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Ben Kennedy leads both XFINITY Series practices in Iowa
Practice 1 results " Practice 2 results Ben Kennedy topped the leaderboard in Friday’s final XFINITY Series practice at Iowa Speedway at 133.809 mph in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Kennedy , who is making his XFINITY Series debut in Sunday’s American Ethanol E15 250 (1:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), also led Friday’s first practice, for a practice-session sweep. RELATED: Decker sisters attempting NXS debut In the final practice, Brendan Gaughan was second-fastest in the No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at 132.542 mph. Rounding out the top five were Sam Hornish Jr . in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Erik Jones in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and Alex Bowman in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Teammates Suarez and Jones made contact about midway through the second practice, causing some damage to both the front bumper of Suarez’s No. 19 Toyota and to the rear bumper of Jones’s No. 20 Toyota. Both were able to continue. Just a couple hours earlier, Kennedy led the first practice at 132.448 mph, followed by Hornish Jr. at 131.772 mph. Rounding out the top five in that session were Jones , Elliott Sadler in the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, and XFINITY Series points leader and recent race winner Daniel Suarez in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
The Rundown: Watkins Glen driver grades
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International : 1. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Six weeks after making a mistake on the final turn at Sonoma that cost him his first road-course victory, Hamlin triumphs at Watkins Glen. This time, he capitalized on the mistakes of others and led the final 10 laps for his second victory of the season. Grade: A+ 2. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Despite a pit-road speeding penalty on Lap 34 and right-front damage, Logano worked his way back through the field for his fourth consecutive top 10 at Watkins Glen. Grade: A 3. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski and Kyle Busch restarted in the front row with 10 laps to go, but both overshot Turn 1 opening the door for Denny Hamlin . That wasn't Keselowski's final mistake. Running third entering the final turn, he turned second-place Martin Truex Jr . when a crossover move went awry. Grade: B 4. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Sunday was a day of extreme highs and lows for Allmendinger. A pit-road speeding penalty on Lap 26 cost him terrific track position. Then he just missed getting collected in the big wreck on Lap 54. But instead of being elated for tying a personal best with his second top five of the season, he was disconsolate after punting Kyle Larson just before the finish line. "I turned him," said Allmendinger, searching for words. "Not on purpose. ... I'm not very happy with myself on that. I don't want to do that, especially for fourth place at the end. … I just cost Kyle a good finish. I'm just pissed off at myself." More on Larson's 29th-place finish later. Grade: B 5. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart posted his eighth top-five finish in his 16th and final start at Watkins Glen. It also was his fifth top five in his past seven starts. Stewart is smokin'. Grade: A 6. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch was in prime position to vie for his third victory at Watkins Glen when he restarted from the front row with 10 laps to go. Instead, he overshot the first turn along with race leader Brad Keselowski , handing an opportunity to Hamlin. Grade: A- 7. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex was running second coming to the final turn when he was turned by Brad Keselowski . The two talked after the race. "He said it was his fault," Truex said. "I said, 'I knew that.' Simple as that." Pretty much sums up Truex's sixth top 10 in 11 starts at Watkins Glen. Grade: A 8. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Big, big day for McMurray, whose finish -- his first top 10 at the Glen since 2010 -- was ahead of all his competition on the Chase bubble. Grade: A 9. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne was another bubble winner. He climbed a spot in the Chase standings to 17th, but more important, he picked up 20 points on 16th-place Kyle Larson and now trails Larson by eight points with four races to go before the Chase field is set. Grade: A 10. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . How's this for tidy? Making his 600th start, Kenseth posted his 300th top 10. Grade: A 11. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch had a solid finish, but it was no match for his Olympic Team USA-inspired shoes. Grade: US-B 12. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears weaved his way through the carnage of the big wreck on Lap 54 to tie his best finish of the season (12th last month at Daytona). Grade: A 13. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott stemmed his recent string of bad finishes with his best finish since coming in second at Michigan two months ago. Grade: B 14. Jeff Gordon , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon overcame heavy damage to the nose of the No. 88 on Lap 4 and later just missed getting collected by Ricky Stenhouse Jr .'s spinning car in the big wreck on Lap 54 to post his second top 15 in three starts since coming out of retirement to sub for Dale Earnhardt Jr . Grade: B 15. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards started from the pole and led the first 25 laps but was hit with a penalty on his first pit stop for a wayward tire. Being deep in the field with a fast car is not where you want to be on a road course, and Edwards paid for it when he was collected in a wreck with 34 laps to go. Grade: B- 16. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman was running 20th on the restart after the sixth caution when the No. 31 got loose and spun out. Attrition helped Newman record his sixth top-16 finish in his past seven starts at Watkins Glen. Grade: B- 17. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . McDowell recorded his best finish in eight starts at Watkins Glen and his third-best finish this season. Grade: A 18. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer suffered front-end damage in a wreck with 34 laps to go but still posted one of his better finishes of the season. Grade: B 19. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney remained in the thick of the Chase race despite a pit-road speeding penalty on Lap 22 and running off the track into the grass 20 laps later. Grade: C 20. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne simply was not competitive, and a penalty because the No. 5 crew was over the wall too soon on the first caution didn't help. But the numbers don't lie: Kahne spent a grand total of three laps in the top 15. Still, Kahne is only 10 points behind Kyle Larson for 16th in the Chase standings. Grade: C- 21. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick led a career-high 11 laps (previous best was seven at Talladega in October 2014), but she was running in her normal midpack position when she was caught up in Paul Menard 's dirt storm on Lap 84 and sustained heavy damage. Grade: B- 22. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Speaking of Menard ... the No. 27 team was penalized for throwing its fuel can on Lap 49, but the team's biggest faux pas came when its driver ran off the course on Lap 84 and spewed dirt onto the track, forcing enough cars behind him to drive blindly and lose grip to cause a seven-car wreck, bringing out the eighth caution and second red flag of the day. Grade: D 23. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Despite spinning out in the grass in the bus stop and bringing out the fifth caution for the debris he left on the track, Cassill tied his best finish at Watkins Glen. Grade: C 24. Boris Said , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . It wouldn't be Watkins Glen without Boris Said in the field. Making his 16th start at The Glen, Said posted his 10th top-25 finish. Grade: C 25. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott's first Sprint Cup start at Watkins Glen produced a better finish than the first Glen starts of Kyle Busch (33rd), Jeff Gordon (31st), Kurt Busch (29th) and Martin Truex Jr . (28th). That's something to hang your helmet on. Grade: B 26. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise got his best finish in three starts at Watkins Glen. He finished 38th in the previous two (2012, 2014). Grade: B 27. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . A pit-road penalty on the No. 43 team for being over the wall too soon on the first pit stop and the wreck on Paul Menard 's dirt spray contributed to Almirola's worst finish at Watkins Glen since 2013. Grade: C- 28. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Witt could not improve on his 21st-place finish last year at Watkins Glen despite starting 22nd. Grade: C 29. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson was easily the biggest loser Sunday. He had a fourth-place finish in the bag until he was punted by AJ Allmendinger short of the finish line. Instead his car hit the wall and was destroyed. The 24-point difference between fifth and 29th has huge Chase implications. As it stands, Larson is 16th in the Chase standings but by a mere eight points over Trevor Bayne . And as far as moving up, Larson is 30 points behind Jamie McMurray instead of five. (Larson would have finished ahead of McMurray, dropping him to ninth Sunday.) As for the apologetic Allmendinger, he "has got a few coming," Larson said. Grade: A 30. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . A big mistake (pit-road penalty for tossing a fuel can) and bad luck (getting caught up in Paul Menard 's dirt storm) were tempered because the driver he's competing with for 30th in the points standings, David Ragan , also was collected in the Lap 84 wreck. At one point Sunday, Buescher was 13 points behind Ragan. Because of the wreck, he finished the day three back with four races remaining to get into the top 30 and qualify for the Chase. Grade: C 31. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon was involved in two wrecks (Lap 4 and Lap 54), with the latter bringing out the first red flag and being a difference maker for the No. 3 team. When Dillon returned to the track, all the sheet metal from the front of the car was gone, but with a spot in the Chase on the line, every point matters. He dropped two spots to 14th in the Chase standings but caught a big break when Kyle Larson was wrecked. Dillon leads 16th-place Larson by 39 points. Grade: C- 32. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick was running third with 30 laps to go when he went to pit road because of a flat-spotted tire. He came out 33rd, the last car on the lead lap. The extra pit stop made him vulnerable to midpack mishaps, and that's exactly what happened when his car was destroyed in the wake of the Paul Menard dirt storm. Grade: C 33. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan was collected in two wrecks, with the final melee delivering a knockout blow. Ragan's welfare is of great importance to drivers on the Chase bubble. If Chris Buescher , with one win, replaces Ragan in 30th in the standings, the winless driver 16th in the Chase standings will need a win to qualify for the postseason. Grade: C 34. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . Sunday wasn't one of DiBenedetto's better days. He sustained a pit-road penalty, went for a spin on the Lap 81 restart and then absorbed his sixth DNF of the season because of a crash when he was caught up in the Lap 84 mess. On the other hand, he spent the fourth-most laps running in the top 15 of the drivers who finished 21st through 40th. Grade: D 35. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Car woes limited Smith to 77 laps. Grade: D 36. Alex Kennedy , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Kennedy was caught up in the wreck that caused the fourth caution, and he brought out the sixth caution when his engine blew 20 laps later. Grade: F 37. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett was running at the finish, but brake issues limited him to 77 laps. Grade: F 38. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was driving aggressively after the restart following the second caution and touched off the big crash on Lap 53 when he lost control of his car coming out of the carrousel heading into Turn 6. The No. 17 hit the inside wall straight on and then took another big hit when Jimmie Johnson T-boned the car when it ricocheted back onto the track. Grade: F 39. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle's day ended in the big crash on Lap 53. He said he thought he had cleared Ricky Stenhouse Jr .'s car but was hit from behind by Austin Dillon . Wrong place, wrong time. Grade: D 40. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson paid dearly for an early pit-road speeding penalty that put him in the back of the field when he was collected in the big wreck on Lap 53. It was Johnson's fourth DNF for a crash in the past nine races. Grade: F
NASCAR Nation congratulates Ben Kennedy on first win
MORE: Race results " Standings " Chase Grid Ben Kennedy , great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France and son of Lesa France Kennedy , CEO of International Speedway Corporation and Vice Chairperson of NASCAR, won his first career NASCAR national series race on Wednesday night, picking up the victory in the Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway . The GMS Racing driver received a flood of attention on Twitter, where NASCAR Nation was quick to congratulate him on the momentous occasion. SO excited for @BenKennedy33 ! Wins Bristol and off to the Chase! pic.twitter.com/2rOWdmYStW — Lesa Kennedy (@LesaISC) August 18, 2016 @BenKennedy33 congrats — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) August 18, 2016 So happy for you @BenKennedy33 Big win @BMSupdates buddy! Great driving under intense pressure from @Brett_Moffitt Awesome job boys. — Michael Waltrip (@MW55) August 18, 2016 Good for you @BenKennedy33 ! — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) August 18, 2016 Hell yea so happy for @BenKennedy33 great dude awesome win! — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) August 18, 2016 Congrats @BenKennedy33 ! — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) August 18, 2016 All in all...nice win @BenKennedy33 !Nice job @BMSupdates with the track! Gonna be interesting Friday n Saturday night! — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) August 18, 2016 Well that got the ol ticker beating kinda fast. Congrats @BenKennedy33 .... great job @Brett_Moffitt and @DanielHemric — Corey LaJoie (@CoreyLaJoie) August 18, 2016 Pretty impressive job @BenKennedy33 to hold on for the win. Nice work @Brett_Moffitt — Ryan Truex (@Ryan_Truex) August 18, 2016 Congrats @BenKennedy33 nice win! you are in the Chase. Great racing way to be smooth. Great spotting and coaching @jimmyk146 — Todd Bodine (@Team_Onion) August 18, 2016 Awesome job @BenKennedy33 !!! @NASCAR_Trucks — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) August 18, 2016 Congrats @BenKennedy33 , enjoy it bud! Props to @Brett_Moffitt , made the most out of tonight's opportunity. — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 18, 2016 Congrats on the win @BenKennedy33 well deserved! @NASCAR — Austin Dillon (@austindillon3) August 18, 2016 Congrats @BenKennedy33 ...Victory Lane at @BMSupdates is hard to beat. @NASCAR_Trucks — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) August 18, 2016
Ben Kennedy picks up first career win in Bristol thriller
MORE: Race results " Standings " Chase Grid BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Ben Kennedy took the lead from William Byron with 20 laps to go in Wednesday night's UNOH 200 and later withstood an intense six-lap shootout with Brett Moffitt to earn his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Bristol Motor Speedway . With his triumph in his 63rd career series start, Kennedy , the great-grandson of NASCAR Founder Bill France Sr. and son of Lesa France Kennedy , CEO of International Speedway Corporation and Vice Chairperson of NASCAR, became the first France family member to win a NASCAR national series race. "I can't put it into words," Kennedy said. "Someone asked me earlier today what it's like going to Bristol for your first time, and to win here is just so cool. I'm speechless. The guys gave me an awesome truck. Everyone at GMS Racing, Jacob Companies, the fans in the stands, everybody watching on TV, gosh this is just the coolest day of my life." With two laps to go, Moffitt, driving the No. 11 Toyota Tundra -- the truck piloted earlier this season by Kennedy -- gave the Daytona Beach, Florida, native a shot in the bumper, but Kennedy refused to be rattled and stretched his lead to 0.274 seconds at the checkered flag. "I was just thinking, 'Go as fast as possible on this last lap,' " Kennedy said. "I knew Brett was putting pressure on me from behind. I appreciate him racing me clean. This is just so cool." Moffitt, who earned a career-best second-place finish, didn't have quite enough for Kennedy's No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado when it counted most. RELATED: First NCWTS win still a blur for Kennedy "We had a good truck, a strong truck all day," Moffitt said. "We ran top-five, top-10 most of it. He had just enough to get away from us on that last restart. After that, we got to him once but couldn't get around." Although Bristol has been widely known for its bump-and-run racing, Moffitt, continuing to fill in for the recovering Matt Tifft , said he tried once, but couldn't get to Kennedy to try again. "I'm going to race people the way I want to be raced," he said. "It is Bristol, so if you need to move someone, you got to move them. I just wasn't quite good enough in the center to get to him. He slipped up a few times and I was able to get to his bumper once, but didn't get to him hard enough. I was really waiting for him to make a mistake so I could shove my nose in there, but he executed when he needed to. He hit his marks and I just wasn't able to get to him." With the victory, Kennedy virtually secures a spot in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase with three races remaining in the regular season. "We put this deal together (with GMS Racing) a couple months ago and I never imagined -- I never would have imagined going into this race that we would be here today," Kennedy said. "I thought we were a top-15 truck or a top-10 truck, but to actually be here in Victory Lane means the world to me." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Kennedy earns first NCWTS victory
Ben Kennedy holds on at Bristol Motor Speedway to get his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.
First NCWTS win still a blur for Ben Kennedy
Ben Kennedy talks about the support he gets from his family and the thrill of winning his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
Jeff Gordon won't drive No. 88 car at Michigan
RELATED: Dale Jr. offers rehab update on social media BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition remains undetermined. But if the series' most popular driver remains sidelined when the series heads to Michigan International Speedway for the Aug. 28 Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), it will be Alex Bowman and not Jeff Gordon handling the driving duties of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet. Gordon, who made his fourth start for the team at Bristol Motor Speedway , will not be available due to a prior commitment, according to Hendrick officials. However, the four-time series champion will travel to Michigan to support the team on Sunday. Earnhardt is recovering from concussion-like symptoms that have kept him sidelined since July. The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol was the fifth race he's missed. Bowman drove for the team at Loudon, New Hampshire, following Earnhardt's initial diagnosis. Gordon took over the following week, and has competed at Indianapolis, Pocono and Watkins Glen prior to Bristol. Bowman, 23, finished 26th in his fill-in role for Earnhardt at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Gordon, meanwhile, has finishes of 13th, 27th, 14th and 11th, respectively, in his four starts with the team. . @JeffGordonWeb has prior commitment that won't allow him to be in Mich. for entire race wknd. @AlexBRacing to sub if @DaleJr isn't cleared. — Hendrick 88 Team (@Hendrick88Team) August 19, 2016 Happy to be on standby for @DaleJr and @TeamHendrick at @MISpeedway . Hopefully Dale is cleared but if not I'm ready to go! — Alex Bowman (@AlexBRacing) August 20, 2016 UPDATE: The 88 team does not expect to make an announcement for Michigan until Wednesday afternoon. We don’t expect to make an announcement regarding @MISpeedway before Wednesday afternoon. — Hendrick 88 Team (@Hendrick88Team) August 22, 2016 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Dale Earnhardt Jr. injury timeline
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway and Darlington Raceway as he continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms. Dale Jr. had previously missed races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , Indianapolis Motor Speedway , Pocono Raceway , Watkins Glen International and Bristol Motor Speedway . Alex Bowman (New Hampshire and Michigan) and four-time champion Jeff Gordon (Indianapolis, Pocono, Watkins Glen, Bristol and Darlington) are filling in for him in the No. 88 Chevrolet. Stay up-to-date on Dale Jr.'s injury and recovery through the timeline of events below.
Dale Jr. sidelined for next two Sprint Cup races
RELATED: Latest updates, timeline on Dale Jr.'s recovery Dale Earnhardt Jr . will not be behind the wheel of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, including this weekend's event at Michigan International Speedway , according to a Wednesday news release from Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt did not receive medical clearance to return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, according to the team. He will be replaced this weekend in the No. 88 driver's seat by Alex Bowman , who drives part time for the Earnhardt-owned JR Motorsports team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, and next weekend at Darlington Raceway by four-time series champ Jeff Gordon . "We know how hard Dale is working to get back," team owner Rick Hendrick said in a press release. "He's following what the doctors are saying, to the letter, and doing exactly what he needs to do. Everyone wants to see him in a race car, but his health is first and foremost. We're behind him." Earnhardt has been sidelined by concussion-related symptoms for the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. The two-time Daytona 500 winner has been keeping fans updated on his progress in recent weeks via social media and "The Dale Jr. Download" on Dirty Mo Radio. The Sprint Cup Series makes its second visit of the season to Michigan International Speedway this weekend, which culminates with Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Earnhardt said that the effects of a crash June 12 in the most recent Michigan race played a factor in his current concussion-related ailment. Gordon, interim driver of the No. 88 for the last four races, indicated last weekend that should an Earnhardt replacement be needed this weekend, a previous engagement would keep him out of the driver's seat. Bowman, 23, subbed in at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last month for the first race of Earnhardt's absence, finishing 26th after a late-race crash knocked him from the fringes of the top 10. Gordon is a seven-time winner at Darlington and will pilot the retro No. 88 Chevrolet, which honors the "Gray Ghost" paint scheme of Buddy Baker. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
A new raining champ at Bristol
NASCAR.com's Chuck Bush recaps all the action from a wet and wild weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. From Ben Kennedy earning his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win to Kevin Harvick ending an 18 race winless drought.