A statistical look ahead to the 21st race of the Sprint Cup season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Pocono Raceway in Pocono, Pennsylvania going into the WINDOWS 10 400 on August 2 (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). POCONO-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 16 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 12.421, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 10.246, second-best · Driver Rating of 105.9, third-best · 332 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.733, second-fastest · 2659 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0), second-most · 774 Quality Passes, seventh-most Dale Earnhardt Jr (No. 88 MICROSOFT Chevrolet) · Two wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.900, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 14.002, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 92.6, ninth-best · 102 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.237, eighth-fastest · 2286 Laps in the Top 15 (63.3), eighth-most · 727 Quality Passes, eighth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 STANLEY Toyota) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 15.500, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 14.826, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 94.2, eighth-best · 176 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.224, ninth-fastest · 2262 Laps in the Top 15 (62.6), 10th-most · 712 Quality Passes, ninth-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet) · Six wins, 19 top fives, 31 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 9.650, second-best · Average Running Position of 9.916, series-best · Driver Rating of 103.5, fourth-best · 169 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.625, fifth-fastest · 2777 Laps in the Top 15 (76.9), third-most · 885 Quality Passes, series-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota) · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 11.889, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 10.844, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 108.3, series-best · 437 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.806, series-fastest · 2543 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3), series-most · 685 Quality Passes, 10th-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/Budweiser Chevrolet) · Seven top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 10.600, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 13.743, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.9, 11th-best · 63 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.159, 10th-fastest · 2277 Laps in the Top 15 (63.0), ninth-most · 789 Quality Passes, sixth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet) · Three wins, 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 10.500, third-best · Average Running Position of 10.487, third-best · Driver Rating of 106.9, second-best · 273 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.708, third-fastest · 2774 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8), fourth-most · 861 Quality Passes, fourth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Aquafina Chevrolet) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 18.750, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 14.622, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 92.1, 10th-best · 306 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.436, sixth-fastest · 2199 Laps in the Top 15 (60.9), 11th-most · 804 Quality Passes, fifth-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford) · One win, three top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 13.400, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 14.786, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 90.8, 12th-best · 96 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 161.894, 13th-fastest · 852 Laps in the Top 15 (50.1), 13th-most · 306 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kyle Larson (No. 42 Suave Men Chevrolet) · One top five, two top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 8.000, series-best · Average Running Position of 12.672, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 95.7, sixth-best · 2 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.690, fourth-fastest · 230 Laps in the Top 15 (71.9), seventh-most · 87 Quality Passes, 13th-most Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · One win, three top fives, five top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 16.583, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 13.811, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 88.9, 13th-best · 61 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.097, 12th-fastest · 1190 Laps in the Top 15 (56.6), 12th-most · 456 Quality Passes, 11th-most Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) · One win, nine top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.500, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 11.426, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 95.3, seventh-best · 36 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.135, 11th-fastest · 2689 Laps in the Top 15 (74.4), fifth-most · 883 Quality Passes, second-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.600, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 12.223, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 97.6, fifth-best · 99 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.319, seventh-fastest · 2619 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5), sixth-most · 880 Quality Passes, third-most Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 29 0 0 7 11 2 13.2 91.9 2 Joey Logano 13 2 1 3 5 1 15.6 88.9 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr 31 1 2 9 13 1 15.2 92.6 4 Jimmie Johnson 27 3 3 11 18 1 9.6 106.9 5 Martin Truex Jr 19 0 1 3 7 0 15.1 80.4 6 Brad Keselowski 11 0 1 3 4 0 13.7 90.8 7 Matt Kenseth 31 0 0 3 11 1 15.7 86.7 8 Kurt Busch 28 2 2 12 16 5 14.4 105.9 9 Jamie McMurray 25 1 0 0 7 3 19.3 73.1 10 Denny Hamlin 19 3 4 9 13 2 11.8 108.3 11 Jeff Gordon 45 2 6 19 31 5 10 103.5 12 Ryan Newman 27 2 1 9 14 3 12.4 95.3 13 Paul Menard 17 0 0 0 2 1 23.6 64.6 14 Kasey Kahne 23 2 2 5 8 3 17.6 92.1 15 Clint Bowyer 19 0 0 2 8 0 14.6 82.8 16 Carl Edwards 21 0 2 5 8 1 15.5 94.2 * – Based on last 21 races at Pocono Raceway (2005 – 2015). Kyle Busch ’s Chase Eligibility 30th Justin Allgaier 317 Rank Driver Wins Points Points From 30th 31 Cole Whitt 0 314 -3 32 Kyle Busch 4 294 -23 33 Brett Moffitt # 0 266 -51 34 Alex Bowman 0 245 -72 35 Michael Annett 0 230 -87 36 Matt DiBenedetto # 0 205 -112 37 Josh Wise 0 186 -131 38 Michael McDowell 0 124 -193 39 Jeb Burton 0 111 -206 40 Alex Kennedy 0 71 -246 * To be eligible for the Chase, the driver must be in the top 30 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following race number 26. Pocono Raceway Data Season Race #: 21 of 36 (08-02-15) Track Size : 2.5-miles Banking/Turn 1 : 14 degrees Banking/Turn 2 : 8 degrees Banking/Turn 3 : 6 degrees Frontstretch Length : 3,740 feet Backstretch Length : 3,055 feet Shortstretch Length : 1,780 feet Race Length : 160 laps / 400 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Pocono Denny Hamlin ............................ 108.3 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 106.9 Kurt Busch ................................ 105.9 Jeff Gordon .............................. 103.5 Tony Stewart ............................... 97.6 Kyle Larson ................................ 95.7 Ryan Newman ............................. 95.3 Carl Edwards .............................. 94.2 Dale Earnhardt Jr ........................ 92.6 Kasey Kahne .............................. 92.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (21 total) among active drivers at Pocono Raceway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kyle Larson , Chevrolet 183.438 mph, 49.063 secs, 08-01-14 2014 race winner : Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Chevrolet 127.411 mph, (03:08:22), 08-03-14 Track qualifying record: Kyle Larson , Chevrolet 183.438 mph, 49.610 secs, 08-03-14 Track race record: Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 145.384 mph, (03:26:21), 06-12-11 At Pocono Raceway: History · Opened in 1968 as a three-quarter-mile track, Pocono Raceway held the first race on the 2.5-mile track in 1971. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was in 1974 – won by Richard Petty , Dodge, 115.593 mph, 08/04/1974. · The 2.5-mile track was repaved during the fall of 2011. · 2012 marked the first season the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono were scheduled for 400 miles. Prior to 2012 all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races were 500 miles at Pocono Raceway. Starts · There have been 75 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono Raceway, one race from 1974 through 1981, and two per year since. · 327 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway; 229 in more than one. · Ricky Rudd leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in starts at Pocono with 55. · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 45 starts (eighth most all-time) at Pocono; followed by Tony Stewart with 33 starts. · Denny Hamlin (19 starts) leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Pocono with a 6.632. Poles · 40 drivers have posted Coors Light poles at Pocono, led by Bill Elliott and Ken Schrader with five each; Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin lead all active drivers with three each. · Buddy Baker won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Pocono in 1974 with a speed of 144.122 mph. · Five drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono. Bill Elliott holds the record for most consecutive poles at Pocono with three; fall 1984 and both races in 1985. · Two active drivers have posted consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono: Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep) and Joey Logano (fall 2011 and spring 2012). · Youngest Pocono pole winner: Joey Logano (08/07/2011 – 21 years, 2 months, 14 days). · Oldest Pocono pole winner: David Pearson (06/10/1984 – 49 years, 5 months, 19 days). · Kyle Larson (8/03/2014) and Casey Mears (8/1/2004) posted their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Pocono Raceway. Wins · 33 different drivers have won at Pocono Raceway, led by Jeff Gordon with six wins. · Seven active drivers have multiple wins at Pocono: Jeff Gordon (6), Denny Hamlin (4), Jimmie Johnson (3), Carl Edwards , Kasey Kahne , Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart (each have 2). · Seven drivers have posted consecutive wins at Pocono Raceway all-time, including three consecutive by Bobby Allison (1982 sweep and spring 1983) and Tim Richmond (1986 sweep and spring 1987). · Three of the seven drivers to win consecutive races at Pocono are active: Jimmie Johnson (2004 sweep); Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep and 2009 fall and 2010 spring races) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (2014 sweep). · Youngest Pocono winner: Joey Logano (06/10/2012 – 22 years, 0 months, 17 days). · Oldest Pocono winner: Harry Gant (06/17/1990 – 50 years, 5 months, 7 days). · Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at Pocono in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 17: Jeff Gordon (six), Tim Richmond (three), Jimmie Johnson (three), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (two), Kasey Kahne (one), Geoff Bodine (one) and Terry Labonte (one). · Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Pocono; led by Chevrolet with 31 victories; followed by Ford with 21 and Toyota has three. · 13 of the 75 (17.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Joey Logano (June, 2012). · 15 of the 74 (20%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the first starting position; the most recent was Jimmie Johnson (June, 2013). · The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Pocono Raceway. · 24 of the 75 (32%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the front row: 15 from the first starting position and nine from second-place. · 53 of the 75 (70.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Five of the 75 (6.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Pocono is 29th, by Carl Edwards in the spring of 2005. · One active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has posted his first career win at Pocono Raceway: Denny Hamlin (06/11/06). · Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards are the only two active drivers to win at Pocono in their first appearances. · Matt Kenseth leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono without visiting Victory Lane at 31; followed by Kevin Harvick with 29. Additional Finishing Position Stats · Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Pocono with seven; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six; followed by Kurt Busch with five. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-five finishes at Pocono with 20; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19; followed by Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart with 12 each. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Pocono with 34; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 31; followed by Tony Stewart with 22. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Pocono with a 9.630. Track Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in
Complete news and notes on all 43 cars in the Quaker State 400 RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down how the full 43-car field fared at Kentucky Speedway. 1. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch led a race-high 163 laps to win his second Cup event of the year and is 87 points outside the top 30. " MORE: How is Busch positioned for the Chase 2. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano paced the field 23 laps late on Saturday night, but couldn't hold on for his first Kentucky victory. " MORE: See the updated Chase Grid and where Logano is on it 3. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . A cut tire, an unexpected pit stop and a subsequent speeding penalty didn't deter Hamlin, who rallied from two laps down to earn his eighth top 10 of the year. " MORE: Kentucky rules package earns rave reviews 4. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . "My Minions didn't like M&Ms," Edwards radioed his team after lining up next to teammate and leader Kyle Busch for the Lap 157 restart. " RELATED: Sign up for RaceView for in-car audio during race. 5. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth reported early in the race that he had an alternator going down, but restarting the car seemed to fix the issue. " MORE: JGR pulls off rare feat at Kentucky 6. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . The outside pole sitter struggled on pit road, notably dropping nine spots after hitting his front-tire carrier during a stop under the fifth caution flag. 7. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon was shut out in his final Kentucky appearance, and despite a fifth straight top-10 result, the track will remain the only one where the four-time Cup champion is winless. " MORE: Gordon's track record 8. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The points leader endured a late-race tight-handling condition to claim his Series-leading 16th top 10 of the year. 9. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . "You're back in this game, homeboy," crew chief Chad Knaus told Johnson, who lined up seventh for the Lap 157 restart after some major early changes to his car dropped him deep in the lineup. " RELATED: Sign up for RaceView for in-car audio during race. 10. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch was loose running 10th and crashed into the Turn 4 wall on Lap 99 after asking his team to undo the changes they had made on a previous stop. 11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse just missed his second top 10 of the year after traveling up the track and into the side of Jeb Burton on Lap 143 to bring out the seventh caution. 12. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Despite radio communication issues, Almirola held on to earn his best Kentucky result. 13. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne earned the Lucky Dog on the fourth caution flag and rallied to sixth for the final restart. 14. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray overcame an early lugnut issue and used a little pit strategy to score his second-best Kentucky result. 15. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard brushed the wall on Lap 81 and left debris to bring out the third caution flag. 16. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle's team tried a variety of adjustments on Saturday in an attempt to help the turning of the No. 16 Ford. 17. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Despite a car that was "plowing," Truex held on to maintain fifth in the points standing. 18. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan ran in the top 10 early before his team started chasing the handling of his No. 55 Toyota. 19. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . "This new package is awesome," radioed Bowyer, who earned his best 1.5-mile result of the season. "You have to drive your (rear) off, but it's fun." " RELATED: Sign up for RaceView for in-car audio during race. 20. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman, in his fifth Kentucky outing, stayed out to inherit the lead briefly for the Lap 192 restart. 21. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt, complaining of a lack of brakes, smacked the wall on Lap 136 to bring out the sixth caution flag. After subsequently bumping Danica Patrick , Earnhardt spent time on pit road where his crew tried again to fix the issue. " WATCH: Danica, Dale Jr. tussle on pit road . 22. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish struggled with drive-off, but posted his fastest lap of the night just prior to the eighth caution flag on Lap 152. 23. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was named the Lucky Dog after Jeb Burton tagged the wall on Lap 143 to bring out the seventh caution flag 24. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier had just returned to the lead lap after the Lap 122 caution when he was penalized for passing before the restart. 25. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Handling was an ongoing issue for Dillon, who reported to his team on Lap 220, "I feel like I'm trying to turn a bulldozer down into the corner." 26. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger's team continually tinkered on the No. 47 Chevy, and he finished as the last car on the lead lap. 27. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne was running in the top 10 by the halfway point, but noticeably fell off the pace with 30 laps to go. 28. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Patience paid off for Cassill, who posted his best 1.5-mile result of the 2015 season. 29. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland asked his team to check out his grille because his gauges were running hot on Lap 161. 30. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett lined up 29th in his second Kentucky appearance. 31. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman had to play catch-up after his team was penalized for going over the wall too soon during the competition caution on Lap 32. 32. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Moffitt, a Kentucky newcomer, earned the Lucky Dog pass heading into the Lap 192 restart. 33. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart locked down his brakes briefly on Lap 143 and hit the wall while trying to avoid wrecking competitors in front of him. 34. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick spun on Lap 207 thanks to contact from a brake-less Earnhardt to bring out a record-tying 10th caution flag. She retaliated by hitting Earnhardt as the two entered pit road. " ALL ACCESS: Danica frustrated with Dale Jr. 35. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. A smoking left-rear tire prompted the pole sitter to pit unexpectedly with 52 laps to go. Upon returning to the track, he hit the wall to bring out a record-setting 11th caution flag. 36. Reed Sorenson , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson drove the No. 62 for the first time this year in his first 1.5-mile start of the season. 37. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt was running 35th when left-rear tire rub prompted his car to start smoking around Lap 110. 38. Will Kimmel III , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. Kimmel lined up 40th in his Sprint Cup debut. 39. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . A loose-handling condition prompted Yeley to spin in Turn 4 on Lap 122 and bring out the fifth caution flag of the night. 40. Alex Kennedy , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Kennedy picked up a few spots after lining up 43rd in his first career Kentucky start. 41. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . The rookie was pushed into the wall by Ricky Stenhouse on Lap 143 to bring out the seventh caution flag. 42. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto sustained damage during the Lap 143 wreck and retreated to the garage so his team could make repairs. 43. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Premium Motorsports. Wise brought out the first caution on Lap 19 after J.J. Yeley pushed him into the wall. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Roush Fenway, Germain, Front Row and Circle Sports notified by NASCAR NASCAR handed out written warnings to four Sprint Cup Series teams Thursday for issues in technical inspections last weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Teams issued warnings (in order of their rank in Sprint Cup owner standings) were: 20) The Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Ford driven by Greg Biffle 21) The Germain Racing No. 13 Chevrolet driven by Casey Mears 33) The Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford driven by Brett Moffitt 36) The Circle Sport Racing No. 33 Chevrolet driven by Alex Kennedy The four teams received no formal penalties for their multiple trips through the inspection line, but an accumulation of warnings would result in a P1-level penalty, according to the NASCAR deterrence system that was introduced before the 2014 season. P1-grade penalties include receiving the last pick in pit-stall selection, reduced track time in practice and/or qualifying, a demotion in the inspection order and other sanctions. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Chip Ganassi Racing driver off to good start at 1.5-mile speedway RELATED: Practice results " Live Kentucky weather updates Sprint Cup Series cars were able to get back on the track at Kentucky Speedway in a revised second practice on Friday, but the results were largely the same as the first session, as Kyle Larson topped the charts and Brad Keselowski followed. Larson paced the second session with a best speed of 178.412 mph, with defending race-winner Keselowski just off his pace at 178.124 mph. Keselowski's Team Penske teammate Joey Logano nearly matched the 2012 champ at 178.042 mph, good for third. Denny Hamlin (177.626 mph) and Kurt Busch (177.357 mph) rounded out the top five. Austin Dillon doesn't appear to be suffering any ill effects from the hard wreck he endured at Daytona early Monday morning, as he placed sixth in the session at 177.352 mph. Matt Kenseth landed his No. 20 Toyota in the grass after spinning with five minutes remaining in the session. Qualifying was canceled, so Larson will start Saturday’s Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, PRN, SiriusXM) on the pole position alongside Keselowski. Larson tops rain-shortened opening session " Results In the first on-track session testing a new track-specific aero package, Kyle Larson topped the leaderboard for Sprint Cup Series practice at Kentucky Speedway on Friday morning. The series was originally supposed to run two sessions, but the two were combined with the threat of rain in the area. That threat proved to be true, as rain halted the on-track activity shortly before 11:30 a.m. ET. Larson’s best speed of 182.537 mph paced the field, followed by defending race-winner Brad Keselowski (181.641 mph). Jeff Gordon , looking for his first win at the Sparta, Kentucky, track, was third on the charts at 180.373 mph. Joey Logano (180.102 mph) and Martin Truex Jr . (179.958 mph) closed out the top five. With time on track at a premium, Kyle Busch (179.551 mph) and Alex Kennedy (168.052 mph) ran the most laps, with 26 circuits each. There was a small incident between the No. 35 of Cole Whitt and No. 9 of Sam Hornish Jr . in the garage area. Whitt rear-ended Hornish, who'd slammed on the brakes at the garage exit to avoid the No. 10 of Danica Patrick . Sprint Cup Series qualifying is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. ET, with coverage on NBC Sports Network. Tune in Saturday night for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network (PRN, SiriusXM) and Live Extra. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Paulie Harraka and Alex Kennedy get together before rolling off for the warm up laps in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
Full field analysis of all 43 cars in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 MORE: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid 1. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch, running on fresh tires, chased down Jimmie Johnson in the final five laps to earn his first victory of the 2015 season and become Chase eligible, assuming he finishes the regular season in the top 30 in points. " WATCH: Pit strategy critical to win 2. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The outside pole sitter followed his little brother across the finish line for the first time in a Cup race. " MORE: Brotherly 1-2 finish a 'special moment' 3. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer, the fastest driver in the first practice session, hit pit road under caution with 11 laps to go to get fresh tires for the final restart. 4. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick bounced back from an early pit miscue to earn his fourth top-five at Sonoma. 5. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano slipped by a slowing competitor to hit pit road at just the right time on Lap 66 and held on for his ninth top-five this season. 6. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson led a race-high 45 laps and initially paced the field on the final restart before being overwhelmed by competitors who took fresh tires during the previous stop. " MORE: No second-guessing for Johnson 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt rallied from his 20th starting spot to crack the top 10 by Lap 20 and earned his 10th top-10 of the year. 8. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne overcame an early vibration and picked up four spots on pit road with 10 laps to go. 9. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman claimed his seventh top-10 at Sonoma after avoiding a wreck on Lap 78. 10. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish’s team addressed an early brake issue and he went on to earn his second top-10 of the season. 11. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray was running 16th within the first five laps when he reported a serious vibration, the result of a delaminated left-rear. 12. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . “I’m loose because I’m getting hit,” radioed Stewart, who struggled to make up ground after the final restart. 13. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard started from the rear after an engine change and worked with his team all race long to find grip. 14. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . The late-race decision to stop for tires didn’t hurt Almirola, who earned his first top-15 at a road course. 15. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . The Elk Grove, California, native lost one spot after pitting for fresh tires during the final caution period of the race. 16. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . It was a disappointing day for the sport’s winningest road course driver and nearby Vallejo native who made a late-race setup change to match his teammates Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr . " MORE: Gordon reflects on final race at Sonoma 17. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon slipped by a wrecking David Gilliland on Lap 22 and continued to climb through the field as his team helped him get more forward drive and side bite. 18. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . A loose right-rear wheel prompted Hamlin to make an unscheduled pit stop while running in the top 20 on Lap 17. 19. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski started 10th for the first time at Sonoma, but couldn’t rally after getting loose and slipping in Turn 7 on Lap 43. 20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse lined up fourth for the final restart after staying out, but couldn’t hold off the teams on fresher tires. 21. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth was running 17th when he shredded his left-rear tire on Lap 45 and limped his way to pit road. 22. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt followed up his best Sonoma start with his best Sonoma finish. 23. T revor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne, a Sonoma newcomer, returned to the lead lap after getting the Lucky Dog pass on the final caution period. 24. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick spun with seven laps to go and slipped from 22nd. 25. Alex Kennedy , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . In his third Sonoma start, Kennedy stayed out of trouble on the way to his best finish at the California road course. 26. Boris Said , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. The road course ringer bounced around the middle of the field all day for the No. 32 team. 27. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle lined up 17th for the final restart but had to return to pit road for right-side tires after contact flattened his right-front. 28. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. In his fourth Sonoma start, Wise claimed his best finish at the road course. 29. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . The Sonoma newbie was trying to get into his pit stall during the final caution period when he was weirdly turned around by one of the track sweepers. " MORE: Learn more about the incident 30. Justin Marks , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The Rocklin, California, native earned his best Sonoma start in just his second career Cup outing. 31. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . A tight-handling condition turned into a tire concern for Bowman, who made an unscheduled green-flag stop at Lap 18. 32. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . It was an educational day for the rookie, who improved his position after rolling off the grid 43rd. 33. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett started from the rear of the field after making an engine change and worked on the handling of his car en route to his best Sonoma finish. 34. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing . McDowell spun off-course in Turn 7 during the final three laps, but saved his car to keep the caution flag from coming out. 35. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier’s best career Sonoma start was dampened around Lap 65 when he ran out of fuel. 36. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill was awarded the Lucky Dog pass during the second caution period, but struggled to keep pace around Sonoma’s tight turns. 37. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . The pole winner was running eighth on Lap 52 when he radioed his team about an engine issue. "Don’t worry about (lap) times. We ain’t going to make it much longer. … I have no speed." " For more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 38. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was sidelined by a broken rear axle housing while running 15th on Lap 99. " WATCH: See what happened to Mears 39. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan was trying to keep Carl Edwards from winning seventh when Edwards lost control and hit Ragan, wrecking both competitors. " WATCH: Tough day for Ragan 40. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards was battling for seventh place when he hopped over the bumps and into the side of David Ragan , sending both competitors into the Turn 8 tire barrier. " MORE: Edwards tears up car in wreck with Ragan 41. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley, in his seventh Sonoma start, spun exiting Turn 10 to bring out the caution flag on Lap 74. 42. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Truex’s string of top-10s came to a halt after contact from David Ragan sent him spinning into the Turn 8 tire barrier on Lap 29. " MORE: Truex not happy with Ragan 43. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . After lining up 28th, Gilliland sustained a flat left-front tire and spun in Turn 10 on Lap 22. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Ben Kennedy goes for a wild ride with 5 laps to go, causing a red flag and enough damage to the catch fence that NASCAR decided to call the race, giving Matt Crafton the win at Kentucky Speedway.
Complete news and notes about all 43 drivers and their Coca-Cola 600 results RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid after Charlotte 1. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Sticky feet didn't slow down Edwards, who stretched his fuel window to claim his first Charlotte 600 victory while pretty much locking up a spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . " NASCAR.com goes 1-on-1 with Edwards in Victory Lane 2. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle turned in his best showing of the year, starting fourth and earning runner-up honors in the season's longest race. " Biffle reflects on runner-up finish 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native overcame an early-race pit miscue to resume running in the top 10 by Lap 100 and earn his seventh top-five of the year. He now ranks fourth in the points. " Dale Jr. looks at top-five finish at Charlotte 4. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The pole winner closed 12 spots in the final 40 laps after making an unscheduled pit stop with less than 100 laps to go for a loose wheel. " Kenseth talks about late gamble 5. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Before a late-race fuel gamble didn't work out, Truex led a race-high 131 laps and radioed to his team, "I'm feeling like Superman for a few laps anyway." " Truex: 'It hurts to come home fifth' 6. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman earned the beneficiary of the free pass during the final caution period and closed 11 places in the final 40 laps. 7. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . New father Keselowski told his team early that his "ride quality is on par with Kentucky." He won at Kentucky last year, but had to settle for a top 10 (his eighth of the season) due to the fuel mileage game. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for RaceView Premium today 8. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin, winner of the recent Sprint All-Star race, was pacing the 600 field with a migraine when a loose wheel prompted an unscheduled pit stop with 38 laps to go. " Hamlin visits media center after trip to infield care center 9. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick recorded his 11th top-10 result in 12 appearances this season to extend his grip on the points lead 10. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch lined up 14th and posted the fastest lap of the race on Lap 143 (188.153 mph), which was one of the 118 laps he led on Sunday. 11. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . In his first points race since the Daytona crash, Busch reassured his team he could run the full 600 miles. "Tell Erik (Jones, replacement driver) I feel good," Busch radioed his team. "10-4," crew chief Adam Stevens responded. "His bedtime's in about 20 minutes anyhow." " Busch passes big test at Charlotte 12. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne was tagged near the halfway point for speeding on pit road, but rallied to earn the beneficiary of the free pass and run inside the top 10 with 50 laps to go. 13. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . The birthday boy shook off debris in the first 24 laps to lead twice for 17 circuits on Sunday. 14. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard quietly toured Charlotte’s 1.5-mile oval en route to his eighth top-15 result of the season. 15. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . After pacing the field to green in the Indy 500, Gordon lined up 18th in his Coca-Cola 600 finale and had a decent run until a loose wheel impacted his day. " Gordon leads Indy field to green 16. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon drove a new chassis to his best 1.5-mile result of the season. 17. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola earned the beneficiary of the free pass on the Lap 230 caution and found himself in position again for the free pass in the closing laps. 18. Chase Elliott , No. 25 Chevrolet. Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott, in his third Cup outing and first at a 1.5-miler, qualified 28th and mostly ran inside the top 25, despite dealing with a radio communication issue during the race. 19. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The two-time Charlotte winner had a ho hum day, running middle of the pack in his 26th appearance at the 1.5-mile track. 20. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer's frustration sparked a late-race decision to gamble on fuel mileage. "Might as well (gamble)," Bowyer radioed crew chief Brian Pattie. "Nothing to lose." " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for RaceView Premium today 21. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart was running a lap down when he got into the back of Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., who slid up the track ahead of him on Lap 302. 22. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick had to make two pit stops during the third caution flag after receiving damage from a dust-up with Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott on pit road. 23. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears battled a lack of air conditioning and tried to stay cool during the season's longest race by taking ice bags during pit stops. 24. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish couldn't climb back from an early handling issue although he later ran lap times comparable to those inside the top 15. 25. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson qualified ninth, marking his first top-10 start at Charlotte, and ran as high as eighth before quietly fading. 26. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Encouraged early by crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr. not to overdrive it, Bowman went on to post his best intermediate track finish of the year. 27. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne's tough night was further impacted when he hit the wall on Lap 230 to bring out the fourth caution flag and halt 89 laps of green-flag racing. 28. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt liked his car during practice and ultimately turned in his best 2015 result on a 1.5-mile track. 29. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger required an unscheduled pit stop around Lap 160 when a hot dog wrapper stuck to his grille and raised temps. 30. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing . McDowell spent the night looking for speed as he worked with his team on the handling of the No. 95 Ford. 31. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Spotter Tony Raines told Moffitt his car was faster than those ahead of him, but grip was a persistent problem. 32. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett, who dealt with a tight-handling condition early on Sunday, spun on the backstretch on Lap 328 to bring out the caution flag. 33. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland, who honored The Unknown Soldier with his car, led Lap 28 after choosing not to pit during the competition caution. 34. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto, making his third 1.5-mile start and his first at Charlotte, complained early of a loose-handling condition. 35. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise lined up 38th and got behind early, but still held on to post his best Charlotte result in his last four outings at the 1.5-mile track. 36. Alex Kennedy , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. Making his Charlotte debut, Kennedy improved upon his earlier intermediate result this season at Texas Motor Speedway . 37. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse cracked the top 10 with 70 laps to go, but watched his second top-10 of the season slip through his fingers after he hit the wall eight laps later 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley was mired in traffic after being penalized during the competition caution when a crew member went over the wall too early. 3 9. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill followed the race on Sunday by physically running 14 miles to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in support of the Folds of Honor Foundation. " Cassill completes unique Memorial Day weekend double 40. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson spun on Lap 90 and saved his car in a move reminiscent of Kansas Speedway , where he was victorious. But he wasn't able to save it a second time after he spun on Lap 274 and collided with the inside pit wall. " Second spin crunches Johnson's No. 48 41. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . In the final third of the race, Ragan cited his water temperatures were fluctuating and ultimately was sidelined by an engine issue. 42. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney cracked the top 11 on Sunday, but his strong run was halted on Lap 282 when his engine blew up. 43. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier, in his third Charlotte start, retreated to the garage after getting into the wall between Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 136. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See how the rookie meeting has evolved over the years RELATED: Labonte's crash still impacts rookies " Youngest, oldest rookie winners One by one, before the first engine has fired and the first car has hit the track, they gather in the NASCAR hauler parked inside the garage. It's a scene repeated every weekend when NASCAR rolls into town. Their levels of experience often differ quite a bit. There are champions and those with numerous starts in lower series seated alongside those with limited experience and much less success. Yet here everyone is treated the same. And everyone carries the same label -- rookie. • • • "A lot of stuff happens fast here," Richard Buck, NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series managing director, tells the group that's gathered on a cool, damp Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway . Each driver has been given several sheets of paper showing diagrams that include the placement of timing and commitment lines, pit entrance and exit and the proper route to enter and exit pit road from the garage area. It's information that is track-specific. While the basic processes that take place during any given race weekend are relatively the same, there are certain details at each venue that those with limited experience need to know. Proper procedures are explained and advice is doled out. "Use your hand signals so you don't start to slow down and get all jammed up and have somebody's radiator in your backseat," Buck tells the drivers. Each week, a veteran driver will also attend the meetings to offer pointers and answer any questions a rookie driver might have. At Martinsville, 2004 premier series champion Kurt Busch was on hand. "Those of you that have made laps around here before, you know how quick it is," Busch said of the series' shortest venue. "It's an awkward track. There's no other place that really compares to this. So the thing you have to do is to get comfortable with the surroundings." Busch said he would often walk around tracks "even if I've been here before" to reinforce the information given during the meeting. "Have your spotters communicate to you where the holes are when you pull out ... your tires will be ice cold here ... they won't help you do much turning when you get into (Turns) 3 and 4 ... but if you're consciously making an effort to warm up your tires, somebody's going to be right on your bumper and it's going to be chaos," he said. Busch also urged them to take note of the commitment and blend lines at Martinsville. "It's the same Turn 2 line that's painted at Bristol," he said later. "But at Bristol, you have two pit roads (one on the frontstretch and one on the backstretch). It's the same line in the same place and it means two different things." Drivers' left-side tires must touch the blend line near Turn 2 at Martinsville before pulling up onto the track. A similar line at Bristol signifies the pit entrance on the backstretch -- touching any portion of it without proceeding onto pit road will result in a commitment line violation. "Now they'll go to Bristol (in two weeks)," Busch said, "and they need to remember." • • • So what constitutes a rookie in the eyes of NASCAR? In most cases, it's up to the discretion of the series director and is based on the individual's prior experience. Matt DiBenedetto , 23, made his first Sprint Cup Series start this year after running the bulk of the races (29 of 33) in the XFINITY Series last season. Brett Moffitt , 22, made seven Sprint Cup Series starts in 2014. Between 2009 and 2013 he made just one XFINITY Series start and two in the Camping World Truck Series. Both are among those competing for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in Sprint Cup , along with Jeb Burton , Tanner Berryhill and Alex Kennedy . To be eligible for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, a driver must attempt to qualify in at least eight of the first 20 points races. A 10-1 point system, separate from the NASCAR championship driver points format, is used for scoring rookies in each race. The highest finishing rookie receives 10 points, second highest receives nine, etc. Only the top 17 finishes by each driver count toward his or her points total at the end of the year. Bonus points are also awarded for attempts, finishing inside the top 10 and upon the completion of the final race of the season. A panel then grades each rookie on conduct with officials, conduct and awareness on the track, personal appearance and relationship with the media. Points awarded by the panel are then averaged and added to each driver's total, and the driver with the most points is the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award recipient. Jeb Burton is one of five rookies this year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. • • • Of course, it wasn't always that way. In 1959, Darlington Raceway , in conjunction with sponsor Pure Oil (later to become Union 76), debuted the Darlington Record Club. Members were those that had qualified highest for each auto manufacturer during time trials for the annual Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . Special recognition went to those that established track records there as well. While NASCAR had been selecting a rookie of the year for nearly a decade -- Rocky Mount, North Carolina's Blackie Pitt was the first recipient in 1954 –- the Union 76/Darlington Record Club was eventually tasked with monitoring the progress of rookie drivers on the uniquely shaped, treacherous 1.366-mile track. What began as an effort between driver Glenn "Fireball" Roberts and NASCAR official John Bruner Sr., to observe new drivers eventually evolved into a panel of Record Club members whose job was to either pass or fail those drivers attempt to make their Southern 500 debuts. (It's worth noting that the club also played a crucial role in requiring all drivers to complete a physical examination before being allowed to compete at Darlington. Today, a physical examination is mandatory for all three national series prior to the start of each season.) Before the Record Club came into existence, "you just went down there and run," said NASCAR Hall of Fame member Richard Petty, a seven-time NASCAR premier series champion and winner of the 1967 Southern 500. "(The Record Club) was good public relations. It gave those (rookies) something they had to do. Indianapolis (home of the Indianapolis 500) always had a rookie test you had to pass before you could go out and run. Well, we said if they can do it, we can do it, too. "Back then, (Darlington) was a one-groove track through (Turns) 3 and 4, which is now 1-2. We'd explain what you had to do to pass people or let people pass you. Then you just said, 'OK, now go out and run.' " To pass the test, drivers new to the series were required to run within a percentage of a pre-determined speed. "If we were running 130 mph," Petty said, "they would have to run 125 or something like that. Then they'd go out and run six or eight laps on the track by themselves." "It was a little easier to show up at Daytona with a car even though you may not have that much experience and get in the race," three-time series champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Darrell Waltrip said. "But they really observed you. If you were somebody new that they didn't know and you showed up at the track, they'd have some drivers that would kind of see how you did, see if you could handle the track and the speed and all that. There was always somebody watching you, but Darlington was the only official test we took." The panel would make its recommendations to NASCAR, but it was up to Bruner, a former flagman who eventually became Chief Steward for the sanctioning body, to make the final call. Richard Petty, who won the Southern 500 in 1967, used to show rookies the ropes at the iconic track. • • • In 1976, the Record Club's competition panel began overseeing the rookie program. Nearly a decade later, one of racing's greatest figures found himself labeled a rookie, and was required to go through the orientation process. Far from being a rookie, Anthony Joseph Foyt, better known simply as A.J., already had seven NASCAR premier series wins to his credit including a victory in the 1972 Daytona 500 . But Foyt, a four-time winner of the Indy 500 as well, had never raced at Darlington. "I am going to Darlington as a bonafide rookie. I don't want anything waived," Foyt told the press prior to his debut. "Why should I be different than anybody else? I know a lot of guys would have too much pride and ego to take the rookie test, but I'm not that type of person." NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd was the president of the Record Club at that time. Among the members of the competition panel were fellow drivers Waltrip and Buddy Baker. "Buddy and I and I forget who else, we observed A.J. Foyt and we flunked him his first day," Waltrip said. "Well, we told him we flunked him. "I told Buddy, I said 'Go down there and tell A.J. that we're going to have to have a meeting about his test because I'm not sure he passed.' Buddy looked at me and said 'Do you think I'm crazy? You go down there and tell him.' " Foyt passed the test, eventually finishing 25th in his only Southern 500 start. • • • Ken Schrader , a four-time race winner in NASCAR's premier series, was in that same rookie class with Foyt in 1985. Schrader posted three top-10 finishes that year en route to winning the Rookie of the Year title, beating out Eddie Bierschwale and Don Hume. Twice he served as president of the Record Club. "Yeah, I got elected president one time, then got elected president another time because at the banquet in Darlington I sat in the back and drank with the wrong group," the fun-loving Schrader said. "I was sitting with, I think, Phil Holmer and T. Wayne (Robertson) and some Unocal folks." Holmer was a Goodyear representative while Robertson headed up series sponsor R.J. Reynolds sports marketing arm. "They threw my ass right in," Schrader said of his election. "My acceptance speed, I stood up and said 'This is (expletive)!' "But the rookie meetings were neat. We'd just go in there, talk about the do's and don'ts for the tracks. Some of it was repetitious obviously but then there was so much about each individual track and it was the first time that some of those guys went to those tracks. Because back then not everybody then came through the Truck or ( XFINITY ) Series. "Now, hell, you're a rookie at a race, you've been to how many places (already)? You've probably raced there in some other series. "So it's a little different now." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See who is on competing in Friday night's event Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Gil Martin 15 Chevrolet Dow 2 6 Trevor Bayne John Henry Bob Osborne 15 Ford AdvoCare Ford Fusion 3 7 Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Bono Manion 15 Chevrolet TBA 4 9 Sam Hornish Jr Richard Petty Bono Manion 15 Ford Victory Junction/Shop.com 5 10 Danica Patrick Tony Stewart Daniel Knost 15 Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS 6 13 Casey Mears Bob Germain Bootie Barker III 15 Chevrolet GEICO Military Chevy SS 7 15 Clint Bowyer Rob Kauffman Brian Pattie 15 Toyota Cherry 5-Hour Energy/Special Operations Warrior Foundation 8 16 Greg Biffle Jack Roush Matt Puccia 15 Ford Ortho Ford Fusion 9 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr John Henry Nicholas Sandler 15 Ford Fastenal 10 23 J J Yeley(i) Ron Devine Joe Williams Jr 15 Toyota Dr. Pepper "I'm a Pepper" 11 25 Chase Elliott (i) Rick Hendrick Kenny Francis 15 Chevrolet NAPA AUTO PARTS 12 26 Jeb Burton Anthony Marlowe Patrick Donahue 15 Toyota Maxim Fantasy Sports 13 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Justin Alexander 15 Chevrolet Serta / Menards 14 30 Jeff Green (i) Curtis Key Sr Dave Fuge 15 Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 15 32 Mike Bliss (i) Archie St Hilaire Clinton Cram 15 Ford TBA 16 33 Alex Kennedy Joe Falk Patrick Tryson 15 Chevrolet TBA 17 35 Cole Whitt Bob Jenkins Randy Cox 15 Ford Speed Stick 18 38 David Gilliland Brad Jenkins Donnie Wingo 15 Ford Love's Travel Stops 19 139 Travis Kvapil (i) Gordon Smith Mike Chance 15 Chevrolet TBA 20 40 Landon Cassill (i) Michael Hillman Mark Hillman 15 Chevrolet Snap Fitness 21 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Chris Heroy 15 Chevrolet Target 22 46 Michael Annett Harry Scott Jr Jay Guy 15 Chevrolet Pilot Flying J 23 51 Justin Allgaier Harry Scott Jr Steve Addington 15 Chevrolet BRANDT 24 55 David Ragan Michael Waltrip Billy Scott 15 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 25 62 Brendan Gaughan (i) Jay Robinson Scott Eggleston 15 Chevrolet Vydox Plus 26 66 Tanner Berryhill Jay Robinson John Monsam 15 Chevrolet TBA 27 78 Martin Truex Jr Barney Visser Cole Pearn 15 Chevrolet Furniture Row/Visser Precision 28 83 Matt DiBenedetto Ron Devine Douglas Richert 15 Toyota Dustless Blasting 29 95 Michael McDowell Bob Leavine Wally Rogers 15 Ford Thrivent Financial 30 98 Josh Wise Mike Curb Gene Nead 15 Ford TBA