Logano takes the checkered flag in a haze of Bristol dirt
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Somewhere under the thick red haze floating over Bristol Motor Speedway, Joey Logano took the checkered flag for NASCAR's first Cup Series race at a dirt track in 50 years. The Logano victory closed a weekend of uncertainty and even some hysteria as NASCAR launched this drive through the dirt. “It’s only my fourth dirt race ever, so I had a lot of fun trying to figure it out," Logano said. It was impossible to handicap this first dirt race because the teams had no idea how to prepare and the drivers had wildly varying experience. "In dirt racing you don’t have a windshield in front of you, so you can pull a tearoff.
What a Mess: NASCAR worried about first Bristol dirt race
AdBristol also made a bold change this year by converting its facility into a dirt race as part of radical changes to the 2021 schedule. NASCAR needed a major shakeup and the dirt race joined an influx of road courses and new venues for the most adventurous schedule in sport history. So when NASCAR broadcast partner Fox pushed for a dirt race on the Cup schedule, Speedway Motorsports said Bristol would be the guinea pig. “That's probably the most uncomfortable I've ever been in a race car,” said Kevin Harvick, running his first Truck Series race since 2015. The first NASCAR Cup Series points-paying sanctioned race in the inaugural 1949 season was on dirt at Charlotte (Old) Speedway.
Roger Penske bullish on large crowd for Indianapolis 500
FILE - Roger Penske looks over the track from the grandstand at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, in this Thursday, July 2, 2020, file photo. There will be fans at this year's Indianapolis 500, Penske said Monday, March 22, 2021, but how many remains a moving target based on pandemic restrictions. (AP Photo/Jenna Fryer, File)A fully vaccinated Roger Penske is hard at work at Indianapolis Motor Speedway preparing for a full season of racing that will include spectators at his showcase event. There will be fans at this year's Indianapolis 500, Penske said Monday, but how many remains a moving target based on COVID-19 restrictions. Penske noted Monday that the positivity rate for COVID-19 for Marion County, where Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located, was 3.1%.
Blaney wins at Atlanta after Larson fades on old tires
But Larson's tires didn't stand up to the punishing track after making his final pit stop with 56 laps to go. I don't know if we got that much worse or he just got way better.”AdThe Cup series returned to the track where the racing world came to a halt a year ago. In March 2020, Atlanta was the first NASCAR Cup race to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The series shuttered for more than two months before resuming with major changes to the schedule, including the Atlanta race being held in early June. As the cars stacked up behind Larson, Busch got bumped from behind by Denny Hamlin and slammed into the outside wall going into turn one.
Martin Truex Jr. wins NASCAR Cup race at Phoenix Raceway
AVONDALE, Ariz. – Joey Logano has won a few times at Phoenix Raceway and knows a good restart when he feels one. Truex blew past Logano on the final restart and pulled away for his first NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season and 28th overall. Logano — who led 143 laps — won the second stage after leading the final 35 laps during a long stretch of green-flag racing. But he couldn't hold back Truex, who won his ninth race with JGR. Hamlin was fast early in the race, leading for 31 laps until the competition caution midway through the first stage.
One year later, NASCAR reflects on a COVID-changed sport
Larson wasn't sure he'd race in NASCAR again until Rick Hendrick took a chance on a him. Last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson raced to his first NASCAR victory since he was reinstated from a nearly yearlong suspension. He was hired by Hendrick Motorsports when NASCAR said the suspension would lift at the start of this year. KEEP IT COOLLast year's spring race in Phoenix was a hot one, with temperatures pushing close to 90 degrees. ... Jason Biggs, host of “Cherries Wild” on NASCAR broadcast partner Fox, is the grand marshal.
Kyle Larson celebrates return with 1st win since suspension
LAS VEGAS – Kyle Larson wasn't sure he'd ever race again in NASCAR, and if he could, he didn't know who would even hire him. On Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson raced to his first NASCAR victory since he was reinstated from a nearly yearlong suspension. “Thanks Mr. H. for believing in me,” Larson radioed to boss Rick Hendrick after crossing the finish line. Larson is considered one of the top talents in NASCAR but won just six times in six seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing. “He got in a great car, he's a great driver and he's going to make things happen,” runner-up Brad Keselowski said.
Allmendinger back at Daytona in 1st Cup race since 2018
Allmendinger will run his first Cup race since the 2018 season finale in Kaulig's first Cup race not at a superspeedway. The longshot Daytona 500 win earned McDowell his first playoff berth and FRM now is positioned to build a once unthinkable cushion. This road course race was added to NASCAR's schedule in December because COVID-19 restrictions would not allow a stop at Fontana, California. AdThe Daytona road course was wedged into the open slot, creating two weekends of very different racing that very much suits Furniture Row. Dillon missed the Cup race in August because he'd received a positive COVID-19 test.
Logano wants peace at Penske following Daytona 500 crash
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A truce has yet to be called in the Team Penske camp amid friction following the last lap Daytona 500 crash between teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. To me, the biggest heartbreak of this whole thing is that there are 400 people at Team Penske asking where their Daytona 500 bonus is and it’s up in a ball of flames up in turn three.”Three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin bristled at Logano's deflection. The Daytona crash belied Roger Penske's edict that his drivers are permitted to race one another hard so long as they don't wreck. That’s a great problem to have.”It remains to be seen how Keselowski chooses to work with Logano going forward. Logano, also a Cup champion and the 2015 Daytona 500 winner, doesn't have the same job security concerns.
Chase Elliott ends week of misery with overdue Cup victory
Chase Elliott does a burnout after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Concord, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)CONCORD, N.C. NASCAR's grueling return to racing finally ended with a Cup victory for Chase Elliott. The event, postponed Wednesday night, was the fourth Cup race since the series resumed racing May 17. Man this is a tough week, we've had some tough losses," Elliott said from the frontstretch. Elliott reeled in Kevin Harvick with 27 laps remaining and closed out the victory. Elliott's victory was the first for a Chevrolet driver in NASCAR's return to Cup racing.
Keselowski gets win but Hendrick Motorsports takes 2 losses
His Hendrick Motorsports team bounced back with a competitive Chevrolet in the 600 that Elliott drove to the front late in the race. Theres no other choice.KESELOWSKI SHOWS HIS WORTHA Daytona 500 victory is the only crown jewel race Keselowski is missing on his resume. "I hope to continue to compete at a very high level and be able to win races for a long time. Weve got a race win at a major on a team thats really just starting to click together. I hope it does because this is my 30th win at the Cup level with Team Penske.