was fun following him and seeing how he was pacing himself. That’s something I’ve struggled with in the past… Anytime you restart next to that guy, I try to log it in my memory banks so I can just try and get him next time.”

Pole winner Stewart Friesen finished fifth after leading 19 laps, third most behind Busch and Chastain (53). Myatt Snider, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Bubba Wallace completed the top 10.

French Canadian driver Raphael Lessard finished 14th in his first start in the Truck Series.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race – 21st Annual TruNorth Global 250

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Saturday, March 23, 2019

  1. (2)  Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 250.
  2. (16)  Ben Rhodes, Ford, 250.
  3. (5)  Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 250.
  4. (10)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 250.
  5. (1)  Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 250.
  6. (15)  Myatt Snider, Ford, 250.
  7. (19)  Grant Enfinger, Ford, 250.
  8. (6)  Matt Crafton, Ford, 250.
  9. (8)  Johnny Sauter, Ford, 250.
  10. (13)  Bubba Wallace(i), Chevrolet, 250.
  11. (18)  Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 250.
  12. (21)  David Gilliland, Toyota, 250.
  13. (12)  Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 250.
  14. (7)  Raphael Lessard, Toyota, 250.
  15. (3)  Todd Gilliland, Toyota, 250.
  16. (9)  Austin Hill, Toyota, 250.
  17. (4)  Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 250.
  18. (11)  Derek Kraus, Toyota, 250.
  19. (14)  Tyler Ankrum #, Toyota, 250.
  20. (24)  Spencer Davis, Ford, 249.
  21. (23)  Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 249.
  22. (26)  Austin Theriault, Ford, 248.
  23. (20)  Tyler Dippel #, Chevrolet, 248.
  24. (27)  Reid Wilson, Chevrolet, 247.
  25. (30)  Korbin Forrister, Toyota, 246.
  26. (29)  Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 246.
  27. (25)  Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 244.
  28. (32)  Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 240.
  29. (28)  Brennan Poole, Toyota, 239.
  30. (31)  Daniel Sasnett, Chevrolet, 238.
  31. (22)  Cory Roper, Ford, Rear End, 225.
  32. (17)  Gus Dean #, Chevrolet, Oil Line, 61.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  70.175 mph.

Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 52 Mins, 26 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags:  7 for 50 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   S. Friesen 1-8;K. Busch(i) 9-74;A. Hill 75-79;K. Busch(i) 80-120;S. Friesen 121-130;R. Chastain(i) 131-180;K. Busch(i) 181;R. Chastain(i) 182-184;K. Busch(i) 185-250.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch(i) 4 times for 174 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 2 times for 53 laps; Stewart Friesen 2 times for 18 laps; Austin Hill 1 time for 5 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 51,52,13,4,45,88,24,16,8,46

Stage #2 Top Ten: 45,99,51,52,24,18,13,16,27,4


 

Kyle Busch gets a dominating home-track Truck Series victory



By Reid Spencer NASCAR Wire Service

LAS VEGAS - Little would make Kyle Busch happier than a three-race weekend sweep in his home town. The driver of the No. 51 Toyota took the first step on Friday night, winning the Strat 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

For the second straight week, Busch swept both preliminary stages before taking the checkered flag. In his 2019 series debut last Friday at Atlanta, Busch broke a tie with NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. for most career victories. On Friday, he extended the record to 53.

Despite leading 111-of-134 laps, Busch complained of a tight handling condition throughout much of the race.

"We fought it in practice a little bit," said Busch, who now has 196 victories across all three of NASCAR’s national series combined. "We worked on it an awful lot to make it better. (Crew chief) Rudy (Fugle) and these guys did an amazing job on this Cessna Tundra. It was really, really fast. Just kept working on it all night long - every pit stop.
 

"It’s cool to win here in your home town, being in Las Vegas, starting off a triple weekend. Hopefully, we can keep it going."

Busch, who finished 1.211 seconds ahead of runner-up and reigning series champion Brett Moffitt, will compete in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 Xfinity Series race before trying for his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Las Vegas on Sunday.

Busch already has two weekend sweeps to his credit, both at Bristol Motor Speedway, in 2010 and 2017.

Moffitt had one shot at Busch in the closing laps after gaining ground on the race winner during the last cycle of pit stops. When Busch came to pit road under green on Lap 114, four laps after Moffitt, he lost most of a three-second lead as Moffitt ran those four extra laps with new right-side tires.

Moffitt got close to Busch’s rear bumper on Lap 119, but his No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet got loose behind the No. 51 Toyota and fell back. Nevertheless, the second-place finish was a victory of sorts for Moffitt, who recovered from a pit road mistake - the rear air gun hose was trapped beneath the rear tire during a stop under caution on Lap 33 - and worked his way back through the field.

"We had to use our stuff up getting back to the front - another pit road mistake," Moffitt said. "I had one chance to get to (Busch’s) bumper. I knew it was going to be a make-or-break move. Unfortunately, it was ‘break.’"

Matt Crafton rallied from early rear end damage to run third. Stewart Friesen, who battled Busch during the second stage and led 20 laps, finished fourth, followed by Harrison Burton. Sheldon Creed, Todd Gilliland, Johnny Sauter, Ryan Reed and Ross Chastain completed the top 10.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race - 2nd Annual Strat 200

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Friday, March 1, 2019

1. (1) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 134.

2. (2) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 134.

3. (15) Matt Crafton, Ford, 134.

4. (7) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 134.

5. (3) Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 134.

6. (9) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 134.

7. (13) Todd Gilliland, Toyota, 134.

8. (11) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 134.

9. (10) Ryan Reed, Toyota, 134.

10. (16) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 133.

11. (4) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 133.

12. (18) Timothy Peters, Chevrolet, 133.

13. (12) Natalie Decker #, Toyota, 133.

14. (25) Korbin Forrister, Toyota, 132.

15. (24) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 132.

16. (22) Angela Ruch, Chevrolet, 132.

17. (21) Tyler Dippel #, Chevrolet, 132.

18. (14) Anthony Alfredo #, Toyota, 132.

19. (17) Jesse Little, Ford, 132.

20. (8) Brennan Poole, Toyota, 131.

21. (20) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 130.

22. (26) Gus Dean #, Chevrolet, 130.

23. (31) Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, 129.

24. (5) Cory Roper, Ford, 127.

25. (19) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 125.

26. (28) Jesse Iwuji, Chevrolet, 124.

27. (29) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 123.

28. (32) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 121.

29. (23) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, Engine, 108.

30. (6) Austin Hill, Toyota, Engine, 82.

31. (27) Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, Carburetor, 67.

32. (30) Scott Stenzel, Chevrolet, Electrical, 34.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 139.449 mph.

Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 26 Mins, 29 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.211 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 3 for 15 laps.

Lead Changes: 7 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Busch(i) 1-33;S. Friesen 34-37;B. Rhodes 38;S. Friesen 39-54;K. Busch(i) 55-113;R. Chastain(i) 114;G. Enfinger 115-116;K. Busch(i) 117-134.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch(i) 3 times for 110 laps; Stewart Friesen 2 times for 20 laps; Grant Enfinger 1 time for 2 laps; Ben Rhodes 1 time for 1 lap; Ross Chastain(i) 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 51,24,16,18,45,4,52,17,44,99

Stage #2 Top Ten: 51,52,45,4,99,18,2,16,88,24

RACING RESULTS   RACING RESULTS RACING RESULTS   RACING RESULTS

K & N pro series

Hailie Deegan Makes Last Lap Pass to Win on Las Vegas Dirt

Opens NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Season With Victory

 

LAS VEGAS — Hailie Deegan was not to be denied.

In what she called the biggest race of her season and her "rebound race," second wasn't going to be good enough.

Thanks to a last-lap pass, she didn't have to settle for a runner-up finish. The 17-year-old from Temecula, California, captured her second career win and opened up the 2019 K&N Pro Series West season in Victory Lane in the Star Nursery 100 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

After having a pedal extension problem in her heat race forcing her to start ninth, she slowly and methodically worked her way into the top five by the lap 51 break. With some new tires and adjustments, she restarted third behind Derek Kraus and Jagger Jones.

Kraus was passed by Jones with 31 laps to go, and Deegan followed him through. But the No. 6 got smaller and smaller in her windshield, racing out to a four-second lead with 10 laps to go.

Just like she did before the midway break, she slowly reeled Jones in. As the white flag flew, Deegan was in striking distance of Jones. With the help of lapped traffic, the No. 19 dove to the inside, cleared Jones off Turn 2 and sped to the checkered flag.

Star Nursery 100 Race Results | VIDEO TWEET: Final lap of Star Nursery 100

"In the end we wouldn't have caught him if it weren't for the lapped cars," she said. "And they got in his way. If I was him, I'd be mad. Really mad. But some people’s losses are other people’s wins and we ended up getting it done. I knew what we had to do to win. I knew it was going to come down to the last lap again and we made it happen."

The NASCAR Next driver was not optimistic about her chances pre-race, saying her car was extremely ill-handling and the track wasn't conducive to her style of dirt racing. But in the downtime between the heat and 100-lap main, she did some homework and things changed.

"Mostly just me working on my lines," she said. "The line I was trying to run didn't work for my car, so I had to move around and find which line worked. Once we found that, fixed the car, the car was great. The track was still icy, and we still weren't good, but it was better than everyone else."

The thrill of victory for some is dichotomous with the agony defeat for others. In his first career K&N Pro Series West start, Jones seemed to be on his way to a victory.

Unfortunately for the 16-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, and his Sunrise Ford Racing team, circumstances dictated otherwise.

"Hailie definitely had a little more speed at the end," he said dejectedly. "But I think I would've held her off no problem, but lapped card cut me off, pushed me right into the tire on the last lap and Hailie was just able to get underneath me. Definitely wanted that win."

Jones wasn't upset with Deegan for the move. He was frustrated with Kenny Bumbera, who made life difficult for Jones on the final lap. When the door opened, Deegan kicked it down.

"Oh I think her move was fine," Jones said of Deegan's last lap maneuver. "I mean she didn't really do anything too bad. It's just the lapped car cut me off in front. It just pushed me up the track. Once that all happened she had a whole lane to herself. It was kind of given to her, which is unfortunate on the last lap. It just sucks sometimes."

Joey Tanner came home third in his first career series race for Jefferson Pitts Racing. Kody Vanderwal and Todd Souza rounded out the top five.

After leading a race-high 60 laps, Derek Kraus finished sixth with Trevor Huddleston, Travis Milburn, polesitter Austin Reed (led the first eight laps) and Matt Levin completing the top 10.

2019 K&N Pro Series West Championship Standings

The Star Nursery 100 is scheduled to be broadcast on Tuesday, March 5 at 6 p.m. on NBCSN.

The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place Saturday, March 30 at Irwindale Speedway.

Contact:
Jason Christley
NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications
(386) 310-6094
jchristley@nascar.com

 

NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES WEST-Star Nursery 100 Results

Thursday

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas

Lap length: 0.5 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (8) Hailie Deegan, Temecula, Calif, Toyota, 100 laps, 57.526 mph.

2. (4) Jagger Jones, Scottsdale, Ariz., Ford, 100.

3. (15) Joey Tanner, Portland, Ore., Ford, 100.

4. (7) Kody Vanderwal, LaSalle, Colo, Chevrolet, 100.

5. (5) Todd Souza, Aromas, Calif., Toyota, 100.

6. (2) Derek Kraus, Stratford, Wis., Toyota, 100.

7. (12) Trevor Huddleston, Agoura Hills, Calif., Ford, 100.

8. (11) Travis Milburn, Eagle, Idaho, Ford, 100.

9. (1) Austin Reed, Mooresville, N.C., Toyota, 100.

10. (3) Matt Levin, Tucson, Ariz., Chevrolet, 100.

11. (16) Brittney Zamora, Kennewick, Wash., Toyota, 100.

12. (13) Kenny Bumbera, Sealy, Texas, Ford, 99.

13. (9) Rob Powers, Meridian, Idaho, Ford, 99.

14. (17) David Hibbard, Medford, Ore., Chevrolet, 99.

15. (18) Rich DeLong III, Santa Clarita, Calif., Chevrolet, 99.

16. (6) Tony Toste, Pismo Beach, Calif., Chevrolet, 99.

17. (14) Takuma Koga, Nagoya, Japan, Toyota, 97.

18. (10) Tim Spurgeon, Danville, Calif., Chevrolet, 27, accident.

19. (19) Taylor Canfield, San Diego, Calif., Chevrolet, 1, electrical.

 

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 0 hours 52 minutes 9 seconds

Margin of Victory: .385 seconds

Caution Flags: 5 for 21 laps.

Lead Changes: 3 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders: A. Reed 1-8; D. Kraus 9-68; J. Jones 69-99; H. Deegan 100.

Standings: 1. H. Deegan, 47; 2. J. Jones, 43; 3. J. Tanner, 41; 4. K. Vanderwal, 40; 5. D. Kraus, 40; 6. T. Souza, 39; 7. T. Huddleston, 37; 8. T. Milburn, 36; 9. A. Reed, 36; 10. M. Levin, 34.

 

 

NEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTESNEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTES

MONSTER ENERGY CUP SERIES

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: STP 500

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Sunday, March 24

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 263 miles (500 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 130),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 260), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 500)

2018 Winner: Clint Bowyer

 

 

 

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

Team Penske power 

The championship three-car Team Penske organization already owns two wins through the opening five races of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and has quite a strong recent history at this week’s stop, Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway. Already, Brad Keselowski has a victory at Atlanta and Joey Logano at Las Vegas. Their young teammate, 25-year old Ryan Blaney, posted his best effort of the season two weeks ago – third place – at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway and answered with another top-10 on Sunday in California.

 

The reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Logano is ranked second in the points standings – 15 points behind two-race winner Kyle Busch - heading into Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway at 2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Keselowski is fifth in the standings and Blaney is 10th.

 

Logano, who drives the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang, has four top 10s in five races this season – including the Vegas win and a runner-up to Busch last weekend in California. Keselowski, the 2012 series champion and driver of the famed No. 2 Team Penske Ford Mustang, has three top-three showings including his win at Atlanta, a runner-up at Las Vegas and a third-place finish last weekend in California.

 

Blaney, who drives the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang, is coming off back-to-back top-five finishes at Phoenix and California. His recent work at Martinsville has been similar. He has two top-10 finishes in the last three races at the track, including a third place in this race last year after leading 145 laps.

 

Logano has been especially good at Martinsville, picking up his bid to the Championship 4 round of the Playoffs last October in a thrilling last lap victory at the half-miler – memorable for an especially aggressive run to the finish with 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr.

 

And overall, Logano has won three times at Martinsville and has four poles – earning three straight poles from 2015-16.  He’s finished in the top-10 in four of the last five races and led laps in four of the last five races as well. His 309 laps out front last October were the most laps led since Kyle Busch paced the field for 352 laps in March, 2016.

 

Keselowski also has a victory at Martinsville (Spring 2017) and boasts a current string of six consecutive top 10s – five top-fives - in the last six races there. He’s led 266 laps at the track in just the last four races.

 

Busch goes for national series win No. 201

With the 200th NASCAR national series combined victory now checked off the milestone list, Sunday’s Auto Club Speedway winner Kyle Busch shows no obvious signs of slowing down in his quest to add to that big number. The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion already has two Cup wins, two Xfinity Series wins and two Gander Outdoors Truck Series victories through 11 total starts among all three national series this season.

 

In all, Busch, who drives the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, has finished top-three in four of the five Monster Energy Series races. He is the only driver in the series to have top-10 finishes in every race and his combined 361 laps out front tops all competitors as well.

 

Martinsville could well be the venue to put him past the historic 200 national series win mark. He has two previous Cup victories at the track – both coming in the last three years. He has two wins, two runner-up showings and led 937 laps (66 percent of his career total at Martinsville) in the last seven races held at the track.

 

His 352 laps led in the 2016 race at Martinsville is the most laps led by anyone in the past 10 races there.

 

Busch’s most recent victories in the last two weeks of the season have been not only historic, but strong statements about his and his team’s competitiveness. He beat Logano by 2.35-seconds for the win in California last weekend and he beat his new teammate Martin Truex Jr. by a 1.2-seconds for the win at Phoenix two weeks ago.

 

He justifiably feels optimistic about this week’s short track challenge too.

 

“We’ve run well there, the last two years especially at Martinsville and we’re definitely pumped about getting back there,’’ Busch said. “I’m hoping we can have a really good car there again this time around, like we did the last several years.

 

Bowyer returns to defend his win

The defending winner of Sunday’s STP 500, Clint Bowyer, could use a dose of that positive vibe again this weekend. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has vacillated between great promise and disappointment in 2019. He has three top-15 finishes and two DNFs through the season’s opening five races. His best effort is a fifth at Atlanta four weeks ago. He suffered one of his DNFs this past Sunday in California when his No. 14 Ford had an overheating issue.

 

Last year’s Martinsville showing gives him reason to be optimistic this week. He led a race-high 215 laps en route to a solid 1.14-second win over Kyle Busch – Bowyer’s first victory since joining the SHR team in 2017. The win was especially satisfying considering how competitive the race was – three drivers (also Ryan Blaney, 145 laps and Denny Hamlin, 111 laps) led at least 100 laps on the afternoon.

 

Bowyer has 15 top-10 finishes in 26 starts at the track, including three in the last four years.

 

Jimmie Johnson has set the bar high

As is the case at so many NASCAR tracks, seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion and 83-race winner Jimmie Johnson holds the distinction for winning the most races (nine) at Martinsville Speedway among active drivers.

 

And history shows that once he gets on a hot streak at the historic half-miler, he has plenty of reason to celebrate thereafter. Johnson won three straight races here in the 2006-07 seasons and twice won back-to-back races (2008-09 and 2012-13).  He won five out of six races between 2006-09 with Denny Hamlin winning the one race (Spring, 2008) he did not hoist a trophy in that time.

 

Johnson has 19 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes in 34 starts and he’s led at least 100 laps in 13 different Martinsville races. He’s led 200 laps four times and twice led at least 300 laps – in 2008 he led 339 laps and in 2013 he led 346 laps (both times from the pole position).

 

Johnson’s 2,862 total laps led at Martinsville is most in the field this weekend – 1,000 laps more than Hamlin’s second-most laps led at 1,536. If Johnson were to lead 138 laps or more at Martinsville Speedway this weekend, he would become just the fifth driver in series history to lead 3,000 or more laps at multiple tracks; joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Cale Yarbrough (five tracks with 3,000 or more laps led), Richard Petty (four tracks), Rusty Wallace (three tracks) and Darrell Waltrip (two tracks).

 

Below are the seven drivers in series history to lead 3,000 or more laps at a single track:

Driver

Tracks With 3,000 Or More Laps Led

Cale Yarborough

Bristol (4,305), Martinsville (3,851), Rockingham (3,732), Nashville Fgds (3,632), Atlanta (3,283)

Richard Petty

North Wilkesboro (5,308), Richmond (5,136), Nashville Fgds (3,957), Rockingham (3,130)

Rusty Wallace

Bristol (3,743), Martinsville (3,632), Richmond (3,024)

Darrell Waltrip

Martinsville (3,617), Bristol (3,436)

Jeff Gordon

Martinsville (3,779)

Dale Earnhardt

Bristol (3,751)

Jimmie Johnson

Dover (3,105)

 

In comparison to the high standard Johnson has set, the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has struggled some at the track in recent years – leading laps in only two of the last nine races and scoring only two top-10s during that time; albeit one of those was the 2016 victory en route to his record-tying seventh title.

 

If Johnson were to win this weekend at Martinsville, he would become just the third driver in series history to record 10 or more wins at more than one track; joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip. Johnson currently has nine series wins at Martinsville.

 

Below is a list of the five drivers with 10 or more wins at a single track in the Monster Energy Series:

Driver

Tracks With 10 Or More Wins

Richard Petty

Martinsville (15), North Wilkesboro (15), Richmond (13), Rockingham (11), Daytona (10)

Darrell Waltrip

Bristol (12), Martinsville (10), North Wilkesboro (10)

Jimmie Johnson

Dover (11)

David Pearson

Darlington (10)

Dale Earnhardt

Talladega (10)

 

This year Johnson is 14th in the championship standings – looking to end a winless streak that dates back to the summer of 2017. He’s scored a pair of top-10 finishes in 2019 (at Daytona and at Phoenix) and his 14th place in the rankings is the highest he’s been since seventh place following the season-opening Daytona 500.

 

Hamlin welcomes the short tracks

Martinsville Speedway has certainly been among this year’s Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin’s “go-to” venues. His five wins – including three-straight from 2009-2010 seasons – are eclipsed by only nine-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson among active drivers.

 

Last year Hamlin certainly made a strong go at victory in this race, leading 111 laps but finishing 12th.

 

In 26 starts at his home state of Virginia’s half-miler, he has 19 top-10 finishes and 13 top-fives and an impressive 9.8 average finish. He’s led laps in 17 of the last 19 Martinsville races – highlighted by a performance in 2009 unequalled in recent history. That season he led 502 laps in the two races - 296 laps in this spring race and 206 laps in the fall. He’s led 1,536 laps total – second to Johnson’s 2,862 laps led.

 

Outside of winning the sport’s most celebrated race, the season-opening Daytona 500, Hamlin’s impressive work has been largely low profile. He has four top-10s through five races and the fifth finish was 11th at Atlanta. He’s led laps in three of the five races and is ranked fourth in the championship standings, 32-points behind his teammate Kyle Busch.

 

Interestingly, for all the success he’s enjoyed at Martinsville, Hamlin insisted he doesn’t prepare any differently or feel any extra emotions at the venue where he has been so good.

 

“I treat every race the same and I know our team is always working hard to give the FedEx Toyota the best chance to take the checkered flag,’’ Hamlin said “I’m proud of my accomplishments at Martinsville, but every race is different and we need to be fully focused and be at our best if we are going to have a shot at winning this weekend.’’

 

Tough and Tumble: Truex is ready for Martinsville

There will likely be two drivers, in particular, eyeing one another – and being eyed by everyone else - following a dramatic last lap dust-up in the 2018 Playoff race at Martinsville Speedway.

 

Eventual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano and 2017 series champion Martin Truex Jr. battled door-to-door coming to the finish line with some aggressive beating-and-banging that resulted in Logano earning the victory.

 

Truex has top-five finishes in the last three Martinsville races and has won the pole position twice at the venue. Right now, his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team has finished top-10 in the last four races of the 2019 season.

 

Not only does Truex have a strong record at Martinsville, he smiles and reminds he has a good memory about racing the track, too – for the good and the bad. He had worked his way all the up through the field from a 33rd-place starting position and led 18 laps before getting passed by Logano on the last lap in November.

 

“We’ve certainly got some unfinished business going into Martinsville this weekend,’’ Truex said. “It’s a place that wasn’t one of my favorites early in my career, but the last few years, I feel like I’ve really started to get a handle on it.”

 

“A lot of that can be attributed to having a really good crew chief and driving fast cars. It would mean a lot to win there especially after how the last race there ended up. I’m confident that we’ll have a fast SiriusXM Toyota Camry this weekend and be right there to have a shot at the end of the race.”

 

Harvick still looking for first win of the season

By the time Kevin Harvick arrived in Virginia for the 2018 season’s first short track race at Martinsville Speedway, he had already won three times. This season, he’s still looking for his first victory of 2019, but his fifth-place finish at Martinsville last March sparked a seven-race string of finishing seventh or better – including back-to-back victories at Dover and Kansas.

 

His last – and only – Cup victory at Martinsville came in 2011, although he has won in the Xfinity Series (2006) and three times in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series (2009, 2010, 2012) at the track.

 

Harvick’s 2019 has certainly been encouraging, if not trophy-hoisting. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford has finished in fourth place three times in the opening five races and won the Busch Pole position at Las Vegas. He is currently third in the Monster Energy Series points standings – 24 points behind standings leader Kyle Busch.

 

“Some guys just have a knack for Martinsville,’’ Harvick said. “There are some weekends when I show up and I feel good about where I’m at and some weekends I just feel like I’ve never been there before. You look at this little bitty racetrack and you think it would be so simple, and you go out there and it becomes so hard.

 

Martinsville Speedway streaks

For as challenging as Martinsville Speedway’s iconic paper-clip half-miler has been in the course of NASCAR history, it has produced a trend – particularly in the early years of its existence. Once a driver figured out the track, he really had success.

 

Seven drivers have won at least three consecutive races at Martinsville. And Fred Lorenzen holds the record for winning four straight from 1963-64.

 

Richard Petty – the track’s all-time winningest driver (15 victories) - won three straight from 1968-69. Cale Yarborough matched the three-race streak in 1976-77, 11-time Martinsville winner Darrell Waltrip did so in 1988-89, Rusty Wallace in 1994-95, Jimmie Johnson in 2006-07 and Denny Hamlin in 2009-10.

 

Johnson and Hamlin are the only two active drivers to have pulled off the impressive feat of streaks and they are also the only two drivers on this impressive list of superiority not to already be (yet) in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

 

Sunoco Rookie watch 2019

A 23rd-place effort by JTG Daugherty Racing driver Ryan Preece last weekend at Auto Club Speedway was good enough to put the 28-year old back on top of the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. In addition, he moved up three spots in the series driver points standings but is still looking for his first top-20 finish since an eighth-place run in the season-opening Daytona 500. This will be his first start at Martinsville in any of NASCAR’s three top series.

 

Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric, 28, dropped back into second position in the rookie standings following a 33rd-place finish in California last weekend. He is still looking for his first top 20 of 2019 in the Monster Energy Series. He does have a previous top-10 effort at Martinsville – a ninth-place finish in the 2016 Gander Outdoors Truck Series race there.

 

Front Row Motorsport’s Matt Tifft, 22, arrives at Martinsville feeling optimistic about his chances at the challenging venue and after posting his best two Cup finishes to date – a season-best 20th at ISM Raceway answered with a 26th-place run at Auto Club Speedway last weekend. Tifft scored back-to-back top-10 finishes at Martinsville in the Truck Series – finishing eighth and ninth in the two truck races there in 2015.

 

Rick Ware Racing’s Cody Ware, 23, was 32nd at Auto Club Speedway. His only previous start at Martinsville was a 27th-place finish in the Truck Series in 2015.

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Auto Club 400

The Place: Auto Club Speedway

The Date: Sunday, March 17

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2018 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

In A Zone: Kyle Busch looks to scratch another record in the books

Kyle Busch takes a six-point edge over Joey Logano in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings as the series continues its “West Coast Swing.” And this week may be especially significant in the milestone category as Busch faces two chances to claim a historic 200 combined NASCAR national series wins. It could come in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) – if he doesn’t earn it in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday.

 

Busch’s historic work at the two-mile California track indicates the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will again be a factor in deciding the trophy. His three wins are second only to six-time winner Jimmie Johnson and the two drivers are the only competitors in the field with multiple wins at the track.

 

In fact, Busch and Johnson are the only drivers to score their first career Monster Energy Series victories at Auto Club Speedway – in 2005 and 2002, respectively. And they are the only two drivers to ever win consecutive races at the track – Johnson in 2009-10 and Busch in 2013-14.

 

In 20 races, Busch has nine top-five finishes and is averaging a 10.4 finish – second only to Johnson among drivers with more than three starts at the track. He has six Xfinity Series wins and is a perfect 2-for-2 in NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts there, too.

 

He comes to California on a roll, sweeping last week’s Xfinity and Cup races at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway, making it easy to understand why he likes his chances in California.

 

“I’d assess it as pretty good, I guess,’’ Busch said following his 199th NASCAR national series win. “It would certainly be nice to get it (200th win) done on the West Coast swing, but it’s not a necessity. It will happen when it happens, and you can’t push too hard and do stupid things or make mistakes in order to think too much about that number.

 

“You just have to let the race kind of play out and let it come to you and we’ll see where we are at. Really looking forward to Fontana, it’s been a great place for me over the years and would love to get the Interstate Batteries Toyota back to Victory Lane there again no matter what number win that it ends up being.’’

 

Back At It: Truex returns to defend Auto Club Speedway victory

Martin Truex Jr. arrives at Auto Club Speedway as the defending race winner and he’ll gladly take the good vibes. Since moving from the Furniture Row Racing team, where he won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, to Joe Gibbs Racing this year, Truex is still looking for his first win.

 

Last season, it came on these Southern California high banks. Truex won the 2018 race from the Busch Pole position, leading 125 laps. He has three top-10 finishes in the last four races at the track and led 224 laps in that timeframe.

 

Since moving to the Joe Gibbs Racing operation, Truex has come close to winning twice already. He finished runner-up at both the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway three weeks ago and last week at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway one-miler. He has three top-10s in four races this season and is ranked fifth in the standings entering the weekend’s race.

 

Truex ran his first test – a Goodyear tire test - with his new No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team at California in January and was encouraged by the time on track.

 

“Our team is really looking forward to getting to California this week,’’ said Truex. “It’s one of my favorite tracks and I felt good about the test back in January.

 

“Obviously the weather is going to be different and there will be more than three cars like in the test, but we feel like we’ve learned a lot about the package since then. We need to go in there Friday and unload strong and carry that through the weekend. I’m excited to see if we can go back-to-back there because it’s really turned into one of the most fun tracks on the circuit.’’

 

If Truex were to win this weekend he would become just the third drivers in series history to win consecutive races at Auto Club Speedway, joining Jimmie Johnson (2009-2010) and Kyle Busch (2013-2014).

 

The Champ: Auto Club Speedway is mountain still left to summit for Logano

Reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano scored his third top-10 finish through the season’s four opening races last week at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. He has results of fourth (Daytona 500), first (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) and 10th (ISM Raceway). He had led the points standings up until Kyle Busch’s win at Phoenix last Sunday.

 

This weekend may prove to be a challenge for the reigning champ. Logano is winless in 12 starts at Auto Club Speedway, but half of those have resulted in top-10 finishes. In four of his last six starts at the 2-mile raceway he has finished inside the top five. His best career showing is third in 2013. His driver rating (87.8) is 10th-best at the track.

 

Right place, right time for California native Jimmie Johnson

Seven-time Monster Energy Series champion Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon) is hoping a return to his home state of California, along with some positive season momentum and a history of success there, will be the key to snapping an unprecedented 21-month winless streak.

 

Johnson earned his second top 10 of the season last week at Phoenix (eighth) and turned his first laps (four) in front of the field. He’s ranked 15th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver points standings heading to the two-mile Auto Club Speedway where his six victories (2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016) is most all-time.

 

In fact during the loop data era (2005-Present), Johnson boasts the top driver rating (115.6), best average finish (7.0), laps in the top 15 (3,988 laps, 88.5%) and most laps led (880 laps) of any active driver at the track. His 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes are tops in the field too – as are his five career runner-up finishes.

 

And two of those are among the closest five finishes in history at Auto Club Speedway. He lost to Kevin Harvick by 0.144-second in 2011 in the closest finish in track history. Greg Biffle edged him by 0.231-seconds in 2005 – for the third-closest margin of victory.

 

Johnson (2002) and current championship leader Kyle Busch (2005) are the only two active drivers to have scored their first Cup victory at Auto Club Speedway. If Johnson wins this weekend, he will tie NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series all-time wins list.

 

Hometown California Heroes: Harvick and Larson

California natives have traditionally fared well at Auto Club Speedway in the Monster Energy Series. Three of the top-10 ranked drivers in pre-race loop data at the track hail from California, including Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon), who boasts the best driver rating (115.6), Bakersfield’s Kevin Harvick (95.5) and Elk Grove native Kyle Larson (91.9).

 

Harvick won the race in 2011 and has two runner-up finishes in the last four years at Auto Club Speedway. Larson won from the pole position in 2017 and has three top-five finishes in five starts at the track, including a runner-up last year on the heels of his victory.

 

There are four Californians in the race, also including Matt DiBenedetto, of Grass Valley, who led a race-high 49 laps in the season-opening Daytona 500. His best finish at Auto Club Speedway is 27th in 2016.

 

Youth Movement

Three of the sport’s popular young drivers arrive at Auto Club Speedway in California this weekend looking for their first top-five finish at the western two-miler – all of them with solid experience at the track, just not a trip to Victory Lane quite yet.

 

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones, 22, has a best showing of seventh place (2018) in two starts at Auto Club Speedway. He has good precedent, however, with two top-five finishes in three Xfinity Series races, including a best of third place in 2015. Jones is currently ranked 14th in the points standings – his first week outside the top-10 following a 29th-place showing in Phoenix last week. He opened the year with a career-best third place in the Daytona 500 – the first of two top 10s so far.

 

Ryan Blaney, 25, righted his season start last week, earning the Busch Pole position at ISM Raceway, winning the first stage and finishing third – unbelievably, his first top-20 of the season. California has proven to be a positive place for Blaney. The driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang has back-to-back top-10 finishes in his last two starts there.  

 

Chase Elliott, 23, is also still working on his first top-five finish, or possible win, at Auto Club Speedway. The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has a pair of top-10 finishes in three starts, including a career-best of sixth in his first race there in 2016.

 

Last year’s three-race winner and Playoff favorite, Elliott, has one top-10 in four starts in 2019

 

Sunoco Rookie Preview: Auto Club Speedway

Richard Childress Racing driver Daniel Hemric’s 18th-place finish at ISM Raceway, coupled with Ryan Preece’s 34th-place finish, turned over the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie standings lead for the first time this season.

 

Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric earned his first top 20 of the season (18th) at Phoenix while Preece was involved in an incident and suffered his second DNF in four races and now trails Hemric by six points heading into Auto Club Speedway this weekend.

 

Front Row Motorsport’s Matt Tifft remains ranked third among the 2019 rookie class, 23 points behind Hemric. Following Tifft is Rick Ware Racing’s Cody Ware in fourth, 18 points behind Tifft.

 

All four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookies will be making their series track debut this weekend. Hemric’s career best showing at the track is a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race there last year. Tifft was eighth in that Xfinity Series race.

 

Parade Laps: Insights ahead of this week’s driver media breakouts

Seven drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Hendrick Motorsports’ drivers Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, JTG Daugherty Racing’s Chris Buescher, Front Row Motorsport’s Matt Tifft, Roush Fenway Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Leavine Family Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto - will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Auto Club Speedway in advance of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Jimmie Johnson, of El Cajon, Calif., is a seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, tying him with NASCAR Hall of Fame members Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt for the most season titles in the history of the sport. Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, leads all drivers with six wins and five runner-up finishes at Auto Club Speedway. His 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes are most all-time as well. He arrives for Sunday’s race ranked 15th in the standings with a pair of top-10 finishes (ninth at Daytona and eighth last week in Phoenix) in the season’s opening four races.

 

Kevin Harvick, of Bakersfield, Calif., is the 2014 Monster Energy Series champion. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang earned a career-best eight victories in 2018, finishing third in the championship. He’s finished third or better in the final standings in six of the last seven seasons. Auto Club Speedway is located a little more than two hours from Harvick’s hometown of Bakersfield. He won at the track in 2011 and has finished runner-up in two (2015 and 2016) of the last four races there. He is currently ranked third in the standings with three top-10 finishes in the four races to date, including a ninth place in Phoenix last weekend.

 

Chris Buescher, of Prosper, Texas, is the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion. The driver of the JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has one victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, earning it at Pocono, Pa. in his 2016 rookie season. He has one top-10 so far in 2019 – a ninth-place finish at Atlanta three weeks ago. His best showing at Auto Club Speedway is 20th, in his first start there in 2015.

 

Matt Tifft, of Hinckley, Ohio, has never made a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Auto Club Speedway. In his four series races this season, the 22-year old rookie turned in his best effort last week finishing 20th at Phoenix in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford Mustang.

 

Alex Bowman, of Tucson, Arizona, is in his second year driving the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. In three previous starts at Auto Club Speedway, Bowman’s best finish is 13th, last year in his first race at the track with Hendrick Motorsports. He has had a solid start to his 2019 season with a pair of 11th-place finishes in the opening three races (at Daytona and at Las Vegas), and is looking to get back on track after being involved in an accident last week and finishing 35th at his home track, Phoenix.

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., of Olive Branch, Mississippi, comes to Auto Club Speedway ranked 10th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver standings – the third time in his six-year career he’s been ranked 10th after the first four races of the season. He’s had four solid top-18 finishes so far, leading laps in three races and highlighted by a sixth-place finish in Las Vegas two weeks ago. His best finish at Auto Club Speedway is fifth (2016).

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: TicketGuardian 500

The Place: ISM Raceway

The Date: Sunday, March 10

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 312 miles (312 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 312)

2018 Winner: Kevin Harvick

 

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

Team Penske Has Strong Start To 2019 

Joey Logano’s victory last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, along with teammate Brad Keselowski’s win at Atlanta Motor Speedway the week before, officially makes Team Penske the class of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field heading to Phoenix, Arizona for Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Logano’s showing gives him a slim two-point edge atop the driver points standings over Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick heading to Phoenix – a one-mile oval that Harvick has dominated in recent times with nine Cup trophies to show.

 

Keselowski in particular has been good at ISM Raceway, scoring a pole position in 2014 and tallying nine top-10 finishes in 19 starts. Plus, he was runner-up in last season’s Playoff race. Logano has a win at ISM Raceway in the fall of 2016 but has crashed out of two of the last four races there – including last fall.

 

With two of its three drivers already Playoff-qualified, Team Penske is eager to get its newest member Ryan Blaney on track after an uncharacteristically frustrating start to his season. While Logano and Keselowski are ranked first and fifth in the standings, Blaney is still looking for his first top-10 finish of the year. 

 

Blaney won the pole position at ISM Raceway in the fall of 2017 and has two top-10 finishes in six races on the one-mile track. He’s finished 16th or worse in the last four races, however.

 

 

Harvick could join elite club with win at Phoenix

Last year, Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick carried back-to-back wins (at Atlanta and Las Vegas) into Phoenix, where he triumphed again and completed an early season trifecta, scoring a .773-second win over Kyle Busch. This weekend, if Harvick were to win, he would join an elite group, becoming just the sixth driver in series history to win 10 or more Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at a single track; joining Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Jimmie Johnson, David Pearson and Dale Earnhardt.

Drivers with 10 or More Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins at a single track

Race Winners

No. of Tracks

Tracks With 10 or More Wins

Richard Petty

5

Martinsville (15), North Wilkesboro (15), Richmond (13), Rockingham (11) Daytona (10)

Darrell Waltrip

3

Bristol (12), Martinsville (11), North Wilkesboro (10)

Jimmie Johnson

1

Dover (11)

David Pearson

1

Darlington (10)

Dale Earnhardt

1

Talladega (10)

 

Harvick is still looking for his first victory of 2019 – rebounding from a crash in the season-opening Daytona 500 with back-to-back fourth-place finishes at Atlanta and Vegas. He trails points leader Joey Logano by only two points heading into Sunday’s race.

 

While Kevin Harvick dominated the Phoenix headlines for a decade, there have been seven different race winners in as many races of late. Harvick defends his spring win at Phoenix coming off strong showings the previous two weeks. His 88 laps out front at Las Vegas on Sunday was more than the race winner Logano (86).

 

Although his Stewart-Haas Racing team boasted four drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs last year, Harvick is the only driver on the team currently ranked among the top 10 – Harvick (second), Aric Almirola (11th), Clint Bowyer (13th) and Daniel Suarez (18th).

 

 

Kyle Busch came so close

Kyle Busch came one victory away from a three-race winner’s sweep last weekend at his hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He won the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series races, but finished third – behind Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski – in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race there. Busch is now the only driver in the series with top 10s in all three season-opening races, however.

 

Busch is still buoyed by collecting NASCAR national series victories 196 and 197 at Vegas and shows up at ISM Raceway with an enviable track record there of late. He will compete in both the Monster Energy Series and Xfinity Series this weekend.

 

In the Cup ranks, Busch is a three-time pole winner (2006, 2012, 2016) and holds an interesting record among current drivers for longest time between race wins at the track – 13 years.  Busch won in November of 2005 in his second start on the oval and then again last fall in his 27th start at the track.

 

In three of the last four Phoenix races, the 2015 Monster Energy Series champion has led 359 laps, including 117 in his win during last year’s November Playoff run – the first under the new configuration of the track.

 

“You’ve got to have a good car, but you’ve got to have good brakes,’’ said Busch, who drives the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry. “You’ve got to have a good-turning car, and you’ve got to have a good car that can accelerate off of Turn 2 and go fast down the backstretch.”

  

“Phoenix is a pretty neat place, even though they made some changes with the repave. The track has worn in with racing and the sun, so it’s getting back to a fun place again. It was interesting to see how the place raced last fall with the change in where the start-finish line is and how that changed the racing.

 

“For some reason, I’ve always run well there. I don’t know if it’s that I’m comfortable being back close to home on the West Coast, or what. I always have a little more fan support out there, as well. As for the track itself, you’ve always had two distinctly different corners at Phoenix, which makes it fun and challenging all at the same time.”

 

 

Reboot: ISM Raceway might be coming at right time for Hendrick Motorsports

The ISM Raceway 1-mile oval may be exactly the venue the championship Hendrick Motorsports team looks to regain form. Not only does team veteran Jimmie Johnson have four wins at the track – including three consecutively from 2007-2008 – Chase Elliott has quickly proven to be strong at the venue.

 

Elliott boasts four top-10 finishes in six starts at ISM Raceway, including a third-place showing in this race last year and a runner-up finish in the fall of 2017. He led 117 laps in this spring race in 2017, finishing 12th.

 

Nearby Tucson is home to teammate Alex Bowman, giving the driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 particular motivation. He won the pole, led a race-best 194 laps and finished a career-best sixth at Phoenix in the fall of 2016, his first time at ISM Raceway in a Hendrick car.

 

 

Robust Start: Chip Ganassi Racing duo hot early

Chip Ganassi Racing has extended a team-high mark with both its drivers Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch being ranked among the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ top-10 for the third-straight week. The distinction marks the first time the team has had both of its drivers in the top 10 of the championship standings – Larson (sixth) and Busch (10th)..

 

Larson is ranked sixth in the driver points standings, 31 points behind Joey Logano, and he leads the series in laps led with 142 (17.7%). The western swing of the Monster Energy Series schedule has proven to be a positive for the 25-year-old Californian. He has three top-three finishes at ISM Raceway, including a third-place last fall and a runner-up in the spring race in 2017. He’s led laps in three of the last four visits to ISM Raceway.

 

The veteran and 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kurt Busch has made his transition from Stewart-Haas Racing to the Chip Ganassi Racing group look easy. He’s coming off back-to-back top-five finishes at Atlanta (third) and his home track in Las Vegas (fifth).

 

Busch has 18 top-10 finishes in 32 starts on the ISM Raceway, with a win in the spring of 2005 after leading a dominating 219 of 312 laps. Busch has certainly put himself in contention in recent years at Phoenix – leading laps in both races last year – but has only one top-10 finish in the last four races. He led 52 laps last fall but was involved in a crash only 40 laps from the checkered flag.

 

 

House Party: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. having best start of career

Roush Fenway Racing’s driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is having the best Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season start of his seven-year fulltime career. He’s ranked seventh in the driver championship coming to Phoenix  - ahead of former champions such as Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) and Kurt Busch (10th). His previous best three-race start to a season resulted in an 11th place ranking (in 2013 and 2016). And he’s led laps (22 total) in the opening three races of 2019.

 

ISM Raceway may well be a challenge for the former Xfinity Series champion. He’s never led a lap there and has one top-five finish (fourth in 2017) in 12 starts. He finished 23rd in this race last year and crashed out in the Fall, finishing 33rd.

 

Stenhouse remarked on his strong start last week, noting a solid relationship with veteran crew chief Brian Pattie has made a big difference in his Monster Energy Series performance.

 

“Brian brings me a lot of confidence,’’ Stenhouse said. “We believe in each other on this team.’’

 

Pattie reciprocated the optimism and praised his driver for his aggressive style that has undeniably resulted in the strongest start of Stenhouse’s career.


“He’s confident,’’ Pattie said. “I want someone that’s eager and greedy. We’re going to continue to work hard, get aggressive and see where it shakes out.’’

 

His Roush-Fenway teammate Ryan Newman has an opposing story. He’s still looking for his first top 10 of 2019 since moving from the Richard Childress Racing team this season and is ranked 19th in the standings. But he has a good history at ISM Raceway, including a record four pole positions and a pair of spring wins in 2010 and 2017.

 

 

Reality Check: Logano swipes points lead from Hamlin

Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin slipped from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver points lead following his 10th-place showing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend and now trails Joey Logano by six markers heading to ISM Raceway. It’s certainly a track in his wheelhouse. Hamlin has shown himself to be one of the better racers on the series’ shorter tracks.

 

Hamlin won the pole position in his very first Monster Energy Series start at Phoenix in 2005 and earned another in the fall of 2014. His only win there came in the spring of 2012. He has five top-10 finishes in the last seven races – three in the last three spring races. Twice he’s led 190 laps or more and did not win (2010 and 2017). But there’s plenty to be encouraged by when his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota Camry team arrives in Phoenix. Hamlin has 11 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes in 27 starts at the one-miler.

 

“We had a couple tough pit stops last weekend in Las Vegas that set us back, and we just needed a little more speed to get those spots back,’’ Hamlin said. “We will have to be at our best from start to finish in Phoenix, and the entire team is working hard and will be ready for the challenge that awaits us.”

 

 

Seamless Transition: Truex quickly up to speed with Joe Gibbs Racing

Martin Truex Jr. has certainly put himself in contention since moving to the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota Camry this year from the Furniture Row Racing team with whom he won the 2017 championship. He’s ranked seventh in the series driver points standings, tied with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones, 35-points behind the standings leader Joey Logano.

 

And for all of Truex’ great reputation on the 1.5-mile intermediate tracks, he’s certainly proven himself skilled on the challenging Phoenix mile of late. He won the pole position there last spring and led three laps and finished fifth. He has two top fives in the last three races (including a third-place finish in the 2017 Playoff race). He also has nine top 10s in 26 total starts.

 

“We are looking forward to getting to Phoenix this weekend,’’ said Truex, who concedes his team is still finding its groove in the early season which features four different styles of track in the opening five weeks.

 

“Regardless of what aero package we run there, you’re always looking for the same things from the car. You’ve got to turn in the center and be able to have really good drive off.

 

“We’ve had some good runs there the past few years – obviously winning the pole last year and being up front leading laps. It will be fun to get to our first sort of short track of the year and see where we’re at there after a couple of 1.5-mile tracks.”

 

 

Rookie Progress: 2019 Class has jumped right in

YTD Rookie Standings

Rookie

Points

Ryan Preece

44

Daniel Hemric

34

Matt Tifft

13

Cody Ware

7

JTG Daugherty Racing’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, Ryan Preece, continues to impress in his first full season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He finished a solid 25th in his Las Vegas series track debut with the team to retain the top ranking among the four-driver 2019 Sunoco Rookie of the Year class. He now holds a 10-point lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric in second place.

 

Hemric showed the strongest finish at Las Vegas among the rookie foursome with a 23rd. Hemric is now ranked 29th in the driver championship standings, still looking for his first top-15. He has good history at Phoenix, finishing runner-up in the Xfinity Series race there during the Playoffs last November.

 

Front Row Motorsport’s Matt Tifft is looking for his first top-20 finish in his Monster Energy Series season debut. He was 34th at Las Vegas and is ranked 33rd in the driver championship standings. He has good history at the ISM Raceway one-miler, finishing seventh (spring) and third (fall) in the two Xfinity races last season.

 

Last but not least, Rick Ware Racing’s driver, Cody Ware, was 35th last week and is ranked 34th in the driver championship standings – last among the four rookies. He has a previous Monster Energy Series start at Phoenix, finishing 28th there last November.

NEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTESNEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTES

XFINITY SERIES

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: My Bariatric Solutions 300

The Place: Texas Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, March 30

The Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance:  300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2018 Winner: Ryan Blaney

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Tyler Reddick continues to remind the series why he’s the champ

Atop the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championship standings following the fifth race of the season at Auto Club Speedway last weekend, sits the 2018 Xfinity champion, Tyler Reddick, with a seven-point lead over second-place Cole Custer. For the second straight week the Richard Childress Racing driver holds the coveted first position in the points, reminding everyone his title last season wasn’t a fluke.

 

Through the first five races of this season, Reddick has put up two poles, three top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 7.0 – second only to Custer’s 6.0 average finish this season. Plus, Reddick has spent more time out front this season (85 laps led) than compared to the first five races of his championship-winning season (20 laps led) last year.

 

Reddick will have an extra week to relish in his early success as the series takes its first break of the season, but the Californian will be back at it next week in Texas as the series prepares for the My Bariatric Solutions 300 on Saturday, March 30, at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

 

Cole Custer’s big win has him Playoff bound

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer put on a display of talent this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway that not only delayed Kyle Busch’s 200th NASCAR national series win to the next day, but secured the checkered flag and locked himself into the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs for third consecutive season of his career.

 

It was a big win indeed, and the third victory of his Xfinity Series career (2017 Homestead-Miami, 2018 Fall Texas and now Auto Club). Now Custer heads into the off-week in second, just seven points back from series standings leader Tyler Reddick and seven points ahead of third-place Christopher Bell.

 

Custer has been lights out this season. In five starts he has a win, three top fives, four top 10s and a series-leading average finish of 6.0.

 

Next week at Texas will be particularly special for Custer as he will look to build off of his Playoff win there last season, where he captured the victory at the 1.5-mile track on his way to the Championship 4.   

 

Christopher Bell back to form, holding tight in third

After being caught in an incident at ISM Raceway two weeks back, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell rebounded nicely this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway to finish third. Now the Oklahoma native sits third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship standings, 14 points behind standings leader Tyler Reddick.

 

Bell had already secured his spot in the Playoffs this season with his victory at Atlanta back in February. Through five races, Bell looks to be poised to contend for the title this season, amassing one pole, one win, two top fives and three top 10s. His average finish this season, despite a DNF at Phoenix, is still a solid 10.6.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff outlook following Auto Club Speedway

Below is the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs outlook following the fifth race of the season at Auto Club Speedway. Three title contenders have won this season locking themselves into the postseason – Michael Annett (Daytona), Christopher Bell (Las Vegas) and Cole Custer (Auto Club Speedway) – leaving nine spots still up for grabs. Justin Haley currently holds the final Playoff transfer position just eight points ahead of Ross Chastain in 13th - the first position outside the cutoff.

 

Below is the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff outlook following Auto Club Speedway:

Rank

Driver

Points

Pts From Cutoff

Starts

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

1

Cole Custer

213

In On Wins

5

1

1

6

2

Christopher Bell

206

5

1

3

8

3

Michael Annett

178

5

1

0

5

4

Tyler Reddick

220

85

5

0

1

1

5

Brandon Jones

183

48

5

0

0

0

6

Austin Cindric

179

44

5

0

1

1

7

Justin Allgaier

171

36

5

0

0

0

8

Noah Gragson

161

26

5

0

0

0

9

Ryan Sieg

153

18

5

0

0

0

10

John Hunter Nemechek

149

14

5

0

0

0

11

Chase Briscoe

145

10

5

0

0

0

12

Justin Haley

143

8

5

0

1

1

13

Ross Chastain

135

-8

5

0

1

1

14

Brandon Brown

107

-36

5

0

0

0

15

Gray Gaulding

91

-52

5

0

0

0

16

Jeremy Clements

89

-54

5

0

0

0

17

Ray Black II

86

-57

5

0

0

0

18

Garrett Smithley

85

-58

5

0

0

0

19

David Starr

71

-72

5

0

0

0

20

BJ McLeod

69

-74

5

0

0

0

21

Josh Williams

64

-79

5

0

0

0

22

Vinnie Miller

54

-89

5

0

0

0

23

Joey Gase

53

-90

5

0

0

0

24

Matt Mills

49

-94

5

0

0

0

25

Stephen Leicht

44

-99

5

0

0

0

26

Jeff Green

41

-102

5

0

0

0

27

Josh Bilicki

37

-106

5

0

0

0

28

Mike Harmon

36

-107

5

0

0

0

 

 

Class of 2019: Sunoco Rookie update

YTD Rookie Standings

 

Rookie

Points

Noah Gragson

161

John H. Nemechek

149

Chase Briscoe

145

Justin Haley

143

Brandon Brown

107

There are some big changes in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings following the fifth race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season at Auto Club Speedway.

 

First, Noah Gragson capitalized on John Hunter Nemechek’s misfortunes at Auto Club Speedway (28th-place finish), to take the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings lead by 12 points over Nemechek, who is in second with his 12th-place finish last weekend. Gragson now has one top-five and two top-10 finishes this season and an average finish of 9.2 through five races.

 

Next, Chase Briscoe won the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award for the second consecutive week and, as a result, accumulated enough points to move up a spot to third in the rookie standings – two points ahead of fourth-place Justin Haley. Briscoe finished fifth at Auto Club Speedway driving the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi Ford Mustang. Through five races, Briscoe has accumulated one top five, three top 10s and an average finish of 9.2.

 

Crew Chief Spotlight: Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ben Beshore

Joe Gibbs Racing made a focused move when they tapped Ben Beshore to be the next crew chief of the organization’s flagship No. 18 Toyota Camry team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Beshore, who had previously been serving as car chief on the No 18 JGR team in the Monster Energy Series, has already directed aspiring part-time driver Jeffrey Earnhardt to lead laps at Daytona and worked with veteran Kyle Busch to add wins 197 and 198 to his 200 NASCAR national series win total. 

 

Beshore has some big shoes to fill as several well-known, winning crew chiefs have come before him atop the No. 18’s pit box, such as Eric Phillips, Chris Gayle, Adam Stevens and Jason Ratcliff, to name a few. Phillips was the most recent crew chief for the No. 18 and led the team to eight series wins among four drivers (Kyle Busch, Ryan Preece, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell). This season, Phillips made the move to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to be the car chief on the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry alongside crew chief Chris Gabehart and driver Denny Hamlin.

 

This season, through five races, Beshore has the No. 18 Toyota team headed in the right direction; posting two wins (Las Vegas and ISM Raceway), three top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 7.0. The No. 18 Toyota Camry team is also currently leading the NASCAR Xfinity Series owner standings, 16 points ahead of second-place Richard Childress Racing’s No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro team. 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Etc.:

Racing This Weekend – NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers Ross Chastain and DJ Kennington will be competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race this Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Chastain will be driving the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet and Kennington will be in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet. … Xfinity Series drivers Ross Chastain and Timmy Hill will also be competing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race on Saturday.  Chastain will pilot the No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet and Hill will be in his own truck, the No. 56 Hill Motorsports Chevrolet.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Production Alliance Group 300

The Place: Auto Club Speedway

The Date: Saturday, March 16

The Time: 5 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 4:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance:  300 miles (150 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 35),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 70), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 300)

2018 Winner: Joey Logano

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

 

In A Zone: Kyle Busch looks to scratch another record in the books

Kyle Busch takes a six-point edge over Joey Logano in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings as the series continues its “West Coast Swing.” And this week may be especially significant in the milestone category as Busch faces two chances to claim a historic 200 combined NASCAR national series wins. It could come in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) – if he doesn’t earn it in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday.

 

Busch’s historic work at the two-mile California track indicates the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will again be a factor in deciding the trophy. His three wins are second only to six-time winner Jimmie Johnson and the two drivers are the only competitors in the field with multiple wins at the track.

 

In fact, Busch and Johnson are the only drivers to score their first career Monster Energy Series victories at Auto Club Speedway – in 2005 and 2002, respectively. And they are the only two drivers to ever win consecutive races at the track – Johnson in 2009-10 and Busch in 2013-14.

 

In 20 races, Busch has nine top-five finishes and is averaging a 10.4 finish – second only to Johnson among drivers with more than three starts at the track. He has six Xfinity Series wins and is a perfect 2-for-2 in NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts there, too.

 

He comes to California on a roll, sweeping last week’s Xfinity and Cup races at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway, making it easy to understand why he likes his chances in California.

 

“I’d assess it as pretty good, I guess,’’ Busch said following his 199th NASCAR national series win. “It would certainly be nice to get it (200th win) done on the West Coast swing, but it’s not a necessity. It will happen when it happens, and you can’t push too hard and do stupid things or make mistakes in order to think too much about that number.

 

“You just have to let the race kind of play out and let it come to you and we’ll see where we are at. Really looking forward to Fontana, it’s been a great place for me over the years and would love to get the Interstate Batteries Toyota back to Victory Lane there again no matter what number win that it ends up being.’’

 

Back At It: Truex returns to defend Auto Club Speedway victory

Martin Truex Jr. arrives at Auto Club Speedway as the defending race winner and he’ll gladly take the good vibes. Since moving from the Furniture Row Racing team, where he won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, to Joe Gibbs Racing this year, Truex is still looking for his first win.

 

Last season, it came on these Southern California high banks. Truex won the 2018 race from the Busch Pole position, leading 125 laps. He has three top-10 finishes in the last four races at the track and led 224 laps in that timeframe.

 

Since moving to the Joe Gibbs Racing operation, Truex has come close to winning twice already. He finished runner-up at both the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway three weeks ago and last week at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway one-miler. He has three top-10s in four races this season and is ranked fifth in the standings entering the weekend’s race.

 

Truex ran his first test – a Goodyear tire test - with his new No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team at California in January and was encouraged by the time on track.

 

“Our team is really looking forward to getting to California this week,’’ said Truex. “It’s one of my favorite tracks and I felt good about the test back in January.

 

“Obviously the weather is going to be different and there will be more than three cars like in the test, but we feel like we’ve learned a lot about the package since then. We need to go in there Friday and unload strong and carry that through the weekend. I’m excited to see if we can go back-to-back there because it’s really turned into one of the most fun tracks on the circuit.’’

 

If Truex were to win this weekend he would become just the third drivers in series history to win consecutive races at Auto Club Speedway, joining Jimmie Johnson (2009-2010) and Kyle Busch (2013-2014).

 

The Champ: Auto Club Speedway is mountain still left to summit for Logano

Reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano scored his third top-10 finish through the season’s four opening races last week at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. He has results of fourth (Daytona 500), first (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) and 10th (ISM Raceway). He had led the points standings up until Kyle Busch’s win at Phoenix last Sunday.

 

This weekend may prove to be a challenge for the reigning champ. Logano is winless in 12 starts at Auto Club Speedway, but half of those have resulted in top-10 finishes. In four of his last six starts at the 2-mile raceway he has finished inside the top five. His best career showing is third in 2013. His driver rating (87.8) is 10th-best at the track.

 

Right place, right time for California native Jimmie Johnson

Seven-time Monster Energy Series champion Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon) is hoping a return to his home state of California, along with some positive season momentum and a history of success there, will be the key to snapping an unprecedented 21-month winless streak.

 

Johnson earned his second top 10 of the season last week at Phoenix (eighth) and turned his first laps (four) in front of the field. He’s ranked 15th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver points standings heading to the two-mile Auto Club Speedway where his six victories (2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016) is most all-time.

 

In fact during the loop data era (2005-Present), Johnson boasts the top driver rating (115.6), best average finish (7.0), laps in the top 15 (3,988 laps, 88.5%) and most laps led (880 laps) of any active driver at the track. His 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes are tops in the field too – as are his five career runner-up finishes.

 

And two of those are among the closest five finishes in history at Auto Club Speedway. He lost to Kevin Harvick by 0.144-second in 2011 in the closest finish in track history. Greg Biffle edged him by 0.231-seconds in 2005 – for the third-closest margin of victory.

 

Johnson (2002) and current championship leader Kyle Busch (2005) are the only two active drivers to have scored their first Cup victory at Auto Club Speedway. If Johnson wins this weekend, he will tie NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series all-time wins list.

 

Hometown California Heroes: Harvick and Larson

California natives have traditionally fared well at Auto Club Speedway in the Monster Energy Series. Three of the top-10 ranked drivers in pre-race loop data at the track hail from California, including Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon), who boasts the best driver rating (115.6), Bakersfield’s Kevin Harvick (95.5) and Elk Grove native Kyle Larson (91.9).

 

Harvick won the race in 2011 and has two runner-up finishes in the last four years at Auto Club Speedway. Larson won from the pole position in 2017 and has three top-five finishes in five starts at the track, including a runner-up last year on the heels of his victory.

 

There are four Californians in the race, also including Matt DiBenedetto, of Grass Valley, who led a race-high 49 laps in the season-opening Daytona 500. His best finish at Auto Club Speedway is 27th in 2016.

 

Youth Movement

Three of the sport’s popular young drivers arrive at Auto Club Speedway in California this weekend looking for their first top-five finish at the western two-miler – all of them with solid experience at the track, just not a trip to Victory Lane quite yet.

 

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones, 22, has a best showing of seventh place (2018) in two starts at Auto Club Speedway. He has good precedent, however, with two top-five finishes in three Xfinity Series races, including a best of third place in 2015. Jones is currently ranked 14th in the points standings – his first week outside the top-10 following a 29th-place showing in Phoenix last week. He opened the year with a career-best third place in the Daytona 500 – the first of two top 10s so far.

 

Ryan Blaney, 25, righted his season start last week, earning the Busch Pole position at ISM Raceway, winning the first stage and finishing third – unbelievably, his first top-20 of the season. California has proven to be a positive place for Blaney. The driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang has back-to-back top-10 finishes in his last two starts there.  

 

Chase Elliott, 23, is also still working on his first top-five finish, or possible win, at Auto Club Speedway. The driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has a pair of top-10 finishes in three starts, including a career-best of sixth in his first race there in 2016.

 

Last year’s three-race winner and Playoff favorite, Elliott, has one top-10 in four starts in 2019

 

Sunoco Rookie Preview: Auto Club Speedway

Richard Childress Racing driver Daniel Hemric’s 18th-place finish at ISM Raceway, coupled with Ryan Preece’s 34th-place finish, turned over the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie standings lead for the first time this season.

 

Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric earned his first top 20 of the season (18th) at Phoenix while Preece was involved in an incident and suffered his second DNF in four races and now trails Hemric by six points heading into Auto Club Speedway this weekend.

 

Front Row Motorsport’s Matt Tifft remains ranked third among the 2019 rookie class, 23 points behind Hemric. Following Tifft is Rick Ware Racing’s Cody Ware in fourth, 18 points behind Tifft.

 

All four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookies will be making their series track debut this weekend. Hemric’s career best showing at the track is a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race there last year. Tifft was eighth in that Xfinity Series race.

 

Parade Laps: Insights ahead of this week’s driver media breakouts

Seven drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Hendrick Motorsports’ drivers Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, JTG Daugherty Racing’s Chris Buescher, Front Row Motorsport’s Matt Tifft, Roush Fenway Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Leavine Family Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto - will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Auto Club Speedway in advance of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Jimmie Johnson, of El Cajon, Calif., is a seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, tying him with NASCAR Hall of Fame members Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt for the most season titles in the history of the sport. Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, leads all drivers with six wins and five runner-up finishes at Auto Club Speedway. His 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes are most all-time as well. He arrives for Sunday’s race ranked 15th in the standings with a pair of top-10 finishes (ninth at Daytona and eighth last week in Phoenix) in the season’s opening four races.

 

Kevin Harvick, of Bakersfield, Calif., is the 2014 Monster Energy Series champion. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang earned a career-best eight victories in 2018, finishing third in the championship. He’s finished third or better in the final standings in six of the last seven seasons. Auto Club Speedway is located a little more than two hours from Harvick’s hometown of Bakersfield. He won at the track in 2011 and has finished runner-up in two (2015 and 2016) of the last four races there. He is currently ranked third in the standings with three top-10 finishes in the four races to date, including a ninth place in Phoenix last weekend.

 

Chris Buescher, of Prosper, Texas, is the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion. The driver of the JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has one victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, earning it at Pocono, Pa. in his 2016 rookie season. He has one top-10 so far in 2019 – a ninth-place finish at Atlanta three weeks ago. His best showing at Auto Club Speedway is 20th, in his first start there in 2015.

 

Matt Tifft, of Hinckley, Ohio, has never made a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Auto Club Speedway. In his four series races this season, the 22-year old rookie turned in his best effort last week finishing 20th at Phoenix in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford Mustang.

 

Alex Bowman, of Tucson, Arizona, is in his second year driving the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. In three previous starts at Auto Club Speedway, Bowman’s best finish is 13th, last year in his first race at the track with Hendrick Motorsports. He has had a solid start to his 2019 season with a pair of 11th-place finishes in the opening three races (at Daytona and at Las Vegas), and is looking to get back on track after being involved in an accident last week and finishing 35th at his home track, Phoenix.

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., of Olive Branch, Mississippi, comes to Auto Club Speedway ranked 10th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver standings – the third time in his six-year career he’s been ranked 10th after the first four races of the season. He’s had four solid top-18 finishes so far, leading laps in three races and highlighted by a sixth-place finish in Las Vegas two weeks ago. His best finish at Auto Club Speedway is fifth (2016).

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at ISM Raceway

The Place: ISM Raceway

The Date: Saturday, March 9

The Time: 4 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 3:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance:  200 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2018 Winner: Brad Keselowski

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Cactus Country: Xfinity Series’ fourth stop on the schedule is ISM Raceway 

After a spectacular event in Las Vegas last weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Phoenix, Arizona for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway this Saturday, March 9 at 4 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio for the fourth race of the 2019 season.

 

Through three races the series has seen three different winners – Michael Annett (Daytona), Christopher Bell (Atlanta) and Kyle Busch (Las Vegas). Which is appropriate because the NASCAR Xfinity Series is on a different winner streak at ISM Raceway as well, which has reached five different winners – Kyle Busch (Playoff race 2016), Justin Allgaier (Spring 2017), William Byron (Playoff race 2017), Brad Keselowski (Spring 2018) and Christopher Bell (Playoff race 2018). Allgaier, Bell and Busch are all entered this weekend and are the only former winners in the field.

 

Kyle Busch currently leads the series in wins at ISM Raceway with 10 victories (Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, 2013 sweep, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, 2016 sweep). If Kyle Busch were to win this weekend at ISM Raceway, he would tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin for the NASCAR Xfinity Series wins record at a single track. Martin currently holds the record for the most wins at single track with 11 NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at Rockingham Speedway (Spring 1988, Fall 1992, 1993 sweep, Fall 1994, 1996 sweep, 1997 sweep, Fall 1999 and Spring 2000).   

 

ISM Raceway has hosted 34 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, dating back to inaugural event on  November 6, 1999. The race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon in his own No. 24 Chevrolet. Heading to ISM Raceway this weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series has produced 18 different poles winners and 18 different race winners at the track.

 

 

Lots of competitive action through three Xfinity races this season

With three different winners in the first three races of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, the on-track competition looks to be in full force. Which has been the norm in this series as 27 of the 37 Xfinity seasons (since 1982) have started with three different winners in the first three races. 

 

Another stat advocating for this season’s action as standing out is the average Margin of Victory through the first three races has been 0.166 seconds - the closest average MOV through the first three races of the season since 1998. That’s two decades! All three races this season have had an MOV of less than a second – it’s just the sixth time that’s happened since the series started measuring the margin of victory electronically in 1996.

 

Additionally, through the first three races of the 2019 season, the series has seen 13 different drivers lead laps with an average of 7 different leaders and 12 lead changes per race. Christopher Bell has currently led the most laps this season with 149 (30.04%).

 

 

Every Race Counts: Playoff outlook following Las Vegas

Just three races into the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season and the Playoff picture is starting to take shape. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell (Atlanta) and JR Motorsport’s Michael Annett (Daytona) have already secured their spots in the 2019 Playoffs with early wins, leaving 10 spots still up for grabs as the series heads to Phoenix, Arizona, for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway this Saturday, March 9 at 4 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Below is the 2019 Playoff outlook following Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Rank

Driver

Starts

Points

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Playoff Pts

Pts. From Cutoff

1

Christopher Bell

3

139

1

2

7

In on Wins

2

Michael Annett

3

111

1

0

5

3

Cole Custer

3

121

0

1

1

40

4

Tyler Reddick

3

121

0

1

1

40

5

Brandon Jones

3

117

0

0

0

36

6

John H. Nemechek

3

107

0

0

0

26

7

Justin Allgaier

3

96

0

0

0

15

8

Ryan Sieg

3

96

0

0

0

15

9

Ross Chastain

3

96

0

1

1

15

10

Noah Gragson

3

94

0

0

0

13

11

Austin Cindric

3

94

0

0

0

13

12

Justin Haley

3

89

0

1

1

8

13

Chase Briscoe

3

81

0

0

0

-8

14

Brandon Brown

3

63

0

0

0

-26

15

Josh Williams

3

52

0

0

0

-37

16

Garrett Smithley

3

52

0

0

0

-37

17

Gray Gaulding

3

49

0

0

0

-40

 

 

Fast Start: Joe Gibbs Racing is a Xfinity Series powerhouse

Off to a hot start this season, winning two of the first three races of the NASCAR Xfinity Series 2019 season, has the spotlight turned squarely on Joe Gibbs Racing. And when talking about which organization is the clear-cut powerhouse in the NASCAR Xfinity Series over the last decade or so (2009-2019), Joe Gibbs Racing is at the top of most lists. And rightfully so. 

 

Since 2009, the season Kyle Busch brought Joe Gibbs Racing its first Xfinity Series driver championship, the team has won 127 of 338 races run – that’s an astounding winning percentage of 37.5% (2009-present). To put that into perspective, during that time JGR won more than double (68 more wins) the next highest organization – Team Penske with 59 victories. And to boot, JGR’s winning percentage is also more than double that of their next highest competitor as well.  

 

Organizations

Xfinity Wins (2009-Present)

Winning %

Joe Gibbs Racing

127

37.6%

Team Penske

59

17.5%

JR Motorsports

42

12.4%

Roush Fenway Racing

39

11.5%

Richard Childress Racing

31

9.2%

What might be most impressive of the recent dominance is how pivotal a role Kyle Busch played in the organization’s success. Of 338 races run from 2009-present, Kyle Busch ran 208 races and won 71 of them, making his winning percentage 34.1%.

 

Joe Gibbs Racing leads the series in wins at ISM Raceway with 11 victories – 10 from Kyle Busch and one from Christopher Bell in the Playoff race last fall.

 

In total, Joe Gibbs Racing has accumulated 154 NASCAR Xfinity Series wins since first competing in the series back in 1997 with driver Bobby Labonte. Joe Gibbs Racing has been able to win so many Xfinity races they now hold the series record for the most wins at 16 of 25 different tracks the series competes on actively – here is the list of tracks and number of Xfinity wins by JGR:

 

Auto Club Speedway (eight), Bristol Motor Speedway (12), Chicagoland Speedway (six), Dover International Speedway (12), Homestead-Miami Speedway (four), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (three), Iowa Speedway (six), ISM Raceway (11), Kansas Speedway (eight), Kentucky Speedway (six), Michigan International Speedway (five; tied with Roush Fenway Racing for lead), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (nine), Pocono Raceway (three-way tie for the lead with Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske; each have one), Richmond Raceway (nine; tied with Roush Fenway Racing for lead), Talladega Superspeedway (five) and Texas Motor Speedway (11). 

 

 

GMS Racing’s John Hunter Nemechek, a rookie and a rising talent to contend with

YTD Rookie Standings

 

Rookies

Points

John H. Nemechek

107

Noah Gragson

94

Justin Haley

89

Chase Briscoe

81

Brandon Brown

63

One thing John Hunter Nemechek has been good at is getting up to speed quickly, and this season is no different. The 2019 Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and GMS Racing rising star is currently sixth in the series driver points standings heading to ISM Raceway. Nemechek’s recent success had moved him up six spots in the standings this past weekend following his runner-up finish to Kyle Busch at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

Thick in the Xfinity Series Playoff conversation and atop the series Sunoco Rookie standings, Nemechek has the wind at his back heading to Phoenix this weekend. The North Carolina native has made just one start at ISM Raceway, last season, where he won the pole and finished in the top-10 (ninth).

 

Nemechek is currently in the Xfinity Series rookie standings lead following Las Vegas by 13 points over second-place Noah Gragson and 18 points ahead of third-place Justin Haley.

 

 

Championship Focus: Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick tied for second in points 

Two California kids looking like they are poised to make it back to the Championship 4 in 2019, are 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick and 2018 driver championship runner-up Cole Custer, as both are now tied for second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings following Las Vegas - just 18 markers back from series standings leader Christopher Bell.

 

Tyler Reddick made the jump from JR Motorsports to Richard Childress Racing this season and hasn’t stumbled once. The returning champ has been quite impressive this season, posting one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 9.3.

 

Custer, on the other hand, continues to validate the investment Stewart-Haas Racing has made in him. Through three races, Custer has been neck-n-neck with Reddick as he, too, has posted one top five and two top 10s. But Custer slightly bests Reddick (9.3) in average finish this season with an 8.3. 

 

ISM Raceway has been good to Custer. In four starts he has amassed three top 10s and an average finish of 11.0. Reddick has also fared well at ISM Raceway, putting up two top-10 finishes in three starts; including an average finish of 10.0.

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.:

Milestone for Morgan – NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, Morgan Shepherd, will attempt to break the tie for sixth on the NASCAR national series combined starts lists with NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte this weekend at ISM Raceway. Both drivers currently have 1,117 national series starts. If Shepherd makes the race, he will move solely into sixth on the NASCAR national series combined starts list with 1,118 national series starts. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty holds the record for the most NASCAR national series starts with 1,182. Shepherd already holds the record for the oldest driver to make a start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the age of 77. He has made two starts this season with an average finish of 34th.

 

Ole’ Reliable Ryan (Sieg) – Through three races this season, only five drivers have finished on the lead lap of every race and completed 100% of their laps attempted and RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg is one of them. Sieg is currently eighth in the driver championship standings following his three consistent finishes – the best start to a season in his Xfinity career. The four other drivers that have completed 100% of the laps this season are Cole Custer, Michael Annett, Ross Chastain and Noah Gragson.

 

Double The Action, Double The Fun – Make sure to catch all the action this weekend as several drivers will be pulling double duty at ISM Raceway participating in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, March 9 at 4 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and then again Sunday, March 10 in the TicketGuardian 500 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The drivers attempting to pull off such a feat are Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain and BJ McLeod

 

NEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTESNEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTES

gander outdoors TRUCK SERIES

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 

Next Race: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 250

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Saturday, March 23

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 131.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

2018 Winner: John Hunter Nemechek

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

 

Can Martinsville help predict series champ?

An interesting trend has been developing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. In five of the last six years, the eventual series champion won his first race of the season within the opening four contests.

 

The lone exception was in 2015, when Erik Jones first reached Victory Lane at Iowa in the ninth race.

 

Brett Moffitt won in the second race (Atlanta) last year, as did Christopher Bell in 2017.

 

Johnny Sauter took home the checkered in the season opener at Daytona in 2016. Matt Crafton won the second race (Martinsville) in 2014 after scoring a victory in the fourth race (Kansas) to win his first championship in 2013.

 

And James Buescher also won the fourth race of the season at Kansas in 2012.

 

This weekend at Martinsville marks the fourth race of the season. Right now, only Daytona winner Austin Hill is in position to contend for the championship, as Monster Energy Series regular Kyle Busch won the other two races.

 

Looking at Martinsville, there are only two potential championship contenders with previous wins at the half-mile track: Johnny Sauter (fall 2018, fall 2016, spring 2013, spring 2011) and Matt Crafton (fall 2015, spring 2014).

 

Enfinger hoping to buck history and take early points lead to title town

Grant Enfinger, driver of the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150, maintains a hold on the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series points lead following an 11th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks ago.

 

But Enfinger will be looking to do what no driver since his ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton did in 2014 – and that’s take a series points lead after three races all the way to the championship.

 

Here’s a look at who was leading after the first three races over the past 10 seasons:

2018 – Johnny Sauter

2017 – Johnny Sauter

2016 – John Hunter Nemechek

2015 – Matt Crafton

2014 – Matt Crafton (won championship)

2013 – Johnny Sauter

2012 – Timothy Peters

2011 – Matt Crafton

2010 – Timothy Peters

2009 – Kyle Busch

 

An interesting note about that list – all of those drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race this season.

 

In his third full-time season in the series, Enfinger has posted top-five finishes in the opening two races of the season and captured the points lead for the first time in his career following the Atlanta race.

 

At this weekend’s track, Martinsville, Enfinger has an average finish of 13.4 in five starts – but has a fourth-place finish in the spring race last year. Tossing out his 20th-place finish in a 2011 appearance, his average finish over the past two seasons moves up to 11.75.

 

Enfinger will need to continue with that level of consistency to stay on top in the points, where he currently holds a six-point advantage over Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Harrison Burton.

 

To compare at the track, Burton has also made five Martinsville starts, finishing second last year in the fall race. He has an average finish of 11.0 with one top-five and three top-10 finishes.

 

New names to watch this weekend

There will be a few names on the entry list this weekend that might be new to some race fans – but make sure to remember them because they are already starting to make their mark in several different developmental series.

 

NASCAR Next driver Derek Kraus, a 17-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin, already has one NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win under his belt this season (New Smyrna) and a total of seven career wins across the K&N Series East and West schedules.

 

This weekend, his K&N Pro Series team, Bill McAnally Racing, will be fielding a Toyota for him as he attempts to make his second career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start. His first was last fall at Phoenix, where he finished an impressive eighth.

 

Another 17-year-old will be looking to make his series debut this weekend as Canadian Raphael Lessard, a native of Quebec, will be piloting a truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

 

Lessard moves up to the Gander Outdoors Truck Series with KBM after success in the same team’s Super Late Model program, winning a pair of races in 2018. He was the 2016 CARS Super Late Model Tour champion after tallying four wins on the season.

 

He also impressed just two weeks ago in the ARCA Menards Series race at 5 Flags Speedway, leading several laps before finishing eighth.

 

Also looking to make his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut this weekend is Juan Manuel Gonzalez for Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing. Gonzalez hails from Mexico City, Mexico, and placed fifth in the NASCAR FedEx Challenge Series in 2017 as an 18-year-old.

 

Most recently, he tallied 10 starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2018, recording a top-10 at South Boston.

 

Sauter striving for five at “The Paperclip”

2016 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Series champion Johnny Sauter certainly knows his way around the half-mile track at Martinsville Speedway. Four of his 23 series victories have come there.

 

He won the most recent race at the track affectionately known as “The Paperclip,” and three times previous to that (fall 2016; spring 2013, spring 2011).

 

In 22 starts at Martinsville, Sauter has nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes, with an average start of 9.1 and an average finish of 12.0. And he has remarkable staying power at the track that lends itself to beating and banging – he only has one DNF to his name.

 

In fact, he’s completed 97% of the laps run in races he’s entered – and has run the complete distance in all but five starts. (And…in two of those, he was only one lap down at the finish.)

 

The only track at which Sauter has more wins than Martinsville is Texas – where he has reached Victory Lane five times…including in the spring last year.

 

Two-time Martinsville winner Bubba Wallace returns to Trucks

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace returns to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series at the track where he got his first NASCAR national series win – Martinsville Speedway.

 

Wallace’s first visit to Victory Lane came in the fall race at the half-mile track in 2013. He then followed that up with an especially meaningful win, driving a truck with a special tribute paint scheme honoring 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott, a year later in the 2014 fall race.

 

Overall, Wallace has two wins in four starts at Martinsville, and tallied top-five finishes in each race. His “worst” finish was a fifth-place effort in his first visit to the track in the spring of 2013.

 

Wallace will be driving the No. 22 AM Racing Chevrolet Silverado entry.

 

Keeping an eye on the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders

Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra, not only leads the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, but he trails overall points leader Grant Enfinger by just six points in the series driver championship standings.  

 

Burton finished fifth at Las Vegas two weeks ago, just ahead of fellow rookie and sixth-place finisher Sheldon Creed. Creed sits second in the rookie standings but is 10th overall in the driver championship points.

 

Natalie Decker, who is not entered in this weekend’s race at Martinsville, has put up solid qualifying efforts each week but hasn’t seen the results in the races she has been looking for to start the season. A blown tire ending her day on the opening lap of the Daytona race (32nd-place) and then finishing three-laps down in 24th at Atlanta. But she rebounded nicely at Las Vegas, driving her No. 54 DGR-Crosley Toyota Tundra to a career-best 13th-place finish.

 

Tyler Dippel also struggled in the season-opener, finishing 29th after being caught up in an early crash, but answered his early misfortune with finishes of 11th (Atlanta) and 17th (Las Vegas) to get his rookie season back on track in the No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado.

 

Of the four Sunoco rookies mentioned above who are entered this weekend, all have experience at this weekend’s Martinsville half-mile track. Burton’s five starts have yielded an average finish of 11.0 while finishing second last fall. Dippel has taken to the track once, placing 17th in the fall last year. In that same race, Creed placed 19th.

 

Parade Laps: Insights ahead of this week’s driver media breakouts

Four drivers from the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series – Young’s Motorsports driver Spencer Boyd, Sunoco Rookie of the Year points leader Harrison Burton from Kyle Busch Motorsports, and ThorSport Racing teammates Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter - will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Martinsville Speedway. These four drivers are preparing for NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 250 this Saturday, March 23, at 2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 

 

Spencer Boyd (No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet)

Birthdate: June 26, 1995

Driver’s Age: 23

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • 2019 marks Boyd’s first full-time season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series after running full-time for SS Green Light Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2018.
  • He ran three Truck Series races in 2017 and again in 2018.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently 13th in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series points standings.
  • Recorded his first career top-five finish in the series by placing fourth at the season-opener at Daytona.

Martinsville Speedway Performance:

  • Boyd made one start at the half-mile track in 2016, starting 27th and finishing 28th.

 

Harrison Burton (No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota)

Birthdate: October 9, 2000

Driver’s Age: 18

Hometown: Huntersville, North Carolina

Hobbies: Playing lacrosse, hunting, fishing, avid Duke, Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets fan

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • 2019 marks Burton’s first full-time season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series.
  • In 2018, he competed in eight races for Kyle Busch Motorsports and recorded his first pole award at Iowa and tallied a total of three top-five and six top-10 finishes overall.
  • He raced in six races for KBM in 2017, recording one top-five and one top-10 finish.
  • He made his Truck Series debut in 2016 at Martinsville, finishing 22nd.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Burton is currently second in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series points standings and leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.
  • After crashing out of the season-opening race at Daytona, he has finished eighth (Atlanta) and fifth (Las Vegas) in his last two starts.

Martinsville Speedway Performance:

  • Burton actually has five starts at Martinsville despite his rookie status. He’s completed all but one of the laps run during those races and has an average start of 9.6 and average finish of 11.0 at the half-mile track. He has one top five and three top 10s there.

 

Johnny Sauter (No. 13 ThorSport Racing Ford)

Birthdate: May 1, 1978

Driver’s Age: 40

Hometown: Necedah, Wisconsin

Hobbies: Late-model racing, family activities, hockey

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Sauter is the 2016 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion.
  • In 2018, Sauter made the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4 for the third consecutive season and posted a career-high six wins on the season.
  • Sauter has finished in the top five in championship points in six consecutive seasons (2013-2018).
  • In 2009, he won the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Sauter is currently sixth in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series points standings.
  • He finished runner-up at Atlanta and was eighth at the most recent race at Las Vegas.

Martinsville Speedway Performance:

  • Sauter is the most recent race winner at Martinsville, winning last fall to advance to the Championship 4 race in the Playoffs.
  • He has four wins in 22 starts at Martinsville, recording nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes along the way. He has an average start of 9.1 and an average finish of 12.0 – and only has one DNF (Spring, 2016) at the track.

 

Matt Crafton (No. 88 ThorSport Racing Chevrolet)

Birthdate: July 11, 1976

Driver’s Age: 42

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Hobbies: Riding Glamis dunes in sand rails, karting

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Crafton is the 2013 and 2014 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion – the only champion to win back-to-back titles in series history.
  • He is the series’ “Iron Man” – currently at 433 consecutive starts, the most in series history.
  • In 2016, he won a career-high six races.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently seventh in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series points standings.
  • Crafton finished fifth in the season opener at Daytona, 14th at Atlanta and was third in the most recent race at Las Vegas.

 

Martinsville Speedway Performance:

  • Crafton has a pair of wins in 34 starts at Martinsville, his most recent coming in the fall of 2015. He has nine top-five and 19 top-10 finishes at the track for an average finish of 10.7. He has just two DNFs at Martinsville, and not since the fall race in 2006.

 

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 

Next Race: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 250

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Saturday, March 23

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 131.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

2018 Winner: John Hunter Nemechek

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

 

ThorSport Racing drivers trade in trucks for sports cars this weekend

Although the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series has the weekend off, that’s not stopping a quartet of ThorSport Racing drivers from taking to the track in sunny Florida.

 

Two-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton, current series points leader Grant Enfinger, 2018 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Myatt Snider and 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Ben Rhodes will be joining Ford Performance and Multimatic Motorsports for Friday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Sebring International Raceway.

 

The extracurricular racing gives the four the opportunity to work on their road course skills such as passing and giving feedback to their crew chiefs and teammates.

 

It will be the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge debut for all four drivers. Crafton and Enfinger will be paired up in the No. 22 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 while Snider and Rhodes will team up in the No. 15 entry for the team.

 

The two-hour Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 goes green on Friday at noon ET and can be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary. 

 

Sauter striving for five at “The Paperclip”

2016 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Series champion Johnny Sauter certainly knows his way around the half-mile track at Martinsville Speedway. Four of his 23 series victories have come there.

 

He won the most recent race at the track affectionately known as “The Paperclip,” and three times previous to that (Fall, 2016; Spring, 2013, Spring, 2011).

 

In 22 starts at Martinsville, Sauter has nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes, with an average start of 9.1 and an average finish of 12.0. And he has remarkable staying power at the track that lends itself to beating and banging – he only has one DNF to his name.

 

In fact, he’s completed 97% of the laps run in races he’s entered – and has run the complete distance in all but five starts. (And…in two of those, he was only one lap down at the finish.)

 

The only track at which Sauter has more wins than Martinsville is Texas – where he has reached Victory Lane five times…including in the spring last year.

 

Crew Chief Spotlight: Mike Hillman Jr.

Harrison Burton, the driver of the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, has impressed early in his Sunoco Rookie campaign as he sits second by just six points in the overall points standings following the opening three races.

 

And he’s doing it with veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. calling the shots from atop the pit box.

 

Hillman has tallied 22 wins in 280 races over 13 seasons in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. But remarkably, he’s only been paired full-time with a driver in six of those seasons (Todd Bodine from 2006-2011, winning the series championship together in 2006 and 2010; then with Jeb Burton in 2013).

 

All but three of his wins came with Todd Bodine. Jeb Burton tallied a victory for him in 2013 and then team owner Kyle Busch won a pair of races with Hillman last year.

 

Other than a few races with Busch and David Gilliland, in recent seasons, Hillman’s had a rotating cast of rising young stars occupying the seat of his truck for most races. Last year, he worked with eight different drivers – including eight races with Burton. They put together three top fives and six top 10s together and won the pole at Iowa. The duo also paired up in 2017 for a top-five finish at next week’s venue – Martinsville.

 

Ben Rhodes, Brandon Jones, Chase Briscoe, Riley Herbst, Myatt Snider and Todd Gilliland are among the drivers who found themselves listening to Hillman’s voice in their truck headsets over the past several seasons.

 

Hillman brings a depth of knowledge to his young drivers. He broke away from the Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 2015 (Brian Scott) and 2016 (Brandon Jones) to serve as a NASCAR Xfinity Series crew chief for Richard Childress Racing. And he’s spent 14 races calling the shots in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – including most recently for Cody Ware at Daytona this year.

 

Friesen looking to spring to success at Martinsville

Currently fourth in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, veteran racer Stewart Friesen is hoping his second full-time season (he also ran 19 of 23 races in 2017) is his breakout year.

 

Friesen is coming off his best finish of the season, a fourth-place effort at Las Vegas. And he’s heading to a track that arguably should be a strength – as Friesen made his name on short tracks…albeit in the dirt.

 

But Friesen has had mixed results at the half-mile track…and in four starts there, has tended to perform better in the fall race. His spring starts over the past two seasons netted finishes of 25th and 20th, while he’s finished sixth and 11th in the two fall Martinsville races he’s contested.

 

His lone top-five finish on a short track came last year at Bristol, where he finished second.

 

 

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 

Next Race: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 250

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Saturday, March 23

TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 131.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

2018 Winner: John Hunter Nemechek

 

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

 

Kyle Busch continues on record march

One week after breaking his tie with NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. to become the all-time winningest driver in NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series history, Kyle Busch again added to his win total by collecting victory No. 53 at his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

The win was the first of two on the weekend for Busch, who also won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, but fell short of the weekend sweep with a third-place finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday.

 

Busch has made 147 starts en route to his 53 career wins in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series – a winning percentage of 36.1%. He has also posted 95 top-five and 116 top-10 finishes. Plus, he’s led 6,608 laps and has an average finish of 7.0.

 

The speed at which Busch has accumulated these stats is pretty impressive.

 

To compare, Hornaday reached his 51st win in his 296th career start. He tallied 158 top-five and 234 top-10 finishes in the 360 total series starts he made.

 

And on the track in 2019, active Gander Outdoors Truck Series champs and ThorSport Racing teammates Matt Crafton (433 starts, 14 wins, 111 top fives, 257 top 10s) and Johnny Sauter (247 starts, 23 wins, 103 top fives, 159 top 10s) have impressive numbers – but still pale in comparison to the all-time leader.

 

 

Predicting the champ?

An interesting trend has been developing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. In five of the last six years, the eventual series champion won his first race of the season within the opening four contests.

 

The lone exception was in 2015, when Erik Jones first reached Victory Lane at Iowa in the ninth race.

 

Brett Moffitt won in the second race (Atlanta) last year, as did Christopher Bell in 2017.

 

Johnny Sauter took home the checkered in the season opener at Daytona in 2016. Matt Crafton won the second race (Martinsville) in 2014 after scoring a victory in the fourth race (Kansas) to win his first championship in 2013.

 

And James Buescher also won the fourth race of the season at Kansas in 2012.

 

When the trucks return from a two-week break at Martinsville, we’ll hit the fourth race of the season. Right now, only Daytona winner Austin Hill is in position to contend for the championship, as Monster Energy Series regular Kyle Busch won the other two races.

 

Looking at Martinsville, there are only two potential championship contenders with previous wins at the half-mile track: Johnny Sauter (Fall 2018, Fall 2016, Spring 2013, Spring 2011) and Matt Crafton (Fall 2015, Spring 2014).

 

 

Enfinger looks to maintain his lead

Grant Enfinger, driver of the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150, maintains a hold on the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series points lead following an 11th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend.

 

In his third full-time season in the series, Enfinger has posted top-five finishes in the opening two races of the season and captured the points lead for the first time in his career following the Atlanta race.

 

At the series’ next track, Martinsville, Enfinger has an average finish of 13.4 in five starts – but has a fourth-place finish in the Spring race last year. Tossing out his 20th-place finish in a 2011 appearance, his average finish over the past two seasons moves up to 11.75.

 

Enfinger will need to continue with that level of consistency to stay on top in the points, where he currently holds a six-point advantage over Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Harrison Burton.

 

To compare at the track, Burton has also made five Martinsville starts, finishing second last year in the Fall race. He has an average finish of 11.0 with one top-five and three top-10 finishes.

 

 

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders impressive early

Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra, not only leads the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, but he trails overall points leader Grant Enfinger by just six points in the series driver championship standings.  

 

Burton finished fifth at Las Vegas last week, just ahead of fellow rookie and sixth-place finisher Sheldon Creed. Creed sits second in the rookie standings but is 10th overall in the driver championship points.

 

Natalie Decker has put up solid qualifying efforts each week but hasn’t seen the results in the races she has been looking for to start the season. A blown tire ending her day on the opening lap of the Daytona race (32nd-place) and then finishing three-laps down in 24th at Atlanta.

 

But she rebounded nicely at Las Vegas, driving her No. 54 DGR-Crosley Toyota Tundra to a career-best 13th-place finish.

 

Tyler Dippel also struggled in the season-opener, finishing 29th after being caught up in an early crash, but he’s finished 11th (Atlanta) and 17th (Las Vegas) to get his rookie season back on track in the No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado.

 

Of the four Sunoco rookies mentioned above, all but Decker have experience at the upcoming Martinsville half-mile track. Burton’s five starts have yielded an average finish of 11.0 while finishing second last Fall. Dippel has taken to the track once, placing 17th in the Fall last year. In that same race, Creed placed 19th.

 

NEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTESNEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTES

NASCAR

NASCAR Announces Nominees

For NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020, Landmark Award

Ard, Bonnett, Panch, Paschal, Stewart, Vogt nominated for first time

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 13, 2019) — NASCAR today announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

 

The list includes six first-time NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees whose careers spanned the entirety of NASCAR.

 

Among them are a NASCAR Xfinity Series pioneer and two-time champion (Sam Ard), an original member of the “Alabama Gang” (Neil Bonnett), a Daytona 500 winner (Marvin Panch), a short track ace (Jim Paschal), a three-time Cup Series champion (Tony Stewart) and the first master mechanic in NASCAR (Red Vogt).

 

Stewart was nominated in his first year of eligibility, and could join Jeff Gordon as a second consecutive first-ballot Hall of Famer.

 

The nominees were selected by a nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, and media. The committee’s votes were tabulated by accounting firm EY.

 

From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. Voting Day for the 2020 class will be Wednesday, May 22.

 

Added to this year’s list of Landmark Award nominees are Edsel Ford II, Mike Helton and Dr. Joseph Mattioli. Two nominees return for the Landmark Award: Alvin Hawkins and Ralph Seagraves (more on each below). Potential Landmark Award recipients include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners remain eligible for NHOF enshrinement.

 

Following are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically:

 

Sam Ard, NASCAR Xfinity Series pioneer and two-time champion

 

Buddy Baker, won 19 times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500

 

Neil Bonnett, won 18 times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including consecutive Coca-Cola 600 victories

 

Red Farmer, three-time Late Model Sportsman champion; 1956 Modified champion

 

Ray Fox, legendary engine builder, crew chief and car owner

 

Harry Gant, winner of 18 NASCAR Cup Series races, including two Southern 500 victories

 

Joe Gibbs, combined for nine car owner championships in Cup and XFINITY series

 

John Holman, won two NASCAR Cup Series championships as co-owner of Holman-Moody Racing

 

Harry Hyde, 1970 NASCAR Cup Series championship crew chief

 

Bobby Labonte, won a championship in both the Cup Series and XFINITY Series

 

Hershel McGriff, 1986 NASCAR west series champion

 

Ralph Moody, won two NASCAR Cup Series championships as co-owner of Holman-Moody Racing

 

Marvin Panch, won 17 times in the NASCAR Cup Series, including the 1961 Daytona 500

 

Jim Paschal, 23 of his 25 NASCAR Cup Series wins came on short tracks

 

Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion

 

Ricky Rudd, won 23 times in NASCAR Cup Series, including the 1997 Brickyard 400

 

Mike Stefanik, winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships

 

Tony Stewart, three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, two-time Brickyard 400 winner

 

Red Vogt, the first master mechanic of NASCAR, and a founding member

 

Waddell Wilson, won three NASCAR Cup Series championships as an engine builder

 

The five nominees for the Landmark Award, listed alphabetically, are as follows…

 

Edsel Ford II, Member of the Board of Directors for Ford Motor Company, long-time NASCAR supporter

 

Alvin Hawkins, NASCAR’s first flagman; established NASCAR racing at Bowman Gray Stadium with Bill France Sr.

 

Mike Helton, named third president of NASCAR in 2000; career included track operator roles at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway

 

Dr. Joseph Mattioli, founder of Pocono Raceway

 

Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

NASCAR Hall of Fame Nomination Eligibility

 

-       Drivers who have competed in NASCAR for at least 10 years and been retired for two years are eligible for nomination to the NHOF. If extenuating circumstances cause a driver’s eligibility to be in question, NASCAR will review and determine if any adjustments are needed prior to the Nomination Committee Meeting.

 

-       In addition, drivers who have competed for a minimum of 10 years and reached their 55th birthday on or before Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year are immediately eligible for the NHOF.

 

-       Any driver who has competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR competition by Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year is automatically eligible, regardless of age.

 

-       Drivers may continue to compete after reaching any of the aforementioned milestones without compromising eligibility for nomination or induction.

 

-       For non-drivers, individuals must have worked at least 10 years in the NASCAR industry.

 

-       Individuals may also be considered who made significant achievements in the sport, but left the sport early due to a variety of circumstances.

 

The 24-person Nominating Committee follows...

 

NOMINATION COMMITTEE

NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Curatorial Affairs Manager Tom Jensen.

NASCAR Officials:  Chairman / CEO Jim France; President Steve Phelps; Vice Chairman Mike Helton; Executive Vice President / Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell; Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Jill Gregory; Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer Eric Nyquist; Senior Vice President, Competition Scott Miller; Managing Director, Racing Operations Ben Kennedy.

Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy; Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Marcus Smith; International Speedway Corporation President John Saunders; Holland Motorsports Complex operator Ron Bennett; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; West Coast Short Track representative Ken Clapp; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; Rockford Speedway operator Jody Deery; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage;  Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of directors member Looie Mattioli; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis.

Media: Mike Joy, FOX.

 

 

SCHEDULES   SCHEDULES   SCHEDULES   SCHEDULES   SCHEDULES   SCHEDULES   SCHEDULES

DATERACELOCATION
Feb. 10Advance Auto Parts ClashDaytona International Speedway
Feb. 14Can-Am DuelDaytona International Speedway
Feb. 17Daytona 500Daytona International Speedway
Feb. 24Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500Atlanta Motor Speedway
Mar. 3Penzoil 400Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Mar. 10TicketGuardian 500 ISM Raceway
Mar. 17Auto Club 400Auto Club Speedway
Mar. 24STP 500Martinsville Speedway
Mar. 31O'Reilly Auto Parts 500Texas Motor Speedway
Apr. 7Food City 500Bristol Motor Speedway
Apr. 13Toyota Owners 400Richmond International Raceway
Apr. 28GEICO 500Talladega Superspeedway
May 5Monster Energy at DoverDover International Speedway
May 11Monster Energy at Kansas Kansas Speedway
May 18Monster Energy Open/All StarCharlotte Motor Speedway
May 26Coca-Cola 600Charlotte Motor Speedway
June 2Pocono 400Pocono Raceway
June 9FireKeepers Casino 400Michigan International Speedway
June 23Toyota/Save Mart 350Sonoma Raceway
June 30Overton’s 400Chicagoland Speedway
July 6Coke Zero 400Daytona International Speedway
July 13Quaker State 400Kentucky Speedway
July 21New Hampshire 301New Hampshire Motor Speedway
July 28Gander Outdoors 400Pocono Raceway
Aug. 4GoBowling at the GlenWatkins Glen International
Aug. 11Consumers Energy 400Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 17Bass Pro Shops NRABristol Motor Speedway
Sep. 1Bojangles' Southern 500Darlington Raceway
Sep. 8Big Machine Brickyard 400Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Sep. 15South Point 400 – Round of 16 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sep. 21Federal Auto Parts 400 - Round of 16 Richmond Raceway
Sep. 29Bank of America 500 - Round of 16 Charlotte Motor Speedway
Oct. 6Dover 400 - Round of 12 Dover International Speedway
Oct. 13Alabama 500 - Round of 16 Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 20Hollywood Casino 400 - Round of 16 Kansas Superspeedway
Oct. 27First Data 400 - Round of 8 Martinsville Speedway
Nov. 3AAA Texas 500 - Round of 8 Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 10Can-Am 500 - Round of 8 Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 17Ford EcoBoost 400 - Championship Homestead-Miami Speedway
 

 

Sat, 2/16Daytona 300Daytona, FL
Sat, 2/23Rinnai 250Hampton, GA
Sat, 3/2Boyd Gaming 300Las Vegas, NV
Sat, 3/9DC Solar 200Avondale, AZ
Sat, 3/16Roseanne 300Fontana, CA
Sat, 3/30My Bariatric Solutions 300Fort Worth, TX
Sat., 4/6Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300Bristol, TN
Fri. 4/12ToyotaCare 250Richmond, VA
Sat, 4/27Sparks Energy 300Lincoln, AL
Sat, 5/4OneMain Financial 200Dover, DE
Sat, 5/25Alsco 300Concord, NC
Sat, 6/1Pocono Green 250Long Pond, PA
Sat, 6/8LTi Printing 250Brooklyn, MI
Sun, 6/16Iowa 250Newton, IA
Sat, 6/29Overton’s 300Joliet, IL
Fri, 7/5Coca-Cola Firecracker 250Daytona , FL
Fri, 7/12Alsco 300Sparta, KY
Sat, 7/20Lakes Region 200Loudon, NH
Sat, 7/27U.S. Cellular 250Newton, IA
Sat, 8/3Zippo 200 at The GlenWatkins Glen, NY
Sat, 8/10Mid-Ohio ChallengeLexington, OH
Fri, 8/16Food City 300Bristol, TN
Sat, 8/24Johnsonville 180Elkhart Lake, WI
Sat, 8/31VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200Darlington, SC
Sat, 9/7Lilly Diabetes 250Indianapolis, IN
Sat, 9/14DC Solar 300Las Vegas, NV
Fri, 9/20Go Bowling 250Richmond, VA
Sat, 9/28Drive for the Cure 300Concord, NC
Sat, 10/5Dover 200Dover, DE
Sat, 10/19Kansas Lottery 300Kansas City, KS
Sat, 11/2O'Reilly Auto Parts 300Fort Worth, TX
Sat, 11/9ISM 200Avondale, AZ
Sat, 11/16Ford EcoBoost 300Homestead, FL

 

Date Race Track
2/15 NextEra Energy 250 Daytona International Speedway
2/23 Atlanta 200 Atlanta Motor Speedway
3/1 Stratoshere 200 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
3/23 Martinsville 250 Martinsville Speedway
3/29 Vankor 350 Texas Motor Speedway
5/3 JEGS 200 Dover International Speedway
5/10 Kansas 250 Kansas Speedway
5/17 N.C. Education Lottery 200 Charlotte Motor Speedway
6/7 Rattlesnake 400 Texas Motor Speedway
6/15 Iowa 200 Iowa Speedway
6/22 Gateway 200 Gateway Motorsports Park
6/28 Overton’s 225 Chicagoland Speedway
7/11 Kentucky 225 Kentucky Speedway
7/27 Pocono 150 Pocono Raceway
8/1 Eldora Dirt Derby Eldora Speedway
8/10 Corrigan Oil 200 Michigan International Speedway
8/15 UNOH 200 Bristol Motor Speedway
8/25 Chevrolet Silverado 25 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
9/13 World of Westgate 200 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
10/12 Sugarlands Shine 250 Talladega Superspeedway
10/26 Martinsville 200 Martinsville Speedway
11/8 Lucas Oil 150 ISM Raceway
11/15 Ford EcoBoost 200 Homestead-Miami Speedway

 

 

 

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