Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (16162)

NASCAR legend and three-time champion David Pearson passed away Monday at the age of 83. Below, FOX NASCAR analyst and Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and play-by-play announcer Mike Joy offer their memories of the “Silver Fox.”

“I am so sad to hear about the passing of my hero and the guy I consider the greatest stock car driver of all time. There was no one like the Silver Fox.  RIP, my dear old friend.”

--Darrell Waltrip

“David made winning look effortless and was as good a storyteller and partier as he was a driver. He also had a quick wit. At one event, I introduced him, saying ‘the Silver Fox’ would often not work his way to the lead until close to the finish. David grabbed the mic and blurted out, ‘Hey, I led a bunch, too,’ and the whole place erupted laughing with him.”

--Mike Joy

Fox Sports PR

Darlington Raceway expresses its deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of David Pearson. His record 10 wins at Darlington Raceway put him in a league of his own. His fierce competitiveness and passion for the sport endeared him to the NASCAR faithful. His Hall of Fame career will go down as one of the most prolific in the history of the sport. A native South Carolinian, he was a wonderful ambassador for our sport and for the Palmetto State. He will be missed and will always be remembered.”

There was certainly no shortage of drama, suspense and emotion in Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway – as you would expect of the race to determine which three drivers will join Martinsville winner Joey Logano in the Championship 4 round this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In the end – as they had in the beginning and middle - the season-long high-achievers – the “Big 3” – showed why they are just that. But even they had to overcome sizable setbacks and strategy twists in a thrilling final push to settle who will run for the championship in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

Regular season champion Kyle Busch overcame being down a lap Sunday – getting caught on pit road during a caution flag - to regain the lead for good with 36 laps remaining to hoist his eighth trophy and put an exclamation point on his 2018 championship intentions.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will be joined by fellow eight-time race winner Kevin Harvick, of Stewart-Haas Racing, who rallied to a fifth-place finish after an early race flat tire put him laps down to the leader. And that was after a significant midweek penalty to the No. 4 team nullified his Texas win from being an automatic Championship 4 berth. A 40-point penalty from NASCAR for an illegal rear spoiler vastly changed the complexion of the nine-time Phoenix winner’s championship blueprint and sent his longtime champion crew chief Rodney Childers to the sideline for the remainder of the season. Veteran crew chief Tony Gibson is calling the races in his place.

Joining Logano, Busch and Harvick will be reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., a four-time winner in 2018 that shows up in Homestead with plenty of extra title motivation himself. His No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota team is transitioning out of the sport at the end of the season and the team would love nothing more than to go out on top.

"Well, it's exciting for us, I think, to be in this position again," said Truex, who finished 14th Sunday.

“This is our third trip to Homestead in four years, which I think is something we're all really proud of as a group, and obviously going to be our last race together as a complete group, it's definitely going to be a special weekend.

“You know, all we can do is prepare the best we can and do the same thing that we've done down there before and just try our best. That's all you can do at the end of the day. We've got a great team. It's been an amazing, amazing ride together, and hopefully we can get down there next week and make our owners proud and just live up to our potential.”

For the first time in NASCAR Playoff history the four drivers eligible to win the championship account for more than 50 percent of the regular season wins.

Points advantages, season trophies and regular season honors are muted now, however – a championship trophy will go to the highest finisher of this single race.

Many are calling it the most competitive foursome in the championship race era. Three of the four have won Cup championships at Homestead in the last four years – and those three (Busch, Harvick and Truex) have accounted for 20 wins in the 35 races to date this season.

The work of these three championship finalists has been amazing all season, but Team Penske’s Logano shows up in South Florida with the best average finish (9.4) in the nine Playoff races. The 27-year old won his way into the title hunt at Martinsville and is the only driver without a title.

All four of these drivers have multiple wins on the season. They have each earned at least 20 top-10s and together have accounted for more than 5,200 laps led.

Together their winning percentage on the season is 62.9 percent - well above the combined winning percentage of any previous championship foursome. The previous best was last year’s group of Busch, Harvick, Truex and Logano’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski who accounted for 48.6 percent of the race wins. This year’s talented foursome is well above the 2014 inaugural Championship 4 field at 28.6 percent.

And the highly competitive, high achieving nature of this year’s championship foursome certainly isn’t lost on those drivers.

"I don't know how you could pick a favorite necessarily," Busch conceded Sunday after his victory.

“Harvick has won there (at Homestead-Miami), we've won there, the 78 (Truex) has won there. You know, Harvick has beat us all. I beat Harvick the year I won. Truex beat both of us last year. I think it's just a matter of being able to go out there and race your race and do what you can with what you've got and have an opportunity to be able to be leading the race essentially on that last lap. That's what approximate it boils down to.

“Anything can happen in between, and we've seen it the last few years kind of how crazy things can get with the (Joey) Logano and Carl (Edwards) restart, with last year me having to run down Truex and not quite having enough to be able to pass him. Some other years it's been kind of maybe anti-climactic, but I would predict this is the best four, the closest four that have been in our sport in a long time.”

 

StarCom Racing anchors down new partners for the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Miami- Homestead Speedway with Landon Cassill as Captain of the Local Knowledge 00 Chevy and Kyle Weatherman at the helm of the International Marine 99 Chevy.

With the perseverance and enthusiasm of our First Mate David Ducharme of Superior Essex, SCR’s team associate sponsor, this partnership was able to set sail.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Local Knowledge since the first episode and always thought it would be great to somehow incorporate NASCAR into the show,” David Ducharme, of Superior Essex. “I reached out to Ali via social media and the rest is history!  I’m very excited for the millions of fans that will be tuning in for the Championship race at Homestead to see the 00 Local Knowledge Mahi and the 99 International Marine Marlin Chevy.”

Local Knowledge, a fishing documentary hosted by Ali Hussainy and Rush Maltz which airs on the Discovery Channel, explores the culture of fishing while focuses on the differing and often humorous viewpoints of its two hosts that dedicate their lives to fishing and the outdoors.

“We were very excited when David Ducharme of Superior Essex reached out to us with an opportunity to sponsor the 00 Car in Homestead this year,” said Ali Hussainy, Host of Local Knowledge. “Local Knowledge is more about the people that fish than just fishing alone, and we couldn’t think of two sports that go together better than NASCAR and fishing!  Be sure to look for the show to air on season four of Local Knowledge on the Discovery Channel.”

“As a FL Keys native, I’m really looking forward to being part of the Championship race at Homestead this year. Many of viewers are big NASCAR fans and I’m looking forward to bringing the two worlds together,” said Rush Maltz, Host of Local Knowledge

International Marine built its reputation on trust, reliability and above all, quality of work. International Marine has taken the guess work out of who to choose for your boat maintenance needs and offers a one stop shop for everything from: Electronics installation, Suzuki outboard service and repowers, JL audio system design and installation, boat detailing, and much more.

“The entire International Marine/ Native Boatworks team is very excited to be involved with NASCAR for the Homestead race,” said Brian Kock, Director of Sales, International Marine Services. “The opportunity to broaden our exposure for our boats and services is a natural fit with the fans, and teams alike.”

We are looking forward to Kyle Weatherman driving the International Marine/ Native Boatworks car for us at Homestead and are sure that he will chase down the Dolphin / Local Knowledge car,” said Micheal Reimer, Vice President, International Marine Services

To learn more about StarCom Racing, follow the team on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat @StarComRacing.

StarCom Racing PR

Matt Kenseth battled back from some early trouble at ISM Raceway to drive his Wyndham Rewards Ford Fusion to a top-10 finish, crossing the line seventh Sunday afternoon.

Kenseth rolled off the grid 18th for the 312-lap race, and ended the opening stage there, fighting loose conditions in his Ford. Following a pit stop under the stage break, the Cambridge, Wisconsin, native rolled off 18th for the second 75-lap segment.

Just after the restart, the No. 22 machine blew a tire right in front of the No. 6, forcing him to check up, which led to the No. 19 plowing into the left rear of Kenseth’s machine. The damage was fairly severe on the left side, forcing Kenseth to pit for tires and damage repair. After a sequence of pit stops to repair the damage, and add a transponder back which fell off from the crash, Kenseth lined back up 20th for the restart at lap 105.

The next yellow would fly at lap 132, when Kenseth pitted again, this time for tires, fuel and more damage repairs. Kenseth went on to finish 17th in the second stage, and was able to stay out on track after just pitting 15 laps prior.

Kenseth rolled off fourth at lap 158 for the final stage, setting up solid track position for his Wyndham Rewards Ford. He fell back to ninth by lap 218, and pitted under green at lap 223. He was tagged with a speeding penalty under the stop, but the yellow came out immediately following the stop.

After serving the pass through Kenseth lined back up 21st, two laps down, for the restart at lap 235. Following another yellow, teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr., suffered a hard hit at lap 263, which led to the lucky dog for Kenseth. After a red flag was displayed, the yellow came back out just six laps later, when Kenseth was awarded the free pass putting him back on the lead lap.

Kenseth would restart 13th at lap 275, and worked his way into the top-10 by lap 300 with 12 to go. Kenseth held off his competitors at the end, crossing the line seventh at the track he won at a year ago.

Kenseth returns to the No. 6 next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway to close out the 2018 season. Race coverage begins next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC and MRN.

RFR PR

Series: Monster Energy Cup Series
Race: Can-Am 500
Venue: ISM Speedway
Track Length/Configuration: 1.0-mile, oval
Race Distance: 312 laps/312 miles
Race Format: 3 Stages: Stages end on laps: 75/150/312
Cautions:  10 cautions for 61 yellow flag laps
Lead Changes: 15 among 8 drivers
Started: 34
Finished: 25
Laps Completed: 309
Points Gained: 12
 
 
Stage 1
Cole Whitt rolled off the grid in the 34th position in the Standard Plumbing Supply No. 72 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at ISM Speedway to start the Can-Am 500
 
Lap 2: Running 32nd, Whitt relayed the No. 72 had chatter in the front and was loose off the corners
 
Stage 1 Completion Caution: Whitt completed the stage 31st, two laps down. He communicated the Standard Plumbing Supply No. 72 bettered on the long run but lacked grip, rear stability and forward drive. Crew Chief Wally Rogers called for service of four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments along with adding tape to the grille
 
 
Stage 2
Whitt took the Stage 2 green flag restart slotted in the 32nd position, two laps down
 
Caution Lap 97(spin): Maintaining 32nd, Whitt relayed he was tight. He pitted for four tires, air pressure and wedge adjustments and fuel. He took the restart 29th, two laps down
 
Caution Lap 135 (incident): The Standard Plumbing Supply No. 72 had become loose on late exit, tight in turns one and two, lacked turning in turns three and four and little to nothing to lean on in the rear. Crew Chief Wally Rogers called Whitt to pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment
 
Stage 2 Completion Caution: Whitt completed the stage 28th, two laps down. He communicated the Standard Plumbing Supply No. 72 was tight and he was unable to put any wheel to it. The pit crew serviced Whitt with four tires, fuel and wedge adjustment
 
Stage 3
Whitt was scored 28th, two laps down for the start of Stage 3
 
Caution 230 (spin): Whitt came to pit for four tires, fuel and wedge out of the right rear; placing him to cycle back to take the green flag restart 28th, three laps down
 
With an additional five cautions (two resulting in red flags) and varied pit stops, Whitt continued to remain steady in his positioning. He ultimately took the checkered flag 25th in the Standard Plumbing Supply No. 72 ending the day at ISM Raceway.
 
TriStar PR

After earning his best qualifying effort of the season, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was running in the top-15 when suddenly he blew a left rear tire sending his Ford hard into the outside wall forcing him to settle with a 33rd-place finish in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at ISM Raceway.

“It looked like we just blew a tire there,” Stenhouse said. “We were actually getting our Ford Fusion better and better throughout the race. I felt pretty competitive that last run and bummed that it ended that way. I thought we were moving forward and passing some good cars, but, all in all, it just wasn’t meant to be today and we’ll go on to Homestead.”

After earning his best qualifying position of third for the 2018 MENCS season, the two-time MENCS winner lost a few positions early on due to an ill-handling machine. With the first stage going caution free, the Olive Branch, Miss. native fell back to 15th by the time the first green-checkered flag waved.

After lining up in the 15th position for stage two, Stenhouse fell to the 20th after lacking front turn. When the caution flag waved on lap 96, crew chief Brian Pattie took the opportunity to make an adjustment on the No. 17 Ford, but the Roush Fenway Racing driver was penalized for speeding on pit-road sending him to the tail end of the field. When the green-checkered flag waved to end stage two, Stenhouse had worked his way up to the 19th position.

With less than 100 laps remaining, Stenhouse received another pit-road speeding penalty but as he was working his way up through the field and running in the top-15, his left rear tire blew sending the Ford Fusion hard into the outside wall. The damage was too severe forcing the two-time Xfinity champion to settle with a 33rd place finish at ISM Raceway.

Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday Nov. 18. Race coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. (EST) on NBC. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and NASCAR SIRIUS/XM radio channel 90. 

RFR PR

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 75):

Bowyer started 16th and finished 14th.

Bowyer reported his car was very loose in the opening laps.

● Pitted for tires, fuel and adjustments during stage break and moved to 10th.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 150):

Bowyer started 10th and finished 35th.

On lap 97 Bowyer told his crew, “We are in the game now.”

Bowyer climbed to seventh and appeared ready to contend with the leaders.

On lap 133 Bowyer cut a tire, which sent the No. 14 into the wall.

● Bowyer drove the car to the garage but could not continue in the race.

 

Notes:

●  Kyle Busch won the Can-Am 500k to score his 51st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his eighth of the season and his second at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Brad Keselowski was .501 of a second.

●  There were 10 caution periods for a total of 61 laps.

●  Only 15 of the 39 drivers in the Can-Am 500k finished on the lead lap.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 ITsavvy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I guess we cut a left-rear tire down. It’s just kind of the way our playoffs are going. It’s frustrating. We’ve had a great year getting to where we were part of this playoff situation and being in contention to be able to run for a championship. There’s a lot of pride with (crew chief) Mike (Bugarewicz) and all the guys on the 14 car. It’s been a lot of fun to go to battle each and every week all across the country with these guys. Stewart-Haas, I can’t say enough about the job the men and women have done at Stewart-Haas getting all four cars in the playoffs and then obviously winning and being in victory lane, and everything Ford and everybody involved has done for us. I’m proud of our season, bummed for our day. It’s always fun to come out here to Phoenix. It’s a hell of a crowd today, appreciate everybody coming out. Unfortunately, we were a caution. You never want to be a caution.”

 

Playoff Standings:

 

Championship 4 Drivers:

1.       Kevin Harvick (5,000 points)

2.       Joey Logano (5,000 points)

3.       Kyle Busch (5,000 points)

4.       Martin Truex Jr. (5,000 points)

 

Failed to Advance to Championship 4:

1.       Kurt Busch

2.       Aric Almirola

3.       Clint Bowyer

4.       Chase Elliott

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday, Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The final race of the 10-race playoffs starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m.

 

TSC PR

Kurt Busch’s roller-coaster ride in Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway ended in disaster—and a missed opportunity in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Charging forward from his 14th-place starting position, Busch climbed to fourth by the end of the first 75-lap stage. After a quick pit stop under caution, he was second for a restart on Lap 84 and grabbed the lead from Chase Elliott on the restart lap.

Busch led the next 52 laps before crew chief Billy Scott called him to pit road under caution on Lap 135. As he accelerated off Turn 2 onto pit road, Busch passed the pace car and drew a one-lap penalty, a circuit he didn’t regain until Tanner Berryhill spun to cause the fifth caution on Lap 228.

After working his way forward and staying out on older tires, Busch was second for a restart on Lap 269. That’s when his race and his championship hopes came undone.

Racing in a knot of cars off Turn 2, Busch was forced wide, and Denny Hamlin knocked Busch’s No. 41 Ford into the outside wall. Bouncing off the barrier, Busch collected the No. 9 Chevrolet of Chase Elliott, who title dreams also ended in the wreck.

“Erik Jones was on my inside when we restarted, and I just wanted to make sure I didn’t slip through the new (Turns) 1 and 2,” Busch said after exiting the infield care center. “If I could have been to somebody’s outside off 2, then I thought we had a good shot of maintaining the lead, and I just got cleaned out. I flat out got cleaned out. 

“If the rule earlier in the race on the pit road of passing the pace car is black and white, I just need to get brushed up on my rule book. I didn’t gain anything by doing what I did other than just digging from behind all day. It was a really good year for our Haas Automation Ford. Thanks to Monster Energy and everybody that put their talent into that 41 car. I just didn’t get the job done to get us to Homestead.”

 

WRECK ENDS PROMISING RUN AT PHOENIX FOR CHASE ELLIOTT

Chase Elliott blamed himself—not for the wreck that cost him a chance to run for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.

No, Elliott took responsibility for the Lap 230 speeding penalty that mired him in traffic and put his No. 9 Chevrolet in harm’s way. When Denny Hamlin ran Kurt Busch into the outside wall after a restart on Lap 269, Elliott caught Busch’s No. 41 Ford on the rebound and sustained enough damage to lose three laps and a title shot.

“Yeah, don’t speed before that and you don’t get caught back there in the back,” said Elliott, who earlier had won the first stage of the race. “It was completely my fault, and when you make mistakes like that, you get put behind, and that’s when you get wrecked.

“So, I had a pretty good NAPA Chevy, especially on the long runs. We could run with those guys. I couldn’t get going quite as good as I wanted to. But if you stay away from that penalty, you never know. I hate it, but we’ll try to get a win next week.”

Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway was part of learning experience for the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, who had a breakout year with three race victories this season. But Elliott couldn’t match the Playoff point totals of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., all of whom had margins for error entering each round of the Playoffs.

“You just have to make the most of opportunities,” Elliott said. “The whole year counts. Those guys, winning a lot of races throughout the season, is what kept them away from a pressure-filled situation. All the bonus points they built up pretty much got them to Homestead, and that’s the way that stepping stone is meant to work. It pays to win. So we’ll try to win more next year.”

 

ARIC ALMIROLA MAKES VALIANT RUN AT GAME-CHANGING VICTORY

Aric Almirola was close enough to taste the victory that would have assured him of a Championship 4 berth and knocked Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick out of the final four.

With 12 laps left in Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway, Almirola’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford lined up beside race leader Kyle Busch for a restart with 12 laps left. But Busch got the jump on the restart, and Almirola faded to fourth behind runner-up Brad Keselowski and third-place Kyle Larson.

“I thought we were a seventh-to sixth-place car, and that’s what I thought we were yesterday (in practice), too,” Almirola said on pit road, after getting a consoling hug from team owner Tony Stewart. (Crew chief) Johnny (Klausmeier) and all these guys fought their guts out, and I fought my guts out inside the race car and gave it everything we had. We took a seventh or eighth-place car and the next thing you know we were in position to win the race.

“I’m just really thankful for this group and these guys on the Smithfield team are awesome. This is our first year working together. You look at all the teams we’re racing and they’ve got four, five, six, seven years working together, so what we’ve accomplished in one year is a hell of a lot.

“But right now all I can think about is being inside of Kyle down there in the new (Turns) 1 and 2 and just not being able to get the power down to get up beside him. It’s bittersweet. It was a good day for us, but today we needed to win—and we didn’t win.”

Race Winner:      Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

● Aric Almirola started Stage 1 in the 18th spot and finished it in 11th.

● The Smithfield driver worked his way up through the field and reported on lap 25 that he “needed help rolling.”

● The entirety of the stage was run under the green flag.

● The Round of 8 contender pitted during the stage break for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help the No. 10 machine. The pit stop resulted in a 13th-place restart for Almirola in Stage 2.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

● Almirola started Stage 2 in 13th and ended it in 10th.

● The first caution of the race was displayed on lap 96 while Almirola was in 12th. Crew chief John Klausmeier made the call for the No. 10 machine to stay out on the track and restarted in ninth.

● The second caution of the race was displayed on lap 135, and Almirola came down pit road for fuel, four tires and adjustments once again. He restarted 13th on lap 140.

● The Tampa native finished Stage 2 in 10th.

● During the Stage 2 break, Almirola visited pit road for two right-side tires and fuel to start the final stage in seventh.
 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-312):

● Almirola started the final stage seventh and ended it in the fourth position.

● On lap 170, Almirola reported the Smithfield Ford was “very loose to get going,” and after slipping back to 10th he worked his way back up to eighth.

● The 34-year-old made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 226 from the seventh position. Unfortunately, the caution came out just after Almirola pitted.

● He restarted 16th on lap 236 and worked his way up to 13th when the caution came out on lap 240.

● The seventh caution came out with 49 to go while Almirola was in the 10th position. He came down pit road for fuel, four tires and adjustments. After a brief red flag and with varying pit strategies among competitors, Almirola restarted 12th on lap 269.

● Just after the restart, a multicar accident brought out the caution again as Almirola ran in seventh.

● The green flag dropped again on lap 275, and the Ford driver had maneuvered his way up to fourth when the ninth caution came out on lap 287. Almirola stayed out during caution and restarted fourth. He raced teammate Kevin Harvick for position until the 10th caution of the race came out on lap 296.

● Almirola restarted in the second position on lap 300 with his best shot to win the race and move on to the Championship 4 at Homestead. Unfortunately, he was overtaken by another competitor and ultimately finished fourth when the remainder of the event ran under the green flag.

 

Notes:

●  This was Almirola’s fourth top-five and 16th top-10 finish of 2018. This is the most top-fives Almirola has earned in a single season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

●  Almirola earned his first top-five in 16 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix. His previous best finish at Phoenix was seventh, earned in the series’ March race at the track.

●  Almirola finished 10th in Stage 2 to earn one bonus point.

●  Kyle Busch won the Can-Am 500k to score his 51st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his eighth of the season and his second at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Brad Keselowski was .501 of a second.

●  There were 10 caution periods for a total of 61 laps.

●  Only 15 of the 39 drivers in the Can-Am 500k finished on the lead lap.

 

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I thought we were a seventh- to sixth-place car, and that’s what I thought we were (on Saturday), too. Johnny and all these guys fought their guts out, and I fought my guts out inside the racecar and gave it everything we had. We took a seventh- or eighth-place car and, the next thing you know, we were in position to win the race. I’m just really thankful for this group, and these guys on the Smithfield team are awesome. This is our first year working together. You look at all the teams we’re racing and they’ve got four, five, six, seven years working together, so what we’ve accomplished in one year is a hell of a lot. Right now all I can think about is being inside of Kyle down there in the new one and two and just not being able to get the power down to get up beside him. It’s bittersweet. It was a good day for us, but today we needed to win – and we didn’t win.”

 

Playoff Standings: 

Championship 4 Drivers:

1.       Kevin Harvick (5,000 points)

2.       Joey Logano (5,000 points)

3.       Kyle Busch (5,000 points)

4.       Martin Truex Jr. (5,000 points)

●  Harvick will compete in the Championship 4 for the fourth time in the last five years. He won the championship in 2014.

Failed to Advance to Championship 4:

1.       Kurt Busch

2.       Aric Almirola

3.       Clint Bowyer

4.       Chase Elliott

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday, Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The final race of the 10-race playoffs starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m.

 

TSC PR

For the third time in the past four years Martin Truex Jr. will be going to NASCAR’s Big Dance at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Truex, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, earned a spot in the Championship 4 with a conservative 14th-place finish in Sunday’s penultimate race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. He had a comfortable 42-point margin above the cutline.

“We didn’t want to do anything crazy there at the end, we knew what we had to do and we accomplished the mission,” Truex said.

Truex will be joined in the Championship 4 by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano. The Championship 4 driver with the best finish at Homestead will be crowned the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion.

Truex, who qualified 13th at the 1-mile Arizona oval in his No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, struggled early in the race. He was shut out for points in the first stage. But a timely caution in the second stage helped the Furniture Row Racing driver to finish third and pick up eight standing points.

“We didn’t have the greatest car, but we just battled hard and had a little bit of good fortune,” noted Truex, who led twice for eight laps. “Cole (Pearn, crew chief) made good calls. He and the guys are just an unbelievable group.

“Short runs really killed us today. We couldn’t run good for 40 or 50 laps and when my car started to come in, a caution would come out. All in all proud of everybody – the guys back at the Denver shop for continuing to bring good cars to the track. We had 1300 names from Auto-Owners – people who got together to help raise money for our foundation. That and Veterans Day so many cool things about today. We’re going to Miami – one last hurrah next week and we’ll give it all we got.”

Regarding next Sunday's race at Homestead Truex went on to say, “Homestead is a tough track, it’s a long race and anything can happen. We saw last year that we were really good on short runs and the 18 (Kyle Busch) was good on long runs, and at the end, it came down to a short run and we were able to hold him off.

“You have to have a little bit of luck on your side, have a good race car and have things play out the way you need them to suit your setup and suit what you’re doing. For us, we’ve got a lot of confidence and we really don’t have a lot of pressure on us. We haven’t been the fastest car this year by any means, but when we hit it right we can beat anybody. If we can go down there and hit it right, we’re going to have some fun.”

The race winner was Kyle Busch. Rounding out the top 10 were: Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Austin Dillon, William Byron and Bubba Wallace.

The race had 10 cautions for 61 laps and two red flags for nearly 16 minutes. There were 17 lead changes among nine drivers.

FRR PR