NASCAR VP: 'A little infraction is an infraction'
NASCAR Senior VP of Competition, Scott Miller, explains why NASCAR took action on several infractions during Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway.
JGR cars sent back through Talladega qualifying inspection
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- NASCAR asked three Joe Gibbs Racing teams to make adjustments on their Toyotas just before Coors Light Pole Award qualifying Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway . The cars driven by reigning Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch and his JGR teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth were flagged in the minutes before qualifying. As the cars were being rolled out to the track, NASCAR noticed the right rear quarter panels had been manipulated around the deck lid area. NASCAR inspectors pulled the cars out of line, and the teams corrected the issue before going back through tech. Kenseth led the team with a third-place qualifying effort and will start Sunday's Hellmann's 500 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) from the second row. Hamlin will start eighth. Busch will begin 14th . Carl Edwards , who drove the only JGR car not tagged at inspection, will start 13th . However, Edwards' No. 19 team did lose its pit stall selection for a fourth warning related to inspections. Kenseth's team lost its pit stall selection for the same reason. "The bodies on these cars can be pushed and prodded and these teams are very smart at the areas … for a bunch of little gains," NASCAR's Senior Vice President for Competition Scott Miller said. "It's nothing huge but it's our job to make sure it's even across the board and that's what we do. A little infraction is an infraction, right? "The quarter panels appeared to have been messed with around the deck lid and we brought them back in and rectified it." Busch said after qualifying that he wasn't too concerned with the situation. "Not my problem," Busch said. "I just worry about driving and doing the best I can do there, so did everything right and we ended up exactly where we thought we were going to -- 14th -- so we'll take it. That's fine and we'll go racing tomorrow and see what happens from there." He said his No. 18 Snickers Halloween Toyota didn't really feel any different from Friday practice to Saturday qualifying. "Everything was really the same, you know?" Busch said. "We did some single-car stuff yesterday just barely. Didn't really do a full mock run or anything and taping it down or anything like that, but knew we had decent speed." "... We'd love to be able to finish these things and that's all we've got to worry about tomorrow is being able to capture the right amount of points and be able to move on." &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Logano: Skill, preparation outweigh luck at Talladega
RELATED: Weekend schedule " Chase Grid TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Joey Logano smiled a little and didn't waste any time with his answer. "No." No, the defending race winner will not race any differently at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon despite needing an overwhelmingly positive result to advance to the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Eight drivers will move on to challenge for the title. Logano is currently ranked eighth -- owning a tiebreaker over ninth-place Austin Dillon . But the eight-year veteran insisted Friday before opening practice at Talladega that his approach and demeanor this weekend would remain the same as it was last year, when he carried a two-race winning streak onto Dega's high banks and ultimately hoisted that trophy, too. "Honestly, (it's) not much different, which is a good thing,'' said Logano, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford. "I feel like our team is in a good spot. We had a great run last weekend in Kansas. We did make up some points. We're in a great spot with having a really bad Charlotte, so our team has a lot of confidence in themselves. "We know we can do this. We're coming into a race track that we know we're good at. We know we can win here. Is the situation different? Obviously, it is. Last year, we were locked in. There was nothing to worry about. This year, we're not, but we still have the same goal, so why should we approach the race any different?" Logano opened this second round of the Chase with a 36th-place finish at Charlotte and rebounded with a third-place effort at Kansas Speedway last weekend. Interestingly, when asked if he felt any pressure racing for his championship life at perhaps the most unpredictable venue in the Chase, the 26-year-old reminded that his approach is full throttle. Never defensive. "I don't really think about how people are trying to knock me out, I think about how I'm gonna knock other people out,'' Logano said. "That's my attitude. If I'm on defense, we're not gonna win. We better stay on offense. That's what this 22 team does. We're gonna go out there and race hard because that's what we know how to do when we come to speedways. "Some guys can do it good the other way but, for us, we're gonna go out there and race hard and try to stay up front, try to keep making our car better for the end of the race and to be there at the end." There is reason to believe Logano could solidify a Chase position. He has had solid, if inconsistent, results here outside his victory. And Logano's Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski won at Talladega this spring and at Daytona this summer. RELATED: Keselowski unfazed by Talladega pressure When asked what matters more, skill and preparation or just plain luck -- as many have suggested -- Logano didn't hesitate. "I think it's all skill and preparation -- 100 percent in my opinion,'' Logano said. "You create your own luck. That's what I think. There might be a chance you run over something or something happens, but some things are just meant to be and some things aren't. But if you can work and do everything you can do and prepare yourself to go out there and be the best, then that's all you can do. I feel like that makes it, in my opinion, a lot about preparation." As for Logano, he seemed completely optimistic, perhaps even confident about his chances Sunday afternoon. "Speedway racing isn't as much of a crapshoot as a lot of people like to believe it is,'' Logano said. "It sounds like it's just an excuse to me. I think there is a lot of strategy and a lot of knowledge that has to go into playing this game. "We've had a good, solid speedway program at Team Penske the last couple years and when you come to Talladega you get excited about it. It's not quite like that for everybody, but for us, we get excited about speedway racing and the opportunity that presents itself this weekend, so we're ready to get on the race track and see what we've got.''
Grant Enfinger earns first win in Talladega truck thriller
RELATED: Race results " Updated Truck Series Chase Grid TALLADEGA, Ala. – In the race that decided the lineup for the Round of 6 in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, Alabama native Grant Enfinger stole the thunder from the playoff drivers in Saturday's fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway . With a strong push from GMS Racing teammate and Chase driver Ben Kennedy after a restart on Lap 93 of 94, Enfinger surged to the front and stayed there in the face of a last-lap challenger from another teammate, Spencer Gallagher , who came home second, .108 seconds behind the winner. The victory was Enfinger's first in 13 career starts in the series. "It's unbelievable," said Enfinger, who led the first-ever 1-2 finish for GMS. "It's my home track. It's just so special." RELATED: 'Big One' shakes up Trucks Chase The race reduced the NCWTS Chase field from eight drivers to six. Third-place finisher Timothy Peters was the highest finisher among those who advanced, followed by Kennedy in fifth place, as GMS drivers claimed four of the top seven positions. "I got behind Grant Enfinger and tried to push him as much as I could," said Kennedy, who shoved his teammate's No. 24 Chevrolet to the front in the outside lane. "I knew the outside line had a little bit of something. I pushed him as much as I could, and once he got out to the lead, that truck was so fast out there. "I thought about trying to make it three-wide, but I didn't really have the momentum to carry it around him." Also moving on to the Round of 6 were sixth-place finisher Christopher Bell , GMS driver Johnny Sauter (seventh on Saturday), 10th-place finisher William Byron (who already had clinched a spot with a victory in the opening Chase race at New Hampshire) and Matt Crafton (who came home 22nd after his blown engine caused the seventh and final caution on Lap 89). WATCH: Nemechek out after his engine expires John Hunter Nemechek was eliminated from the Chase early in the race. The engine in his No. 8 Chevrolet expired on Lap 13, and Nemechek retired in 32nd place. Daniel Hemric , who entered the race below the Chase cut line, remained there thanks to three separate incidents on Saturday, the most costly a 14-car wreck on Lap 59 that severely damaged his No. 19 Ford. Hemric finished 11th, but fell 13 points short of Crafton, whose engine problems occurred too late to be of help to Hemric, given that 10 other trucks already were in the garage when Crafton’s motor blew. "Today was completely full of trials and trying to overcome things," Hemric said. "All we can do now is try to win races. It wasn’t for lack of effort. We got involved in three or four different situations there and never had the opportunity to get back to the front." Sunoco Rookie Rico Abreu finished fourth, his second top-five of the season and his best result in the series on pavement. Byron is the top seed in the Round of 6, followed by Bell, Peters, Crafton, Kennedy and Sauter. All six drivers start the Round of 6 with points reset to 3,000. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Junior finds Intimidator's dirt car roof, more tweets
Editor's note: Every Friday, "Tweets You Might Have Missed" will present eight of the best NASCAR-related tweets from the week. 1. Through the help of a good friend, I acquired this roof today. Was from a dirt car my father drove in 1982. Very grateful to have it. pic.twitter.com/bnW545ZAAp — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) October 19, 2016 2. @JeffGordonWeb Staying busy in NY! @LiveWithKelley and @ciara , hanging with @JerrySeinfeld and @michaelstrahan pic.twitter.com/yCNigQf4QD — Ingrid Vandebosch (@ivandebosch) October 19, 2016 3. My guys think they're funny @Team_FRM pic.twitter.com/LJPeJg51jy — landon cassill (@landoncassill) October 18, 2016 4. A little bump-drafting practice to get ready for @TalladegaSuperS . Did not end well for daddy. pic.twitter.com/h17p6cphH7 — Brian Scott (@bscottracing) October 20, 2016 5. Sorry mom! #lookbackatit pic.twitter.com/9w3NJBklTo — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) October 19, 2016 6. Found my helper for today's workout pic.twitter.com/ap4ybPLBSt — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) October 19, 2016 7. In honor of Halloween being just around the corner!! #Frankenstein #cake #cakedesign #Halloween2016 pic.twitter.com/nzvFmHFhpN — Haley Dillon (@HaleyKDillon) October 19, 2016 8. Cash seems to be a bit LOOSE!!! pic.twitter.com/6e5bfvoFZG — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) October 17, 2016
Cain: Jimmie Johnson's in prime Chase form again
RELATED: Johnson locks up Round of 8 berth " 'Six-Time' through the years As Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway Sunday -- for the eighth time in his career -- he was full of emotion and adrenaline. It is his well-earned Fast Pass ticket into the next round of the championship, which amazingly will be the farthest he's advanced under NASCAR's newest title Chase format. The victory also ended the longest winless streak in the six-time Sprint Cup champion's career -- a 25-race span. It has been six whole months since the most accomplished driver of his era hoisted a trophy in Victory Lane. The seasons are practically ready to change. Massive worry has been averted. Please. "Nobody ever gave up, we know what a champion Jimmie is," said team owner and 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rick Hendrick, adding with a smile, "I've never taken the champagne bath in 30-something years, so it was like our first race (victory) again." This win for Johnson wasn't just another trophy, another confetti moment in his surefire Hall of Fame career. This was a concerted effort to make good on this team's own high standards. It was the product of hard work from behind the scenes at the No. 48 Lowe's team and all of Hendrick Motorsports . And the result was verification that the sport's most celebrated champion of the time is not done yet. "There wasn't any fist pounding per se, but what we did do was try to get together with all the heads of state, let's say," Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus explained. "... what we were trying to do was identify where our weaknesses were, and once we started to hone in on where we thought we needed to get some gains, we started to allocate the resources to where we needed it. "We've put responsibility in some different areas that maybe we hadn't in the past and I think that all of Hendrick Motorsports is definitely going to feel a lot of responsibility for this victory, which is great for all of us." And a long time coming. RELATED: Power Rankings after Charlotte Johnson -- who qualified for the Chase with wins at Atlanta (in February) and California (in March) -- has led the most laps (363) of any competitor in the first four races of the Chase. Only two-time Chase winner Martin Truex Jr . is near that total (360 laps). The best of the rest hasn't even resulted in 200 laps out front. Still pit road miscues -- speeding penalties, crew mistakes -- ultimately derailed Johnson's trophy moments no matter how many laps he has led in the Chase. His finishes of 12th, eighth and seventh, have not been indicative of how competitive he was in the opening Chase Round of 16. He has been competitive but too often gutted with the result. This win Sunday wasn't just the breathe-a- little -easier ticket to the Round of 8. It was a rebirth, a reminder of what this organization is capable of. In the last two years, Johnson has famously and painfully been eliminated from the Chase in by the second round. And now, he is six races away from a chance to tie NASCAR's all-time greatest drivers -- Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt -- with seven Sprint Cup titles. Some -- probably Johnson and Knaus -- would say it's much too early to start thinking in those terms. But part of the allure and amazement in earning so many championships is the work it takes to even be in position for them. With so many changes in NASCAR's title structure throughout Johnson's career -- more so than what Petty and Earnhardt faced even -- it has been an accomplishment to even realistically contend for the big trophy. And there is no time to leave anything on the table. "There's no way I could have dreamed about this," Johnson allowed Sunday. "To have one sponsor (Lowe's), one manufacturer (Chevrolet), one crew chief (Knaus), being at one team (Hendrick), this is fairy-tale stuff. It's been really special." But Johnson is the first to insist those are deep thoughts reserved for November. RELATED: Chase Grid after Charlotte Right now, he's got some races to win, messages to send, trophies to hoist, and history to make. "You know, I've always raced for the experience I've had in the car," Johnson said Sunday in Charlotte. "It hasn't been about stats or the previous trophies that I've won or what's really ahead of me. There's an experience that I have in the car that I chase and I love. "The community that's created on a race team, the bond and friendship that you have with the crew chief and teammates, that's the stuff that keeps me going." "And," he added. "we're doing what we need to and that brings a lot of optimism to the team. You get this machine of Hendrick Motorsports rolling and some momentum on our side, we can accomplish a lot and I think all four cars are showing that. "We've got a lot more to show the rest of the year." &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;gt; &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;gt; &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;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;span class=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;articleDescription &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;br&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/span&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&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;gt;
Jesse Little looks ahead to Truck debut
NASCAR Next driver set to take on Monster Mile DOVER, Del. -- Sporting a grin from ear to ear, Jesse Little walked into the media center on Thursday at Dover International Speedway ready to take on the weekend. Piloting the No. 97 Carolina Nut Company Toyota for ThorSport Racing, the 18-year-old K&N Pro Series East regular and NASCAR Next driver will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the Monster Mile on Friday. "I've been looking forward to this weekend for a long time," Little said. "I know this is a family-owned team and we've put a lot of hard work and preparation into this weekend and I think my Camping World Truck Series start at Dover is something that still hasn't hit me yet. But I'm certainly excited and I love coming to this place. I enjoy it very much and I'm looking forward to a great weekend." Sitting side-by-side to Little during the press conference were two of the Truck Series' youngest drivers, 17-year-olds Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemechek . With just a total of 23 starts shared between the two drivers, they offered Little any bit of advice they could give for his first Truck start. "I'd say take it easy, especially the first lap of the race," Custer advised Little . "It's amazing how much the air affects these things. I was honestly scared for my life the first time I did it." In Custer's first start at Dover last season he finished 14th. "Just finish the race," Nemechek told Little with a chuckle. "Run as many laps as you can to get the experience." In Nemechek's first start at Dover last season he finished sixth. Little , Custer and Nemechek are all on this season's NASCAR Next roster and agree that the program has brought the young drivers together. "It makes it enjoyable for us as drivers when we know we have someone we can go to and talk to and they'll understand," Little said. "It makes it easier and at the same time it makes it fun." Manning Little's pit box is another familiar face to the young driver. Harold Holly, a 19-time winning crew chief in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and former pit boss for Little's father, Chad , who is currently NASCAR's managing director, technical inspection/officiating. Holly will be calling the shots during Friday's Lucas Oil 200 (5:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). "Harold and I go way back ... He's always been a great family friend," Little said" "Him and I have great chemistry and that goes the same for the ThorSport guys. It's been great to have their help. I have the ability to lean on (ThorSport teammates) Matt (Crafton) and Johnny (Sauter) and those guys and their knowledge is amazing and I'm definitely going to use that for my advantage and lean on those guys quite a bit this weekend." Lucky for Little , ThorSport Racing teammate Crafton just so happens to be a two-time Camping World Truck Series champion. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jesse Little teams with ThorSport for Truck debut
NASCAR Next driver to make first national series start at Dover Team Little Racing announced Friday afternoon that it has reached an agreement with ThorSport Racing for a part-time schedule for NASCAR Next driver Jesse Little in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season. Little , 18, had previously announced that he would make his truck tour debut May 29 at Dover International Speedway . Friday's announcement provided extra detail on his 2015 plans, including the partnership with ThorSport -- winner of the last two Camping World Truck Series championships with veteran Matt Crafton . "To have this alliance and support from ThorSport Racing for my Truck Series Events is a huge step forward for me, Team Little Racing and our partners," Little said in a release provided by his team. "Our goals are to put together solid finishes and represent ThorSport Racing, Duke Thorson and our sponsors including NASCAR Technical Institute and Performance Friction Brakes in a first-class manner." Thorson has fielded trucks in the series since 1996. His three-truck effort this season includes rides for Crafton, Johnny Sauter and rookie Cameron Hayley . "We look forward to supporting Jesse as he makes his transition into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series," Thorson said. "We feel that this alliance with ( Little ) will assist him in reaching his ultimate goal in NASCAR." Little will have a familiar face atop the pit box in Harold Holly, a 19-time winner as a crew chief in what is now called the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The veteran wrench spent two seasons as crew chief for Little's father, Chad , in both XFINITY and Sprint Cup competition. "Jesse is an impressive young man in so many aspects of life," Holly said. "He's a strong student, treats everyone with respect and is eager to learn new things. From a racing perspective Jesse has won at every level he's competed on, takes care of his equipment, provides his team with good feedback and knows how to pace himself during a race. This partnership with ThorSport Racing will give us a chance to compete at one of the sport's top levels where Jesse can show his skills. "We have solid goals, will work to be a good teammate and always be respectful on the track. As a team we're excited to get to Dover and see what our team can do in our Camping World Truck Series debut." Jesse Little is in his fourth season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where he was the rookie of the year in 2013. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Patrick: 'Chad Knaus would've killed me'
Host shares story of his last NASCAR experience Chatting with Kansas winner Joey Logano on his NBCSN simulcasted talk show, "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday morning, host Dan Patrick shared a funny little story about the last time he was at a NASCAR race -- and why he might not be welcome back. "I was in Chicago a couple of years ago and I almost leaned on Jimmie Johnson 's spoiler, pre-race," Patrick said. Uh oh. " Chad Knaus, I think, would've killed me. I was talking to Jimmie right before the race and I almost leaned on his spoiler." Logano, quick on his feet, noted that if he bent it the right way, Knaus may have even thanked him. "If you were pulling it back, or something, ( Chad ) might've been okay with it." Not that he would know anything about those sort of hijinks. RELATED: NASCAR to police flared skirts in 2015 Still, Logano wants the host to come out to a race to cheer him on – well, maybe. "I don't know if you want me out there, Joey," Patrick said. "Because then I'm going to want to get in your pits and I'm going to want to work the pits." Logano, entrenched in a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup run, can't take any risks and responded appropriately. "Then just don't come."
With Cup drivers watching, Little seizes Loudon K&N win
First K&N Pro Series East victory for NASCAR Next driver comes in front of influential eyes