Wallace holds off boss, title contenders to win at Kansas
Bubba Wallace won his second career NASCAR Cup Series race and denied the playoff field of an automatic spot in the next round for the second straight week when he held off championship contenders Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell to win at Kansas Speedway.
The Latest: Keselowski has no regrets about Daytona 500 end
Racers crash during the last lap in the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Latest on the Daytona 500 (all times local):12:35 a.m.Brad Keselowski has no regrets about the way he handled the final lap of the Daytona 500. ___12:15 a.m.Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 after Penske Racing teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski wrecked on the final lap. ___3:25 p.m.Derrike Cope was knocked out after only three laps, an ignominious end for the 62-year-old driver who won the 1990 Daytona 500. ___2 p.m.Bubba Wallace’s car failed inspection twice for the Daytona 500 and will have to start at the back of the field. AdWallace drives a new entry owned by NBA great Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.
Rain washes out NASCAR's final practices for Daytona 500
“I think we proved as an industry last year that track time was a little overrated," said David Wilson, head of Toyota Racing Development. Heavy rain soaked the track early, though, prompting officials to shift gears before the Xfinity Series opener later Saturday. An ARCA series race also was scheduled for the middle of the day. “I'm fine without it,” said 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch. ..."Obviously, we didn’t want to go to a backup car, but I think we’re still in a really good place for the 500.
Hendrick hesitant to change Bowman's engine before 500
48 team will ideally use Saturday's final two practice sessions to determine if the engine can make it 500 miles on Sunday. “We think the engine is OK, but we're undecided just yet,” said Knaus, who won the NASCAR title seven times as a crew chief. AdHendrick Motorsports suffered another blow when William Byron was involved in a crash in his qualifying race that destroyed his Chevrolet. Hendrick will now have only one car at the front of the Daytona 500 field — maybe none if Bowman's engine is deemed too risky not to change. The pole-sitter has not closed out a Daytona 500 victory since Dale Jarrett in 2000.
Hiccup for Hendrick Motorsports ahead of Daytona 500
Alex Bowman and William Byron were slated to lead the Daytona 500 field to green but that's in danger following Thursday night's qualifying races. Byron was collected in a crash in the second Duel and it ruined his Chevrolet. AdAustin Cindric and Kaz Grala both earned their first berths into the Daytona 500 by claiming the two available transfer positions in the Duels. He was the leader on the final lap of the second Duel until Dillon crossed to Wallace’s inside and inched ahead. “We’ve got an incredible race car and I can’t wait for the Daytona 500.”
Bowman, Byron give Hendrick sweep of Daytona 500 front row
Alex Bowman and William Byron swept the front row Wednesday night in qualifying for the Daytona 500, giving Hendrick its 14th pole and sixth in the last seven years. It's a testament to these guys and everybody back at the shop at Hendrick Motorsports,” Bowman said. Only the front row was set Wednesday, the first time Daytona 500 qualifying has been held at night under a condensed Speedweeks schedule. The 40-car field is determined through both time trials and a pair of Thursday night qualifying races. Byron bumped him first, then Bowman topped Byron.
Elliott races into NASCAR championship; Harvick eliminated
That's how it was supposed to play out, at least, after Harvick won a Cup series-high nine races and the regular-season title. Chase Elliott won the high-stakes race to earn his first career berth in the championship four. Just came up short," Harvick said. “It was just a move I had to try knowing that I needed one point," Harvick said. Bill Elliott was 0 for 45 at Martinsville in his Hall of Fame career, and Chase Elliott won in his 11th try.
Martinsville set for high-stakes Sunday in NASCAR playoffs
NASCAR's needed horsepower for its stale playoffs so Martinsville was shuffled to the back of a revamped schedule. So Martinsville was moved to the final elimination race and NASCAR created a high-stakes last-chance Sunday at the historic Virginia paperclip. It means at least one of NASCAR’s top stars and maybe even a legitimate title contender won’t advance out of Martinsville. Hamlin hasn't been great in the playoffs and he holds just a two-point lead over Brad Keselowski above the cutline. “It’s up to us to get it done," said Hamlin, a five-time Martinsville winner.
Kyle Busch wins rain-delayed NASCAR playoff race in Texas
Kyle Busch drives on the front stretch during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)FORT WORTH, Texas – Kyle Busch won for the first time this season to extend a 16-season streak while his penalized teammate missed a chance to secure a spot in the championship in the NASCAR playoff race at Texas that finished Wednesday, three days after it started. The only race before then is Sunday at Martinsville, NASCAR's oldest and shortest track where Truex won in June and last fall. Logano secured his spot in the final four with his win 10 days earlier at Kansas to open the three-race round of eight. The two-time Cup champion got his fourth Cup win at Texas.
NASCAR playoffs rained out for 3rd consecutive day at Texas
Drying trucks continue to prepare the track for a possible NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)FORT WORTH, Texas – NASCAR will make a fourth attempt to complete its playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday after persistent mist and cold temperatures continued the long delay. The resumption of the race was set for Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT at the Texas track. The Truck Series and Xfinity Series are scheduled for Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and both series completed racing in Texas. The bigger concern is likely the NBC production crews that must complete the Texas broadcast and then prepare Martinsville for Friday night's Truck Series race.
Logano wins at Kansas to clinch spot in Cup Series finale
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Joey Logano spent the final 40-plus laps at Kansas Speedway keeping an eye on Kevin Harvick in his rear-view mirror. Now, he can look ahead to the NASCAR Cup Series finale at Phoenix. Using every bit of the track Sunday to hold off the winningest driver this season, Logano took the checkered flag on a cold, blustery Sunday to secure a spot in the championship round of the playoffs. Hamlin managed to hold off the 2014 series champion to win his 10th stage of the season. Then, midway through the final stage, he began to notice a problem in his car.
Race into NASCAR's championship round begins at Kansas
Elliott won the race. The path to the championship finale begins Sunday at Kansas Speedway, the first of three races in the title-setting third round. It's a fairly straightforward series with ensuing stops at Texas Motor Speedway, like Kansas a 1.5-mile intermediate oval, then half-mile Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR's shortest and oldest active track. Hamlin has won NASCAR's last two visits to Kansas, a turnaround after several so-so races. “If you fast-forward to Kansas and Texas, it’s a mile-and-a-half, so everything is just pointing in our direction right now,” he said.
Elliott wins at Roval as champ Busch bounced from playoffs
Chase Elliott won on the hybrid road course-oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Busch and three others were trimmed from title contention. Elliott, meanwhile, won for the second consecutive year at “The Roval” and third time this season. “Best way to get into the next round is to win,” Elliott said. Bowman battled anxiety through the race as he worried Kyle Busch would win and bump him from the playoffs. When Busch didn't pit, Bowman nervously asked his Hendrick Motorsports team if he was about to be eliminated.
Alex Bowman shuffled to the No. 48 to replace Jimmie Johnson
The most coveted seat in NASCAR went to Alex Bowman in a Hendrick Motorsports lineup shuffle to replace seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson in the iconic No. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The most coveted seat in NASCAR belongs to Alex Bowman in a Hendrick Motorsports lineup shuffle to replace seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson in the iconic No. Bowman and crew chief Greg Ives, who won five championships with Johnson as his engineer, will move from the No. “Every season, Alex gets better. “He earned his way into the 88 car through hard work and dedication and doing the stuff nobody else wanted to do," Johnson said.
Hamlin wins in 3rd overtime of Talladega's longest race
Denny Hamlin (11) races William Byron (24) and Matt DiBenedetto (21) to the finish line during the YellaWood 500 NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Talladega, Ala. Hamlin won. His sweeping three-wide pass in triple overtime Sunday brought an end to the sloppiest race of the season. “To win the championship, you have to win the last race and you have to get to the last race. But Talladega's finish line is unusually close to Turn 1 and Elliott had not made it there before a crash behind him. DiBenedetto was initially denied his first career victory a year ago by Hamlin the same week DiBenedetto learned he was out of a job.
Kurt Busch ends 0-for-21 skid to finally win at home track
LAS VEGAS – Two decades of heartbreak at his home track finally ended for Kurt Busch when a little bit of luck fell his way at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch then took the checkered flag to the finish line and smacked it on each of the letters in Las Vegas. Kyle Busch appreciated the milestone his older brother achieved in finally winning at Las Vegas. Not only had Kurt Busch never won before at Las Vegas, but he had just five top-10 finishes before the win. “It was pretty cool to finally see him get a victory here in Las Vegas and score a hometown win.
Harvick takes Southern 500 after leaders Elliott, Truex bump
Harvick didnt dominate the Southern 500 in his series-best eighth victory of the season. The leaders got tangled up there and the next thing you know we were racing for the win, Harvick said. PLAYOFF PUSHAlmiorola is now squarely on the bubble ranked 12th among the 16 drivers after the first playoff race. BLANEY PENALTYBlaney's title chances took a hit just hours before the first playoff race began. UP NEXTThe second playoff race is at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.
Playoffs begin with 14 drivers chasing Harvick and Hamlin
Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are expected to race head-to-head for the NASCAR Cup title when the 10-week playoff series begin Sunday at Darlington Raceway. That theoretically leaves the 14 other drivers racing for just two spots in the winner-take-all race. Busch joins his older brother, Kurt, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and DiBenedetto as drivers without a win as the playoffs begin. Logano won twice in the first four weeks of the season, while Elliott scored his two wins after racing resumed. Others have been labeled dark horses, but Truex has very quietly made himself a strong challenger to Harvick and Hamlin.
Higher stakes at Daytona mean 'crazy things will happen'
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Racing at Daytona International Speedway always comes with a hefty dose of drama. Nearly half the field is looking to clinch a postseason berth with a victory, including seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson. Crazy things will happen.Thats exactly what NASCAR envisioned when it moved Daytonas summertime extravaganza to the regular-season finale. Cup races at Daytona already were considered wild-card events in which just about anyone could end up in victory lane. Throw in the raised stakes, and it's sure to create an ultra-intense couple of hours on the track.
Unpredictability ahead as NASCAR gets on Daytona road course
NASCAR takes to the retooled road course at Daytona this weekend for what surely will be a unique unprecedented, really experience for dozens of drivers who have only raced it online. The Xfinity Series race is Saturday, followed a day later by the Truck Series and the Cup Series. Both ran the Rolex 24 endurance race on the road course in January. Kenseth and Ryan Newman have victories on the Daytona road course, each winning IROC races in the mid-2000s. While Busch and Allmendinger surely provided teammates help learning the tracks nuances, many teams eager to gain an advantage turned to road course experts for assistance this week.
Denny Hamlin wins on a long day at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. Denny Hamlin found the magic at Homestead-Miami Speedway, once again. Hamlin went to the lead for the final time with 30 laps left and held off Chase Elliott for his record-tying NASCAR Cup Series victory at Homestead. At Homestead, he led 137 of 267 laps on the 1 1/2-mile track in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. Most of those fans were gone when Hamlin drove under the checkered flag at 10:46 p.m., ending the marathon day. Austin Dillon had a day hell never forget, though his seventh-place finish wasnt even close to the most significant development.
Heat is on: Hectic NASCAR tests drained drivers at Homestead
And after an exhausting few days, NASCAR is about to offer another daunting test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. I think its a great test of will. Its a great test to the drivers. And several drivers, Wallace included, severed ties with a popular helmet designer this week over social media posts largely related to the flag. Track officials at Homestead are renaming one of the facilitys trademarks, the tunnel at Turn 3 that leads drivers into the track, in Johnsons honor.