Chase Elliott talks Wood Brothers Racing's recent success
Chase Elliott reflects on his dad's time racing with Wood Brothers Racing as well as the team's recent success with driver Ryan Blaney during media availability at Bristol.
Monster Energy Series Bristol race postponed
RELATED: Full starting lineup " Live weather radar BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Sunday's Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway has been postponed due to rain. The race, No. 8 on the 36-race schedule for 2017, has been rescheduled for a 1 p.m. ET start Monday. FOX will provide live television coverage; radio coverage is on the Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR. "We are close to home so it will be fine," points leader Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing) said Sunday morning. "Our car was good in practice and I don't think the track will be too different." Larson will start from the pole position in his No. 42 Chevrolet, the result of rain canceling Friday's qualifying and the field being set per the rulebook (owner points ). With one victory (at Auto Club Speedway) and four runner-up finishes, Larson leads second-place Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports) by 17 points . " See the full lineup Rain also interrupted Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race, creating a delay of more than 90 minutes. But when the rain moved out of the area, officials were able to quickly dry the .533-mile track, and that race was run to its scheduled distance with Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing) flagged the winner. The rain continued throughout the night and through the morning, eventually forcing officials to postpone. It is the first race to be pushed to the following day due to inclement weather since last fall's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both races at Pocono Raceway last year also were delayed from Sunday to Monday. Last year's Bristol Night Race, the most recent Monster Energy Series event at the track, was postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to wet weather as well. Because the rain will wash all the rubber build-up off the racing surface, drivers will face a "green" track on Monday when the event gets underway. NASCAR officials have already announced a Lap 60 competition caution to allow teams to check tire wear. Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Ford) said the rain "is somewhat of a blessing in disguise." " Because (track officials were) talking about laying down more VHT and they can't do it while it's wet," this year's Daytona 500 winner said. "The VHT is like a grip applicator and you have to heat it up to make it work, so in the drag racing world the guys do a burnout through it and you have that stripe that you just heat it up and that's what has to happen for us oval guys. We have to have more cars out there to heat it up, so it's going to be like ice when we first start off and then the grip will come back once we do heat it up after this rain delay." Track officials applied an adhesive compound (VHT) to the lower lanes in the turns prior to this weekend's race at the request of drivers. A similar substance was used in 2016. Matt Puccia, crew chief of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford with driver Trevor Bayne, said the rain will likely wash what remains of the compound off the racing surface and, as a result, "I think that you're going to see the top groove move up and you'll see more of the two- and three-lane racing that we've traditionally seen here." "I think there might still be a little bit of an advantage on the bottom," Puccia said, "but I definitely think the top groove will come in, which, for us, makes it a little bit more challenging because we haven't had any opportunity to run up on the top yet." Some other key story lines to consider with the rain wrecking Sunday's schedule: • Beating the Busches will be tough for competitors; and what about that pesky JGR slow start? " Read more • An updated racing groove has the track extra sticky " Read more • Two XFINITY Series drivers had an altercation that included a connected punch , and a trip to the NASCAR hauler " Read more • Kyle Busch was fast Saturday, but there were multiple spins , including one from Larson that sent his car into the wall " Read more • Larson looks like a championship contender so far, and he and teammate Jamie McMurray have Chip Ganassi Racing surging " Read more &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;gt
Logano upbeat about test and season but itching to win
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Bristol DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Joey Logano was his typical smiles and optimism at Daytona International Speedway on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, where five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams tested for both NASCAR and Goodyear before enjoying the first off weekend of the 2017 season. "Obviously, tests are hard to come by these days, there aren't many of them," Logano said. "Yesterday (Tuesday) was interesting with a lot of different packages coming from NASCAR and today a Goodyear test. We did four 25-lap runs in a five-car pack to give them some data this morning and help them make decisions on their tire selections. "Now this afternoon we get to play a little bit. The fun part's about to start for me." NASCAR had the drivers -- also including Alex Bowman (in Jimmie Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevy), Stewart-Haas Racing's Danica Patrick, Richard Childress Racing's Ryan Newman and Furniture Row Racing rookie Erik Jones -- try out various packages. Specifically on Tuesday they tried variations of a new NASCAR design to keep the race cars from going airborne easily or frequently. Wednesday morning the drivers worked on tire feedback for Goodyear and then the afternoon was dedicated to more individual team-centric goals. It's been an accomplished early portion of the season for the 2015 Daytona 500 winner Logano, who said he was glad the teams had this test on the 2.5-mile high banks. As good as his Team Penske group has performed this year, he hasn't won a race yet. Yet. "I just wanna win, that's me, I'm not happy unless I win and I'll be mad if I finish second," said Logano, who drives the Team Penske No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford. "That's just the 22 team. We have one goal, to win. And everything short of that isn't failure, but it's not achieving our goal. "That's our strategy, our approach. And we have better days than others. We know that." He's coming off a "better day" -- a season-best third-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday and has six top-six finishes through the first seven races of 2017. And yet for all that, Logano is ranked sixth in the standings, which are topped by several new faces of excellence. "We haven't put the whole race together in all honesty," Logano said. "When we've had fast race cars, we've had pit road penalties or weird things happen that we don't score the stage points and we don't put ourselves in position to win. We put ourselves in position to get a top-five again. "Last week we had a 10th-place car and put ourselves in position to win, but we weren't fast enough to win the race. "We have to take both of those things and put ourselves in Victory Lane, which I feel is just around the corner. Our cars aren't far off." RELATED: Upping the ante at the All-Star Race " FAQ Logano, the defending Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race winner, told reporters he was good with the changes announced Tuesday to the May 20 invitational. But he deferred to his veteran crew chief Todd Gordon about the new tire strategy -- including a softer, green-lettered "option" tire available to teams for the first time ever. "It's interesting," Logano said. "It will change it up for sure with a tire like that and change the strategy. You should probably talk to Todd. For me, it's pretty basic, pass the car in front of me." Speaking about the early season to date, Logano grinned in replying to questions about the "young guns" charging through the points standings. Kyle Larson, 24, currently leads 21-year-old Chase Elliott by 17 points atop the standings. Including Logano (ranked fifth, 72 points behind Larson) and 23-year-old Ryan Blaney, right behind in sixth place – four drivers 26 or younger leading the way. MORE: Monster Energy Series driver points standings Logano remains confident his first victory of 2017 is imminent. He's a two-time winner at tiny Bristol Motor Speedway, where the series visits April 23 after the off week, and he's also a winner at the following venue, Richmond International Raceway. And while Logano recognizes he's on the "upside" of the youth movement, the 17-time Cup winner was quick to remind that he has big boy trump cards in experience and confidence. And success. "I don't think I'm old. I'm 26, for crying out loud," he said smiling. "I do like that I have more experience than all of them. And that plays in my hand that I have nine years of experience, plus I'm 26 so I have plenty of youth, too. ... I'm in a very good spot. "Those first three or four years of sucking are paying off now, so that's good," he said with a laugh. </p>
Erik Jones sets pace in first Bristol practice
RELATED: Practice 1 results " Best 10-lap times " Buy tickets for Bristol Rookie Erik Jones led the way in a rain-delayed opening practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Friday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway. Jones, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, powered the Furniture Row No. 77 Toyota to a best lap of 127.843 mph on the .533-mile track. Kyle Busch, a five-time Bristol winner, was second-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota, logging a top lap of 127.090 mph. Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth completed the top five in the 55-minute session, the first tune-up ahead of Monday's Food City 500 (1 p.m. ET Monday, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Jones will start 14th in Monday's 500-lapper after persistent early rain forced the cancellation of Coors Light Pole Qualifying in favor of practice time. Rain also postponed the race from Sunday to Monday. Series points leader Kyle Larson -- seventh best in first practice -- will start first Monday after the weather caused race officials to set the field according to the 2017 NASCAR Rule Book. " See the lineup The inclement conditions forced a shake-up to the day's schedule, scrubbing a planned 85-minute practice that was slated to begin Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET. Chase Elliott brought out the only caution period in the session, losing control of his Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet off Turn 4 in a long slide on the track's front straightaway. He managed to avoid contact, keeping his primary car intact, and was 11th on the practice speed chart (126.370 mph). Kasey Kahne (13th, 126.121 mph), a teammate to Elliott at Hendrick Motorsports, slightly scraped the right side of his No. 5 Chevrolet late in the session. Joey Logano (ninth, 126.445 mph) also brushed the outside retaining wall with his Team Penske No. 22 Ford. With uncertain weather forecasts placing a premium on practice time, NASCAR officials opted to defer any time penalties for infractions at the previous race (April 9, Texas). Those practice holds are set to be enforced next weekend at Richmond International Raceway. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Busch sweeps Saturday practices; Larson, Stenhouse spin early
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Bristol RELATED: Practice 3 results " Top 10-lap times from final practice Five-time Bristol winner Kyle Busch topped the leaderboard in final practice for the Saturday sweep. The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion led all drivers with a quickest lap of 128.563 mph. He was also fastest in the first practice session Saturday. Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez completed the 55-minute session second in his No. 19 Toyota (128.262 mph). A trio of Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets were next with Kasey Kahne (128.253 mph), Chase Elliott (128.185 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (128.168 mph) rounding out the top five. The 39-car field returns to the short track Monday at 1 p.m. ET for the Food City 500 (FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Practice 2 results " Best 10-lap times from Practice 2 Busch also topped the speed charts in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opening practice Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, wheeling his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota around the .533-mile track in 128.865 mph. Toyota completed the top three in the 55-minute outing with Furniture Row Racing's Erik Jones (128.649 mph) and JGR's Denny Hamlin (128.176 mph) taking second and third, respectively. Next up was Ford driver Kevin Harvick, earning the fourth-fastest lap (128.091 mph), with Chevrolet wheelman Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind him, completing the top five (128.005 mph). Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (26th, 128.846 mph) brought out the session's first caution after he brushed the wall with 36 minutes remaining. It was originally reported that the team would race in a backup car, but the Roush Fenway Racing crew decided to try to fix the No. 17 Ford so as to not lose its 19th-place starting position for Monday's Food City 500 (1 p.m. ET, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "I had just been really loose and just got down in the corner and it took off," Stenhouse said following the incident. "I thought I saved it and just got the right-rear in the wall." RELATED: Watch Stenhouse bring out the caution The second and final yellow flag was brought out after Kyle Larson clipped the outside wall with roughly 10 minutes left in the session. He was 17th quickest at 127.343 mph in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. With Friday's qualifying canceled due to rain, the series points leader will start the race on the pole position, per NASCAR Rule Book. &amp;amp;amp;amp;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;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Chase Bubble: Points update before regular-season finale
RELATED: Provisional Chase Grid Here's a breakdown of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Grid and bubble picture after Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . NO NEW WINNER, NO CHANGES Martin Truex Jr . already had clinched a Chase spot, so his win at Darlington didn't cause any changes in the Chase Grid. There was a moment of uncertainty when Ryan Newman led for Laps 330-338 of the 367-lap race, however. But Newman slipped back, and he remains the first driver outside the Chase Grid. Newman also faces a potential penalty for failing post-race Laser Inspection System at Darlington. Jamie McMurray currently clings to the final Chase berth with one regular-season event at Richmond remaining. BUESCHER'S STANDING Chris Buescher 's 17th-place finish helped boost his Chase chances. Buescher prevailed at Pocono Raceway in August to check off one requirement for Chase eligibility; the second is a place among the top 30 in the Sprint Cup driver standings. Buescher remains 30th in the standings, increasing his lead over 31st-place David Ragan to 11 points . LOCKED IN Drivers who have clinched a spot in the Chase are: Brad Keselowski , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson , Kevin Harvick , Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr . (all with multiple wins), along with one-win drivers Kurt Busch , Kyle Larson , Joey Logano and Tony Stewart . Chris Buescher is currently in the Chase Grid, but has not clinched a spot. After Sunday's 500-miler, just one regular-season race (Richmond) remains before the 16-driver postseason field is settled. BUBBLE WATCH With 25 of 26 regular-season races complete, just three at-large spots (at present) for non-winners remain available. Here's how that picture looks post-Darlington. Editor's note: The standings below are the Chase Grid standings, not the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers' standings.
H2H: Chase's Round of 12 set to stir at Charlotte
RELATED: See the Chase Grid Story lines abound, and NASCAR.com's Holly Cain and Zack Albert tackle three pressing topics as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup enters the Round of 12 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . 1. What surprised you most from Dover weekend in terms of who advanced in the Chase elimination race and who did not? Cain: I was surprised by the results in several areas, but more so by drivers who did not advance as expected. Like many, I believed Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kyle Larson would advance well beyond the Round of 16. In fact, I had him in my Championship 4. I do believe he will win another race before the season is over. And perhaps I was being sentimental in expecting Tony Stewart to advance, but I still remember the amazing Chase charge in 2011 and saw the motivation in the three-time champion's eyes after he won at Sonoma this summer. Albert: Austin Dillon 's advancement on the basis of pure consistency didn't send shock waves through the ol' surprise meter, but fate's cruel hand for Chip Ganassi Racing did. To see both Larson and teammate Jamie McMurray ejected from the Chase field at least qualified as a mild stunner. It's a solid dozen that remain, but Dover showed again how exacting this postseason format can be. RELATED: Larson, McMurray ousted from Chase after Dover woes 2. With the points standings reset for the Chase Round of 12, all drivers resume with a clean slate. Are there any incentives you would add to enhance the current format? Cain: A case could be made to give drivers who have won in the Chase a small points bonus in the ensuing round. But the equal reset given to all 12 drivers in the current format certainly increases the drama in a very different way from the Chase start, when regular-season wins are factored in. It's the first time since the Daytona 500 green flag that the top-tier drivers are ranked evenly, and it should make the next three races even more dramatic. Albert: It may not rate highly on the drama scale, but I've always maintained that the top points -earner during the regular season should be rewarded -- nominally if not handsomely. A first-round bye might be a stretch, but a bigger bounty of points would offer a larger incentive for consistent performance over the opening 26 events. Offering bonus points through each elimination round would be an inviting enhancement, but keeping them out of the championship race -- leaving the calculators at home -- has valuable merits. RELATED: Are added incentives for regular-season winners on horizon? 3. Among the remaining 12 Chase drivers, who's your pick to win this weekend at Charlotte and lock in early in the Round of 8? Cain: There's a certain six-time champion who I believe will collect his eighth win at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. Jimmie Johnson has been close to wins already in the Chase only to fall victim to pit-road miscues -- something uncharacteristic of his Hendrick Motorsports organization. You've got to think that will be cleaned up, and I believe there's no one more motivated to remind naysayers why he is the modern era's very best. Albert: Is there any stopping the Truexpress? Wins in two of the first three Chase races have established the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota as a strong title favorite, and the team returns to the site of Truex's crushing victory in the Coca-Cola 600 in May. Placing former Charlotte winners Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson under the heading of "sleepers" ranks as a testament to Truex's formidable stature this season. Upcoming wild-card races at Talladega and Martinsville have the potential to derail the No. 78's march; don't count on that happening this weekend at Charlotte.
Keselowski's Chase chances take a hit following contact with Hamlin
RELATED: Keselowski comes through in the clutch at Talladega in 2014 KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Here we go again. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Round of 12 finale at Talladega Superspeedway just became that much more of a must-see event. Former Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski once again finds himself in a precarious position heading into the elimination race at the 2.66-mile track, in need of a victory to advance after finishing toward the back of the pack at Kansas Speedway . Two years ago the Team Penske driver placed 36th in the Hollywood Casino 400 . He placed 38th on Sunday after contact with Denny Hamlin on Lap 189 sent his No. 2 Ford careening into the grass, destroying the front end of his ride. And two years ago he hit the proverbial walk-off home run, landing in Talladega Victory Lane -- and into the Round of 8. Can he do it again? "We will win Talladega and other races and be fine," Keselowski said in the garage following the incident. "I like Talladega. Talladega has been good to me and I am going to drive my butt off and at the end of the day I have faith that if it is meant to be it is meant to be. We can't get down. There is a long way to go still." In an attempt to scrape together any extra points he could salvage, Keselowski returned to the race on Lap 218 -- 28 laps down -- for only two circuits before bringing out the seventh caution when his car started smoking again. He quickly returned to the garage and retired for the day. "It's an automotive war zone out here," Keselowski said. "(My team) just worked their guts out. If my team keeps putting out this kind of effort, I'm not worried about today. We're going to win races." Keselowski entered the race fourth on the Chase Grid but now sits 11th in the 12-driver field, ahead of Chase Elliott by 18 points . He trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by a whopping 44. If any driver in the field has a chance to pull off the miraculous feat that he once again faces, it's Keselowski. The winner of the past two restrictor plate races (May Talladega, July Daytona) has five total in his career, four of which have come at the Alabama track. With restrictor plate ace Dale Earnhardt Jr . sidelined for the remainder of the season, Keselowski is arguably the best superspeedway racer in the series right now. Some may question Keselowski's hard-charging method of racing at Kansas in an event he conceivably could've raced more for points than for the win, but -- as we've come to known -- that's not his style. "I probably could have raced less hard with a big points gap coming in," he said. "With this ( Chase ) format it is probably the smart thing to do but I don't want to race like that. I want to race my guts out and go for wins. I don't want to points race. I don't care what the damn format is, I am going to give it my best." There will be no option to points race at Talladega. Keselowski likely needs to win. "Days like today are going to happen to anybody and everybody in the Chase . It is about the effort you have when that happens," Keselowski said. "I am proud of my guys for doing their best to recover and we will move on to Talladega and give 'em hell." &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;
Chase Bubble: Stewart in; Larson sparks shake-up
RELATED: Provisional Chase Grid Here's a breakdown of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Grid and bubble picture after Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway . NEW WINNER, NEW SHAKE-UP Kyle Larson 's victory in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 altered the complexion of the provisional Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff grid, securing another postseason berth for a first-time winner. The result means one less postseason berth for drivers hoping to qualify for the Chase on points , knocking Ryan Newman out of the provisional field of 16. Jamie McMurray , Larson's Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, currently clings to the final Chase berth with two regular-season events (Darlington, Richmond) remaining. FORMALLY WIN AND IN Tony Stewart wound up 21st in his final Michigan race, two laps off the leader's pace. It was enough to formally clinch a postseason spot, pairing his Sonoma victory in June with a steady hold on 26th in the driver standings. Stewart missed the first eight races of his final championship campaign with a back injury. BUESCHER'S STANDING Chris Buescher limped to a 35th-place finish, slightly weakening his grasp on a postseason slot. Buescher prevailed at Pocono Raceway earlier this month to check one requirement for Chase eligibility; the second is a place among the top 30 in the Sprint Cup driver standings. Buescher remains 30th in the standings, but his margin over 31st-place David Ragan shrank from 13 to seven points . LOCKED IN Drivers who have clinched a spot in the Chase are: Brad Keselowski , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson , Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin (all with multiple wins), along with one-win drivers Kurt Busch , Kyle Larson , Joey Logano , Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr . Chris Buescher is currently in the Chase Grid, but has not clinched a spot. After Sunday's 400-miler, just two regular-season races (Darlington, Richmond) remain before the 16-driver postseason field is settled. BUBBLE WATCH With 24 of 26 regular-season races complete, just three at-large spots (at present) for non-winners remain available. Here's how that picture looks post-Michigan. Editor's note: The standings below are the Chase Grid standings, not the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers' standings.
For small teams of Sieg, Koch, Chase berth feels like a win
RELATED: Chicagoland race results " Chase Grid JOLIET, Ill. – Ryan Sieg rebounded from a pit-road speeding penalty and an errant pit stop. Blake Koch said it was a race-long vibration that raised his concerns. But the two drivers and their respective teams persevered to come home with top-15 finishes in Saturday’s Drive for Safety 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Chicagoland Speedway and clinched spots in the series’ inaugural Chase . Sieg wound up 12th while Koch battled to a 15th- place finish in the 200-lap race. "We're going to have to be top 15 or better each race, be on our game and make no mistakes," said Sieg, driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet for RSS Racing. "If some other people make mistakes, we can benefit from that and make it to the next round. "You've got to race hard and get everything out of everybody; it's going to be a struggle but we're ready for it." Sieg, 29, will enter the seven-race playoff seeded ninth, 12 points behind Saturday's race winner, top-seeded Erik Jones ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). Sieg is not alone – nine of the 12 drivers in the field qualified for the Chase on points , and will begin with 2,000-point total after the reset. It's a daunting task for Sieg's group, as well as for Koch and others who have seen Sprint Cup -affiliated teams dominate the competition this season. But they'll all be racing for the same hardware come next week, and to be among the handful in that position is a win in itself. "This is huge," Sieg said. "It's like a race within a race – the Cup affiliated teams and the smaller teams. We're one of the top two smaller car teams. This is like our little championship here. It's exciting; I'm ready to go to the next three." For Koch, it was a stressful event at Chicagoland, in part brought on by a season spent on the Chase bubble. The vibration in the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet only made matters worse. The concern in his voice as the race wound down wasn't anything new. "How about a little concern in my voice all race long?" said Koch, who called the event "the biggest XFINITY race I've ever been a part of. "I had this little vibration that just scared me. When you're in this tight of a points battle you want everything to feel perfect and I had a vibration through my shifter; I don't know where it was. It never went away, it never got worse." It was not the first time the issue had cropped up; the last time it did, Koch said, he failed to finish the race. "So it just had my stomach in knots," the 31-year-old said. “Chris (Rice, crew chief) was able to use his psychology and get my head off of it and just race the race." The XFINITY Chase format consists of seven races and three rounds, with four drivers eliminated at the conclusion of each of the first two rounds. The drivers in the Championship 4 will go to Homestead-Miami Speedway to determine the champion. The Round of 12 will consist of stops at Kentucky, Dover and Charlotte while Kansas, Texas and Phoenix make up the Round of 8 races. "I feel like I've been points racing all year, like I've been the guy on the bubble every single race," Koch said. “You're going to have to be smart at Kentucky and get through there with a solid finish but then I think you can go to Dover and let it all hang out."
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