Truex leads speedsters in first practice at Michigan
RELATED: Practice 1 results " Top 10 consecutive lap averages Martin Truex Jr . flew to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leaderboard Friday as soaring speeds dominated opening practice at Michigan International Speedway . Truex pushed the Furniture Row No. 78 Toyota to a best lap of 201.545 mph on the 2-mile track. He was the fastest of 10 drivers to break the 200 -mph barrier. The clocking was well above the 199.557 mph lap that clinched the Coors Light Pole Award for Joey Logano in Michigan qualifying in June. Jimmie Johnson was second-fastest in opening preparation for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), recording a lap of 201.134 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet. Logano ( 200 .966 mph), rookie Ryan Blaney ( 200 .775 mph) and Kyle Larson ( 200 .730 mph) completed the top five. This weekend marks what is expected to be the final audition for the premier series' 2017 aerodynamic rules package, which is intended to reduce the effects of downforce and sideforce. The series also used the package in Michigan's 400-miler in June. Race officials also took measures to try to widen the racing groove, using a tire-dragging vehicle to build rubber into the asphalt. The "Tire Dragon" truck was used in the days leading up to Friday's on-track activity. Jeffrey Earnhardt brought out the practice's only stoppage with just less than 10 minutes remaining, scraping the outside retaining wall in Turn 2 and causing significant damage to his Go FAS Racing No. 32 Ford. Earnhardt indicated to NBCSN that the team would unload a reserve car before qualifying. Defending Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch was sixth-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. Defending race winner Matt Kenseth , his JGR teammate in the No. 20 Toyota, was 18th-fastest in the 85-minute session. Four drivers were docked 15 minutes of practice time for minor infractions. Those were Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards , Richard Childress Racing driver Paul Menard and BK Racing 's Matt DiBenedetto . Coors Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN). Two additional Sprint Cup practices are set Saturday (8:30-9:25 a.m. ET, 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. ET). Both Saturday practices will be televised on CNBC.
Keselowski hits home with Careers for Veterans
RELATED: Reddick tops final practice at Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. -- As the owner of a two-truck organization, Brad Keselowski has more than a passing interest in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. That interest increased exponentially this weekend as the series visits Michigan International Speedway . The 2-mile track hosts Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200 , a collaborative sponsorship effort between Cooper Standard and Keselowski's own Checkered Flag Foundation. Cooper Standard, which has been affiliated with Keselowski since 2011, is also the primary sponsor for the organization's No. 29 Ford driven by Tyler Reddick , one of two entries fielded by Brad Keselowski Racing. Teammate Daniel Hemric competes in the No. 19 Ford. The Careers for Veterans program, run by Cooper Standard, provides career opportunities for military veterans as well as those transitioning from active service. It's an endeavor embraced by Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation as well. "It started through my foundation, which has some similar efforts helping members of the community," Keselowski said of the sponsorship association. "Careers for Veterans is one of those examples. It kind of grew into this relationship -- 'Hey, we're both from Michigan, we both have the same goals and initiatives. What can we put together?' " Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, hails from Rochester Hills, Michigan. Cooper Standard, based in Novi, Michigan, specializes in the production and marketing of various automotive components and systems. Keselowski competes for Team Penske and is used to dealing with a variety of sponsors and understands their various goals. The connection between Cooper Standard and his foundation, "is not your typical pact," he said. "Usually there are B-to-B (business-to-business) plays, marketing plays, but usually it's not foundation-related," he said. "The way Cooper Standard allows me to give back to the sport is two-fold. One, it's with the race team, the people that are on it that have a spot to work and hopefully grow and prosper whether it be for their families or their future career which is something I enjoy immensely. "But also I get the chance to connect the foundation to what I do which is very difficult. I think it's very important to show to others that we have a commitment to looking out to others who are less fortunate or have had some tough times. "I think that's an important part of the sport, the ability to realize and acknowledge how well off we have it and to try to ... be an example of that realization and efforts to do something with it." The race sponsorship at MIS has been in place since 2014. Keselowski said 3,000 guests of Cooper Standard will be on hand this weekend for the event. Reddick, 10th in points, said everyone in the organization understands the added importance of this weekend's race. "This is my first year of driving (with Cooper Standard sponsorship), but I've been a part of this team long enough to know how important it is to everybody," he said. "It goes unsaid. "Everyone understands and knows what this race means to Brad and Cooper Standard, all the veterans that will be here and all the ones watching at home. "We all understand what we have to do and hopefully we can go do just that."
Weather delays Michigan Camping World Truck race
RELATED: Race leaderboard " Live weather, radar updates The start of Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200 Presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation has been delayed by inclement weather in the area of Michigan International Speedway . The 100-lap race was originally scheduled to get underway at 1:13 p.m. ET on FS1, but that was before rain and thunderstorms moved across the 2-mile track. After about a two-and-a-half hour delay, the green flag for the race came at 3:47 p.m. ET. John Wes Townley won the pole position in his No. 05 Jive Communications/Zaxby's Chevrolet. Alongside Townley on the front row is two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton in the No. 88 Great Lakes Flooring/Menards Toyota for ThorSport Racing. Five-time Truck Series winner William Byron starts third in the No. 9 Liberty University Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Alongisde Byron in Row 2 is the No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota of Timothy Peters , who holds the eighth and final spot in the Chase Grid. The Michigan race is the 14th of the season and third-to-last before the Chase field is set after the Chicagoland race on Sept. 16
Last-lap pass leads Moffitt to victory at Michigan
RELATED: Full race results " Standings BROOKLYN, Mich. -- In five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, Brett Moffitt had never led a lap. But in Saturday's Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway , Moffitt picked the perfect time to take the point for the first time. Powering around Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters and five-time series winner William Byron off the second corner of the final lap at the two-mile track, Moffitt held off Peters by .098 seconds to win a NASCAR national series race for the first time. Moffitt's victory, however, left Shane Huffman, Peters' crew chief, slapping his seat on the pit box in frustration. Peters, who led a race-high 42 laps, could have locked himself into the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase with a victory. Running a limited schedule this season, Moffitt is ineligible for the championship this year. But Moffitt made no apologies for taking advantage of the opportunity that presented itself when Byron pushed Peters into Turn 3 on the white-flag lap, cut to the inside and slowed both trucks down. Moffitt cruised around the outside off Turn 2 on the final lap and kept Peters behind him. "I'm here to win," Moffitt said. "I said it earlier and I'll say it again. I'm not going to wreck him (Peters) for it. I'm going to race him clean because I know he needs to get in the Chase, but this team needs to win and these guys deserve to win. "That's what we come to do, and our partners at Toyota want to do the same, and we got it." Daniel Hemric passed Byron on the last lap to come home third, with Byron following in fourth and Cameron Hayley in fifth. The good news for both Peters and Hemric was the wide margin both drivers opened over their closest pursuers in the race to make the Chase. Though winless this year, Hemric and Peters lead Cameron Hayley by 55 and 47 points, respectively, in the battle for the last two Chase spots. If no new winner surfaces in the final two regular-season races, both Hemric and Peters are highly likely to qualify on points. "It's a good day for Red Horse Racing," Peters said. "Congrats to Brett Moffitt . One-two finish. I wish we were 'one,' but all in all, the company brings the trophy back. The 9 (Byron) locked onto our bumper there in Turn 2 and pushed us really hard down into Turn 3. "We had to do all we had to do to stay in front. ... Tough to swallow right there, but it felt good to run the way we did all day." Both Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick entered the race needing to win to make the Chase. Reddick's Ford bounced off the side of Johhny Sauter's Chevrolet on Lap 70 and sustained heavy damage during contact with the Turn 3 wall. Custer, however, had the lead for a restart on Lap 84, only to lose control and spin into the Turn 4 wall, grazing the left rear of Moffitt's No. 11 Toyota in the process. "We didn't have the raw speed of the guys up front, but it drove pretty well, and it was hard to keep those guys off of me," Custer said. "The 11 (Moffitt) stopped pushing me -- which it's his right to do that. "We were kind of losing the 17 (Peters) there. He (Moffitt) went to the outside and I started getting tight. Once he got on my door, I got loose and over-corrected it. I just hate it for my guys that brought a great truck." Like Hayley, Custer and Reddick will have two more chances to force their way into the Chase by winning one of the final two regular-season races.
Heavy crash sidelines Bell, Gallagher early at Michigan
RELATED: Results " Standings BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Spencer Gallagher said he didn't know how fast he was going when his No. 23 Chevrolet collided with the No. 4 Toyota of Christopher Bell . "I don't want to know," a shaken Gallagher said after exiting the care center Saturday, the Careers for Veterans 200 under caution and workers clearing debris from the hard two-truck crash. Bell, his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota running second, had charged inside of leader Cole Custer (JR Motorsports) in Turn 3 on Lap 75 of the 100-lap NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. But the back end of the vehicle tried to pass the front end -- spinning up the track and into the path of the oncoming entry of Gallagher. The impact was frightening. So much so that Gallagher, after exiting his truck, quickly made his way back to Bell's damaged vehicle. "That was a vicious hit for me so I had to see that he was fine," Gallagher, battling for fourth at the time, said. "Everyone is jockeying so hard for position and it's so easy to pull another guy around, not even trying to, just racing hard. … "Poor Christopher got sucked around on the bottom there; I tried to get up and away from him as quickly as I could and couldn't get it done in time. After I came to rest, I didn't know where I hit him but I didn't think I got him in any kind of a good place. I got out and took off running to him because I was afraid for the safety of a fellow competitor. "I was just hoping so much in my heart he was all right. It put the fear of God in me, seeing how that unfolded. Apologies to the safety officials for having to chase after my dumb ass but I needed to see with my own eyes that he was OK." The race, delayed by rain, was won by Brett Moffitt with a last-lap pass. Bell, who was also was not injured, was credited with a 24th-place finish; Gallagher was scored in 25th. "Just really bummed for everybody who works on this (truck)," Bell said afterward, "because we had a really fast Tundra today. I felt like I did a really good job all race just kind of biding my time. "I knew I had a fast truck and was just trying to take care of it. I got the opportunity there late in the race … maybe should have waited a little bit but had the opportunity. I tried to take it and it didn't work out." Bell fell to seventh in points but with a win at St. Louis earlier this season, is basically assured of a spot in this year's inaugural Chase for the series. "Kind of frustrated with myself there," he said. "Still had a lot of race to go. … Maybe it was a little too early to go for it." Gallagher dropped two spots to 14th. Officials called Gallagher to the hauler after the race for exiting his truck and approaching another vehicle. "They're going to want to talk to me," he said. "I understand it's against … policy but in that moment I was concerned about Christopher. … There were plenty of safety officials around me, there were no active race cars around so I took off running; I needed to see him with my own eyes."
Hamlin tops chart, spins in final Michigan practice
RELATED: Full practice results " Top 10 consecutive lap averages Denny Hamlin set the pace in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Saturday at Michigan International Speedway , but damaged his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota in a spin midway through the session. Hamlin, who qualified third in Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying, clocked a lap of 197.878 mph in Saturday's final practice. The session, originally scheduled for 50 minutes, was halted with approximately 27 minutes left because of lightning in the area of the 2-mile track. Hamlin told NBCSN that the car got loose "out of the blue" as he navigated Turn 4. He avoided contact with the wall, but did slight damage when the nose of his car dug into the grass bordering the frontstretch. Hamlin indicated the team did not expect to deploy the reserve car. RELATED: All the cars at Michigan as they'll line up Rookie Chase Elliott was second-fastest at 197.786 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. He was followed by two Hendrick teammates on the leaderboard -- third-fastest Jimmie Johnson (197.694 mph) and fourth-best Kasey Kahne (197.455 mph). Michigan native Brad Keselowski completed the top five in the final prep for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). Team Penske teammate Joey Logano , who secured the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying, was seventh-fastest. Alex Bowman , subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr . in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet, was 10th-fastest at 196.969 mph. Stewart atop Saturday's early practice Tony Stewart topped the speed chart in Saturday's morning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at Michigan International Speedway ahead of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Stewart circled the 2-mile track in his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet with a fast time of 202.122 mph to pace the 55-minute practice session. "Smoke" has one win in the Irish Hills in 33 starts there. Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, 201.427 mph) and Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, 201.196 mph) came in second and third, respectively. Both drivers are in search of their first win in the sport's top series. Kurt Busch (No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, 201.089 mph) and Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet, 200 .932 mph) completed the top five. Alex Bowman , who will pilot the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the sidelined Dale Earnhardt Jr . this weekend, placed eighth in practice. All told, 12 drivers crossed the 200 mph mark on their laps Saturday morning. Polesitter Joey Logano placed 16th in the session. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Final Laps: Bully Hill Vineyards 200
Kyle Busch blows by Ron Hornaday off the restart to capture his second straight CWTS victory at Nashville.
Ben-Hur's Jack Huston to drive pace car at The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 29, 2016) -- Jack Huston, star of the upcoming epic action adventure "BEN-HUR" from Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, will drive a 2016 Toyota Camry pace car to kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It™ 355 at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 7. This will be Huston’s first time serving as an Official Pace Car drive at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. He will also be recognized during pre-race ceremonies and will greet each NASCAR driver on stage during driver introductions. "I am excited to join NASCAR and get behind the wheel of today’s modern chariot," said Huston. "BEN-HUR" is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption. Based on Lew Wallace's timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The film also stars Rodrigo Santoro, Nazanin Boniadi, Ayelet Zurer, Pilou Asbaek, Sofia Black D’Elia and Morgan Freeman. Timur Bekmambetov directed the film from a screenplay by Keith Clarke and John Ridley. Sean Daniel, Joni Levin, and Duncan Henderson served as producers, with Mark Burnett, Roma Downey, Keith Clarke, John Ridley, and Jason F. Brown serving as executive producers. "BEN-HUR" will be released in theaters on August 19, 2016. Huston previously starred for four seasons in HBO's hit series, Boardwalk Empire, as the sniper with the horribly disfigured face, 'Richard Harrow.' In 2013, Huston appeared in the critically acclaimed and award-winning film American Hustle, where he played mobster 'Pete Musane.' Additionally, he starred as 'Young Ira' in George Tillman Jr.'s film adaption of the Nicholas Sparks novel, The Longest Ride. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Watkins Glen International August 4-7 for the Cheez-It™ 355 race weekend, which also features the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Bully Hill Vineyards 100, and the NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200 at The Glen. Tickets for all of the action are available by calling 1-866-461-RACE or by logging on to www.theglen.com . Fans can also watch the Cheez-It™ 355 live on USA at 2:30 p.m. ET or listen on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Located within five (5) hours (~300 miles) of 25 percent of the US population, Watkins Glen International is the premier road racing facility in North America, voted "Best NASCAR Track" by readers of USA Today. Keep up with The Glen on Facebook and Twitter. For tickets, call 866-461-RACE or visit www.theglen.com.
Post-Race Reactions: Bully Hill Vineyards 200
An excited Nelson Piquet Jr. and a disappointed Ron Hornaday comment on the race in Nashville, as well as the rest of the top finishers.
Heads up: Michigan/Road America weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Michigan International Speedway and Road America . WEATHER In Brooklyn, Michigan, the forecast shows partly cloudy skies with a 50 percent chance of rain, scattered thunderstorms during the day and a high of 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – the site of the XFINITY Road America race -- calls for a mix of sunshine and clouds with scattered thunderstorms, a 60 percent chance of rain and a high of 73 degrees Fahrenheit. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The Sprint Cup Series holds its first practice and Coors Light Pole qualifying session on Friday, beginning at noon and 5:15 p.m. ET, respectively. The race begins at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday on NBCSN/NBC Sports App. XFINITY Series: The XFINITY Series practices twice at Road America on Friday (10 a.m. and noon ET) before qualifying at 6:35 p.m. ET. The race takes place Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App. Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series has its pair of practices on Friday, beginning at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET. The race gets underway Saturday at 1 p.m. on FS1. CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We stream every driver press conference in the media center at NASCAR.com/presspass . The Michigan press conferences begin Friday with Camping World Truck Series drivers Tyler Reddick (11:30 a.m.) and Cameron Hayley (11:45 a.m.), followed by Sprint Cup Series' Austin Dillon (2 p.m.), Greg Biffle (2:15 p.m.) and Alex Bowman (3:45 p.m.), who is filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr . in the No. 88 Chevorlet. LAST TIME Joey Logano dominated the event, leading 138 of the 200 laps and earning Team Penske 's 50th Sprint Cup career victory and 100th premier series win for Roush Yates Engines. Rookie Chase Elliott contended for the win, passing Logano for the lead briefly at Lap 117, but Logano ultimately took back the top spot for the win, while Elliott finished second. YOU SHOULD KNOW ... • Kyle Busch called Brad Keselowski a "dirty racer" following the pair's collision in Friday night's XFINITY race at Bristol Motor Speedway . The two stayed away from one another in Sunday's Sprint Cup event, but will there be leftover tension in the Irish Hills? • The No. 3 team is eyeing Victory Lane this weekend: After Sunday's rain-delayed race at Bristol, No. 3 crew chief Slugger Labbe said that they've had Michigan -- one of driver Austin Dillon 's favorite tracks -- circled on their team calendar and Dillon is looking to earn his first Sprint Cup win in the Irish Hills. • Pocono winner Chris Buescher launched himself into the top 30 with a top-five finish last weekend at Bristol. To make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , the rookie needs to maintain or improve upon his 30th-place position in the driver standings in the three races before the playoffs begin. • Michigan has produced a different Sprint Cup winner in each of the last five races at the two-mile track. Four of the last six winners have started from the pole position.