This episode of The Drive for Superior Performance presented by Goodyear takes an in-depth look at how pit crews prepare for the challenges of a pit stop during a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Get all the on-track times for the weekend's NASCAR action RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota All times ET TV LISTINGS / BUY TICKETS FOR DOVER / BUY TICKETS FOR LAS VEGAS / WEEKEND TRACK EVENTS This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series head to Dover International Speedway while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway . FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26: ON TRACK -- 10-10:50 a.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 2-3:20 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice, ESPN2 ( Follow live ) -- 3:40 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, ESPN2 ( Follow live ) GARAGECAM PRESENTED BY MOBIL 1 ( Watch live ) -- 10:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GarageCam -- 1:30 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series GarageCam SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27: ON TRACK -- 11-11:50 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- Noon-1:15 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice -- 12:15 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 2 ( Follow live ) -- 1:45-3 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice -- 2-2:50 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 2 ( Follow live ) -- 3:30 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series race ( 200 laps, 200 miles), ESPN2 ( Follow live ) -- 6:40 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying ( Follow live ) -- 10 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rhino Linings 350 (146 laps, 219 miles), FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28: ON TRACK -- 2 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 (400 laps, 400 miles), ESPN ( Follow live ) Text goes here MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
See how the 16 Chase Grid drivers stack up at Chicagoland, New Hampshire and Dover RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Second Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race plays host to history RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Wendy Venturini will make her co-anchor debut of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during the Sylvania 300 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The broadcaster will co-anchor with Doug Rice after working NASCAR Nationwide Series races with co-anchor Mark Garrow since 2012. "Wendy has an incredible knowledge of our sport and for the past two seasons has been co-anchoring multiple Nationwide Series races on PRN," Rice said. "She has steadily become more comfortable in that role and is ready for a Sprint Cup broadcast." It will mark the first time a woman will co-anchor a radio broadcast for NASCAR's premier series. She became the first female broadcaster to call an entire race on a national level during the July 2007 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway for DirecTV. "While I've never set out to be the first woman on a list of firsts in our sport, life has brought me to situations such as these," Venturini said. "Doug Rice believes in what I've contributed over the last decade in NASCAR, and I have a deep appreciation for the support given to me by the entire PRN team in this history-making moment." Venturini grew up around racing, following her father Bill, who has seven Sprint Cup starts, four Nationwide starts and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts to his credit. She started her broadcasting career hosting "Race City Review," a local racing show, on the Adelphia Cable Network in 2001. Her career has included pit-road reporting for all three NASCAR national series, serving as a reporter since 2004 for SPEED and FOX Sports 1's "NASCAR Live," "NASCAR Race Day," "NASCAR Victory Lane" and practice and qualifying session as well. The Sylvania 300 will be broadcast on more than 380 affiliate stations nationwide and streamed live on NASCAR.com, the NASCAR Mobile app, GoPRN.com, the PRN mobile app and TuneIn. Fans at New Hampshire Motor Speedway can listen by tuning into 454.000 on their scanner. Broadcast coverage starts at 1 p.m. ET. 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
No. 11's disappointment leads to terse exchange with crew chief RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota LOUDON, N.H. -- Denny Hamlin 's high hopes for New Hampshire and the rest of the Challenger Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup took a damaging blow Sunday afternoon with a double-dose of misfortune that knocked him from contention. After leading 32 laps early, Hamlin faded a handful of laps down with a fuel pick-up issue that required multiple pit stops for repairs. After logging laps in hopes of bringing his Joe Gibbs Racing entry home, he was caught up in a multi-car wreck in the 179th of 300 laps, crumpling the right-front corner of his No. 11 Toyota and sending the team scrambling to fix the damage. The finish near the tail end of the running order pushed Hamlin out from the ranks of the top 12 drivers who will advance to the Contender Round, the next three-race cut in the 10-race Chase postseason. With just one race left -- next weekend at Dover International Speedway -- to avoid elimination, Hamlin may be scrambling again at the Monster Mile. "It's so frustrating because you know on performance you deserve to move on," Hamlin said in the garage area before the race's end. "We would have a great shot to move on and really make some noise here in these last eight races, but in this three-race section, you just can't have one bad week -- not right now. You've got to be flawless, you've got to be at your best these last 10 and we just got bit by a mechanical deal. We've had them bite us in Chases in the past, and I thought we were past that, but sometimes you roll the dice and you crap out. Today's that day for us." Hamlin started second in the 43-car field and made his way to the lead after early leader Brad Keselowski was shuffled back during the first round of pit stops. Even after losing the lead to Kevin Harvick on a long green-flag run, it was still smooth sailing until he was forced to pit under green in the 96th lap. "We're not getting fuel in the car; just barely," Hamlin was told of the need for the early stop. "What do you mean we’re not getting fuel in the car?" he responded. The problem was eventually diagnosed as an issue with the fuel probe, which impeded the flow of gas into the No. 11's tank. During the next caution period, starting in the 105th lap, a lengthy stay on pit road forced Hamlin to return to the race four laps back of the leader in 37th place. During the interminably long stop, Hamlin vented: "We suck at this. We are so bad." That led to a testy reply from crew chief Darian Grubb: "Dude, I don't need you doing this. Keep your mouth shut until we get this fixed." After a cooling-off period while his crew worked, Hamlin didn't assign blame but lamented the turn of events that dramatically altered his Chase outlook. "I don't think it was anyone's fault, I don't think, but we couldn't get fuel in it from the get-go," Hamlin said. "Don't know where that's coming from or what it's all about, but you just can't have any mistakes in this three-race Chase deal. We went from looking pretty and probably going to coast our way to the next round to a long shot at best. So it's frustrating, but what can you do about it? You really can't do anything about it, obviously. You've just got to suck it up, move on and try to do the best you can next week." Hamlin was already well removed from victory contention when he was snared in a crash ahead of him, adding another wrinkle to an already disappointing day. Hamlin was unable to avoid the stalled and crippled car of David Ragan , skidding into the melee and forcing him to take the car behind the wall. Now the pressure turns to Dover , a demanding track where Hamlin has twice captured the Coors Light Pole Award, but has finished no better than fourth. Hamlin said his team's approach won't necessarily change, but that he'll need performance and luck on his side. "You just try to do the best you can to get the best finish and hope for some help," Hamlin said as the race continued without him. "I mean, there's a long way to go in this race, and I hate to say it, but maybe some guys have some trouble and let us back in it. Other than that, it's going to be hard for us to do it without some help." Contributing: Kenny Bruce 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
Memories of 2012 conjured with trip to New Hampshire RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota LOUDON, N.H. -- A visit to New Hampshire Motor Speedway two years ago still holds many fond memories for Denny Hamlin . That trip to the Magic Mile was a dominant performance where he guaranteed a victory on Twitter days earlier, slightly backtracked, but ultimately trounced the field with a "called shot" celebration in Victory Lane as the capper. But current events have somewhat clouded that memory. Brad Keselowski ruled at New Hampshire in July. His familiar Deuce rolled to victory in the regular-season finale at Richmond. The hot streak continued with Keselowski's fifth win of the season the following week at Chicagoland Speedway in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff opener. Sure enough, Keselowski's No. 2 was atop the leaderboard again Friday afternoon, leading opening Sprint Cup practice and then winning the Coors Light Pole Award. With all the talk about the hottest driver on the circuit, does 2012 still seem like recent history? "Well, somehow my car's disappeared and it's got a 2 on the side of it now," Hamlin quipped. Jokes aside this time around in New Hampshire, Hamlin seems convinced of one more guarantee -- that the string of 13 different winners at the 1.058-mile track will end with a repeat triumph in Sunday's Sylvania 300 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN). Hamlin just hopes he's the one snapping the streak and not Keselowski. Hoisting the lobster trophy come Sunday would give Hamlin a free pass into the Contender Round, the next three-race elimination phase in the redesigned Chase format. A little rekindling of the magic of 2012 from his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 team wouldn't hurt the cause. "You just show up and your car's just really fast and you can't do anything wrong," Hamlin said of that charmed performance here two years ago. "You're fastest in every practice and you just know what's going to happen. ... It's a good feeling to have a car that fast, and know that you would spend more time messing it up than you would making it better. As a driver, those days don't come around too often and I haven't seen it since." Hamlin opened the postseason with a convincing sixth-place effort last weekend as the top-finishing Toyota team at Chicagoland, potentially setting the tone for what could be a productive path through the Chase Grid. The nine-year veteran reiterated his view that the 10 playoff venues stack up favorably for his team's chances, but he's careful not to get ahead of himself as he searches for his first championship in NASCAR's premier series. "All my better race tracks are in the Chase. They really start getting good for me the last four races of the Chase," Hamlin said. "The key for us is to get eligible with four races to go and get to that final eight spots. If we can do that, then I feel on speed and our record on those second-to-last tracks, we can put ourselves in position to go to Homestead with a shot. That's looking so far ahead -- we have to concentrate on what we can do this weekend." 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
Dillon settles for third after leading 155 laps RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings SPARTA, Ky. -- From its pole-winning qualifying lap to triple-digit laps led, Ty Dillon 's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet was the car to beat in Saturday's VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway . After leading 155 of the race's 200 laps, the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 looked to have competition only in fellow rookie-of-the-year contender Chase Elliott . Yet as Elliott's No. 9 and Dillon's No. 3 fought side- by -side for the lead, it was Dillon's RCR teammate Brendan Gaughan who surprised them both by charging ahead. Brian Scott followed, moving ahead of Dillon and putting the driver with what seemed an ironclad grip on Victory Lane back to third. "This one definitely hurts," Dillon said. "I hate it for our Bass Pro Chevy guys. We had the night's dominant car and it was obvious that we really put it together as RCR and (Earnhardt Childress Racing engines) as a whole this weekend." The loss wasn't much easier for Scott, who earned his best finish of the season with the runner-up effort. "I think it was a toss-up between Ty and I, and he was a little better -- he was able to adjust his car in clean air where we were fighting with dirty air most of the race," Scott said. "At the end, I was proud of our guys to take four tires. I was surprised more cars didn't take four tires -- we had 50 laps on them and I was fighting a little bit loose … at the end it was too tight, probably needed one more round up on the track bar and we could've won this thing." RCR ended the night with all three of its full-time drivers in the top three. The finish shows the change the organization has seen since earlier this season, which saw Gaughan outside of the top 10 in all but two of the first 13 races, before his win at Road America . Second-place finisher Scott sat outside of the top 10 in seven of the first nine races this season. While Dillon frequented the top 10 earlier in the year, he didn't notch his first top-five finish until the 18th race of the season at Chicagoland Speedway . "We've all worked hard, we all realized we were pretty off in the beginning of the year and nobody was happy with it, nobody got complacent with it," Dillon said. "We fought hard. ECR stepped it up, and so did the guys at the race shop that don't get the credit; the guys behind the scenes, they stepped it up too." Even 22-year-old Cale Conley , who drove RCR's No. 33 Chevrolet in his ninth Nationwide Series start, finished in the top 10. With the clear addition of speed across the Richard Childress Racing fleet, the final laps at Kentucky came down to strategy, with the No. 3 on two fresh tires and the No. 2 and No. 62 on four fresh ones each. The race's eight cautions -- several of which landed in the race's closing 50 laps -- nudged both Dillon and Scott out of the running, and Gaughan into Victory Lane. "I think the series of cautions played against us … " Scott said. "I think we gave it some good restarts and got trapped on others. I wish I could do it over again, but I'm sure Ty feels the same way, and everybody but Brendan feels that way right now." Even without a trophy, Dillon's performance stands out among his record. His dominance surpassed his previous best of leading 130 laps in a NASCAR national series race in the Camping World Truck Series. His Indianapolis win earlier this year gave the driver his previous Nationwide Series best, with 24 laps out front. Even though it wasn't a win, Dillon's finish moved two points closer to Elliott in the points standings, and the driver continues to look forward to the contending for a title. "We don't ever give up, we don't ever let up," Dillon said. "I think that's kind of the RCR motto -- it starts with my grandfather and spreads through the whole company." 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
This episode of The Drive for Superior Performance Presented by Goodyear takes a look at tire testing at Chicagoland Speedway prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
No. 22 joins Team Penske teammate in Contender Round MORE: Full race results " Updated series standings RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota LOUDON, N.H. -- Out of the maelstrom that was New Hampshire Motor Speedway sped Joey Logano , who took control of Sunday's Sylvania 300 on a restart with 27 laps left and held on to win the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. But the crux of Sunday's race wasn't about Logano's fourth victory of the season and the second straight for Team Penske in the Chase. It wasn't about Logano winning for the seventh time in his career and punching his ticket into the second elimination round under NASCAR's new playoff format. It wasn't about Sunoco rookie Kyle Larson posting his second straight top-three finish. Yes, Larson ran second, passing third-place finisher Kevin Harvick on a green-white-checkered flag restart that took the race three laps past its scheduled distance, but Larson was almost an afterthought amid the chaos that scrambled the Chase standings. It wasn't about another strong run for Jamie McMurray , who finished fourth, or about a top-five for six-time champion Jimmie Johnson , who came home fifth. It wasn't about the crazy afternoon of polesitter Brad Keselowski , who ran back and forth through the field like a yo-yo, spun on Lap 194 of a scheduled 300 and nevertheless had a chance to win the race at the end before falling back to seventh on the restart that took the race to overtime. No, the crux of the race wasn't about the winner. It was about those who survived the crucible of pressure the Chase creates -- and those who didn't. It was about uncharacteristic mistakes on pit road. It was about the aggression and desperation on the track that left the cars of six of 16 Chase drivers in relative states of damage and disrepair. It was about Aric Almirola 's heroic drive to a sixth-place finish after the heartbreak of a late engine failure last week at Chicagoland Speedway . It was about a 13th-place finish for AJ Allmendinger , who re-entered the Chase conversation, as did Almirola, by avoiding the calamities that placed some of their more potent peers on the cusp of elimination. But first, credit to Logano, who survived a succession of restarts in a race littered with cautions -- 13 of a total 15 in the last 134 laps -- and prevailed on tires that, thanks to crew chief Todd Gordon's astute call with 53 laps left in regulation, were superior to those of the drivers in contention on the final restart. Logano won Sunday’s race at a track that gave him his first victory in NASCAR’s premier series -- but a win that will always have an asterisk in Logano's mind because it resulted from a fortunate pit call in a rain-shortened race. The call for four tires on Lap 247 helped Logano on Sunday, but he had to earn the win, and he did so with a bold charge past Harvick and Keselowski on the Lap 274 restart. "I thought we gave it away at that point," said Logano, who traded track position for the new rubber and restarted 16th on Lap 251. "But four tires were good, and we had some good restarts and were able to get ourselves back up there. We worked hard. This is my home race track, the coolest place to win for me. I could never pick a better race track to win. I watched my first Cup race here when I was 5, and I won that other Cup race here, but I just felt like I had to win one the right way here, and this means so much. "I've got to thank all the boys at Team Penske. We're doing what we've got to do to win this thing right now -- both teams are -- and I'm proud of that. This is my home track, so it means so much to me." If Logano was elated with the victory, other Chase drivers experienced a gamut of emotions that ranged from relief to abject misery. Kyle Busch crumpled the hood of his car in a wreck that started when Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth got loose in traffic on the backstretch. Busch's team did yeoman work to keep him on the lead lap, setting up an eighth-place finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought his No. 88 Chevrolet to pit road for an unscheduled stop on Lap 123 to tighten a loose wheel -- the result of a hurried-but-unsuccessful attempt to tighten the lugs -- and lost a lap in the process. But Earnhardt regained his lap under caution and salvaged a ninth-place finish, so no harm done to his hopes of advancing after next Sunday's race at Dover . Kenseth survived the melee with Busch on Lap 188 but was gobbled up in a wreck with Paul Menard on Lap 270 and finished 21st. When Busch slowed after contact with Kenseth, he was rear-ended by the No. 5 Chevy of Kasey Kahne , who obliterated the nose of his car. Kahne finished 23rd. Ryan Newman also got a piece of that same accident and came home 18th. But the real casualties of the afternoon were Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin , who finished 36th and 37th, respectively and saw their hopes of advancing to the next round take a serious turn for the worse. Hamlin led early but a problem with the fuel probe in his No. 11 Toyota prevented his crew from filling the fuel cell. All told, Hamlin lost four laps as his team tried to rectify the issue. But Hamlin's woes were far from over. On Lap 180, he slid into a Turn 2 wreck involving Martin Truex Jr . and David Ragan , knocked his right front wheel out of kilter and took the car to the garage. He lost another 34 laps before returning to the track. Kurt Busch had to return to pit road on Lap 109 to tighten a loose wheel. Busch fell one lap down after Harvick passed him on Lap 162, but got the lap back as the beneficiary under a debris caution called on Lap 170. But that was a brief reprieve. Busch was running 15th when he clobbered the Turn 3 wall on Lap 221. He lost 35 laps in the garage before returning on Lap 255. After Sunday's race, only 12 points separate Kenseth in eighth from Almirola in 16th, with Carl Edwards , Allmendinger, Kahne, Newman, Hamlin, Biffle and Kurt Busch in between. The tightness of the standings sets up a free-for-all next Sunday at the Monster Mile for the remaining spots in the Chase's second round. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
See where your favorite driver will line up on pit road MORE: Starting lineup RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Brad Keselowski , who seeks a sweep of both New Hampshire Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season and a sweep of the first two Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup events, will start on the Coors Light Pole in the Sylvania 300 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN). The first driver to advance to the Contender Round of the Chase Grid also earned the first pit pick on pit road, chose the first stall at pit exit toward Turn 1. Jamie McMurray, who qualified second, selected the 32nd stall on the Turn 4 side of pit road with an opening in front of him. The third-place qualifier, Kevin Harvick , picked the 29th pit stall with an opening ahead of him as well. The other Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, joining Keselowski and Harvick, picked the following pits: Joey Logano : Stall 3 Matt Kenseth : Stall 5 Kasey Kahne : Stall 7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. : Stall 9 Greg Biffle : Stall 15 Kyle Busch : Stall 19 AJ Allmendinger : Stall 21 Kurt Busch : Stall 26 Ryan Newman : Stall 28 Denny Hamlin : Stall 31 Aric Almirola : Stall 34 Jimmie Johnson : Stall 41 Jeff Gordon : Stall 42 Carl Edwards : Stall 43 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