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.
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.
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.
Byron gives NASCAR another surprise winner at Homestead
William Byron was the third surprise winner through three races this season with his victory Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Byron controlled most of the final two stages at Homestead to win for the second time in 111 Cup starts. Byron entered the weekend as a 28-1 shot to win a race many expected would provide a return to normal for the racing series. The Roush Fenway Racing driver led five times for a total of 57 laps, but he started to fade "when as sunset neared. He ended up getting X-rays, which were negative, and was cleared to work the Cup Series event.
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.
The Latest: NASCAR pit crew benched for positive COVID tests
(Jose Sena Goulao, Pool via AP)The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The pit crew for NASCAR driver William Byron has been benched because of multiple positive tests for COVID-19. The crew member did not test positive for COVID-19, so the rest of Christopher Bell’s crew was unchanged. French players tested positive, forcing tournament organizers to call off the match in Dublin to prevent further infections within the team. Also, one member of the Scottish squad tested positive on Thursday. This is the first time a Chargers player has tested positive since the league’s daily testing started during training camp.
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.
Kevin Harvick nabs 9th win of season to roll into 2nd round
Busch furiously tried to catch him as the two weaved their way through lapped traffic, but Harvick held firm in the No. Only six cars finished on the lead lap in a tepid event at the 0.533-mile bullring revered for bumping and banging. Track officials sold all 30,000 tickets allowed — making Bristol one of the largest sporting events since the pandemic — and the spectators crowded the fence as Harvick celebrated his second win of the playoffs. Erik Jones, who is not eligible for the playoffs, finished third for Joe Gibbs Racing and was followed by rookie Tyler Reddick and playoff contenders Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer. Denny Hamlin, considered the closest challenger to Harvick this year, closed out a sub-par opening round of the playoffs with a 21st-place finish.
Ryan Blaney hopes to avoid playoff elimination at Bristol
With a bit of disbelief over his fast fall in the NASCAR standings, Ryan Blaney is determined to avoid elimination from the playoffs. William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Blaney are the four drivers below the cutline headed into the knockout race. “This whole group, this team, we are not a 16th-place-in-points team,” Blaney said. 12 team was also off last week at Richmond, where Blaney finished 19th to fall to the edge of elimination. Cole Custer trails Bowyer by eight points, while DiBendetto is 25 points behind and Blaney is 27 points out.
NASCAR: Keselowski dominates in playoff win at Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. – Brad Keselowski entered NASCAR's playoffs certain he has as good a chance at the Cup championship as favorites Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. His confidence was correct as Keselowski indeed won Saturday night at Richmond, the second playoff race, and advanced into the second next round. Harvick, the title favorite, won last week’s opener to earn the automatic berth into the second round. Harvick, Hamlin and Keselowski are the only drivers locked into the next round of the playoffs. Harvick finished seventh.
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.
Byron wins to reach Cup Series playoffs, knocks out Johnson
Those moves got him to victory lane for the first time in his young NASCAR Cup Series career and back in the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Winless in 120 races, Johnson made a trip to victory lane to congratulate Byron and the No. Its a big win for Chad Knaus and William Byron," Johnson said. Its been a hard couple of years in the Cup Series and trying to get my first win and trying to gel with this team," Byron said. WALLACE REACTSWallace said before the race that there was not much of a dialogue among NASCAR drivers regarding sitting out the Cup Series regular-season finale at Daytona.
Jimmie Johnson proud of ending NASCAR career with 7 titles
The crash meant his racing career would end without a record-setting eighth Cup Series championship. Johnson looked like he might escape the carnage, but Logano spun into Matt Kenseth, who made a hard right into Johnsons driver-side door. Johnson and Knaus were together for all seven titles in the 48. Cliff Daniels and these guys on my team, they pour their guts out for me, Johnson said. He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer with a racing career that will be hard to match, let alone top, for anyone moving forward.
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.
Liberty University and Falwell: A bond that's hard to break
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)RICHMOND, Va. Jerry Falwell Jr. has been toppled, at least temporarily, from the presidency of evangelical Liberty University, but whether he will break permanently with the Christian institution that is synonymous with his family name is another matter. Jerry Falwell Sr. into the ministry, took over as president following his fathers death in 2007. The vision laid out by Falwells father rests in part on athletic success, which has improved under his son, who has outfitted the Liberty Flames with top-notch facilities. Adam Laats, a professor at Binghamton University in New York who studies American education, predicted that Falwell would return to Liberty not as president but in another capacity. Harkening back to a sentiment expressed by the elder Falwell, Carson observed: Its not Jerry Jr.s university.
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.
Keselowski still seeking 1st win at home track in Michigan
Keselowski still hasn't won a Cup race in his home state, and it seems like every year that is a story when NASCAR comes to Michigan. I was actually talking to Joey Logano about it, because I won last weekend at his home track in New Hampshire. Normally, Michigan hosts races in June and August, but the pandemic pushed them both onto the same weekend this year. The races in Michigan always take on a special importance for Ford, which has swept the MIS Cup races each of the past two years. DOUBLEHEADERMichigan is set to become the second track in series history to run a doubleheader at the same facility on back-to-back days.
Wallace crashed out of chance of racing for $1 million prize
BRISTOL, Tenn. Bubba Wallace was wrecked out of the qualifying race for NASCARs annual All-Star event, ruining his shot of racing for the $1 million prize. One driver advanced into the All-Star race through a fan vote and Wallace had been leading when results were last updated by NASCAR a week ago. Aric Almirola advanced by winning the first stage, William Byron for winning the second stage and Matt DiBenedetto for winning the third stage. Crowd estimates for that event have been around 10,000 spectators, but the NASCAR race would likely be the largest sporting event in the United States since March. Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr. failed inspection twice and forfeited the top starting spot in the All-Star race.
Harvick takes advantage of Hamlin's crash to win Brickyard
INDIANAPOLIS Kevin Harvick turned up the heat on Denny Hamlin late in the Brickyard 400. It's the Brickyard, this is what I grew up wanting to do so to come here and win for the third time is something I couldn't have dreamed up." For the third straight race, Harvick and Hamlin were in a league of their own. And since racing resumed at Darlington in mid-May, Hamlin and Harvick have combined to win seven of 12 races. But the crash ended Hamlin's run of four straight top-five finishes with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Sportsbooks are dark and odds are long in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS – Nobody would have given odds on this. Inside the glittering casinos that line the Las Vegas Strip, the slot machines were turned off and the sportsbooks were dark. Oddsmaker Jay Kornegay would be in the middle of it all at the Westgate Las Vegas, one of the most popular sportsbooks to watch March Madness. But the massive hotel, like all others in Las Vegas, is closed because of the new coronavirus and the huge televisions in the sportsbook are dark. Oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said it didn’t make much sense to offer betting online when only obscure sports in faraway places are available to wager on.