RELATED: Race results " Updated NXS standings DOVER, Del. -- Regan Smith charged from fourth to first during a restart on Lap 121 and stayed there for the rest of the Hisense 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover International Speedway Saturday, posting his second victory of the season and working his way back into championship contention. After a 31-minute rain delay, Smith passed Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin and leader Elliott Sadler on the restart on Lap 121 of 200, staved off intense pressure from Hamlin midway through the final green-flag run and pulled away as the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates battled for second place. Without a concrete deal in place for next season, Smith won for the first time at the Monster Mile -- in fact, the 80 laps he led were the first circuits he had ever spent out front at Dover. The victory was the sixth of Smith's career, and all of them have come under the JR Motorsports banner. RELATED: Dillon has tire failure as caution waves Hamlin won the fight for the runner-up spot, crossing the finish line .703 seconds behind Smith . Busch led a race-high 110 laps and came home third, followed by Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson . Austin Dillon ran sixth, one spot ahead of Chase Elliott , who moved into second place in the series standings, 24 points behind leader Chris Buescher , who finished eighth on Saturday. Smith , who rallied from a flat tire in the first third of the race, took over third in points, 36 behind Buescher. "I knew the car was fast, but I didn't know it was that fast until we got out in clean air," Smith said in Victory Lane. "This wasn't a Hail Mary. We came from the back to the front and just had a fast race car. "If we can keep doing that every week, and get another win or two here or there, I don't know what's going to happen. I'm trying to figure out some things for next year, so wins never hurt -- that's never a bad thing going forward." A victory for Smith was not even a remote consideration when a light rain began falling shortly after the halfway point, with the race already under caution for a wreck involving Stanton Barrett and Cale Conley on Lap 106. Sadler, whose 2016 move to JR Motorsports was announced on Friday, took two new tires under the yellow and was first off pit road, leading the race and praying for a monsoon. But the rain abated, depriving Sadler of a going-away present to Roush Fenway Racing , the organization he will leave at season's end. "I've never had much luck with the rain," Sadler said ruefully. "I've always been on the wrong side of that, going back to the 2009 Daytona 500 (where Sadler was fifth with a chance to win when the race was called because of rain after 152 laps)." Note: Ty Dillon cut a tire and hit the outside wall on Lap 24, resulting in a 28th-place finish. He slipped from second to fourth in the series standings, 39 points back of Buescher.
Regan Smith saves enough fuel to hold of a charging Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch and claim his first victory at Dover International Speedway.
Regan Smith , who is trying to get back into the championship battle, celebrates a key victory at Dover International Speedway.
Regan Smith stretches his fuel mileage to beat Joe Gibbs Racing and the rest of the field and earn his second victory of the season.
What: 55th annual Irwin Tools Night Race . Where: Bristol Motor Speedway, .533-mile oval in Bristol, Tenn. When: Saturday, Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m. ET. TV/Radio: NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Distance: 500 laps, 266.5 miles. Pit road speed: 30 mph. Caution car speed: 35 mph. Fuel window: 150 laps. On the front row: " Full lineup Denny Hamlin , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota (131.407 mph) Kyle Busch , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota (131.263 mph) Did not qualify Travis Kvapil , The Motorsports Group No. 30 Chevrolet; Jeb Burton , BK Racing No. 26 Toyota; Reed Sorensen, Premium No. 62 Motorsports Chevrolet Fastest in practice First practice: Kyle Larson , Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No. 42 Chevrolet (129.833 mph) " Results Final practice: Kyle Busch , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota (131.146 mph). " Results Driver rating (Best driver rating average at Bristol based on past 21 races): Matt Kenseth (104.6) Jeff Gordon (100.3) Last year's winner Joey Logano , Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Milestones in the mountains Two drivers in the field will click off landmark starts in NASCAR's premier series Saturday night. Ryan Newman is scheduled to make his 500th Sprint Cup appearance in Bristol's annual night race, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr . will be making his 100th start in the series. For one of the two, the occasion came as a surprise. "I honestly had no idea until someone informed me of it this week," Newman said. "500 is definitely a career milestone but for me, the biggest career start was my very first one. You got to have people who believe in you enough to just give you a chance and for that I am truly grateful." Gordon's landmark The return of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevy's rainbow paint scheme may be a 'one weekend only' occurrence, but Bristol Motor Speedway gave Jeff Gordon a sustaining gift Friday that will last ages. A swath of seats in the mammoth grandstands will be known as the Jeff Gordon Terrace, joining sections named for stock-car racing legends -- Earnhardt, Allison, Petty, Pearson, Waltrip, Johnson, Wallace, Yarborough and Kulwicki. History lesson Then named Bristol International Speedway, the .533-mile track debuted with the Volunteer 500 on July 30, 1961. Jack Smith was credited with the inaugural victory, but he was behind the wheel for only the first 290 laps, giving way to relief driver Johnny Allen for the final 210 circuits in the searing summer heat. They said it "One in 43." -- Matt Kenseth on weighing his chances of securing a second consecutive Sprint Cup victory, and a Bristol season sweep, this weekend. Former Bristol winners in field Kurt Busch , Kyle Busch , Jeff Gordon (5); Matt Kenseth (4); Carl Edwards (3); Brad Keselowski (2); Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Denny Hamlin , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Joey Logano , Tony Stewart (1)
DARLINGTON, S.C. (Sept. 5, 2015) -- The National Motorsports Press Association and Sprint are pleased to announce that voting for the 2015 NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver award will open Sunday, September 6. The NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver award is the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote. The voting period opened at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday and runs through 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 22. Fans can visit www.mostpopulardriver.com to cast their vote for this year's award. Votes will also be received via the NASCAR Mobile application. Since the award's inception in 1953, 19 drivers have won the award. NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott has won the award more than any other driver (16 times). Dale Earnhardt Jr . has won it the last 12 years in a row. Voting is limited to one vote per person per email address per day. Fans are encouraged to share their votes on Facebook and Twitter. The official Twitter hashtag for the NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award is #SprintMPD. Eligible drivers for the award are those who have declared to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. "The Most Popular Driver Award is one of the NMPA's most significant awards, and I'm very pleased to partner with Sprint again this year," said NMPA President Brian Nelson. "We expect the 2015 vote to be one of the biggest yet." The winner of this year's award will be announced during the NBC Sports Network broadcast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Dec. 4 in Las Vegas. A $10,000 donation will be made to the winning driver's charity of choice. The Most Popular Driver award program is one of the longest-running awards presented each year by the National Motorsports Press Association. Previous winners of the NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award: Year – Recipient 2014 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2013 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2012 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2011 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2010 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2009 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2008 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2007 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2006 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2005 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2004 – Dale Earnhardt Jr . 2003 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 2002 – Bill Elliott 2001 – Dale Earnhardt 2000 – Bill Elliott 1999 – Bill Elliott 1998 – Bill Elliott 1997 – Bill Elliott 1996 – Bill Elliott 1995 – Bill Elliott 1994 – Bill Elliott 1993 – Bill Elliott 1992 – Bill Elliott 1991 – Bill Elliott 1990 – Darrell Waltrip 1989 – Darrell Waltrip 1988 – Bill Elliott 1987 – Bill Elliott 1986 – Bill Elliott 1985 – Bill Elliott 1984 – Bill Elliott 1983 – Bobby Allison 1982 – Bobby Allison 1981 – Bobby Allison 1980 – David Pearson 1979 – David Pearson 1978 – Richard Petty 1977 – Richard Petty 1976 – Richard Petty 1975 – Richard Petty 1974 – Richard Petty 1973 – Bobby Allison 1972 – Bobby Allison 1971 – Bobby Allison 1970 – Richard Petty 1969 – Bobby Isaac 1968 – Richard Petty 1967 – Cale Yarborough 1966 – Darel Dieringer 1965 – Fred Lorenzen 1964 – Richard Petty 1963 – Fred Lorenzen 1962 – Richard Petty 1961 – Joe Weatherly 1960 – Rex White 1959 – Jack Smith 1958 – Glen Wood 1957 – Fireball Roberts 1956 – Curtis Turner 1955 – Tim Flock 1954 – Lee Petty 1953 – Lee Petty
After Race 28 of the 2015 season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Pos Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt PPos G/L Attempts 1 Joe Gibbs 20 2,099 0 0 1 0 28 2 J D Gibbs 11 2,093 -6 -6 2 0 28 3 J D Gibbs 19 2,089 -10 -4 3 0 28 4 Walter Czarnecki 22 2,089 -10 0 6 2 28 5 Jeff Gordon 48 2,083 -16 -6 7 2 28 6 Richard Childress 31 2,074 -25 -9 8 2 28 7 Gene Haas 41 2,073 -26 -1 5 -2 28 8 Roger Penske 2 2,072 -27 -1 9 1 28 9 Barney Visser 78 2,071 -28 -1 11 2 28 10 Rick Hendrick 24 2,068 -31 -3 12 2 28 11 Felix Sabates 1 2,058 -41 -10 13 2 28 12 Rick Hendrick 88 2,057 -42 -1 10 -2 28 13 Joe Gibbs 18 2,056 -43 -1 4 -9 28 14 Richard Childress 27 2,056 -43 0 14 0 28 15 Tony Stewart 4 2,034 -65 -22 15 0 28 16 Rob Kauffman 15 2,018 -81 -16 16 0 28 17 Linda Hendrick 5 732 -1,367 -1,286 18 1 28 18 Richard Petty 43 728 -1,371 -4 17 -1 28 19 Chip Ganassi 42 711 -1,388 -17 19 0 28 20 Jack Roush 16 675 -1,424 -36 20 0 28 21 Richard Childress 3 626 -1,473 -49 21 0 28 22 Bob Germain 13 604 -1,495 -22 22 0 28 23 Tad Geschickter 47 585 -1,514 -19 24 1 28 24 Tony Stewart 10 574 -1,525 -11 23 -1 28 25 Margaret Haas 14 563 -1,536 -11 25 0 28 26 Richard Petty 9 546 -1,553 -17 26 0 28 27 John Henry 17 525 -1,574 -21 28 1 28 28 Michael Waltrip 55 520 -1,579 -5 27 -1 28 29 John Henry 6 517 -1,582 -3 29 0 28 30 Harry Scott Jr. 51 465 -1,634 -52 30 0 28 31 Bob Jenkins 35 430 -1,669 -35 31 0 28 32 Brad Jenkins 38 419 -1,680 -11 32 0 28 33 Michael Hillman 40 385 -1,714 -34 33 0 28 34 Jerry Freeze 34 385 -1,714 0 34 0 28 35 Tommy Baldwin 7 340 -1,759 -45 35 0 28 36 Joe Falk 33 335 -1,764 -5 36 0 28 37 Ron Devine 83 334 -1,765 -1 37 0 28 38 Harry Scott Jr. 46 287 -1,812 -47 38 0 28 39 Ron Devine 23 257 -1,842 -30 39 0 28 40 Mike Curb 98 228 -1,871 -29 40 0 28 41 Archie St Hilaire 32 224 -1,875 -4 41 0 28 42 Glen Wood 21 203 -1,896 -21 42 0 14 43 Anthony Marlowe 26 172 -1,927 -31 44 1 28 44 Bob Leavine 95 163 -1,936 -9 43 -1 16 45 Jay Robinson 62 94 -2,005 -69 46 1 28 46 Rick Hendrick 25 89 -2,010 -5 45 -1 5 47 John Cohen 44 12 -2,087 -77 47 0 4 48 Jay Robinson 66 8 -2,091 -4 48 0 4 49 Curtis Key Sr. 30 6 -2,093 -2 49 0 13 50 Robby Benton 129 0 -2,099 -6 51 1 4 51 Gordon Smith 139 0 -2,099 0 50 -1 2
DOVER, Del. -- The relationship between veteran drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Elliott Sadler isn't new. Before JR Motorsports was even a thought in Junior's mind, the duo raced against one another in late models years ago and formed a kinship off the track. The pair's relationship added a new facet on Friday, when officials announced at Dover International Speedway that Elliott would drive for Earnhardt-owned JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2016. Earnhardt Jr. broke the news earlier in the day via Periscope. "I'm excited to work with Elliott full-time and give him the best opportunity we can, to put him in the best car we can and to get to work with all our guys," Earnhardt said during the press conference at Dover on Friday. "... It's going to be a lot of fun. Winning races is great, but when you do it with your friends, it's even better." "We've been friends a long time and I feel like we've had each others' backs on and off the track a long time." Elliott added. "I think when you're vested personally like we are, I think to put this group together is going to be very, very exciting. "It makes you want to -- on so many different levels -- to do a good job and perform like you're supposed to. Not only on the race track, but off the race track." Elliott's number and crew chief are yet to be determined, but he will bring long-time sponsor OneMain Financial from his current Roush Fenway Racing ride. In a sport that thrives on sponsorship, a long-term supporter like OneMain Financial gives team owner Earnhardt a sense of steadiness. "Elliott has worked with One Main for a very long time so that's an easy relationship to trust and get behind and be a part of," Earnhardt said. " … I will say when we told our employees on the shop floor, they were ecstatic. It brings stability and those people really depend on that. When they see those cars go out of the shop without a sponsor on them, that makes everybody nervous." JR Motorsports currently fields three cars in the XFINITY Series with reigning series champion Chase Elliott and Regan Smith behind the wheel full-time, and a group of drivers, including Ben Rhodes as well as Sprint Cup stars Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne piloting the third car. For Sadler, who has won 10 races in the XFINTY Series and three times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the chance to drive for an established team like JRM is a prime opportunity – one that supersedes getting back into a Sprint Cup car for now. "I want to be competitive in the XFINITY Series. I want to win races," Elliott said. "... There's nothing like leaving your house on a weekend going to the race track, knowing you have the opportunity to lead laps, sit on poles, run up front. "... My goal right now, and my heart and soul, and my passion is still very great when I come to the track. But it's more what I can do on Saturdays and what I can do in the XFINITY Series. If I go out and do a great job and win every race and those ( Sprint Cup ) opportunities come, we'll look at that at that time. "But right now, man, we've got to jump on this -- this is great."
RELATED: Full race results from Dover " Updated Series standings DOVER, Del. -- Already dressed in street clothes, a disappointed Ty Dillon stood near the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing hauler, huddled with his crew following a tough 28th-place result in the XFINITY Series' Hisense 300 at Dover International Speedway . The finish dropped Dillon from second to fourth in the championship standings, 39 points behind leader Chris Buescher . Dillon's grandfather and team owner Richard Childress stopped by to console his grandson with a few words and a pat on the back. "I ain't finishing fourth." Dillon told Childress. Dillon's unfortunate day began when he blew a tire at Lap 25, taking his Chevrolet off the race track and into the garage for repairs. He returned to the track around Lap 88, finishing the race 85 laps down. "Well, it started with a bang," Dillon said after the race. "Kind of putting things together, I heard that -- sounded like a car exploded, a brake rotor and the 43 might have ran over it and then we were one of the cars to come through. "Because I had no warning -- the car was still handling great. Then all of a sudden I heard a 'pow' into the wall." The XFINITY Series hit the track Saturday for the 200-mile race without any practice or qualifying time due to inclement weather. And the lack of practice time, Dillon said, may have affected the way many of the cars were running. "You can't blame it on anybody," Dillon said. "When you don't have practice, some of these back marker cars, they aren't able to prepare the race car from week to week like most teams are. It's a bummer, it happens." With five races remaining on the XFINITY Series season, Dillon's once-bright outlook for the championship title appears significantly dimmer. In addition to leader Buescher, Dillon's No. 3 sits behind JR Motorsports' Chase Elliott and Regan Smith , who won Saturday's event at Dover. Nonetheless, Dillon remains optimistic, siting the his team's jump from 43 points down after Daytona in July to 20 points down four races later after Iowa. "I'm proud of my guys -- we've had some awesome race cars lately," Dillon said. "… I know in my heart I can win some of these races and get back in this thing. We're not going to give up, that's for sure."
RELATED: See the complete 2015 schedule CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Marcus Smith , Chief Executive Officer for Speedway Motorsports Inc., said he has been pleased with how the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule has worked out, not only for his group's own properties but for all involved. "Certainly it's not perfect but overall we saw some big improvements," Smith said Tuesday during a Chase Across North America media event with driver Matt Kenseth . "Like Bristol getting moved into the spring, into April and out of March was a huge plus. "Darlington getting back on the traditional Southern 500 weekend turned out to be an amazing success for Darlington and the whole sport." SMI owns eight tracks hosting 12 of the 36 Sprint Cup Series points events on the 2015 schedule as well as the series' annual All-Star Race. Asked if any of his facilities had requested a date change for the 2016 season, Smith would only say, "Atlanta has certainly talked about the possibility of a change." Atlanta Motor Speedway 's lone Sprint Cup race was held this year on March 1 following a five-year run in the the Labor Day holiday weekend slot. The facility has struggled with attendance in recent years -- no different from other venues -- and has battled weather issues on several occasions. Smith , who said he expects the 2016 schedule to be released "the first week in October," said officials "worked long and hard on the schedule this year to make some tweaks to it that would work better for the whole sport." Richmond International Raceway officials confirmed recently that they have requested moving their track's spring race from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon. Such a move isn't as difficult as moving from one weekend to another, Smith said. "There is not one simple change that you could make in the schedule without affecting many, many other things," he said. "A simple change from a Saturday night to a Sunday afternoon is a very simple change. … But moving entire weekends, there's a domino effect that really, really is difficult."