Jimmie Johnson was fastest in NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series opening practice from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Johnson turned a lap of 80.968 and with a speed of 103.152 mph.
The top five was completed by Kyle Larson (103.088 mph), William Byron (102.453 mph), Clint Bowyer (102.409 mph) and Matt DiBenedetto (102.401 mph).
Michael McDowell, who was scheduled to turn laps in his No. 34 Ford, was transported to a local hospital this morning due to abdominal pain. Austin Cindric filled in for McDowell in opening Cup practice and was 24th quickest. McDowell has been cleared by doctors to return for qualifying later this afternoon.
The first Cup practice session seen several wrecks throughout the session.
Parker Kligerman hit the wall in Turn 1 early on in the session and will go to a backup as a result.
Kyle Busch locked up the tires and missed the frontstretch chicane. Later on in the session, Busch would miss the backstretch chicane in order to miss the No. 66 of Timmy Hill.
Denny Hamlin spun and made contact with the tire barrier in Turn 5 with just under 30 minutes left in the session and would have to go to a backup, which means that driver No. 11 will start from the rear of the field on Sunday.
Joe Nemecheck brought out the red flag when he stalled in the backstretch chicane.
Bubba Wallace spun in Turn 5 late in the practice session.
Qualifying for Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 begins at 4:40 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
Martin Truex Jr. won Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway. For Truex, this marks his second win in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs.
Truex, who spun after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made contact while leading and would restart third.
Driver No. 19 would pass Joe Gibbs Racing teammate with 26 laps to go and would maintain the race lead for the remainder of the race.
The New Jersey native now has 22 Cup career wins to his name and 6 thus far this year.
“I feel like Danny Sullivan or something right now,” Truex told NBCSN post-race. “I’m speechless. Unbelievable job, all my guys. Had a heck of a race with Kyle and Denny all night long really. We just kept plugging away at it, plugging away at it. That’s what we always do, just keep digging and we never quit. “Next thing you know I’m catching for the lead. I’m like, Cool, here we go.”
Truex led a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep of the first three spots. Kyle Busch finished second and Denny Hamlin finished third. Erik Jones, who originally finished fourth, was disqualified after his No. 20 failed post-race inspection, giving him a last-place finish.
Rounding out the top five were pole-sitter Brad Keselowski in fourth and Ryan Newman in fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Kyle Larson in sixth, Kevin Harvick in seventh, Clint Bowyer in eighth, Daniel Suarez in ninth and Jimmie Johnson in tenth.
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series will head into Charlotte Motor Speedway in the running of the Bank of America Roval 400 on Sept. 29 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern on NBC.
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
1. Martin Truex Jr. (W)
2. Kevin Harvick +69 points above cutoff
3. Kyle Busch + 66
4. Brad Keselowski + 55
5. Denny Hamlin + 54
6. Joey Logano + 50
7. Chase Elliott + 37
8. Kyle Larson + 25
9. Ryan Newman + 14
10. Ryan Blaney + 8
11. Aric Almirola + 3
12. William Byron + 2
13. Alex Bowman - 2 points below cutoff
14. Clint Bowyer - 4
15. Kurt Busch - 14
16. Erik Jones - 45
Christopher Bell won Friday nights NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff opener at Richmond Raceway.
Bell led 238 of the 250 lap race and swept each stage, earning his seventh victory of the 2019 season.
“That one was pretty special,” Bell told NBCSN post-race. “Going 92 laps straight there is really difficult man. We were sliding all around. I felt like if I could get to traffic I was going to be in good shape. Because my car could really move around good. I could run up, I could run down. Cole Custer was keeping pressure on us pretty good, but this Rheem Supra was too good.”
Rounding out the top five were Austin Cindric in second, Cole Custer in third, Justin Allgaier in fourth and Chase Briscoe in fifth.
Harrison Burton was the highest finishing non-playoff driver in sixth.
With his win on Friday, Christopher Bell secures an automatic spot into the Round of 12. Bell leads the playoff standings by 18 points over Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick.
Below is where the remaining playoff drivers finished:
Noah Gragson - P7
Michael Annett - P9
Tyler Reddick - P10
Brandon Jones - P11
Ryan Sieg - P12
John Hunter Nemecheck - P15
Justin Haley - P17
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head into Charlotte Motor Speedway in the running of the Drive for the Cure 200 on the Charlotte Roval at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Sept. 28 on NBCSN. Stage 1 Winner: Christopher Bell Stage 2 Winner: Christopher Bell
Brad Keselowski will start from the pole in Saturday’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway.
Driver No. 2 took the top spot with a speed of 127.185 mph.
“I didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t do a qualifying run in practice, but we’ve had phenomenal short-run speed here,” Keselowski told NBCSN post-qualifying. “Haven’t necessarily qualified all that well but when the race comes we get the short runs and we can really make some steam.”
Playoff drivers would make up the top five. Kevin Harvick was second followed by Chase Elliott in third, Kyle Busch in fourth and Clint Bowyer in fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Denny Hamlin in sixth, Aric Almirola in seventh, Martin Truex Jr. in eighth, Kurt Busch in ninth and Jimmie Johnson in tenth.
Johnson (10th) was the highest qualifying non-playoff driver.
Below is where the rest of the playoff drivers qualified:
Kyle Larson - 13th
Ryan Blaney - 15th
Erik Jones - 16th
Ryan Newman - 19th
Alex Bowman - 20th
William Byron - 25th
Joey Logano - 28th
Live coverage of tomorrow’s Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond Raceway begins at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
Martin Truex Jr. began the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs with a win in Sunday nights race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Driver No. 19 passed Kevin Harvick with 20 laps to go in the final stage and would stay in command of the lead to the finish.
For Truex, Sunday’s win marks his fifth victory of the season.
“We took a gable and qualified 24th” Truex told NBCSN post-race. “For a while there it wasn’t looking too smart with Harvick out front. Got the right adjustments at the end. Had a great car all day long.”
With his win on Sunday, Truex has now won the first race of the playoffs in three out of the last four years.
Rounding out the top five were Kevin Harvick in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Chase Elliott in fourth and Ryan Blaney in fifth.
Harvick finished runner-up after leading 47 laps of the race.
“We were way off after we got there this week,” Harvick told NBCSN post-race. Kept working. We qualified well and it wasn’t where we wanted when we started the race. We got stage points and led there late and gave us an opportunity. Martin was just so much better on the second half of the run.”
Playoff drivers rounded out the top 10. Alex Bowman finished sixth, William Byron finished seventh, Kyle Larson finished eighth, Joey Logano finished ninth and Ryan Newman finished tenth.
Kyle Busch, who won the regular season championship, finished 19th. Driver No. 18 had to pit on Lap 12 after making contact with the wall in the beginning of the race and would fall to two laps down. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones finished 36th after he went to the garage at the beginning of the second stage after his transmission got stuck in second gear.
Kurt Busch finished 39th after he cut his left-front tire after making contact with Martin Truex Jr. on a restart.
Clint Bowyer, who started on the pole, finished 25th.
The second race of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs will take place with the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.
1. Martin Truex Jr. (Win)
2. Kevin Harvick, +52 points above cutoff
3. Joey Logano, +48
4. Kyle Busch, +36
5. Brad Keselowski, +31
6. Chase Elliott, +30
7. Denny Hamlin, +29
8. Kyle Larson, +17
9. William Byron, +13
10. Ryan Blaney, +12
11. Alex Bowman, +11
12. Aric Almirola, +6
13. Ryan Newman
14. Kurt Busch, -14 points behind cutoff
15. Clint Bowyer, -21
16. Erik Jones, -26
Clint Bowyer will start from the Pole in tomorrow’s South Point Casino 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
For Bowyer, this marks jus his third career Cup Series pole with a top speed of 178.926 mph. Bowyer’s other poles came at Darlington and New Hampshire in 2007.
Bowyer, who is a playoff driver, led his Stewart-Haas Racing drivers in qualifying. Daniel Suarez will start second, followed by Kevin Harvick in third and Aric Almirola in fourth.
Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.
“I just asked the guys, There’s something wrong here. What’s going on here?” Clint Bowyer told NBCSN post-qualifying. “The throttle stuck, that’s what it was. We were here at the test earlier in the spring before the season got started. Kind of have an opportunity to figure out how to try to make the track a little bit smaller. It’s all about getting up through the gears, getting momentum built up, making the track as big as possible coming to the green.”
Out of the sixteen playoff drivers, only five will start in the top 12.
Below is where the rest of the playoff drivers will start.
Chase Elliott - P8
Denny Hamlin - P11
William Byron - P14
Kyle Larson - P15
Ryan Newman - P17
Brad Keselowski - P18
Alex Bowman - P19
Kyle Busch - P20
Joey Logano - P22
Ryan Blaney - P23
Martin Truex Jr. - P24
Erik Jones - P26
Coverage of the South Point Casino 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway begins tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
Wood Brothers Racing announced on Tuesday that their current driver Paul Menard would be retiring from full-time competition following the end of the 2019 season, and the team also announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed Matt DiBenedetto to drive the No. 21 Ford full-time in 2020.
Throughout Menard’s career, Menard has over 460 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series starts, and has been with his current team Wood Brothers Racing since the 2018 season. Menard has one career NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series win which came at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2011 while driving for Richard Childress Racing.
“I’ve enjoyed every moment of my career racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, and I’m so thankful for all the great memories and friendships I’ve made through this sport. But I’m looking forward to spending more time with my wife, Jennifer and our two young children while moving forward with the next chapter of my life,” Menard said. “I’m excited for what the future holds and I’m looking forward to sharing the plans for 2020 and beyond in the coming weeks.”
Matt DiBenedetto, who currently drives for Leavine Family Racing, which announced earlier this year that DiBenedetto would not be returning to the No. 95 for 2020.
DiBenedetto has three top-five finishes thus far this season, including a second place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway which he led 93 laps of the race.
"I am so excited about this opportunity to race for one of the most successful teams in NASCAR history beginning in 2020," said DiBenedetto. "The No. 21 Ford is one of the most accomplished and iconic cars in our sport and it will be an honor to join Wood Brothers Racing and help carry on the team’s tradition of success in NASCAR. I want to thank Eddie and Len Wood, Kim Wood Hall, Menards, Edsel Ford and Ford Motor Company for this opportunity.”
Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s regular season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
For Harvick, this marks his second win at the historic track.
Harvick, who started the race from the pole, led 118 laps of the 160 lap race and beat Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace late in the race to score the victory, which is his third of the season.
“This is great, just got to say thanks to all the fans,” Kevin Harvick told NBC post-race. “Can’t tell you how coming to Indianapolis meant to me as a kid. I watched Rick Mears win Indy 500’s and got to be around him as a kid and he was my hero. So coming here and winning here is pretty awesome.”
Driver No. 4 is running on some momentum thus far as he’s won three of the last seven races.
“I don’t know if we had the best car, but we had the fastest car,” Kevin Harvick told NBC in victory lane post-race. “We gave up the lead there on one of those restarts and then we came and pitted and the caution came out and it worked our way. We’ve given so many away just because of circumstances here, and the way that the caution flag fell today actually worked in our favor. It gave us control of the race and we were able to keep control of the race and not make any mistakes and here we are in victory lane at one of the greatest places on earth to race.”
Rounding out the top five were Joey Logano in second, Bubba Wallace in third, William Byron in fourth and Clint Bowyer in fifth.
Brad Keselowski was involved in a hard wreck along with Erik Jones with two laps to go in Stage 1.
Kyle Busch experienced his first DNF of the season when he suffered a mechanical issue with 13 laps to go in Stage 2.
Ryan Newman, who finished eighth, clinched the final playoff spot along with Clint Bowyer.
“It’s been a year of progress, a year of learning, a year of a lot of things. I’m more rookie this year than I’ve ever been. An ice cold Coke never tasted so good after these first 26 races,” Ryan Newman told NBC post-race.
Daniel Suarez, who finished 11th came just four points shy of the top 16 in the playoff standings.
Jimmie Johnson’s playoff chances came to an end when he was involved in a multi-car wreck on a restart with 55 laps to go. It was the 7-time champion’s first DNF of the season.
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs begins next Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the running of the South Point 400 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick
7-time NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson will have one last chance to make the playoffs this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A 16th-place finish didn’t do driver No. 48 any favors on Saturday at Darlington Raceway. Nor did his finish accurately represent Johnson’s overall performance in Saturday’s Southern 500.
For most of the 367 lap race, Johnson ran in either the top five or top ten. “I had at least 15 years with a lot of luck on my side, seven years of championships and having two or three bad ones is just part of it,” Johnson told NBC Sports post-race on Saturday night. “I keep saying that we’re getting there and tonight we showed it, from the way we qualified to how we ran on those stages. I was running fourth when that accident took place in Turn 3 and I just had nowhere to go.”
Johnson was collected when Daniel Hemric’s tire went down and hit the wall. Driver No. 48 continued and would soon find the lead briefly.
Crew chief Cliff Daniels kept Johnson out on the track when others began to pit early in what was the final pit cycle with just 45 laps remaining, hoping a caution would put the team back into contention for the race win. Johnson would only lead laps 324-326 in the 367-lap race before he pitted.
“Had we done it all over again, we would have done the exact same thing.” Cliff Daniels told NBC Sports post-race.
For 2019, Johnson has 3 top five place finishes and 8 top ten place finishes with an average start of 13.8 and an average finish of 16.2.
To put that into perspective, when Johnson won his last NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Championship back in 2016, driver No. 48 had 5 wins, 11 top five’s, 16 top ten’s with an average start of 12.1 and an average finish of 14.0.
In his 2016 Championship season, Johnson led 737 laps throughout the season. Over the past three years, Johnson has led a combined 341 laps. That’s 396 laps less than what he led in his entire 2016 season.
If Johnson wants a shot at an eighth career NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Championship, he’ll likely need a victory to make the playoffs.
Cole Custer won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington after Denny Hamlin’s car failed post-race inspection.
NASCAR disallowed Denny Hamlin’s victory after the No. 18 did not meet the minimum requirement for the left-front height.
Wayne Auton, managing director for the Xfinity Series said that Joe Gibbs Racing has until Monday at noon to decide if they choose to appeal the penalty.
This marks the fourth time in the Xfinity Series this season that a car has been disqualified after a race but the first time it has been declared the winner of the race.
The victory was awarded to Custer, who initially crossed the finish line second behind Denny Hamlin.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who made his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start of the season and first at Darlington since 1999, finished fifth.
Rounding out the top five were Tyler Reddick in second, Ryan Blaney in third, Christopher Bell in fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Chase Briscoe in sixth, Brandon Jones in seventh, Noah Gragson in eighth, Justin Allgaier in ninth and Austin Cindric in tenth.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head into Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September, 7th at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
Stage 1 Winner: Tyler Reddick
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney
Race Winner: Cole Custer