Matt Kenseth is coming out of retirement to drive the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing for the remainder of the 2020 season, CGR confirmed on Monday.
“I have always said that when we have to fill a driver spot, that I owe it to our team, our partners and our fans to put the best available driver in the car. We are doing exactly that with Matt,” Chip Ganassi said in a statement issued on Monday.
Kenseth said in statement: “This was an unexpected opportunity for sure. I can’t say racing was even on my radar two weeks ago. After spending some time thinking about it and all the unique circumstances surrounding all of us right now, it just seemed the timing and the opportunity was perfect to come back.”
Kenseth (48) last competed in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, running a part-time schedule for Roush Fenway Racing.
The 2003 Cup series champion has compiled 39 career series wins throughout his career, including two wins in the Daytona 500. His last win came at Phoenix Raceway in 2017 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Kenseth replaces Kyle Larson, who was suspended by NASCAR and fired by the team on April 14th for using a racial slur during an iRacing event.
NASCAR is looking to return on May 17th at Darlington Raceway, per sources. Kenseth would have to obtain a waiver from NASCAR to be eligible for the playoffs since he hasn’t competed this season.
Brandon Jones won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Phoenix Raceway. Jones passed his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch with 20 laps to go and was able to hold off the NASCAR Cup Series champion to win for the second time in his career. His other win came at Kansas Speedway last October.
For Toyota, this was their 500th win in NASCAR.
Kyle Busch, who started from the pole on Saturday, was chasing his 12th career Xfinity Series win at Phoenix. Busch led a race-high 78 laps, but was passed by Jones in the final 20 laps.
Last week’s winner at Fontana, Harrison Burton, also passed Busch and finished runner-up to Brandon Jones on Saturday.
Rounding out the top five were Brad Keselowski in fourth and Justin Haley in fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Chase Briscoe in sixth, Noah Gragson in seventh, Austin Cindric in eighth, Ross Chastain in ninth and Riley Herbst in tenth.
Following the conclusion of Saturday’s race, Dillion Bassett and Brandon Brown and their crew chiefs got into an altercation on pit road. Bassett reached into Brown’s car while he was parked on pit road after the race. The two drivers had previously made contact on Lap 137.
Both met with NASCAR after the race.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway, Saturday March 14th in the running of the EchoPark 250 with coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET on FS1.
Stage 1 Winner: Justin Allgaier
Stage 2 Winner: Noah Gragson
Race Winner: Brandon Jones
Alex Bowman won Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Bowman dominated, leading 110 of the 200 lap race en route to his victory.
Sunday marked the second NASCAR Cup Series career win for the Arizona native. His first win came at Chicagoland Speedway last year.
The 26-year-old beat out second place Kyle Busch by 8.9 seconds.
Bowman spoke with Fox Sports following Sunday’s victory:
“I’ll take it after last week. I wish we would have had three,” Bowman told Fox Sports post-race. “We’ve been good to start this season. We started the season very poorly over the last two years and it just means the world to show up at the race track and have the first run be almost perfect and just be able to fine-tune the race car. Greg Ives has made the right calls. We’ve got to go win a bunch more, but man, it feels good to have one this early.”
Rounding out the top five were Kyle Busch in second, Kurt Busch in third, Chase Elliott in fourth and Brad Keselowski in fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Denny Hamlin in sixth, Jimmie Johnson in seventh, Aric Almirola in eighth, Kevin Harvick in ninth and Erik Jones in tenth.
Johnson, who finished seventh had a pretty strong showing in his final race at his hometown track of Auto Club Speedway leading 10 laps and earning a top ten finish.
Johnson’s family was on hand to wave the green flag at the start of Sunday’s race.
Chani, Evie and Lydia in the flag stand as honorary starters today in Fontana. This will be one of the coolest memories of my career. Thank you @autoclubspeedway and @Nascar. ? pic.twitter.com/fY5aFm8Egr— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) March 2, 2020
Ryan Blaney, who led 54 laps on Sunday and looked to possibly bring home the win for Penske Racing had an issue with his right rear tire and was forced to pit on Lap 197 of 200. Blaney would finish 19th.
The NASCAR Cup Series will head to Phoenix Raceway next Sunday in the Fan Shield 500 with coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
Stage 1 Winner: Alex Bowman
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney
Race Winner: Alex Bowman
Chase Briscoe won Sunday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race was postponed after Lap 51 on Saturday due to rain and rescheduled for Sunday one hour following the NASCAR Cup Series race.
Briscoe led 89 laps in route to his victory on Sunday.
“That was really a team win,” Briscoe told FS1 post-race. “We were really good, then as soon as the sun went down when we were in the dirty air, we just weren’t really good. In clean air obviously there at the end we were really good. This is something I feel we can do all year long.”
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver beat out second place Austin Cindric by nearly three seconds to claim his third career NASCAR Xfinity Series win.
Rounding out the top five were Austin Cindric in second, Ryan Sieg in third, Noah Gragson in fourth and Harrison Burton in fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Brandon Jones in sixth, Michael Annett in seventh, Justin Allgaier in eighth, Riley Herbst in ninth and Ross Chastain in tenth. Chastain, who ran in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race filling in for Ryan Newman had to go directly from Newman’s car to his full-time Xfinity Series ride.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head into Auto Club Speedway in the running of the Production Alliance Group 300 on Feb. 29 at 4 p.m. ET on FS1.
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Briscoe
Stage 2 Winner: Justin Allgaier
Race Winner: Chase Briscoe
Noah Gragson won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series opening race at Daytona, winning in a three-lap shootout that would end under caution.
For Gragson, this marks his first ever NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in his 37th career start.
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity,” Gragson told FS1 post-race. “Man I’m speechless right now, I didn’t think this would come. I spent a lot of time with Dale Jr. this week talking for about two hours. Wanted to be a better speedway racer. He told me ‘go have fun, wreckers or checkers, you got to manage your gaps, be there at the end and just lead the damn thing.’ That’s what we did.”
For Jr Motorsports, this is their third straight win in the February race at Daytona.
Driver No. 9 had to rebound from a speeding penalty on Lap 32. This was the fifth time in the last seven races that the winner rebounded from a penalty during the race.
Gragson led 15 laps of the race and beat out Harrison Burton, Timmy Hill, Brandon Jones and Chase Briscoe rounding out the top five.
Harrison Burton earned his best finish (second) in his 10 Xfinity Series starts and his second top five place finish.
The race would end under caution due to a massive wreck on the back straightaway on the final lap.
The late-race restart was set up by a wreck on a restart with seven laps to go.
The wreck collected Jeb Burton, Austin Cindric, Ryan Sieg, Brett Moffitt and others. It started when Briscoe, who took the lead moved up to block Gragson as the field entered Turn 3. Harrison Burton, running behind Gragson had to check up and was turned by Cindric. Burton collected Jones before turning back into the wall.
The wreck would result in a red flag that would last nearly eight minutes.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Feb. 22 in the running of the Boyd Gaming 300. Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Stage 1 Winner: Jeb Burton
Stage 2 Winner: Justin Allgaier
Race Winner: Noah Gragson
Erik Jones won Sunday’s wrecked filled Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway.
Jones survived four wrecks in the late stages of the race and plus three overtime restarts to win Sunday’s Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway.
Driver No. 20 had arguably the most damaged car of the six cars that finished the race.
Jones received a push from his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who was a lap down and pushed Jones passed Ryan Newman and Austin Dillion on the final lap to claim the win.
The fourth wreck of the day occurred in Turn 4 as result of contact between Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson.
The third wreck occurred on the first attempt at overtime, when Denny Hamlin lost control of his car while trying to block Elliott’s attempt to take the lead and spun out.
The second wreck occurred before the field even took the green flag with three laps to go. William Byron spun and was hit from behind by Kevin Harvick, which also collected Martin True Jr., Kyle Larson, Austin Dillion, Clint Bowyer and others as well.
The first wreck of the afternoon occurred when Joey Logano was leading and trying to hold off a charge from Kyle Busch when they made contact as they both exited Turn 4. That would cause Busch to loose control and collect Logano. Brad Keselowski was also collected. Ryan Blaney and Jimmie Johnson also made contact as the wreck occurred ahead of them.
Keselowski, who led 33 laps, slammed the side of an ambulance in frustration after exiting his car.
The NASCAR Cup Seres will return on Thursday for the Daytona Duel's. Coverage begins on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Known as “Smoke”, Tony Stewart a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has been a force to be reckoned with ever since he stepped foot into the Cup series back in 1999.
Stewart earned three victories in his Rookie of the Year season in 1999. Titles would soon follow. Driver No. 20 would win his first NASCAR Cup championship in 2002 for Joe Gibbs Racing and would soon capture his third title in 2005.
Over his 17-year NASCAR Cup Series career, “smoke” compiled 49 wins and won the Brickyard 400 in his home-state of Indianapolis twice.
In 2009, Stewart would become a team owner in the NASCAR Cup series. During his time at Stewart-Haas Racing, Stewart won 16 times as a driver/owner including his thrilling 2011 championship battle with Carl Edwards.
Stewart-Haas Racing has 55 wins, including the 2017 Daytona 500 with Kurt Busch and two championships (2011/Tony Stewart, 2014/Kevin Harvick)
Cup Series Stats:
Championships: 3 (2002, 2005, 2011)
Known as “coach” because of his time coaching the Washington Redskins, Joe Gibbs has won in both football and NASCAR. Gibbs was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
The three-time Super Bowl champion started Joe Gibbs Racing in 1992 and has led his Cup Series team to five Cup Series championships and five Xfinity Series championships. Gibbs currently ranks third on the all-time owner wins list in the Cup series with 176 owner wins.
His wins include three Daytona 500 victories and five Brickyard 400 wins. Gibbs five Cup series championships have come with three different drivers: Bobby Labonte in 2000, Tony Stewart (2002, 2005) and Kyle Busch (2016, 2019).
Cup Series Owner Stats:
Championships: 10 (5 in Cup, 5 in Xfinity)
Brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte, Bobby Labonte got his break as a full-time Cup Series driver at 28 years old in 1993.
Throughout his career, Labonte made 21 trips to Victory Lane and one Cup Series championship in 2000.
Labonte was the first of four drivers to win both a Cup Series championship and Xfinity Series championship. He’s also one of 27 drivers to win a race in all three of NASCAR’s national series.
Labonte’s career is highlighted by his 2000 Cup Series championship and his wins in both the Brickyard 400 and Southern 500.
Cup Series Stats:
Championships: 2 (Cup - 2000, Xfinity - 1991)
As an engine builder and crew chief, Waddell Wilson guided cars to some of the biggest victories in NASCAR Cup Series history.
Wilson supplied the power that led David Pearson (1968, 1969) and Benny Parsons (1973) to Cup Series championships.
Wilson’s engines helped some of NASCAR’s greatest drivers - including NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson, Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip to 109 wins and 123 poles.
Wilson guided three cars to Victory Lane in the Daytona 500 with Buddy Baker in 1980 and Cale Yarborough (1983, 1984). Wilson also assembled the famed “Grey Ghost” that still to this day holds the Daytona 500 record with an average speed of 177.602 mph.
Cup Series Stats:
Championships: 3 (1968, 1969, 1973)
Known as the “Gentle Giant,” Buddy Baker stood at six feet, six inches tall. In 1970, right after Talladega Superspeedway opened, Baker became the first driver to surpass the 200-mph mark on a closed course while testing there.
Baker won at Talladega four times throughout his career. In 1980, the Charlotte, NC, native won the Daytona 500 with an average race speed of 177.602 mph. That track record still stands to this day.
Son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker, Buddy Baker won 19 times in the Cup Series, including a victory in the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway where he lapped rest of the field.
Baker also won back-to-back Coca-Cola 600s at Charlotte in 1972 and 1973.
After his retirement in 1992, Baker made a transition from the drivers seat to the television booth for CBS.
Sadly, Buddy Baker would pass away from Lung Cancer in 2015.
Cup Series Stats:
Jimmie Johnson announced on Wednesday that he would no longer be racing full-time in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series following the 2020 season. On Thursday, Johnson addressed the media along with his team owner Rick Hendrick regarding the decision.
Johnson stated in Thursday’s press conference that his retirement wouldn’t be from racing all together.
“This is not a retirement from driving race cars,” Johnson said during Thursday’s press conference at Hendrick Motorsports. “This is slowing down from 38 weekends a year and you certainly know the stress and pressure. That grind that it takes and 19 years in Cup and 2 years in the Xfinity Series. Plus everything before that, like you know one of the more balances is really where that sits but it’s been a bit of a run and we’re gonna keep going.”
Rick Hendrick said during Thursday’s press conference that he was “shocked” to learn about Johnson’s retirement following next season.
“Shocked. Every time one of these drivers calls me and they want to come to my house, I know that’s not a good situation,” Rick Hendrick said.
The 7-time champion also stated that all options are open when it comes to racing except for IndyCar and fast ovals. Johnson also said that he would come back and drive Cup cars for Rick Hendrick if the opportunity came about.
Post 2020 and beyond, Johnson has not had any discussions yet for what that may entail.
“No, I haven’t talked to anybody. Haven’t even thought about it.”
At the end of Thursday’s press conference, Johnson would hold back tears when he was talking about Rick Hendrick and all of the people in the NASCAR industry.
“When I look back on the years I’ve had so far at NASCAR, I fall back to the experiences of the people. Those are the things that come to mind. Not holding the trophy in Victory Lane or on the stage at Las Vegas as we did so many times. It’s the people,” Johnson said.
As for the 2020 season, Johnson said that his ultimate goal is to make it to the Championship 4 next year in Phoenix.
“The outlook for next year is absolutely to win races and be in the final four. That is absolutely the goal for next year,” Johnson said.
Denny Hamlin won Sunday’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series final playoff elimination race at ISM Raceway, clinching a spot in the championship race next Sunday in Miami.
“I can’t believe it,” Denny Hamlin told NBC post-race. “This race team worked so hard this whole year. They deserve it. I put them in a bad hole last week. I told them today I’m going to give them everything I’ve got to make up for the mistake I made last week. That’s all I got.”
Hamlin started the Sunday’s playoff elimination race as the first driver outside the top 4 advancing into Homestead by 20 points. Driver No. 11 led 143 of 312 laps in route to sixth win of the 2019 season.
“One of the best cars of my career, I can tell you that,” Denny Hamlin told NBC posy-race. “I pushed for all I had. I mean that’s all I got. Once we got the big lead there a little over 10 seconds, I just kind of sat there. I got to thinking about if the caution does come out I want to lap as many as I can.”
Joining Denny Hamlin in the championship race next Sunday in Miami will be Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.
Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott were eliminated from the playoffs following Sunday’s cutoff race.
“I went from a car that could lead and win a stage and run really well and from what they told me, it was an air pressure adjustment made it go from a winning car to can’t stay on the lead lap,” Joey Logano told NBC post-race. “One of the tightest things I’ve ever driven. I don’t really understand it. It doesn’t make any sense.
Rounding out the top five were Kyle Busch in second, Ryan Blaney in third, Kyle Larson in fourth and Kevin Harvick in fifth.
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series will head to Homestead-Miami Speedway in the championship deciding race. Coverage begins at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Nov. 17 on NBC.
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin
Christopher Bell won Saturday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway and has now locked him a spot into the Xfinity championship race at Homestead in two weeks.
Bell won every stage in the race and would go onto claim his eighth victory of the year which leads the Xfinity Series for the most victories this season.
This is the fourth time thus far this Eason the Bell has swept every stage of the race and won too. He’s also the only driver to ever do it.
Driver No. 20 led 101 of the 200 lap event.
“That was pretty special to win here at Texas,” Bell told NBCSN post-race. “I got a lot of family over there in the background. This is for my nephew. I promised him years ago that if I ever won I’d give him the flag at Texas. I knew we were competitive. Us and Tyler Reddick were really similar early on. Then I started having brake problems. Whenever I got those brake problems I just wasn’t as good. I couldn't keep the car underneath me. I got really loose. Had to work a little bit harder.”
Rounding out the top five were Ross Chastain in second, Austin Cindric in third, Brandon Jones in fourth and John Hunter Nemecheck in fifth.
Playoff driver Noah Gragson’s day didn’t go as planed after making contact with Harrison Burton with 50 laps to go sent Gragson through the grass and made damage. Gragson would finish in 30th.
Tyler Reddick also had an unfortunate night after he wrecked on the backstretch while racing Chase Briscoe and Brandon Jones. Reddick would finish 29th. Chase Briscoe would finish in 22nd after he had a pit stop late in the race due to a right-front tire problem.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head into ISM Raceway in the final race on the Round of 8. Live coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on NBC.
Stage 1 Winner: Christopher Bell
Stage 2 Winner: Christopher Bell
Race Winner: Christopher Bell