Both series to incorporate new qualifying rule next season MORE: Enhancements next for NASCAR XFINITY, Camping World Truck Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR today announced three key enhancements in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the 2015 season. The updates include: • Beginning next season, the qualifying rule for the NASCAR XFINITY Series (currently the NASCAR Nationwide Series ) and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will resemble that of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series , and will emphasize speed. • The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series maximum starting field will be set at 32 trucks. • The drivers' last name will be featured on the back window of each series' cars and trucks, helping fans to better identify the drivers. "Our mission of providing the best on-track product possible is always among our top objectives," said Robin Pemberton, senior vice president of competition and racing development. "We're confident in the direction these changes will take these series ." 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying Procedure Next season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series , cars starting in positions 1-33 will be determined by their fastest single lap during qualifying in descending order with the fastest qualifier starting first. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will follow the same procedure for positions 1-27. In the XFINITY Series , the next six positions will first be assigned to the highest ranking cars in owner points that have attempted all of the races, have not already earned a starting position through qualifying and have entered the event by the posted entry deadline. The final starting position will be awarded to the most recent eligible past champion driver. If there is no eligible past champion driver, then a seventh car will make the field based upon owner points In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , the next four positions will first be assigned to the highest ranking trucks in owner points that have attempted all of the races, have not already earned a starting position through qualifying and have entered the event by the posted entry deadline. The final starting position will be awarded to the most recent eligible past champion driver. If there is no eligible past champion driver, then a fifth truck will make the field based upon owner points. Prior to this enhancement, the top 30 cars and top 25 trucks in owner points in each series , respectively, were guaranteed a starting spot in each of those series ’ events. Starting next year, a maximum of seven cars and five trucks will be locked into a given NASCAR XFINITY Series or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. If a qualifying session is cancelled because of inclement weather, each series' field will be set per the rule book with starting lineups determined by practice speeds. Maximum Field Set At 32 Trucks For NASCAR Camping World Truck Series As NASCAR continues to encourage and reward hard racing, help solidify and build the ownership base, add even more drama and intrigue to the race weekend and most importantly, provide fans the best competition possible, the maximum starting field for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be set at 32 trucks starting in 2015, as opposed to the 36-truck field in previous years. A maximum NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starting field continues to stand at 43 cars while the NASCAR XFINITY Series will remain at 40. Drivers' Last Names On Rear Window This new design element is part of the implementation of NASCAR’s Industry Action Plan, specifically in the area of Driver Star Power. This enhancement will feature the drivers' last name displayed on the upper rear window of cars and trucks, helping fans more easily identify the drivers. The window treatment won't affect the on-track competition and placing it on the back window allows for both series sponsors – XFINITY (starting in 2015) and Camping World – to continue to maintain placement on the front windshield. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
See where your favorite driver will pit for Sunday's race (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award and the right to the first pit-stall pick for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET, ESPN). His No. 55 team chose the first stall at the exit of pit road. Six-time champion Jimmie Johnson , in a must-win situation, qualified second and chose the 17th stall, the first one on pit road with a front opening. Johnson will pit across the opening from another driver who has to win to get into the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as former champion Brad Keselowski will park in the 16th stall. The rest of the 12-driver Contender Round will pit in the following stalls: Kasey Kahne , Stall 7 Kevin Harvick , Stall 11 Denny Hamlin , Stall 13 Ryan Newman , Stall 14 Kyle Busch , Stall 15 Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Stall 21 Joey Logano , Stall 32 Carl Edwards , Stall 36 Matt Kenseth , Stall 41 Jeff Gordon , Stall 42 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
22-year-old has made 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts MORE: Full entry list for Martinsville RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Kyle Fowler will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend in the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway . Fowler will drive the No. 32 Ford for owner Frank Stoddard Jr. and GO FAS Racing. Eight other drivers have taken turns behind the wheel of the No. 32 car: Travis Kvapil (16 races), Terry Labonte (four races), Blake Koch (three races), J.J. Yeley (three races), Boris Said (two races), Joey Gase (two races), Timmy Hill (one race) and Eddie MacDonald (one race). Labonte's 11th-place finish in the rain-shortened Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July has been the team's best finish so far this season. The 22-year-old Georgia native has 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts in his career, including one this year in the spring at Charlotte Motor Speedway . He finished 32nd in the History 300 . The Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 is set for Sunday, Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Find the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule including dates, times, locations, and tickets only on the official site of NASCAR.
New crew chief for Paul Menard prepared for Talladega RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today TALLADEGA, Ala. – Justin Alexander makes his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway as a crew chief. Alexander, 33, is replacing Richard "Slugger" Labbe atop the pit box for the Richard Childress Racing No. 27 team with driver Paul Menard . "I've been looking forward to this for a long time," Alexander said Saturday at the 2.66-mile track. "It's a special opportunity." A Charlotte native, Alexander worked in several roles at Hendrick Motorsports before making the move to RCR before the start of the 2014 season. He served as a shock specialist for the teams of drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson in 2003 before moving into the role of lead engineer for Johnson's No. 48 team in '05. He spent the '06 season as an R&D engineer at Hendrick, then was named lead engineer for Gordon’s No. 24 organization in '09. "It's all the same; just different organizations," Alexander said. "I learned a lot at Hendrick and that prepared me a lot for what I'm doing right now. It's just a really good preparation. But really, the same things apply. Nothing is really that different. It's just organizational stuff. "I've worked with Chad (Knaus) and Steve Letarte and I've learned a lot from those guys. They both have different styles in doing things. And honestly, you don't really know until you get to this position to how you're going to run things. But I have my own way and it's not like anybody else’s. But I'm learning as I go a little bit and so I'm looking forward to it." Knaus has won six championships with Johnson while Letarte served as Gordon's crew chief before taking over the same role with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . Alexander holds a mechanical engineering degree from North Carolina State University. Although the racing can be intense at Talladega, he said it's a "good place" to make his debut. "Talladega is not too terribly intensive on the set-ups of the cars, so to speak, and changes on pit road," Alexander said. "From that standpoint, it makes it a little bit easier. "But really, anywhere, I think I'd be fine. But Talladega is a good place to start." Labbe will oversee the research and development program at RCR. The car chief for Terry Labonte 's championship-winning team in 1996, Labbe won five races as crew chief. Among those victories were the 2003 Daytona 500 with Michael Waltrip and the 2011 Brickyard 400 with Menard. Menard enters Sunday's GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Talladega 21st in points. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Sport's most popular driver hasn't won at Alabama track since 2004 Dale Earnhardt Jr. has five career Sprint Cup Series wins at Talladega Superspeedway in his career. Earnhardt Jr. won four straight races at the 2.66-mile track from the fall race of 2001 to the spring race of 2003. He also had a seven-race stretch from the fall race of 2001 to the fall race of 2004 where he won five times and finished second in the other two races. His 15.0 average finish (in 29 races) is the best among drivers to make at least five starts there. However, he has just four top-10 finishes in his last 13 races at the Alabama track.
Rookie earns third runner-up finish of season at Kansas RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota As disappointed as Kyle Larson was in failing to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as a rookie, he seems just as determined to play the role of non-Chase spoiler with a victory down the season's home stretch. Judging by recent finishes, it's less a matter of if than when. Larson matched his best finish in NASCAR's top series for the third time this year Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway , coming home a close second behind race-winner Joey Logano in the Hollywood Casino 400 . While he's not title-eligible, his trio of top-three finishes in the last four races have left him knocking on Victory Lane's door. Only points leader Logano (two wins, a pair of fourth-place finishes) has opened the Chase stronger. @joeylogano was a lot fun. That's as hard as I've ever seen you run the top. It was kind of cool to be behind and see but frustrating also!! — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) October 6, 2014 "We'll get some wins here soon hopefully before the end of the year," Larson said from the media center, where his impressive finishes have made him a regular visitor, "and I think once we get one, we should be up here more often as a winner." Any Larson wins from this point on would snatch away an automatic transfer spot from a Chase driver in the next two postseason elimination phases. The uptick in performance -- both from the driver and his Chip Ganassi Racing team -- has been enough to prompt Larson to talk in hypotheticals about his would-be Chase chances. Larson, 22, first ventured into the Sprint Cup tour with four races last season with the Harry Scott Jr.-owned No. 51 team. Now he's returning to the same tracks for the second or third time, heating up just as the weather takes a sharp turn toward autumn. What-ifs? Why not? "Yeah, I think it's a little bit of experience, second time at the track, and a lot of these tracks in the Chase are (some) of my best tracks, so I think that's why we've been running really well," Larson said. "Yeah, just got to keep it going. I think Charlotte is another mile‑and‑a‑half, so we should hopefully be pretty good there. We had a couple tire issues there the last race (which) is why we didn't finish very well, and then Texas ‑‑ Phoenix I even kind of like, and Homestead should be a good one. Martinsville is probably the worst track on the schedule, so don't expect much there, but anything can happen at Talladega, too. "Yeah, if I can just make the Chase, I'd have a lot of fun because these are some of my favorite tracks." Among the first to lean in and shake the rookie's hand post-race was third-place finisher Kyle Busch , who said his car lacked the pace to keep up with either Logano or Larson down the stretch. The two share not only a first name but common ground, both entering the sport as a can't-miss kid with gobs of sheer talent. Now with the better part of 10 seasons and 359 starts making up his rich Sprint Cup history, the 29-year-old Busch's days as an up-and-coming prodigy are behind him, but he sees in Larson a glimpse into the sport's future. "Awesome. I think Larson is a great addition to the Sprint Cup Series ," Busch said. "I think he's got a lot of talent. We knew that coming up. We knew it wasn't going to be a long road before he got here -- that's why he's in the seat he's in. As a matter of fact, I asked Chip (Ganassi) if he's the one that found him or if we need to blame somebody else for bringing him here. "The kid has done a good job. He's got a good head on his shoulders. He's fun to race around. He's a hard racer, too. He sometimes don't give you a whole lotta room, but when he knows to give you room, he gives you room, too. It's been fun to see him learn this year. I mean, I'd like to see him finishing behind us a little more often, but he has already this year. He's going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future." When Larson got the call-up to NASCAR's big leagues this season as a fresh-faced 21-year-old, speculation among fans and insiders alike was that the Sprint Cup promotion to the No. 42 Chevrolet's seat was a rush job. After erratic results in the opening three races of the season, the "too soon" theorists had some early fuel for their argument. But the improvement has come in waves, causing the team to adjust their season-long goals from racing in the top-10 to competing for top-five finishes. Setting sights on the Chase will have to wait until next year, but Larson still has plenty of accomplishments next up on the list. "I definitely feel like I've been running a lot better than what I thought I would to start the season, but I thought I would make the Chase, too," Larson said. "A little bit disappointed there, but I've been finishing better than I thought I would have, so happy about that. But just missed that one goal that we had before the season started. "Like I said, just got to keep it going." 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
Sprint Cup Series lays first rubber on track after rainy morning; Nationwide Series has practices combined RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today NATIONWIDE SERIES PRACTICE " RESULTS Ryan Blaney topped the leaderboard in the lone Nationwide Series practice session, putting the No. 22 Team Penske Ford in the first position with a lap of 180.048 mph. Rookies Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon were close behind but couldn't top the 180 mph mark, taking second and third with laps of 179.880 and 179.456, respectively. Buescher ran the most laps of the session with 55, but scored his best lap in the Roush Fenway Racing Ford on his 27th turn around the track. Kyle Busch and Trevor Bayne completed the top five. Busch took the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota for a spin earlier in the session, but kept it out of the wall, preventing any major damage. After some adjustments in the garage, Busch was able to move his ride up towards the top of the leaderboard. Dakoda Armstrong also faced issues handling his No. 43, spinning in Turns 2 and 3 to bring out a caution flag during practice, ending the session in 23rd. Points leader Chase Elliott 's best effort of 178.743 mph put his No. 9 Chevrolet in the 13th position on the leaderboard. His closest competition for the series title, teammate Regan Smith , was just behind in 16th place with a lap of 178.171 mph. After the first scheduled practice was canceled due to rain Friday morning, the second session -- originally slated to run from 3 to 4:20 p.m. ET -- was extended to a 4 to 5:30 p.m. ET practice. Qualifying is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, with coverage on FOX Sports 2. The Kansas Lottery 300 will follow at 3:30 p.m. ET, and will be televised on ESPN. SPRINT CUP SERIES PRACTICE 1 " RESULTS After a rainy morning at Kansas Speedway , the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series went out on schedule to lay rubber onto the clean track. Chase contender Jeff Gordon topped the leaderboard with a fastest lap of 196.257 mph, followed by Kevin Harvick , whose lap of 196.178 mph showed the No. 4 will once again be one of the fastest cars on the track. Gordon and Harvick are both defending winners at the track, with Gordon winning the May race at Kansas Speedway and Harvick winning the fall race last year. Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola , who were both eliminated from the Chase after last weekend's race at Dover International Speedway , practiced as though they were still in contention, both placing inside the top 10, with Biffle's lap of 195.730 mph placing him third on the leaderboard. Almirola ended the session in ninth. Kyle Larson was fourth-fastest, with fellow rookie Austin Dillon in rounding out the top five. Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Ryan Newman were the only drivers among the remaining Chase competitors to place in the top 10, finishing seventh, eighth and 10th, respectively. Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski , both winners in the Challenger Round of the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format, were 12th-fastest and 18th-fastest, respectively. Among the other Chase contenders, Jimmie Johnson was 14th-fastest, Carl Edwards was 21st-fastest and Kyle Busch 25th-fastest, with the Joe Gibbs Racing driver at the bottom of the leaderboard among the post-season players. Qualifying for the Hollywood Casino 400 is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. ET on ESPN2. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Six-time series champion last won at 1.5-mile track in May With seven Sprint Cup Series wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway , Jimmie Johnson has the most victories at the 1.5-mile track. The six-time champion found Victory Lane at Charlotte in May at the Coca-Cola 600 as he started from the pole and lead 164 laps en route to the win. The driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet also has the best driver rating, 112.7, over the past 19 races at Charlotte.
New lineup procedures, graphics packages among 2015 changes