Saturday, Sep 25

Kevin Harvick has clinched the pole in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is Harvick’s first pole of 2016. His last pole came at Phoenix in March of 2015.

 

“This has just been a fun car to drive today. Hopefully, we can get it dialed in for race trim. We struggled when we first rolled off the truck in race trim and we just got it better and better and better. We applied all that stuff to qualifying so hopefully we’ll what we learned in qualifying we can apply to the race trim stuff and go from there,” said Harvick about his car today.

 

As the first round of qualifying went green, numerous cars were caught in the inspection. However, Harvick was the fastest in the first round at a speed of 194.756 mph. AJ Allmendinger was second at a speed of 194.252 mph, Alex Bowman was third at a speed of 194.140 mph, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fourth at a speed of 193.840 mph, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five at 193.833 mph. Within the last 30 seconds of round one, Matt DiBenedetto was able to bump Kyle Larson out of the 24th position to transfer. All drivers made time on the track. All 12 drivers remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup advanced into the second round. Notable drivers who did not advance include Larson who qualified 25th, Trevor Bayne who qualified 27th, and Clint Bowyer who qualified 31st.

 

The second round of qualifying saw Bowman at the top of the board with a speed of 196.200 mph. Harvick was second at 195.494 mph, Chase Elliott was third at 195.228 mph, Kasey Kahne was fourth at 195.087 mph, and Martin Truex Jr rounded out the top five at 194.925 mph. Chase drivers who did not advance to the final round include Matt Kenseth who will start 17th, Austin Dillon who will start 19th, and Brad Keselowski who will start 20th. 

 

The third round of qualifying saw Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch run the same speed at 195.228 mph. Harvick will start on the pole. Bowman will start second at a speed of 196.029 mph, Elliott will start third with a speed of 195.759 mph, Ky. Busch will start fourth, and Stewart will round out the top-five. Jimmie Johnson was the lowest qualifying chaser in this round. He qualified 11th at a speed of 192.630 mph.

 

Next up for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from Charlotte Motor Speedway will be two practice sessions at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN.

In a very entertaining race on the quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Katelyn Sweet dominated to win Motor Racing Outreach’s Better Half Dash. Paige White finished second and Haley Dillon finished third.

"I had so much fun. I told Kyle [Larson] this week that I wish I could do this a little more often," said Sweet. 

The race saw numerous cautions. Candice Smith, wife of Chris Smith of Red Horse Racing, wrecked into turn 1 bringing out the first caution. The caution flew for a spin on the backstretch.. The caution flew again for Julie Mauldin and Smith. Tati Papis spun, but the field remained green. Maluldin, who wrecked earlier, brought out the caution after stalling on the backstretch. After a few laps of green flag racing, Wendy Venturini went for a spin in turn 2.  After the restart, Paige White took the lead from Katelyn Sweet, but the caution flew for a spin by Dillon. Under caution, there was a spin by McAllister. However, Sweet went on to win the race.

Before the start of the event, Motor Racing Outreach raised a total of $58,000. The top fundraiser of the event was Mauldin with a total of $20,790. She had the chance to pick where she wanted to start, but chose to remain in the same position she qualified in because she wanted everyone to start where they qualified. Over the six years of this event, over $300,000 has been raised for charities. This has become the biggest fundraiser for MRO. This event brings the ladies of NASCAR for fun and excitement. After the race, MRO announced this race raised over $70,000 this year. 

The Better Half Dash was made possible by Racing Electronics, US Legends Cars International, MRO, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Performance Racing Network.

The NASCAR Xfinity heads back home to Charlotte Motor Speedway to finish off the “Round of 12” in the Xfinity Series Chase for the Drive for the Cure 300. This is the final voyage to the Charlotte area for 2016.

 

43 drivers are scheduled to compete in the Drive for the Cure 300 for only 40 spots. Seven NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will be competing in the event including Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano.

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile asphalt speedway located in Concord, North Carolina. The front stretch is 1980 feet long with the backstretch at 1500 feet. The first and second turns are 2400 feet in length with turns three and four at 2040 feet. The turns are banked at 24 degrees with the straightaways at five degrees.

 

This is the 35th annual October return for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. There have been 45 different pole winners with Chase Elliott as the youngest and Harry Gant as the oldest. 33 drivers have won at Charlotte with Kyle Busch as the youngest and Harry Gant as the oldest.11 races have been won from the pole with A. Dillion being the last one to do so back in 2015.

In 1996, the race record was set by Mark Martin at a speed of 155.799 mph. Jimmie Johnson holds the qualifying record set back in in 2005 at a speed of 187.735 mph.

 

This is an elimination race for the Xfinity Series in the Chase. Elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez have the wins to advance. The bottom four drivers are Ty Dillon, Erik Jones, Ryan Sieg, and Brandon Jones. Drivers who are near the cut-off line, but are safe include Brennan Poole, Blake Koch, and Darrell Wallace Jr.

 

Drivers are excited to be racing “back home” at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

“I absolutely can’t wait to get back on the track this weekend at Charlotte and race under the lights in front of our family and friends. Last weekend was really special for our whole team and I’m really excited that we were able to get a win and lock ourselves into the ‘Round of 8.’ We had an amazing Interstate Batteries Camry in Dover with a lot of speed, so hopefully we can duplicate that effort on Friday night. Scott (Graves, crew chief) and the guys continue to work hard and bring the best Camrys to the track each week. Charlotte is a really good track for us and our mile-and-half program has been strong all year, so I’m really excited to get on the track and see how our Juniper Networks Toyota performs,” said Suarez.

 

“We ran pretty well in the May Xfinity Series race at Charlotte, and I thought we ran better than we finished (13th) in the Truck Series race there as well. I’m looking forward to getting back in the Haas Automation Chevrolet Camaro this week and running as well or better than we did then. As a team, JR Motorsports has been very good on 1.5-mile tracks lately, and I hope to add to that success this weekend,” said Cole Custer, driver of the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

 

"Charlotte Motor Speedway has always been a pretty good track for me. It is a place where you will typically get long green flag runs. If we can get the Nexteer Automotive Chevrolet handling well and turning the corner the way we need it to, we'll be just fine out there. I feel like Charlotte is one of the strongest mile-and-a-half tracks we go to,” said Br. Jones.

 

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will have two practice sessions at 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on NBCSN. Qualifying will be at 4:45 p.m. on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network and NBCSN will have race coverage beginning at 8:00 p.m.

 

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads back home to Charlotte Motor Speedway to kick off the “Round of 12” in the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the Bank of America 500, the only Saturday night race in the Chase. This is the final voyage to the Charlotte area for 2016.

 

40 drivers are scheduled to compete in the Bank of America 500.

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile asphalt speedway located in Concord, North Carolina. The front stretch is 1980 feet long with the backstretch at 1500 feet. The first and second turns are 2400 feet in length with turns three and four at 2040 feet. The turns are banked at 24 degrees with the straightaways at five degrees.

 

This is the 57th October event at Charlotte. This will be the 116th event all together from Charlotte. This race has seen 44 different pole winners with Jeff Gordon as the youngest and Bobby Allison as the oldest. The race has seen 49 different drivers win with Gordon as the youngest and Cale Yarborough. 16 races have been won from the pole with the last race being the Coca-Cola 600 in May by Martin Truex Jr. Truex Jr. holds the race record set back in 2016 at 160.655 mph. Kyle Busch holds the qualifying record set back in 2014 at 197.39 mph.

 

Drivers are excited to be racing “back home” at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

“I'm proud of the way we've been running. I think we've been building and gaining on some things that we've been missing. Really really cool to move on, I’m proud of that. Like I said, this group has been doing a really good job. I’m proud of all these guys and we are excited to get on to Charlotte. We had a good car there in the spring and fought hard. Hopefully we can get that next little bit there this weekend,” says Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.

 

“Charlotte has been a tough track for us when it comes to this race weekend in the Chase for the last few years and it’s certainly a track that we need to work on in order to make sure that we qualify well and keep our track position. I feel that overall Charlotte has been a pretty good track for us. We just haven’t been able to get some of the finishes there when we’ve needed them. Track position is always so important at Charlotte and it’s been one of the hardest tracks to pass at recently, especially at night. It’s just very difficult to get around other cars at Charlotte even if you’re a lot faster than a car ahead of you. It’s important to put a lot of emphasis on qualifying, pit stops and restarts heading into this weekend,” said Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

 

“It’s always nice to race at Charlotte.  It is good to race in our backyard and I’ve had some luck at Charlotte.  We had a good run there earlier this year racing our way into the All-Star race.  Hopefully we can get another good finish this weekend at Charlotte,” said Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Rosh Fenway Racing Ford.

 

There will be one practice session on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN. Qualifying for the Bank of America 500 will be at 7:00 p.m EST on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network. There will be two practice sessions on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network and NBC will have the action on Saturday night in the Bank of America 500 at 7:00 p.m. EST.

NASCAR wraps up “10 Days of Thunder" at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. Over the 10 days, fans saw action from the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck teams in the Sprint All-Star Race, North Carolina Education Lottery 200, Hisense 4K TV 300, and the Coca-Cola 600. Here are five takeaways from the Charlotte Motor Speedway weekend:
 
·      Day vs. Night: Over the ten days, fans saw all but one-day race. The races that were run during the daytime hours seemed to be the most entertaining of the whole ten days. The Coca-Cola 600, which was run during the night, saw a dominating performance. Although Charlotte Motor Speedway prides itself in having night races, maybe it is time for Charlotte Motor Speedway and TV to consider making one of the races at Charlotte during the day. The aero package is great, but I believe it is lacking the factor of the heat of the day.
 
·      Aero Package: During the Sprint All-Star Race, the 2017 rules package was tested. Honestly, it produced some of the greatest racing so far this season. Teams have officially gained back some of the downforce that NASCAR took away during the 2016 season. NASCAR announced test changes to the 2017 rules package in an effort to take more downforce off, but it will be tested at Michigan and Kentucky before the final rules package is determined. 
 
 
·      Monkey off the Back: The monkey that was on Martin Truex Jr. has came off. He had a dominating performance in the Coca-Cola 600. Usually if Truex is dominate throughout a race, something happens that causes him to ultimately lose the race. Kenseth and Truex have released the monkey off their back. Who will be the next driver to have the monkey taken off their back?
 
·      Kyle Busch: Busch was determined to win this weekend at Charlotte since it is one of two tracks he has not won on. However, he will have to wait until October to take Charlotte off this list. Busch was not a factor during the weekend at Charlotte. Will he win at Pocono to bring this record down to only Charlotte? We will have to wait and see next weekend.
 
·      Weather: Weather plagued the 10 Days of Thunder in the Charlotte area. All-Star Weekend saw a busy racing schedule on Sunday. For the Coca-Cola 600, Tropical Storm Bonnie was planning its attack on the Charlotte area. Although it rained on the morning of the 600, it turned out to be a beautiful and windy day for racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hopefully Mother Nature will be kind to Charlotte when the series returns for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
 
What are your takeaways from the 10 Days of Thunder at the Charlotte Motor Speedway
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