Charlotte Motor Speedway schedule, news, media, tickets, and information for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track only on the official site of NASCAR.
Charlotte Motor Speedway schedule, news, media, tickets, and information for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track only on the official site of NASCAR.
Sprint Cup rookie to drive Nationwide No. 5 entry at Phoenix RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today JR Motorsports announced Wednesday that Alex Bowman will return to the seat of its No. 5 Chevrolet for the NASCAR Nationwide Series ' Nov. 8 race at Phoenix International Raceway. Bowman, who claims nearby Tucson as his hometown, made his debut with the Dale Earnhardt Jr .-owned team on Oct. 10, starting seventh and finishing 12th at Charlotte Motor Speedway . LINE-X, a producer of spray-on truck bedliners, will serve as primary sponsor. "We were really impressed with how well Alex ran at Charlotte ," said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, JRM's general manager. "For LINE-X to also see that potential and come on board for Phoenix is exciting for our team. We feel like Alex is going to be a star in the sport and this is a great chance for him to show his talent in one of our cars." The 21-year-old currently drives for BK Racing as a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series . In Nationwide Series competition, he has two career pole positions -- both coming at Texas Motor Speedway in 2013 -- and two top-five finishes in 38 career starts. The JR Motorsports No. 5 team has five victories this year -- four with Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title contender Kevin Harvick and one with Sprint Cup regular Kasey Kahne . Josh Berry and Austin Theriault have also driven the No. 5 Chevrolet this season, and Earnhardt Jr. piloted the car, re-numbered to No. 88. Next season, the No. 5 car will be re-numbered for the entire season as the No. 88. 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
See where each driver finished at Charlotte and why RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Editor's note: Drivers in italics are in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 1. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Harvick showed the "freaky fast" dominance that he's been notorious for throughout the 2014 season as he led for a total of 162 laps out of 334 to win the Bank of America 500 . Harvick started seventh in the field and maintained a top-10 presence. The No. 4 SHR driver won by pulling away on the final restart on Lap 333 to beat Jeff Gordon to the finish line by .571 seconds. Harvick enters the final race in the Contender Round with a win to guarantee a position in the Eliminator Round. Get more driver data with RaceView. 2. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Gordon wasted little time shooting from second place to stealing the lead from Kyle Busch on Lap 14. The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver led for a total of 74 laps before finishing .571 seconds away from first. Gordon currently sits sixth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with 18 points over Matt Kenseth , the first driver sitting in a position to be eliminated in ninth. 3. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing McMurray used an interesting pit strategy on a Lap 95 caution, only taking two tires. The pit move put the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing driver second in the field on the restart, alongside Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who also only took two tires. Unlike Dale Jr., McMurrary maintained his position. CGR teammates McMurray and Larson went on to bounce in and out of the top five, giving the Chase drivers a run for their money along the way. McMurray ultimately finished third at Charlotte , achieving his seventh top five of his Cup career at the track. Get more pit data with RaceView. 4. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske Logano played a low profile this week. Why make a scene when you're already guaranteed a spot in the Elimination Round of the Chase? "Sliced Bread" started 13th in the field, and besides his slight run-in with Danica Patrick on Lap 246 when he got into the back of the No. 10 coming out of Turn 2, causing Patrick to spin out, the Team Penske driver had a successful night. Logano remains on the top of the points standings heading into Talladega. See Logano's interaction with Patrick here . 5. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Pole-sitter Kyle Busch came out looking as strong as ever. Leading a total of 41 laps, the No. 18 Toyota driver had a lot of contenders gunning after his lead position and he just couldn't hold off the hard-charging Harvick. Despite losing the lead, Busch just added another top-five finish at Charlotte his new total of 10. Busch sits second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. 6. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing Larson found the high line early in the race and was able to fly into the top 10 on a restart after the competition caution on Lap 25. The No. 42 Chevrolet driver even saw the lead for five laps. The Chip Ganassi Racing rookie has been consistent for his first Sprint Cup Series season -- with eight top fives and now 16 top 10s, Larson's sixth-place finish proves he's a driver Chasers should be worried about now and in the future. 7. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Newman was running in the top 15 when a spin from Danica Patrick collected him and sent the No. 31 shooting across the track. Newman started the race fifth, and despite his incident managed to rally a top-10 finish. Newman now sits fourth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings as he heads to Talladega. See Newman's spin here . 8. Carl Edwards , No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing Starting 10th in the Bank of America 500 , Edwards didn't make any significant moves in the second race of the Contender Round of the Chase besides scoring his 13th top-10 finish at Charlotte . Looking ahead, Edwards is 12 points off of first in the standings. The No. 99 driver would need to finish 18th with no laps led, 19th with at least one lap led or 20th with most laps led at Talladega to advance in order to the clinch into the Eliminator Round of the Chase. 9. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Hamlin started the race third and surprisingly didn't see the lead until Lap 272 out of 334. Hamlin led 22 laps before falling short to eventual winner Kevin Harvick . The lead gave Hamlin enough momentum to remain in the top 10 from there on out. After the race on the cool down lap, Hamlin found himself tangled in post-race drama with Brad Keselowski . The No. 2 and No. 11 seemed to have a disagreement, causing Keselowski to try to wreck Hamlin. "He just tried to turn ya," Hamlin's crew chief explained to Hamlin. "Get out of there. Be smart. Don't do nothing stupid. Let Tony (Stewart) handle it." Get more in-race audio with RaceView . " View the video of the post-race drama here . 10. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Kahne escaped the craziness of what was the Bank of America 500 with a top-10 finish and even moved a position higher in the Chase standings. Currently sitting in the eighth position in the standings, in order for Kahne to clinch a spot in the Eliminator Round of the Chase he would have to win at Talladega. Kahne has three top-fives in 21 starts at the superspeedway with an average finish of 21.5. 11. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing The kind of run that Busch had at Charlotte was exactly the kind of run he needed earlier in the season to have remained in the Chase. Busch saw his way into the top five quickly after starting the race 11th in the field and even saw the lead for two laps. The No. 41 SHR driver finished 11th, more than 8 spots ahead of his average finishing position at the North Carolina track. 12. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing Although no longer in the Chase, Allmendinger is still running in the top 15. The 'Dinger started the race 26th and made significant positive movement in the race despite a pit road penalty on Lap 97 for equipment leaving his pit box. Allmendinger is also leading in the non-Chase driver standings. 13. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Improving his previous Charlotte showing, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitor started the Bank of America 500 20th in the field and eventually led for a total of six laps during a flurry of green-flag pits stops. Dillon has shown he's powerful on speedways, earning his first Coors Light Pole Award at the start of the year in the Daytona 500 . Dillon's previous trip to Talladega had him finishing 15th. Not bad for a rookie. 14. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing In one of Truex's better races this season, the Furniture Row Racing driver started 23rd and made huge gains by Lap 124 and was running as high as sixth. Truex's average finish at Charlotte is 18.5 in 19 starts, so his 14th-place finish is a move in a positive direction. Truex Jr. moved up one spot in the standings. 15. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports Still in his rookie season, Allgaier has only two Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte , his best run coming in the Bank of America 500 . Not only was this Allgaier's best run at Charlotte , it was also his best run of 2014. Could the HScott driver be catching on? 16. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske Unlike Keselowski's typical chamionship-worthy form, the No. 2 Team Penske driver fought to stay in the top 10 at Charlotte . It wasn't until after the race that Keselowski started to heat up. During the cool-down lap, the No. 2 and No. 11 seemed to have a disagreement, causing Keselowski to go after Denny Hamlin . Once heading onto pit road Keselowski then went after Matt Kenseth and also crashed into Tony Stewart along the way. Stewart had no tolerance for it and reversed himself into Keselowski. Back in the garage area, Hamlin and Kenseth went after Keselowski and physical altercations broke out between the No. 2 and No. 20 team. All in all, with a finish of 16th, Keselowski now must battle at Talladega next week to keep his position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Keselowski sits 19 points behind the eighth-place cut off for the Eliminator Round. View the video of the post-race drama here . 17. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Better than his finish last week at Kansas, Johnson could have still had a better night in the Bank of America 500 . In his 27 starts, Johnson had earned seven wins at the North Carolina track, his most recent coming in the spring race of this year. Unlike his typical calm and cool demeanor, Johnson let a bit of the pressure get to him, resulting in a heated exchange with crew chief Chad Knaus over the radio as Knaus was trying to adjust Johnson's car. Hanging on the edge of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings in 11th, the Hendrick Motorsports driver must win at Talladega in order to clinch a spot in the next round. Johnson only has two wins in 25 starts at the Alabama superspeedway where he finished 23rd earlier this year. To hear the heated discussion click here . 18. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing Even though Biffle is out of the Chase, he still found a way to make an impact. Biffle's 18th-place finish was not only better than his spring showing, but the non-Chaser took away a position that Kenseth and Dale Jr. were gunning for. 19. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing After starting the race in the rear for unapproved adjustments, winless Chase contender Kenseth worked his way through traffic and even saw the top five. It wasn't until Lap 272 that things started to shake up. During a restart on that lap, Kenseth and Keselowski made contact and Hamlin ran away with the lead. The contact dropped Kenseth from fourth back to 18th-place. Following Harvick's win, Kenseth was driving down pit road with his seat belt and HANS device off, and Keselowski charged from behind him to scrape the back side of the No. 20 Toyota Camry. Kenseth later found Keselowski on pit road and a fight broke out between the two teams. View the video of the post-race drama here . 20. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Earnhardt Jr. needed Charlotte to be a success story. He even went as far as declaring his win a day before the race. "We're gonna win this race," Earnhardt said in a televised interview after Friday's first practice at Charlote. "I've got a really good feeling about it." Earnhardt Jr. pitted before pit road was open on Lap 138 and got a penalty, forcing him to restart in the rear. The No. 88 crew also had to deal with a broken shifter in the Hendrick Chevrolet. Earnhardt was also penalized for speeding on pit road which ultimately set him back further in the field. After a second penalty for speeding and constantly battling to stay on the lead lap, Dale Jr. finished the race 20th and is currently 12th in the Chase standings with one race left in the Contender Round. Junior has the best record at Talladega of any of the Chasers on the bubble going into next round with five wins, 10 top-fives and 14 top-10s in 29 career starts. 21. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing It looked like a quiet night for Stewart. The SHR co-owner and driver started fourth in the field and by Lap 4 had stolen third from Hamlin. He eventually drifted back, occasionally making an appearance in the top 10. Stewart finished the race 21st and was heading down pit road when Keselowski made contact with the No. 14 as he was attempting to go after Kenseth. Stewart had zero tolerance for the No. 2's behavior and put his SHR Chevrolet into reverse, crunching the hood of Keselowski. View the video of the post-race drama here . 22. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports It's a good thing Almirola is no longer in the Chase running. His poor showings at both Kansas (31st) and Charlotte (22nd) would be a surefire way to eliminate himself. The No. 43 team couldn't seem to find their groove on Saturday night and caught themselves a lap down on Lap 85. After starting 15th, Almirola just dropped back. We know the RPM driver is capable of more because he finished 11th in the spring race this year. Perhaps, Almirola is experiencing more of a laid back attitude now that the Chase pressure is off his shoulders. 23. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing With three previous DNFs at Charlotte , just finishing the race is an accomplishment for the No. 40 team. Cassill's 23rd-place finish is his second best in nine starts at the track. His best was 18th in 2012. Although Cassill only finished 331 out of 334 laps, this is still a move in the right direction. 24. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing While this isn't Stenhouse's worst finish at Charlotte , it isn't his best either. The No. 17 RFR driver started 28th in the field and didn't see much movement. Perhaps he was distracted by his contact he made with Mears on Lap 109. From the looks of it, it seemed intentional and Mears headed to pit road. If Stenhouse gets his mind back on racing, he might find himself in the top five at Talladega, as he was in 2013. 25. Marcos Ambrose , No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports 2014 hasn't been Ambrose's year at Charlotte . This weekend earning 25th, and then previously finishing 29th in the spring, he doesn't seem like he's looking to leave his mark on the Cup Series before he leaves after the end of the season. Moving forward, although the No. 9 is a road course expert, he did once earn a top five on Talladega Superspeedway . 26. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Patrick celebrated a small victory early in the race as she moved up 11 positions to fourth in the race off pit road following the competition caution on Lap 25. After that, the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing driver quickly fell into the 20s. Patrick brought herself back up to 11th but spun in Turn 2 after trying to get around Logano. Patrick collected Ryan Newman with her. "It was such a bummer for the GoDaddy team," Patrick said. "We were having such a good night, and I really think we had a car that was capable of a top-10 finish tonight, and that got taken away from us for really no reason. It's just really frustrating. Charlotte has not been good to me." The No. 10 suffered damage to the right-rear and front end as she hit the wall but was able to continue with the race. Patrick ultimately finished 26th, her second-best finish at the track in five starts. See Patrick's spin here . 27. Reed Sorenson , No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing Sorenson started 30th in the field and finished just three positions better. The No. 36 driver finished 42nd in the spring race, ultimately improving his finish by 15 positions in the fall race. Looking ahead, Sorenson has four DNFs at Talladega, his most recent coming in the spring. The Tommy Baldwin Racing driver's best finish at the superspeedway is 10th in 2007. 28. Cole Whitt , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitior Whitt made his fourth Sprint Cup Series start at Charlotte and scored his second-best finish. Whitt started 36th and finished 28th, raising him one spot in the Cup standings. 29. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing Scoring his best finish at Charlotte in 11 starts, McDowell might be on to something. Although he only improved two spots from his starting position, the No. 95 driver is chipping away at his high average finish of 36.3 30. Alex Bowman , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing In his second career start at Charlotte , rookie Bowman may have had a finish barely inside the top 30, but it's the better of his two appearances, so that has to be a step in the right direction. His pit crew, on the other hand, might be what's slowing him down. On Lap 330, nearing the end of the race, Bowman pitted and was penalized for a missing lugnut on his car. Without that, could the No. 23 rookie have pulled off a top-20 finish? 31. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing It's been about seven years, but Mears knows what it feels like to win at Charlotte . More often than that, though, he knows how it feels to get a DNF at the track. Thankfully, the No. 13 driver avoided the latter, but finished several positions off his average of 23.6. 32. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Finishing two spots behind his position a week prior at Kansas, it seems like Gilliland might only drop off the map from here on out, or we could see another top 10 performance at Talladega like he put on in 2013. Although the No. 38 driver gained five positions from his starting spot, he still finished a few places behind his average of 29.8. 33. Michael Annett , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing Annett got into the wall on Lap 266, bringing out a caution at Charlotte . The No. 7 driver also experienced leakage earlier in the race, but finished 33rd despite his shortcomings. Annett finished 28th in his first start at Charlotte in the spring. 34. David Ragan , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Ragan saw no movement at Charlotte after starting the race in the same position as he ended. Ragan's average finish at Charlotte is 23.7, but his last six efforts have all been worse than that. Looking ahead, the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports driver actually has a win at Talladega than came in the spring of 2013. 35. Corey LaJoie, No. 77 Ford, Randy Humphrey Racing Making his second career Cup start and his first at his hometrack, LaJoie didn't exactly make a grand entrance. The 23 year old started the race 42nd, so to say he didn't make any gains would be a lie, they were just few and far between. 36. Timmy Hill , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Spilled gasoline in Hill's pit box brought a small fire that was quickly extinguished on pit road. If only the No. 33 brought the same heat to the track. Hill finished 36th in his fourth start at Charlotte . This is the third time out of those four starts that Hill has finished 36th. 37. Brian Vickers , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Vickers was running in the top 15 when he spun in Turn 2, bringing out a caution on Lap 237. Vickers was then running 20th when his engine blew on Lap 328, bringing out another caution. Vickers finished 37th after starting the race eighth. This is Vickers' second time finishing 37th in 17 starts at Charlotte . 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing Yeley's best performance at Charlotte came in 2007 when he finished second. Since then, the No. 83 driver has hardly seen finishes inside the top 30. Although this isn't Yeley's worst finish at Charlotte , he's seen better days. 39. Blake Koch , No. 32 Ford, FAS Lane Racing Koch's 39th-place finish in the Bank of America 500 was the worst position the driver has earned in his total of three starts at the track. The only other tracks Koch has raced s Cup car are Phoenix and Dover. Some experience on different styles of tracks could help out the 29-year-old. 40. Brett Moffitt , No. 66 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing In his first start at Charlotte Motor Speedway , the 22-year-old Sprint Cup part-timer was just getting his feet wet. Moffitt has made four other Cup starts this season, scoring his best finish of 22nd in his series debut at Dover. 41. Josh Wise , No. 98 Chevrolet, Phil Parsons Racing Wise had to head to the garage for vibrations on Lap 81, but returned on Lap 116. Not making any big moves, the No. 98 came down the apron, car smoking at Lap 221 bringing out a caution. Wise ultimately finished 41st and 156 laps behind. 42. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing On Lap 136, Menard brought out a caution as the No. 27 blew an engine and was forced to the garage. This was Menard's second career DNF at Charlotte , his first coming in 2008. Menard started sixth in the race and had showed potential of a top-10 finish. 43. Clint Bowyer , No 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Bowyer faced engine issues on Lap 96, which brought out a caution, and ultimately had to take the No. 15 Toyota to the garage. This is Bowyer's first DNF at Charlotte and his fourth of 2014, his first coming in the season-opening Daytona 500 . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceVie FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Kurt Busch leads opening practice; Logano paces final session Sprint Cup Series practice 2 " Get results Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch set the pace early in Friday's first -- and the weekend's second -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway . In the No. 41 Chevrolet, the "Outlaw" posted a fast lap of 191.157 mph in the opening minutes, and the speed held up throughout the 50-minute session. He was one of just three drivers to clip the 190-mph barrier and the only one to reach 191 mph. Busch finished fifth in Thursday's opening practice and qualified 11th. Three drivers currently in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field followed Busch. RELATED: Sprint Cup Series standings Joey Logano, last week's winner, topped out at 190.476 mph in his No. 22 Ford for Team Penske. Behind him was 2013 adversary Denny Hamlin , who navigated the 1.5-mile oval at 190.295 mph. Busch's SHR teammate Kevin Harvick , currently sixth in the standings, was fourth at 189.967 mph. Paul Menard (189.727 mph) rounded out the top five and was the highest Richard Childress Racing driver. Carl Edwards (189.507 mph, sixth) and Brad Keselowski (189.401 mph, seventh) were the only other Chase drivers to finish the session in the top 10. Birthday boy Dale Earnhardt Jr . (188.633 mph) and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne (188.547 mph) were just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th place, respectively. Other Chase drivers were scattered across the board: Matt Kenseth was 13th, Jimmie Johnson was 17th, Ryan Newman was 23rd, Jeff Gordon was 27th and Kyle Busch was 29th. Kyle Busch, who won the Coors Light Pole Award on Thursday, stayed off the track until the final five minutes of practice. Final practice at Charlotte is slated for later tonight, from 5:30-6:50 p.m. ET. It will be televised on ESPN2. The Bank of America 500 is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET with TV coverage on ABC. Sprint Cup Series practice 3 " Results Less than a week after winning the Contender Round Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup opener at Kansas, Joey Logano is again primed for a solid performance after turning in the fastest lap in final practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday evening. The Team Penske driver, who has already advanced to the Eliminator Round via his second win of the Chase, turned a quick lap of 190.597 mph to top the board. Kurt Busch continued to be fast, pulling into the garage with a best speed of 190.463 mph, good for second on the board. Busch led the first practice of the day and ran the fastest lap (198.771 mph) during the second round of qualifying on Thursday to set the record for fastest qualifying lap ever at a 1.5-mile track. Chase drivers Kevin Harvick (190.087 mph), Jeff Gordon (190.007 mph) and Brad Keselowski (189.893 mph) rounded out the top five, with Denny Hamlin (189.687 mph) right behind. Jimmie Johnson, in need of a good finish this weekend after wrecking at Kansas last week, brushed the wall in the closing minutes of practice. He took his No. 48 back to the garage in eighth place on the board and fortunately will not have to go to his backup car. Johnson ultimately qualified 21st. All Chase drivers placed in the top 20, with Kasey Kahne (188.449) and Ryan Newman (188.350) bringing up the rear in 19th and 20th, respectively. Follow the Chase action Saturday night in the Bank of America 500 (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC). 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
Former champs docked for behavioral infractions in post-race fracas MORE: Full coverage of Charlotte incident RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize NASCAR issued fines and probations to drivers Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart on Tuesday for their post-race actions following last Saturday's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Keselowski was fined $50,000 and placed on probation through Nov. 12, a span of the next four races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason. Officials fined Stewart $25,000 and issued a probation of the same length. The penalties fell under the NASCAR Rule Book headings of Section 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing and 12-4.9: Behavioral penalty -- involved in post-race incidents. Keselowski is the only one of the two drivers eligible for the title in the Chase. His probation is scheduled to expire before the season-ending championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Keselowski clipped Denny Hamlin 's rear bumper on the cool-down lap after the race, later hitting Matt Kenseth 's car after Kenseth had removed his seat belt and HANS safety device. Stewart was also caught up in the round of bumper cars, causing the No. 14 driver to retaliate by backing his car into Keselowski's No. 2, crumpling its front. Keselowski then drove through a garage stall in the Sprint Cup Series garage before parking his car near his hauler. After getting out of his car, members of Hamlin's and Kenseth's teams yelled at Keselowski and his crew. As Keselowski walked between his hauler and his teammate Joey Logano 's hauler, Kenseth ran after Keselowski and things got physical between the two. Eventually, the two were separated by Keselowski's crew chief, Paul Wolfe. Neither Hamlin nor Kenseth were penalized. Keselowski later said that what had him angered at Kenseth was what happened right before the Lap 333 restart. "When he came by he swung at my car and tore the whole right-front off of it," Keselowski said. "When we restarted fifth with no right-front on it, we fell all the way back to 16th and it ruined our day. That gave us a big Chase hurt, which is unfortunate, and then for some reason after the race the 11 stopped in front of me and tried to pick a fight, so I don't know what's up with that. And he swung and hit my car and I figured if we are going to play car wars, I'll join too. You know those guys can dish it out but they can't take it. And I give it back to them and now they want to fight." NASCAR asked for Keselowski to come to its hauler Saturday to speak to officials about what happened. A crew member for Kenseth's No. 20 team, mechanic Jesse Sanders and Kenseth's crew chief, Jason Ratcliff also came in. Keselowski finished in 16th place at Charlotte . He enters Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) in 10th place in the Sprint Cup Series points standings. The race is the last chance to advance to the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. 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
Bruce: Did the officials make the right decision? RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize "Settle your differences outside the car" seemed to be the essence of the message delivered by NASCAR on Tuesday after the sanctioning body announced fines and probation for drivers Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart . The two former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions were among four competitors involved in separate incidents following the completion of Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Keselowski, driver of the Team Penske No. 2 Ford, was fined $50,000 and placed on probation through Nov. 12 for his post-race actions. Stewart, co-owner and driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet, was fined $25,000 and also placed on probation through Nov. 12. Both drivers were involved in post-race contact as the field was making its way onto pit road, and that, according to Robin Pemberton, NASCAR senior vice president, competition and racing development, was the reasoning behind the penalties. Drivers were dropping window nets and loosening -- if not unhooking -- safety items such as harnesses and HANS devices. Crewmen, various NASCAR personnel and others were making their way onto pit road. After a 500-mile race that lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours, everyone's guard was down, no different than after the completion of any NASCAR race. When Keselowski drove up and into the side of Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota, and when Stewart put his car in reverse and backed into the front of Keselowski's Ford, the safety of not only drivers but also others in the area was compromised. Pemberton said the penalties "are about maintaining a safe environment following the race. ... The safety of our drivers, crew members, officials and workers is paramount and we will react when that safety could be compromised." Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth were not penalized, although Kenseth eventually was involved in a physical confrontation with Keselowski. Were the penalties to Keselowski and Stewart justified? Should Kenseth and Hamlin (the latter tracked Keselowski through the garage before the Team Penske driver pulled away after initially stopping in a garage bay) have been punished as well? Contact on pit road after the conclusion of an event can't be tolerated, regardless of whether drivers have begun to unbuckle safety equipment or if they're still seated securely in their cars. Had Keselowski turned Hamlin on the cool-down lap, as he unsuccessfully attempted to do, then continued on into the garage, it is likely NASCAR would not have issued anything more severe than a warning. But to hit other cars once they have begun to come off the track was too dangerous to ignore. And while Stewart may have been reacting to an incident he didn't create, the fact remains that he reacted. If officials found fault with Keselowski's actions, how could they overlook those of Stewart? The cases of Hamlin and Kenseth are less clear, although officials apparently determined Hamlin did nothing malicious or dangerous as he followed Keselowski's car through the garage. Without knowing what evidence they had at their disposal, it's difficult to determine how they came to their decision. Kenseth rushed up and nearly tackled Keselowski, an incident that quickly sent crewmembers and officials rushing in to separate the two drivers. No punches appeared to be thrown, unlike earlier this season when Marcos Ambrose punched Casey Mears following a race at Richmond International Raceway . Both those drivers were fined and placed on probation, Ambrose for the punch and Mears for what officials described as instigating the altercation. Were Kenseth's actions seen as a reaction to Keselowski's earlier contact? The evidence would seem to indicate that was the case, and perhaps reason enough for NASCAR officials to take no action against Kenseth. Such flare-ups weren't unexpected given the nature of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format, where drivers and teams must navigate their way through a trio of three-race segments to advance to Homestead-Miami Speedway , where only four of the original 16 will have an opportunity to contend for the championship. Three of the four involved in Saturday night's post-race scrapes -- Keselowski, Kenseth and Hamlin -- are among the 12 still attempting to advance to the next round. The racing on the track and the drivers' emotions have increased substantially under the new format. Officials walk a razor's edge in trying to police such incidents without legislating the passion out of the sport. "We knew that the new Chase format was likely going to raise the intensity level," Pemberton said, "and we want our drivers to continue to be themselves." Did officials make the right call with Tuesday's decision? Fans of the sport either believe they did or did not, depending on where their allegiances lie. 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
Junior: 'We're gonna win this race' RELATED: 40 pictures of Dale Jr. on his 40th birthday CONCORD, N.C. -- Feeling good on his 40th birthday, Dale Earnhardt Jr . called his shot in a televised interview after Friday's first practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "We're gonna win this race. I've got a really good feeling about it," Earnhardt Jr. said. Earnhardt Jr. was 11th in the practice session at 188.633 mph and will line up ninth in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC). Despite being winless at Charlotte in 29 points starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Earnhardt Jr. has been optimistic about his chances to win the race throughout the week. "I'm really excited, actually," Earnhardt Jr. told the media on Thursday. "I was thrilled with how we ran last weekend. Super-fast car, this place is a bit similar. "We obviously know what the situation is with the points and how important it is for us to come in here and win the race. I have been winless at Charlotte in a points-paying race since I started my career, so it's bound to happen sooner or later. I always win at the weirdest times, in the oddest circumstances. So I feel like everything is lining up and feel real good about this weekend." On the season, Earnhardt Jr. has three wins, 11 top-fives and 17 top-10s. He finished 19th here in the spring in the Coca-Cola 600 and has not recorded a top-five finish at the track since 2008. Earnhardt Jr. led 45 laps at Kansas and was running the best he had in the Chase before a cut tire derailed his day and led to a 39th-place finish. With two races remaining in the Contender Round, Earnhardt Jr. is 11th in the standings and 25 points back of the final transfer spot to the Eliminator Round. A Chase driver must be in the top eight in points or have a win to advance to that 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
Ganassi drivers play Chase spoilers among top 10 RELATED: Full results " Updated standings CONCORD, N.C. -- The Closer finally closed the deal, and the door swung almost shut on Dale Earnhardt Jr ., six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and 2012 champion Brad Keselowski . With the dominant car in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , Kevin Harvick led 162 laps and survived a wild two-lap dash to the finish after the final caution en route to his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the season and a free pass into the Eliminator Round of the Chase. In a race that ended with battered cars, bruised egos, boiling tempers and physical confrontations in the garage, Harvick pulled away after a restart on Lap 333 of 334 and beat Jeff Gordon to the finish line by .572 seconds. Jamie McMurray ran third, followed by Joey Logano and polesitter Kyle Busch . "I won't be anorexic and throwing up all week," Harvick quipped, knowing he won't need to avoid the inevitable major wrecks in the Oct. 19 race at Talladega Superspeedway to advance to the next round of the Chase. "This was the night that we needed to win. I don't want to go to Talladega next week." Nicknamed "The Closer," Harvick had failed to win the last five races in which he had led the most laps, but his victory on Saturday night -- his third at Charlotte and the 26th of his career -- was an emphatic rebuke to the ill fortune that had kept him out of Victory Lane since April. For Keselowski, Johnson and Earnhardt, it was a night of continuing disappointment -- and in Keselowski's case, a night of battling that continued onto pit road and into the garage after the race. Keselowski and Johnson got shuffled back to their finishing positions of 16th and 17th, respectively, on the restart with two laps left after a caution for Brian Vickers ' blown engine on Lap 327. After the race, Keselowski and ninth-place finisher Denny Hamlin traded insults on pit road, as NASCAR officials and their crews kept them apart in the wake of a late race incident between their two cars. Keselowski clipped Hamlin's rear bumper on the cool-down lap, then hit Kenseth's Toyota with his Ford on pit road after the race. After sustaining collateral damage on pit road during the melee, Tony Stewart backed into Keselowski's Ford, crumpling the nose of the car. Keselowski insisted it was Kenseth's car and not his No. 2 Ford that bumped Stewart's Chevy. "I rubbed into the No. 20 (Kenseth), and I think he gassed up and ran into Tony, and I don't think Tony knew what was going on," Keselowski said. "He's upset, and he has every right to be. His car was tore up. There was a whole lot of other stuff going on. I'm sure when he sees the whole situation, he'll understand." Kenseth, whose No. 20 Toyota had been damaged by contact from Keselowski's car on a restart with 63 laps left, jumped Keselowski as he was walking between haulers in the garage, and the drivers scuffled before being separated. "I had my HANS (head and neck restraint) off and my seat belts off and everything," Kenseth said of the hit from Keselowski on pit road. "He clobbered me at 50 (mph). And the access we have around here… the race is over, trying to come back to pit road... "If you want to talk about it as a man, do that. But to try and wreck someone on the race track, come down pit road with other cars and people standing around with seat belts off and drive in the side of me -- it's inexcusable. There is no excuse for that. He's a champion. He's supposed to know better than that." Hamlin also had some harsh words for the 2012 champion. "There's a corner there, so you have to back off, and he just plowed into us," Hamlin said. "He's just out of control. He's desperate, obviously, and it's either four or five of us are wrong or he's wrong, because he's pissed off everyone. Just disappointing -- but we're trying to get in this deal. We're sitting in a decent spot, but we've lost six spots or so with the last restart when he ran into us and knocked us up the track. "That was unfortunate. Matt (Kenseth) was nearly out of his car and he just plowed into Matt and then ran into Tony (Stewart) and then went in through the garage and cleared out transmissions and did burnouts in the garage." Both Johnson and Keselowski head to Talladega on Oct. 19 in all probability needing a victory to advance to avoid elimination from the Chase. The same goes for Earnhardt, whose shifter broke early in the race and relegated the driver of the No. 88 to a 20th-place finish, one lap down. Rookie Kyle Larson ran sixth, followed by Chase drivers Ryan Newman , Carl Edwards , Hamlin and Kasey Kahne . With the cut from 12 to eight Chase drivers looming at Talladega, Kenseth, Keselowski, Johnson and Earnhardt are the four drivers currently in positions 9 through 12 in the standings. Note: Keselowski and Jesse Sanders, a member of the Kenseth's crew, were called to the NASCAR transporter after the race. Kenseth's crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, also went to the hauler of his own volition in support of his crewman. Afterwards Keselowski posted the following on his Twitter account: Rough night. Understand a lot of folks may not understand everything that happened and that's ok. I'm not perfect but also not the only one. — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) October 12, 2014 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
Make-A-Wish Foundation opportunity close to 22-year-old's heart This weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR's hottest Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson will host a Make-A-Wish Foundation opportunity for a youngster. He'll work with the organization, which helps chronically or terminally ill children, to give the lucky child (in this case a teenager named Christian) a wonderful day at the race track, free of worry and full of smiles. It's something the 22-year-old Larson knows how to deliver big-time these days. With three top-three finishes in the last four races in the No. 42 Target Chevrolet, Larson is on the verge of notching his first career Sprint Cup victory. At the very least, he's served notice that he absolutely belongs in NASCAR's big leagues -- and will be here for a while. Larson, who hasn't finished worse than 12th since August, is coming off a runner-up finish last Sunday at Kansas -- his second second-place in the last three weeks. "I'm definitely leaving (the races) feeling good,'' Larson said. "Yeah, it is a little bit frustrating to come that close and not get wins, but it's also nice to see yourself running in the top three with everybody that's in the Cup field. It's amazingly tough. "It's really exciting but a little bit frustrating at the same time, but I still definitely leave in a good mood. It would be kind of weird to leave the race track in a bad mood for finishing second." He said the good mood has carried over to his Chip Ganassi Racing team, which has had shining moments before Larson took the wheel, but never really experienced the sustained success the group is now having. "I think we've been having a lot of fun as a team lately,'' Larson said. "You can tell everybody is pretty relaxed because we've been running well. We're all focused, and we see how close we are, and it makes everybody in the shop work even harder to just find that extra little bit. "I'm loving the way the team is working together right now. I just think we're in a great spot, and we're only going to get better. Just got to keep the atmosphere good in the shop and with the team and everything, and I think that'll also help make the cars go faster." A win, this week in particular with his special fan in attendance, is extra motivation for Larson, who will soon become a father himself. He and girlfriend Katelyn Sweet are expecting a boy in December. The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been close to Larson's heart since he was younger. He used to compete in an indoor go-kart race in his native Northern California that raised money for the organization. And this week the NASCAR Nationwide Series car he will race Friday night will carry special sponsorship from Nature Made's "Kids First" vitamins, which will make donations to Make-A-Wish for every bottle of vitamins sold (exclusively at Target). "It's always good when you can make kids feel special and great and anytime I can do anything for Make-A-Wish, I think it's really cool,'' Larson said. "These kids go through struggles and stuff that isn't fun so when they get to come to the race track and meet myself and other drivers and having Make-A-Wish on the car he'll have somebody to cheer for. "And if we can win and we get him in Victory Lane after the race and I think he'd have a blast. Just to see the enjoyment on his face would be priceless." That would be the ultimate "win-win" scenario. 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