Get to the points: Drivers eye duel advantage
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Lineups for the Duels " How the Duels work DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The opportunity to earn points and possibly a berth in the season-ending playoffs for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series begins in earnest here this weekend as drivers prepare for Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway . The first chance for points will present itself Thursday as Daytona hosts the annual Can-Am Duels (7 p.m. ET, FS1), two 60-lap qualifying races that will set the bulk of the field for Sunday's main event. For the first time since 1971, drivers finishing in the top 10 in the Duels will receive points (10th for first through one for 10th ). The ability to earn points in this year's event impacts strategy. "It will make a difference for David Ragan ," the Front Row Motorsports driver said Wednesday during NASCAR's annual Media Day at Daytona. "For me, points are what matter to a smaller team," Ragan, driver of the team's No. 38 Ford, said. "And every opportunity we have to gain some points we need to capitalize. "A team like Kevin Harvick 's who can lead a lot of laps, they're going to be fast, win some races, they can overcome not scoring points in a segment. They're going to be able to score a lot of points quicker but for a team that will be running in the mid-teens or low 20s, if we can score points at some segments or in the Duels … that could mean the difference in making the (playoffs) or not making (them). "So I think we will be a little more aggressive when it comes to these opportunities to gain points." RELATED: Fast facts on the race enhancements Harvick, the 2014 series champion, wins with frequency. He'll be going after career win No. 36 and a second Daytona 500 trophy this weekend at the wheel of the No. 4 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing . Looming large for teams heading into the Duels is the potential for damage -- scarring up the primary entry for the Daytona 500 just to earn a handful of points is a risky proposition. "I still want to race my primary car in the 500," Ragan said, adding that some of his best finishes in the race have come in back-up entries. "So it's not the end of the world … but I don't want to take any unnecessary risks and do something stupid. But I will be looking to gain some points on Thursday." Pete Hamilton, driving the No. 6 Plymouth fielded by Spartanburg, South Carolina for car owner Cotton Owens and David Pearson, in the No. 17 Holman -Moody Mercury, won the two qualifying races in '71, the last time points were awarded in the for the events. Richard Childress Racing driver Austin Dillon isn't worried about protecting his car for Sunday's 500 -- a lackluster qualifying effort has the youngster and his team searching for speed and answers. RELATED: Dillon discusses how slick the track is "I'm definitely going to do what I can to grab points in the Duel," Dillon said. &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;gt;
Live Eldora updates: Setting Wednesday's starting lineup
RELATED: Eldora race format Eldora is unique in both racing surface and format, especially when it comes to setting the starting lineup. Keystone Light Pole Qualifying determined the official pole winner ( Caleb Holman ), but it doesn't determine the starting order for the race, or even who starts first. It simply sets the lineups of the ensuing qualifying races, of which there are five. The finishing order from those events, plus a Last Chance Qualifying Race, sets the final order for the 32-truck field. Follow along with us here. We'll continually update results from the qualifying races and update the starting lineup, found at the bottom of this article.
No. 8 Camping World Truck Series team gets P2 penalty
NASCAR handed down a pair of penalties to Camping World Truck Series teams on Wednesday after a P2-grade post-race violation by NEMCO Motorsports and an in-race behavioral infraction by driver Caleb Holman at Iowa Speedway . The NEMCO No. 8 Chevrolet team was docked for failing to meet the proper ride height in a post-race inspection after pole-starter John Hunter Nemechek 's 12th-place finish in the Speediatrics 200 . The team was stripped of 10 championship points in both the drivers' and owners' standings, and crew chief Gere Kennon was fined $6,000 and placed on probation through the end of the year. After the points adjustment, Nemechek drops from sixth place to a tie for eighth place in the driver standings. Holman was fined $5,000 and also placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for approaching the racing surface after a crash with eight laps remaining. After exiting his wrecked No. 75 truck, Holman walked away from NASCAR officials and safety workers to gesture from the track apron at Austin Wayne Self's passing vehicle. Holman finished 26th in the 32-truck field; Self was 16th.
Byron wins second consecutive Truck Series race
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated Chase Grid NEWTON, Iowa -- Following his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of the season last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway , Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender William Byron used a late race restart and three-wide pass to charge from fourth to first to win Saturday night's Speediatrics 200 at Iowa Speedway . Byron, driving the No. 9 Liberty University Toyota Tundra, swiped the lead from Cole Custer on a restart with nine laps remaining, but a caution six laps from the finish saw the Charlotte, North Carolina, native have to defend his presence at the front. In a two-lap shootout, the 18-year-old Byron fended off challengers Custer and Cameron Hayley for a series-high third win in just his ninth Truck Series start. "My gosh, it's awesome just to be a part of Kyle Busch Motorsports and to have the group of guys I do," said Byron from Victory Lane. "It's amazing. I'm so fortunate to be in this position. "We had a couple setbacks there. I stalled it on pit road and I had a few setbacks on some restarts, but we kept after it until that last restart. It's awesome." Custer, with new crew chief Marcus Richmond, led three dramatic laps following a Lap 188 restart which saw the race lead exchange several times before Byron sailed away permanently on Lap 191. "For the first 10 laps or so, the others were probably better than us on four tires," said Custer, who recorded his season best finish. "After that it kind of equaled out. I thought I had them there when I took the lead. "I can't thank Marcus and everyone enough. They worked their tails off all weekend. I really appreciate that. I think we're going in the right direction." Byron, who led a race-high 107 laps, took the lead from pole sitter John Hunter Nemechek on a Lap 54 restart and led until the event's third caution. The running order changed dramatically following a caution on Lap 146 when five teams elected to take two tires during the final pit stop, handing the lead to Tyler Reddick . During the stop, Byron stalled his truck leaving pit road putting him 10th on the restart. Using four tires to combat his mistake, the NASCAR NEXT alumnus began carving his path through the field and found himself back in contention when the fourth yellow of the night waved just 24 laps from the checkered flag. The event was red flagged for five minutes, 46 seconds for track cleanup after an incident involving Caleb Holman and Derek Scott Jr. on Lap 174 . Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a stop at Gateway Motorsports Park for the running of the third annual Drivin' for Linemen 200 on Jun. 25.
Nemechek crashes late at Iowa
John Hunter Nemechek makes contact with Caleb Holman on Lap 157 at Iowa Speedway.
Ryan Blaney wins in overtime at Bristol
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated standings BRISTOL, Tenn -- A spin with four laps to go in Wednesday night's UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway proved to be the saving grace for Brad Keselowski Racing's Ryan Blaney , who grabbed the lead on a green-white-checkered restart to win his first race of the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Blaney recovered from an early race penalty for jumping a restart to find himself closing on leader Matt Crafton with five laps remaining. When Ty Dillon spun on Lap 196, it triggered the final caution of the night and the opportunity for Blaney to steal Crafton's thunder. On the final restart, Crafton's truck sputtered, failing to come up to speed, allowing Blaney to take off and seal his fourth career NCWTS victory. "It feels really good," Blaney said. "I'm proud of everyone on this No. 29 team. I've had a chance to drive this truck four times this year and we've come really, really close every single time and to finally get it to Victory Lane, my last start of the year for this truck, it really means a lot to get Chad (Kendrick, crew chief) and Brad (Keselowski, team owner) back to Victory Lane. "To do that in that fashion coming from a lap down and being able to drive through the field like that says a lot about our race team and a lot about what as an organization we can do." Keystone Light Pole Award winner Kyle Busch 's slow start allowed outside pole-sitter Blaney to steal the lead early by the exit of Turn 1, controlling the field through the first caution on Lap 31 for a spin in Turn 2. On the restart, Blaney roared away from the field, but a few laps later, NASCAR black-flagged him on Lap 37 for jumping the restart, forcing a pass-through penalty, giving the lead to Cole Custer . Busch, who restarted fifth, methodically worked his way forward and attempted to take the lead away from the young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner, but Custer kept Busch at bay through the race's second caution on Lap 79 for debris in Turn 1. Busch and Johnny Sauter would trade the lead following the caution, before Custer returned to the top spot on lap 90. A more than 1.5-second lead for Custer would be erased when Ray Black Jr . and Caleb Holman crashed in Turn 4 on lap 112. With darkening skies overhead and the threat of rain approaching the World's Fastest Half-Mile, a majority of the teams elected to stay out. Despite his best efforts, Crafton tried to snatch the lead away from the JR Motorsports driver, but to no avail. Custer slowly saw Crafton become a diminishing factor in his rear-view mirror until he hit heavy lap traffic with 50 laps remaining. That's when Spencer Gallagher spun in Turns 3 and 4, and Custer found himself trapped in the high-line and collided with Gallagher. Heavy front-end damage sent the No. 00 Chevrolet to pit road for repairs, eliminating the NASCAR Next driver from competition. As the accident happened, Crafton slipped by on the inside and took the lead -- which he held until the green-white-checkered restart that lost him the race. While under yellow for the fourth time of the night, heavy rain began to fall, causing a red flag for 45 minutes, 50 seconds while the track was dried. Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is the Aug. 30 race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the third-annual Chevrolet Silverado 250 . Blaney is the defending champion. MORE: Nemechek gets career-best finish
Kroger 200 entry list
See which drivers will compete as the series returns to Martinsville RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 00 Cole Custer Gene Haas Joe Shear 14 Chevrolet Haas Automation 2 0 Matt Tifft Kenneth Grimes Michael Stewart 13 Chevrolet TBA 3 02 Tyler Young Randy Young Bryan Berry 14 Chevrolet Randco/Young's Building Systems 4 05 John Wes Townley Tony Townley Mike Beam 14 Toyota Zaxby's 5 6 Norm Benning Norm Benning Kevin Dargie 14 Chevrolet TBA 6 07 B J McLeod Ken Smith Doug Weddle 13 Chevrolet TBA 7 08 Camden Murphy Bobby Dotter Jason Miller 13 Chevrolet TBA 8 8 John Hunter Nemechek Sidney Mauldin Jerry Babb 14 Toyota TBD 9 9 Brennan Newberry Joe Denette Ryan McKinney 14 Chevrolet Qore-24 10 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Jennifer Jo Cobb Steve Kuykendall 12 RAM Driven2Honor.org 11 13 Jeb Burton Duke Thorson Jeriod Prince 14 Toyota Estes-Carolina Nut Company 12 115 Mason Mingus Billy Boat Ben Leslie 14 Chevrolet 811 Call Before You Dig 13 17 Timothy Peters Tom Deloach Marcus Richmond II 14 Toyota Red Horse Racing 14 19 Tyler Reddick Brad Keselowski Doug Randolph 14 Ford Broken Bow Records 15 20 Gray Gaulding Bob Newberry Chris Rice 14 Chevrolet Gemini Southern / Krispy Kreme 16 21 Joey Coulter Maurice Gallagher Jr Jeff Stankiewicz 14 Chevrolet Allegiant Travel 17 23 Max Gresham Maurice Gallagher Jr Ryan London 14 Chevrolet AmWins Group, Inc. 18 29 Ryan Blaney Brad Keselowski Chad Kendrick 14 Ford Cooper Standard 19 31 Ben Kennedy Steve Turner Doug George 14 Chevrolet Heater.com 20 32 Alex Guenette Harry Scott Jr Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet MOTORS ILLIMITEES 21 133 Brandon Jones Maurice Gallagher Jr Shane Huffman 14 Chevrolet TBA 22 35 TBA Kevin Cywinski Mark Rette 14 Toyota TBA 23 50 T J Bell Mark Beaver Tim Sliva 14 Chevrolet TBA 24 51 Erik Jones Kyle Busch Eric Phillips 14 Toyota ToyotaCare 25 54 Darrell Wallace Jr Kyle Busch Jerry Baxter 14 Toyota 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott 26 63 Justin Jennings Michael Mittler Michael Mittler 14 Chevrolet Mittler Bros Machine & Tool/LG Seeds/Ski Soda 27 74 Wendell Chavous Mike Harmon TBA 13 Chevrolet Vydox 28 175 Caleb Holman Charles Henderson Darrell Holman 14 Chevrolet Food Country USA-Gain Flings-Lopez Wealth Mgmt. 29 77 German Quiroga Tom Deloach Butch Hylton 14 Toyota OtterBox 30 180 Jody Knowles Tracy Wallace Wayne Hansard 09 Ford Clayton Signs, Inc. 31 182 Cody Erickson John Corr Michael Cheek 13 Ford Performance Auto 32 186 Brandon Brown Jerry Brown Adam Brenner 13 Chevrolet Willmar Concrete Pumping 33 187 Charles Buchanan Jr Charles Buchanan Jr Craig Wood 13 Ford Spring Drug 34 88 Matt Crafton Rhonda Thorson Carl Joiner 14 Toyota Ideal Door/Menards 35 92 Austin Hill Ricky Benton Michael Hester 14 Ford BTS Tire/ Goodyear Fleet HQ/ Wynns 36 98 Johnny Sauter Mike Curb Jeff Hensley 14 Toyota Smokey Mountain/Curb Records 37 99 Bryan Silas Chris Baluch Cal Boprey 14 Chevrolet TBA MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Truck Series qualifying order for Martinsville
See the order the trucks will go off in for qualifying (Sat., 10:15 a.m. ET, FS1) # Car Driver Team 1 99 Bryan Silas Bell Trucks America Inc. Chevrolet 2 07 BJ McLeod RaceTrac Chevrolet 3 05 * John Wes Townley Zaxby's Toyota 4 35 Peyton Sellers Danville Toyota Toyota 5 00 * Cole Custer Haas Automation Chevrolet 6 51 Erik Jones ToyotaCare Toyota 7 21 Joey Coulter Allegiant Travel Chevrolet 8 02 Tyler Young # Randco/Young's Building System Chevrolet 9 23 * Max Gresham Amwins Group Inc. Chevrolet 10 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Driven2Honor.org RAM 11 92 * Austin Hill BTS Tire/Goodyear Fleet HQ/Wynns For 12 0 * Matt Tifft Chevrolet 13 98 Johnny Sauter Smokey Mountain/Curb Records Toyota 14 33 * Brandon Jones Russell/Grupo Friopecas Chevrolet 15 20 Gray Gaulding # Gemini Southern/Krispy Kreme Chevrolet 16 50 TJ Bell Dedicated to Electrical Linemen Chevrolet 17 77 German Quiroga Otterbox Toyota 18 88 Matt Crafton Ideal Door/Menards Toyota 19 75 * Caleb Holman Food Country USA/Gain Flings/Lopez Wealth Mgmt. Chevrolet 20 74 * Wendell Chavous Vydox Chevrolet 21 87 * Charles Buchanan Jr. Spring Drug Ford 22 8 John H. Nemechek SWM Toyota 23 6 Norm Benning Tom Corbett for PA Governor Chevrolet 24 34 Darrell Wallace Jr. 2015 NASCAR HOF Inductee Wendell Scott Toyota 25 15 * Mason Mingus # 811 Call Before You Dig Chevrolet 26 86 * Brandon Brown Willmar Concrete Pumping Chevrolet 27 82 * Cody Erickson Haugeberg Farms/PSI/Performance Auto Ford 28 93 * Dustin Hapka Sure-Step Chevrolet 29 31 Ben Kennedy # Heater.com Chevrolet 30 13 Jeb Burton Estes/Carolina Nut Company Toyota 31 80 * Jody Knowles Clayton Signs Inc. Ford 32 63 Justin Jennings Papa Murphy's/Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Chevrolet 33 17 Timothy Peters Red Horse Racing Toyota 34 29 Ryan Blaney Cooper Standard Ford 35 9 Brennan Newberry Qore-24 Chevrolet 36 19 Tyler Reddick # Broken Bow Records Ford 37 08 Camden Murphy Ronald McDonald House Charities Chevrolet 38 32 Alex Guenette Motos Illimitees Chevrolet * Required to qualify on time, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Former Virginia Tech player Caleb Hurd talks pit stops, Battle at Bristol
One play, one stop. A kick and punt return -- or five lugnuts and four tires. Football, air gun. The differences between NASCAR pit stops and the game of football are striking -- but according to former Virginia Tech place holder and current No. 11 gas man/engineer Caleb Hurd, the mentality is the same. Tough. "You can go out there and block a punt or something and spin the whole game around," Hurd said Aug. 19 at Bristol Motor Speedway , site of Saturday's Battle at Bristol between the Hokies and University of Tennessee. "So that's the way pit stops work. You can blow the race, you can help the race, you can be a non-factor … So the mentality is the same -- you just focus on your next job. Think small, don't think about the big picture because you don't have to. "And you've just got to be mentally tough." Mentally tough has been a mantra of Hurd's for two decades: He began his collegiate athletic career playing football under beloved head coach Frank Beamer at Tech from 1996-99. During that period, the Hokies went 37-11, making appearances at the Orange Bowl in 1996 and the national championship under the leadership of quarterback Michael Vick in the 1999 Sugar Bowl (played in 2000). "My first year it was awesome to go to the Orange Bowl when I was a freshman because growing up, it was like the biggest thing in the world," the Pulaski, Virgina, native said. " We played Nebraska, who was just coming off a national title. So that was like an introduction to the big leagues a little bit. "And of course, the national championship game, just to be a part of it, even though we didn't get to win. We were with Vick, we were leading in the fourth quarter … Just the crowd, the excitement … It was just a lot of fun. A lot of rings out of the deal, so that's cool." Since moving into NASCAR full-time as an engineer and pit crew member in 2001, Hurd's ring collection has grown quite a bit: He started his racing endeavor interning with Hendrick Motorsports ' engineering department as a college student. Upon graduation, he began working double-duty as an engineer and pit performer with Jimmie Johnson 's newly formed crew and then Jeff Gordon 's No. 24 crew before ultimately moving to Joe Gibbs Racing with 2016 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin ’s No. 11 car. "I was kind of a local guy growing up near Virginia Tech so I just liked racing in general," Hurd said. "So that's why I went to Virginia Tech to get an engineering degree -- I didn't know if I would get in NASCAR, but that was my goal. And playing football, when they had the pit crew tryouts for Jimmie Johnson 's team, it was an opportunity to stay on the sports side of the sport, versus just the engineering. "It's kind of like being a scholar athlete still, I get to do my engineering job during the week and get to come out here on weekends and have a little fun going over the wall." Hurd's entrance into the sport was interesting, as teams around that time were just starting to use pit crew members that were first athletes -- rather than shop mechanics who moonlighted as pit performers. "(My first year) I was on a team with mechanics and stuff and I was the first kind of guy that did an athletic sport first and came in to do this," Hurd said. "Then, (I) was at Hendrick when the transition happened to just start recruiting these guys and train them to do pit stops. "It's not like other sports where you learn it in high school and then college. You don't learn pit stops until you start doing pit stops. You have the athletic ability, but you definitely have to learn the craft to go along with it. If you can do both, you definitely have a big career ahead of you. "But luckily the craft is so important to it, that's why some of us old guys are still around," Hurd said with a smile. Hurd's worlds of NASCAR and college football will merge in a different light when the Battle at Bristol -- a face-off between Hurd's Hokies and the Tennessee Volunteers -- takes place at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 10. For someone who went from dressing in maroon and orange uniforms to putting on a fire suit each weekend, Hurd believes the gameday atmosphere will be similar to a NASCAR event at the Last Great Colosseum. "I'm curious how much crowd noise can actually be generated," Hurd said of Bristol's deafening reputation. "I feel like it should be pretty loud, so I'm sure it will be. But when we get racing, we don't hear the crowd anymore -- it's usually blocked out at that point. "… I'll be checking scores and crossing fingers."
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