It’s been a rough weekend for race fans her in Indy. It has been nonstop rain since Friday.
All track have been cancelled all weekend. However radar is looking better. Looking like we will have a race today keep in mind we only have to get 80 laps in to make the final regular season official
So much on the line for racers. Kyle Busch is starting on the Pole. This is a track he has dominated.
Nobody had any practice time this weekend. Track will be cool, so cars will be fast.
P3-Martin Truex Jr
This is a “Win Your In” Race. Who will be the dark horse who will be throwing a “Hail Mary” Ryan Newman being one of those drivers along with William Bryon.
So here is a recap of what we have seen so far today.
Titan Jet dryers are moving around the 2.5 mile oval
Drivers Meeting Complete
Gates are open fans are entering
Cars for Martin Truex, Junior and Daniel Suarez failed pre-race inspection and will start from the back of the field
With no opportunity to qualify, drivers were assigned starting positions based on NASCAR points.
My official pick is Kyle Busch
HAMPTON, Ga.— The NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Rinnai 250, the kick-off to a double header day with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
44 drivers are coming to Atlanta in an effort to compete for 40 spots. Nine Monster Energy NASCAR Cup drivers are scheduled to compete in the Saturday afternoon spectacular including Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.
This will be the 26th race at Atlanta for the series. 16 drivers have won a pole. 16 drivers have won a race at Atlanta. Only five drivers have won the race from starting from the pole position with Ky. Busch being the last one to do so in last year’s race. In 2015, the race record was set by Harvick at 149.813 mph. In 2003, Greg Biffle set the qualifying record at 192.3 mph.
NXS drivers are excited to return to Atlanta for their only visit in 2017.
“Atlanta is one of the faster mile-and-a-halfs we go to. The pavement is extremely worn out, so finding a balance between saving tires and having that sheer speed the track allows you to have is key. I feel like we’ve got a great BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevy and we’re looking forward to going back there. With the new rules package this will be our first test at the shorter spoiler and splitter, so there’s a lot of unknowns. Luckily we have three other great teammates that we’re going to be able to rely on and bounce information off of,” said Justin Allgaier.
"Atlanta is unique in that tire management is going to play a big role in having a successful race. We did a great job taking care of our tires last year, so we'll need to make sure to do that again this time around. Atlanta is also one of those tracks where it gets wider as the race goes on, which gives you a lot of options on where to run on the track. The top line really worked to our advantage last season, so it'll be important for us to be able to search and find the line that will give us an edge on our competition again,” said Brandon Jones.
“It’s a lot of fun to race at Atlanta. It’s a really fast track that keeps you on your toes all the time. We’re ready to get after it this weekend with our Leidos Mustang. My guys have been working hard in the shop and I’m confident that (crew chief) Seth (Barbour) will give me a solid Ford that will let us get out there and get the job done,” said Darrell Wallace Jr.
Drivers will have two practice sessions from Atlanta on Friday beginning at 10:00 a.m. EST and 3:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. Drivers will qualify on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m on Fox Sports 1. The Rinnai 250 will be at 2:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Performance Racing Network.
Fire up the scanners, it is time for Crew Chatter with Speedway Digest writers. This week we tackle Homestead-Miami with the question, “Now that the Championship 4 is set for all series, who has the best shot to become a champion in 2016?”
This weekend will certainly be awesome. Why? Because we not only see a Chase format on Sunday, but also on Friday and Saturday. The Chase this year has certainly been one of the most competitive and Sunday will really show that.
With Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Jimmy Johnson and Kyle Busch in the Sprint Cup Series, I'm sticking with my pick at the beginning of the Chase and going with Joey Logano. Logano came into the season as one of the drivers to watch.
In the XFINITY Series, where you have Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suarez, Justin Allgaier and Erik Jones, I'm going with veteran racer Elliott Sadler. That team has certainly been running better lately even though they will not have Kevin Meendering on the pit box this weekend
In the Camping World Truck Series, where you have Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell and Timothy Peters, this one is a little more difficult to choose from. I feel that it will be a battle all night long between Sauter and Crafton. So with that said, I think I'll go with Johnny Sauter.
This one is going to come right down to the last lap and we may or may not even see one of the top four Chase contenders cross the checkered flag first.
I think Carl Edwards has the best shot. He won at Texas with the same tire they'll be racing with at Homestead. He's also a previous two-time winner on the south Florida Speedway. After losing out to Tony Stewart in 2011, he may be primed to be the champion this year.
Kyle Busch almost didn't get the chance to defend but when Matt Kenseth ran into trouble in Phoenix, it opened the door. Watching the points-as-they-run, it looked like Busch was too far down to have a shot, but when Kenseth suffered that disaster, it changed things didn't it. Kyle Busch had never won Homestead before a year ago when he had to do so in order to secure his title. To repeat, he may have to do the same or finish high.
Joey Logano got in by the skin of his teeth. If Kenseth would have won Phoenix, it would have been a different story for the No. 22 team. I think all they need to do is not make any pit-road mistakes. Logano is good on 1.5-milers, which is what Homestead is so he has a shot. I'm just thinking he needs a little luck on his side.
Jimmie Johnson is a six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. Here's the kicker. He won all those titles under the old Chase format where you only had to finish a certain way and you're the winner. He has never won Homestead although he too is good on mile-and-a-half tracks. This is his first time in contention under this fairly new format. It will be interesting to witness how this team handles it.
I think they all have a shot but it is not going to be a cake walk.
I think you have to rely on past history as well as "what have you done for me lately" when going about answering this question. History says Jimmie Johnson will win. His six championships (five consecutive) have been unparalleled in this generation of stock car racing, and seeing him win a seventh would be so cool to see.
"What have you done for me lately" would go to Kyle Busch. He won this race and the championship (his first) last season and obviously knows what it takes to win a title in this type of scenario.
The hot hand is Joey Logano. Coming off his win at Phoenix, he proclaimed that his No. 22 team would win the championship. It's a very real possibility, especially considering he was perhaps a fully jack away from winning it all in 2014.
And then there's Carl Edwards. He has the best stats out of the four drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and is hungrier than anybody. After having the title ripped way from him in 2011 after tying Tony Stewart, he's back for more.
Who am I picking? I think it'd be hard to go against JJ. But I know one thing is for sure: the fans win this weekend. They're going to see a great show in the NSCS as well as NXS and NCWTS.
In the NCWTS, I believe Johnny Sauter will become the 2016 champion. Suater has peaked at the right time when it comes to the season.
The Xfinity Series will be a little harder. I believe the race for the championship will come down between Elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez. Sadler will have a challenge because his crew chief was suspended after Phoenix for not having two lug nuts properly secured. Suarez will be interesting to watch to see if he becomes the first international driver to win a championship in the top-three series.
For the Sprint Cup Series, all four have a great shot at winning the championship. Logano and Edwards are coming into Homestead “hot as rocks” due to their recent victories. Johnson and Edwards have experience to back up their drive for a championship. I believe the Ford EcoBoost 400 will come down to the last lap between these drivers. Who knows, we may even see a bump and run determine the championship.
BK Racing has announced that Matt DiBenedetto will not race in tomorrow’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
DiBenedetto raced in today’s O’Riley’s Challenge in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but suffered a hard hit into the outside wall on lap 134 of the race. He entered into NASCAR's concussion protocol after not being cleared by physicians after the accident.
The team did announce that Jeffrey Earnhardt would be the replacement driver for DiBenedetto. DiBenedetto qualified in the 33rd position for the AAA Texas 500. The team will have to start in the back of the field due to the driver change.
Dibenedetto went to Twitter to explain the situation:
I'm feeling totally fine...just having to follow the concussion protocol. Hate I can't drive tomorrow but I'm looking forward to Phoenix.— Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) November 6, 2016
Joe Gibbs Racing did what they had to do over the past two race weekends at Talladega and Martinsville to ensure the shot to be crowned the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway later this month.
At Talladega Superspeedway, Joe Gibbs Racing was criticized for playing it safe by having three of their four cars ride around in the back in an effort to avoid the potential of the “Big One”. There efforts and strategy at Talladega was able to get all four of the cars into the next round in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
However, that strategy was deemed as a violation of NASCAR’s 100 percent rule that was implemented in 2013 after the Michael Waltrip Racing debacle at Richmond International Raceway.
At Talladega, JGR did what they had to do in an effort to get all four cars into the next round and a shot at a championship. Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Matt Kenseth came into Talladega above the cutline while teammate Denny Hamlin was below the cutoff. Hamlin stayed near the front and was able to advance to the next round. Edwards, Busch, and Kenseth stayed out of the way in an effort to avoid trouble in order to keep their spots in the next round. They did not violate the 100 percent rule because they did 100 percent of what they had to do in order to move to the next round.
However, at Martinsville, the JGR drivers were furious with each other about the lack of teamwork used in the closing laps in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500.
“You can’t wreck each other and that’s all there is to it I guess. We worked so good together that we gave the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) car the win today. That’s how good JGR is. We had a great M&M’s Camry and we could have been a little farther up front, but we were held up there and we couldn’t pass and if I did try to make moves or try to make a pass, I got cutoff,” said Busch post-race.
At this point in the Chase, it is time for “every man to fend for himself.”
Just because you are racing your teammate does not mean that they have to give up their position to help you, especially if they are in the fight for the championship. Everyone has the same goals when they have the chance to win a championship: win and you are in at Homestead.
I believe that team orders should no longer be in play when it comes to teammates in the battle for the championship. Drivers have commitments to sponsors and their owner to have a shot at the championship.
Should they have worked together to catch Johnson and give him one last chance to make the final four?
The Chase for the Sprint Cup is on. Drivers must do what is best for them when it comes to vying for a spot in the Championship Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
MARTINSVILLE, Va -- The last caution of the race brought chaos and confusion to fans, media, competitors, and NASCAR.
The final caution was brought out by a spin by Carl Edwards. The caution should have lasted a few laps, but the caution lasted 29 laps. The caution flew while green flag pit stops were underway.
According to NASCAR, little issues kept the caution flag in the air as they tried to sort out where everyone would restart.
The rule is that the order should start as lead lapped cars, lapped down cars, penalty cars, lucky dog, and then wave arounds.
Drivers were upset that NASCAR could not get the order correct.
“I know what happened. We got passed by four cars. That's what's frustrating. I don't know how many cameras are between my car, NBC cameras, but somebody has got to see. Even the pace car driver should see cars are passing that shouldn't be passing. Hey, savvy move by the 4 and the other guys who decided to do it. I think they caught two of them. There were more that you have to get right. I think the stakes are so high, I really wish we would have red flagged the race, gone, reviewed it and gotten it right. There's a 100% chance it was not right at the end. It changed the running order. Hopefully that doesn't change what happens going into Homestead. I know that NASCAR is doing everything they can with the scoring they have and things like that. But you have to get it right. It definitely was not right,” said Denny Hamlin, who finished third.
“I know at points like that, sitting up there being NASCAR, it’s the hardest thing in the world to run all those laps, but it is the right thing. I applaud NASCAR for getting it right, that means so much to all the competitors. For NASCAR to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to stop the show and get this right and move on,’ I have a lot of respect for them,” said Edwards, who brought out the caution.
Richard Buck, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Managing Director, was made available to the media after the Goody’s 500. However, Buck would not get into specific details about the debacle.
“We took our time and we want to get it right,” Buck said. “We know what the stakes are and we felt we got it right.”
Steve O’Donnell took to twitter to also explain the situation. “Thought we had correct line up earlier then had several unique circumstances come up-If we knew amount of time-would have gone red flag,” tweeted O’Donnell, talking about why NASCAR did not red flag the event.
NASCAR will be looking at ways to expedite this process in the future.
MARTINSVILLE, Va— The weekend started out strong for Stewart-Haas Racing, but when it was time to race, that magic wore off. All four Stewart-Haas cars ended up multiple laps down.
In the first practice session of the weekend, Tony Stewart was 21st, Danica Patrick was fifth, Kevin Harvick was 19th, and Kurt Busch was 11th. In the second practice on Saturday morning, Stewart was ninth, Busch was 12th, Harvick was 13th, and Patrick was 14th. In the final practice session, Stewart was second, Harvick was 10th, Busch was 12th, and Patrick was 21st.
However, when the green flag fell, the struggles came with the Stewart-Haas cars.
Stewart-Haas had no cars in the top-20 by the time of race end. Harvick was the highest finisher of the SHR cars finishing in 20th, Busch was the second highest finisher at 22nd, Patrick was in the 24th position, and Stewart finished in the 26th position.
“We missed it. I don’t know where, how, why, we missed it. Even SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) as a group we didn’t perform well. That was not the day we needed. Sorry to State Water Heaters, their only race of the year and we didn’t perform well for them. We just missed it,” said Busch post-race.
"We were slow all weekend. We could just never get the handle on it,” said Harvick about the issues of the day.
MARTINSVILLE, Va -- After a debacle on the final caution of the race, Jimmie Johnson was able to punch his ticket into the final four at Homestead-Miami Speedway as he will win the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. This will be his ninth career win at Martinsville, and his fourth win of 2016. Johnson goes into Homestead vying for his seventh championship.
“I’ve been trying to ignore this conversation about seven (championships) but now I can’t! We’re locked in. I’m just honored to be in this position. I wouldn’t be in this position without the belief of Lowe’s and all their employees had in me back when I was running 10th or 15th in the Busch Series. Rick Hendrick, Jeff Gordon… all of the people who have believed in me to get this point. It’s crazy that we have a shot at seven now. We couldn’t do it without our partners at Chevrolet, Valvoline and the list goes on and on. Thanks to them all very much,” said Johnson in his post-race celebration.
The first half of the race started with Martin Truex Jr. leading the field to green. Truex was able to get a good jump on the start and lead the opening laps of the race. The caution flew on lap 20 for a spin by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was already in a backup car. However, Martin Truex Jr. pitted losing the lead giving it to Joey Logano. On the restart, Truex was making gains to the front of the field. Truex was able to prove that having new tires was the way to go. NASCAR black-flagged David Ragan, and threw out the caution for fluid being dropped by the 23. Logano attempted to get to the bottom of the racetrack on the restart, but was unable to and continued to drop. Kyle Larson was able to get to the bumper of Truex and take the lead away, but was unable to gold onto the position. After leading for awhile, Kyle Busch was able to pass Truex to gain the lead, but held onto the lead for a couple laps. As the race went green, teams were becoming more conservative with their equipment. The caution flew for debris as teams were getting prepared for green flag pit stops. On the restart, Truex Jr. was able to gain the point, but let Matt Kenseth take the lead to gain a bonus point. Kenseth was able to take the lead back from Truex Jr at Lap 180. As Kenseth remained in the lead a battle for sixth between Jimmie Johnson and Hamlin ensued as Hamlin continued to march after his pit road speeding penalty, and gained the position as they bumped and banged. Johnson suffered a tire rub from the contact, but the caution flew for a torn banner on the backstretch. On the restart, Kenseth was the control car as Logano tried to get to the inside of the track and was able to find his way back to the eighth position. As the race approached the halfway point, the sun began to peak from behind the clouds. At the halfway point, Kenseth was the leader, Hamlin was second, Ky. Busch was third, Gordon was fourth, and Truex Jr. rounded out the top-five as the race entered into the second half.
The second half of the race continued a green flag run. Toyota continued to show their dominance as Kenseth, Ky. Busch, and Hamlin lead the field. As Kenseth hits strong lapped traffic, Hamlin was able to close in on Kenseth, but couldn’t gain the lead. Hamlin was being help up by Casey Mears. As pit stops were coming up, Kenseth was reporting that the left rear tire was going down, but seemed to recover. As green flag stops were underway, the caution flew for contact with the wall by Carl Edwards. As the field was under caution, Johnson ran out of fuel on the backstretch. The caution period was long due to mass confusion by NASCAR and drivers about where they were starting. Hamlin had the race lead as the race restarted. After a couple laps battling for the lead, Johnson passed Hamlin to gain the lead. Johnson was able to build a lead over the Joe Gibbs Racing teams of Hamlin, Kenseth, and Ky. Busch as the race winded down. As the race went green, Keselowski was on the move to the front in an effort to pounce on Johnson for the race win. However, time ran out for Keselowski as Johnson sat sail to victory.
The race experienced five cautions for 54 laps. The average speed of the race was 78.537 mph. The margin of victory was 1.291 seconds. There were 15 lead changes among nine different drivers. Ky. Busch led the most laps at 176, Truex Jr. led 147 laps, Johnson was able to lead 92 laps, Hamlin led 48 laps, Logano led 21 laps, Larson led six laps, Allmendinger led five laps, Ky. Busch led three laps, and Regan Smith led two laps. 38 drivers were running at the end of the race. Only 10 drivers were on the lead lap.
With the win by Johnson, he is an automatic lock as one of the four championship contenders at Homestead. The four drivers who are out as of right now include Logano who is four points away from the cutoff line, Harvick who is 16 points behind the cutoff, Ku. Busch who is 18 points behind the cutoff, and Edwards who is 32 points behind the cutoff.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500 for the second race of the “Round of Eight” in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Coverage from Texas will begin on Friday with first practice beginning at 12:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN.
Fire up the scanners, it is time for Crew Chatter with Speedway Digest writers. This week we tackle Martinsville with the question, “Of the chase drivers who have been eliminated, who has the best chance of "spoiling the show" on the Round of 8?
It's really difficult to choose just one driver because everyone that is no longer in title contention will be looking to redeem themselves.
Who would have thought that Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. would be eliminated this early. Those engine woes they both had were big hits to their championship hopes and also busted a lot of Chase grids. I do think that if anyone comes back and 'spoils' the next four weeks (can you believe there are only that many left?), it will be Truex Jr. I just think he went out too early because of rotten luck. That Furniture Row Racing team has shown what they are made of and they will come back.
I'm not counting Keselowski out either. If you got the chance to listen to his interview at Kansas after he wrecked, he has the mentality to put this behind him and move on to the next race. I feel like he will be gunning for them the rest of the season. He was on pace to win Talladega before engine issues and I be he comes back and wins at least one more race before the year is over. It will also be interesting to see if he helps out his teammate Joey Logano, who does have a berth into the 'Round of Eight'.
I don't know why but part of me thinks the race winner at Homestead could be a 'spoiler' and not one of the 'Championship Four'
If you really think about it, there are actually more drivers than you think are "hot" heading into the Round of 8 that are more than ready to spoil the party.
Austin Dillon has two straight top ten finishes, and if it weren't for a call to take two tires that backfired on him at Charlotte, that could be three.
Chase Elliott has been in contention for the win in almost every race so far in this Chase (no pun intended), and is in some of the best equipment in all of NASCAR.
Brad Keselowski has been one of the most consistent drivers all season. He top-fived his way to the Round of 12, and was a spin into the grass and blown engine away from possibly another Talladega win and a spot in the next round.
And finally, there's Martin Truex Jr. My championship pick, and a very popular one amongst NASCAR fans and drivers alike. Is it fair that the dominant team, driver and car for 30 races won't contend for the title due to bad luck? Probably not. But it is what it is, and you can bet the No. 78 Toyota will win some more races this season.
I believe that we will see the Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., and Brad Keselowski have the chance at winning races in the “Round of Eight”. Why? Keselowski and Truex would have advanced if it was not for engine issues last weekend at Talladega they would have advanced to this round. Both drivers were competitive all throughout the season, and I do not see that their competitiveness will not linger despite not cotending for a championship. With Elliott, he has been knocking at the door each and every week for a win. I would have to consider Austin Dillon as the very darkhorse to spoil this next round because he has been knocking on the door of a win, but barely missed this round. Dillon has been consistent all year, but will have to get a win soon.
MARTINSVILLE, VA -- Martin Truex Jr. will start from the pole in the second consecutive week in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. Truex beat Joey Logano by .008 seconds in the final round. This is Truex’s fifth pole in 2016 and first pole in 22 races at Martinsville.
“Mostly because it’s Martinsville – I’ve been second here a few times. This place is just so tough and that first pit stall is just so critical to having a shot at winning here. I would love to get my first grandfather clock. And a little bit after last week, this helps a little bit. All in all, just proud of the guys for coming here with a game plan and executing,” said Truex Jr after qualifying was complete.
“I had a good center, when I went to the gas, I just got loose. I could get a good launch, I was just a little aggressive inside the car, may of cost us a little. But that’s what it takes here at Martinsville. You have to be right there on that edge to go fast,” said Logano after missing the pole position by a narrow margin.
The first round of qualifying saw Kurt Busch and Landon Cassill go out on the track and get heat in the car. After five minutes passed in the round. Jeffrey Earnhardt was the only driver to make a hard lap as drivers sat on pit road waiting for the track to cool. The caution flag flew in this round due to a spin by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The caution once again flew as Austin Dillon hit the wall in turn one. Both driver wheel-hopped going into turn one. Once the track went green, there were no more accidents. No drivers will be sent home. Logano was the fastest at 98.323 mph, Tony Stewart was second at 98.145 mph, Truex Jr. was third at 97.785 mph, Denny Hamlin was fourth at 97.739, and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five at 97.709 mph. Michael Annett was the only driver who did not post a time in the first round
The second round of qualifying went without accident. Elliott was the fastest in this round at 98.129 mph, Truex Jr. was second by .001 seconds at 98.124 mph, Ky. Busch was third at 98.114 mph, Stewart was fourth at 98.012 mph, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five at 97.790 mph. Chase drivers who did not advance include Matt Kenseth who qualified 17th, Kevin Harvick who qualified 20th, and Kurt Busch qualified 23rd. Notable drivers who advanced to the final round were David Ragan and AJ Allmendinger.
The third round of qualifying also went without accident. Truex Jr. was fastest at 98.206 mph, Logano was second at 98.165 mph, Johnson was third at 97.840 mph, Allmendinger was fourth at 97.729, and Elliott rounded out the top-five at 97.699 mph. Ragan was able to qualify 12th at a speed of 96.830 mph.
The NASCR Sprint Cup Series will have two practice sessions on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on NBCSN in a final attempt to dial in their vehicles for Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 from Martinsville Speedway.