Jeff Burton demonstrates how new features of the Generation Six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car will create great racing and improved driver safety.
Courtney Hansen and Jeff Burton explain some of the new features on the Generation Six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car.
22-year-old has made just four NASCAR national series starts MORE: Sylvania 300 entry list RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Corey LaJoie is scheduled to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . LaJoie, a 22-year-old development driver for Richard Petty Motorsports , plans to drive for Randy Humphrey Racing in Sunday's Sylvania 300 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), the second battle in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason. Dave Blaney (four races), Joe Nemechek and Nelson Piquet Jr. (one race each) have taken turns driving the Humphrey No. 77 Ford this season. LaJoie has made four NASCAR national series starts -- two each in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series . The product of the NASCAR Next program was also a five-time winner and runner-up in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings in 2012. LaJoie's father, Randy, is a two-time champion of what is now the NASCAR Nationwide Series . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
See the chosen pit stalls for the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
Miss Sprint Cup to chat with all 16 Chase drivers, Thursday 2 p.m. ET
Chase bubble drivers show need for speed RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today SPRINT CUP SERIES FINAL PRACTICE (Results) Carl Edwards topped the final practice session at Richmond International Raceway , running his fastest lap of 121.863 mph in the closing minutes. His 22.156-second lap just beat that of fellow Ford driver Brad Keselowski , who was second on the leaderboard just .004 seconds behind Edwards. Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray , two drivers who need a win to guarantee a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , topped the practice charts earlier after making mock qualifying runs, but were unable to hold on. Bowyer's fastest lap of 121.737 mph put the No. 15 Toyota in third. McMurray's lap came up just shy of that, .004 seconds off of Bowyer's 22.179-second lap. Jimmie Johnson completed the top five. Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle , both of whom are currently in the Chase based on points, will need strong performances this weekend to have a chance at staying there. Bowyer is the first driver out of the Chase as things currently stand, 23 points back from Biffle, with Kyle Larson one point behind Bowyer. Should a new driver win, they will take one of the two spots based on points. The second practice session didn't bode well for the bubble drivers, with Newman falling from 10th in the earlier session to 11th in the final session, while Larson fell from sixth to ninth. Biffle posted a time one position better, moving up from 11th-fastest to 10th in the final session. Danica Patrick posted a lap of 121.589 mph, putting her seventh on the leaderboard, after a career-best finish last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Brian Vickers was forced to unload a backup car after crashing early during final practice. Today's practice was run under cloudy conditions, with the temperature around 87 degrees. Drivers will be competing under the lights tomorrow at Richmond International Raceway, presenting the challenge of teams needing to predict how the changed conditions will impact their cars. Qualifying for the Federated Auto Parts 400 will be on ESPN2 at 5:40 p.m. ET. The race is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET with coverage on ABC. SPRINT CUP SERIES PRACTICE 1 (Results) In preparation for the final race to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , several drivers on the bubble tried to gain speed, but couldn't beat many of the playoff's top contenders. Kevin Harvick set the pace with a best lap of 129.112 mph on his second go around the track, followed by Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in second and third with laps of 128.805 mph and 128.712 mph, respectively. Among the drivers that need to make the Chase, Brian Vickers had the best finish with a fourth-fastest run of 128.419 mph. Carl Edwards rounded out the top five, clocking a lap at 128.065 mph. Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle , the two drivers currently in Chase position based on points, finished in 10th and 11th on the leaderboard, respectively. Clint Bowyer , the first driver behind them at 23 points behind Biffle, was 14th-fastest with a speed of 126.033 mph in his No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Kyle Larson , one point behind Bowyer in the standings, practiced in the top-10, ending the three-hour session in sixth place with a speed of 127.515 mph. Kasey Kahne , last week's race winner, was the only driver at Hendrick Motorsports to run in the top 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr . was 12th, with Jimmie Johnson right behind him in 13th. Jeff Gordon was 21st-fastest. The Sprint Cup Series is back on track for qualifying at 5:40 p.m. ET. Both will be broadcast on ESPN2. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Nationwide Series regular will drive the No. 32 car for Go FAS Racing RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Joey Gase will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Chicagoland Speedway in the MyAFibStory.com 400 on Sept. 14. Gase will drive the No. 32 Ford for Go FAS Racing. "I am very excited and thankful that Archie (St. Hilarie, team owner) and the entire team are giving me this opportunity," Gase said in a team release. "My Nationwide Series career started with Go FAS in 2011, which led to a great 20th-place finish (at Iowa). Hopefully, I can get another good finish with the team." The team currently has a couple of associate sponsors for the race, but is looking for a primary sponsor, according to the release. Gase is currently running a full Nationwide Series schedule for Jimmy Means Racing. He is 20th in the standings with a best finish this season of 11th at Talladega in May. In 66 career Nationwide Series starts, the 21-year-old Iowa native has yet to record a top-10 finish. This season, Go FAS Racing has used other six drivers in the No. 32 car. Travis Kvapil (15 starts), Terry Labonte (three starts), Blake Koch (two starts), Boris Said (two starts), Eddie MacDonald (one start) and J.J. Yeley (one start) have combined to run the first 24 races of the season. Yeley will drive the car this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway . The team's best finish this season was an 11th-place finish by Labonte in July at Daytona International Speedway in the Coke Zero 400. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Keep tabs on all the action this weekend at Loudon and Kentucky This weekend brings the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to New Hampshire Motor Speedway . While the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Kentucky Speedway . The Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 is on Sunday, Sept. 21, at 2 p.m. ET with coverage on ESPN. The Nationwide Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 is on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m. ET with coverage on ESPNEWS. The Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 is Saturday, Sept. 20, at 1 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1. For more information on track times, press conferences and GarageCam, you can check out this weekend's schedule . For TV times, see this week's TV schedule . We know you may not have the time to watch the race action without any interruptions, so if you're on the go, here's how to keep up at New Hampshire and Kentucky. NASCAR.com's live Sprint Cup Series leaderboard , Nationwide Series leaderboard and Camping World Truck Series leaderboard update in real-time and offer constant text updates of lead changes, cautions, strategies, strong runs and everything in between. On the go? Download the NASCAR Mobile app to follow the leaderboards live from your device. Lap-by-Lap will keep you caught up even if you can take a peek here and there. Check in now and then to read back through all the laps you've missed, or keep an eye on the feed for real-time race updates. We'll also send race updates via Twitter through the official @NASCAR and @NASCARStats handles. Haven't tried RaceView yet? If you sign up, you'll get virtual video of cars on the track from various angles and hear what your favorite team is saying over the radio. Use it as a second screen or as your only screen. Just want to scan the radios? You can have that too with RaceView Audio . On a mobile device? Get RaceView Mobile here . If you want to be more involved in the on-track action, you can manage your fantasy team on NASCAR.com and follow your team's performance in NASCAR Fantasy Live . Mobile users can also download NASCAR Connect , a game from OneUp Sports that allows users to play other fans with race predictions, for some off-track competition while drivers battle it out on the track. Live Press Pass video streams will keep the NASCAR action rolling even after the winner goes in and out of Victory Lane. Catch interviews with the top finishers immediately following the checkered flag for the Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series , and stay tuned to NASCAR.com throughout the week for the latest news. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
After thought, driver concluded 'timing was right' to make move RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Marcos Ambrose readily concedes it was an offer too good to pass up: The enviable opportunity to return his young family home to Australia combined with the chance to drive for Roger Penske. Explaining that he had made the decision this summer to return home -- in large part to raise his 8- and 6-year-old children -- Ambrose, 38, acknowledged this week that the stars aligned from both a personal and professional perspective. Team Penske announced this week the former two-time Australian V8 Supercar champ Ambrose will return to the series in 2015 with a Penske-led Dick Johnson Racing Team Penske entry. After a winning nine-year NASCAR career in the states Ambrose was ready for a change in scenery. And the timing has proven impeccable. In a teleconference with the international media this week, Ambrose again stressed that his motive has primarily been family-based. He will base the family in his native Tasmania -- near immediate family close to the very neighborhoods he and his wife were raised. "I had come to that conclusion leading into the summer that the timing was right for me personally to return to Australia at the end of this season for personal reasons,'' Ambrose said. "My kids are 6 and 8. I want them to enjoy and experience Australian life as well, so when they grow up they can make their own choices in life where they want to be. "I have one American that was born here and I have an Australian, Tabitha, who's 8 who has an Australian passport. I think the timing for me personally was right." And having earned a pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories along with five NASCAR Nationwide Series wins, Ambrose conceded it felt like his tenure in NASCAR had reached its natural conclusion. "My career in NASCAR has flattened off, and I always said that when I felt like I wasn't going to be able to either keep progressing or wasn't going to be able to achieve what I came here to do, which was to win a championship, then I needed to look at my options, and that's exactly what I've done," Ambrose said. "I've achieved a lot in NASCAR. Getting an opportunity to drive in the Sprint Cup Series for Richard Petty is incredible, but I felt like my opportunities were getting narrower, and certainly my results had flattened off. I mean, it's just a fact of life. "I felt like it's a good time for me to return the family to Australia. I've certainly scratched the itch of NASCAR, and I'm really proud of what I've achieved, but I'm happy to return to Australia and go to the next chapter in my racing career." Ambrose will work with at least two other team leaders with NASCAR experience. Jeff Swartwout, who worked with Penske's Nationwide Series program, will serve as team manager and Nick Hughes, who served as technical director on Michael Waltrip Racing teams, will work in the technical department. And with Penske's broad reach in motorsports, there was immediate talk about crossover between the series . Asked if one of his other drivers might do a one-off V8 Supercar race, Penske joked, "I told Marcos maybe we'd get (Juan Pablo) Montoya who said he likes to run on road courses to come down and join him, but that was only a joke. Please don't print that. That's just a joke." Penske Racing President Tim Cindric added with a laugh, "We'll have a long line out the door with Helio (Castroneves) and Will Power and the rest of them asking why they didn't get to go. There's a long list." In converse, Penske didn't close the door on whether Ambrose might make a return to NASCAR either. "I think that if there were reasons that we wanted to run Marcos, whether it's an oval or a NASCAR road race, we would have to look at the schedule and to be sure we had the proper funding to do it,'' Penske said. "I think as far as he's concerned, he's made the decision to come with us in Australia, and I think those opportunities he'd have to really look at one at a time." In the meantime, Ambrose said he is committed to seeking another title in the V8 Supercar championship. "It will be a challenge for me personally, there's no doubt about that. It's been nearly 10 years since I've driven a V8 Supercar. I don't take that challenge lightly,'' Ambrose said. "I know it's going to take some time to get integrated back into the series with the way they like to race, with the rules they have in place, and also the technical aspect of these cars, but I know what I've done in the past, and I know what I'm capable of, and it's not like I've been sitting around a beach. "I've been racing 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup races every season. I've had plenty of racing miles under my belt. I'm looking forward to the change. I'm looking forward to bringing my family back to Australia, and just can't wait to get started." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Cain: Don't expect these guys to lay off in the postseason RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota As Kyle Larson juked and jived his No. 42 Target Chevrolet to a near victory at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday afternoon, his ultra-determined effort served as NASCAR's ultimate spoiler alert. Even in a season featuring 16 title contenders -- the largest Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship field ever -- it should surprise no one if one of the super talented, highly motivated non-Chase drivers hoists a trophy in the remaining nine races, stealing a Chaser's fast pass to the title round. After all, non-Chase drivers have won races in four of the last five postseasons. And not only is the rookie Larson a leading candidate to win before the season winds down, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray has earned his late season television time, too. His No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet has led 180 total laps in the last four races and is keeping the Chasers honest. A couple other veterans, Clint Bowyer and three-time Cup champ Tony Stewart , boast resumes that absolutely make them favorites in the season's final races as well. For the 22-year-old Larson, it's been simply about "when" he'll score his maiden Sprint Cup victory. His third-place effort in a back-up car that started last in the Chicago field is proof of how driven he and that team are to win. Far from backing off and letting the Chase drivers settle the checkered flag in Chicago, Larson demonstrated exactly the kind of grit and gumption that makes this Chase portion of the season so exciting and potentially the most competitive in history. Nearly half the field has something to prove, whether it be a championship run or scoring a season- or career-first victory. There are sponsors to attract and scores to settle. No one is backing off or playing it safe. It's go time from the front to back of the grid. "(People might think) those guys might be a little bit more cautious, won't race you as hard,'' Larson said. "I didn't feel that way at all. I felt everybody was racing as hard as they do all season long. "We definitely have to be a little bit more careful around those guys, too, because we don't want to hurt their chances of advancing. "(But) like I said, I had a lot of fun racing Kev (Harvick), Jeff (Gordon), Brad (Keselowski) and Junior (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) at some points in the race. I didn't feel like anybody was holding back at all." As good as Larson was Sunday, his teammate McMurray also furthered his case as someone who will have to be dealt with each week. In fact, McMurray is definitively the champion Chase spoiler of the last five years -- winning more Chase races (three) than any non-Chase eligible driver during that time. Four of McMurray's seven career Cup wins have come at Chase tracks. He's won twice at Charlotte and twice at Talladega, where he is the defending winner of the upcoming Oct. 19 race at NASCAR's biggest track. Bowyer, a preseason Chase favorite who like Larson just missed making the field, is another driver who has proven himself a contender at the 10 Chase tracks, venues where he has recorded five of his eight career Cup victories. He has a pair of wins at this week's stop, New Hampshire Motor Speedway , a pair of wins at Talladega and also a victory at Charlotte . Perhaps the biggest unknown in all this is the most accomplished racer not to earn a Chase berth -- three-time champ Stewart, who may view the race track as a focus for his off-track distractions and heavy heart. He has won in all 15 previous seasons competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series , but is still looking for his first in 2014. He has victories at all nine of the remaining Chase venues and 19 of his 48 career wins have come at these venues. He has three victories apiece at New Hampshire, Dover , Martinsville, and Homestead. Certainly this week's venue -- the notoriously tight and tough 1.058-mile Loudon oval -- is a prime opportunity to shake up the Chase order. But it's not just the championship contenders that see the opportunity, which makes the 2014 version of the Chase that much more compelling in ways that weren't even anticipated. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation