Teams beat the weather to test at Chicagoland
Weather concerns forced NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams to cram two days of testing into a single day Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway as they prepare for the upcoming Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 's opening race next month. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 18 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The organizational test, which permits one team per organization to participate, was originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick , the 2014 series champion, recorded the top lap time during Tuesday's day-long test with the No. 4 Chevrolet circling the 1.5-mile track in 29.147 seconds (185 mph). Defending series champion Kyle Busch had the second best lap in No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 29.24 seconds (184.6 mph) while Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford) and Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet) had the third and fourth quickest times, respectively. Fourteen teams took part in the test. Harvick completed 222 laps, most among those taking part in the test, while Busch logged 214 according to NASCAR timing and scoring data. "We haven't won here in a few years but I think the performance has been fine over the past two or three years," Harvick, winner of the first two Sprint Cup races hosted by the track," said Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to coming back; it's a fun race track just for the fact that you can move around and run all around the race track. That's really the hardest part about today, it's hard to gather a lot of … confirmed information (because) you have to get enough rubber from the bottom to the top of the track to see where everything actually is." Joey Logano finished sixth in last year's Chase opener at Chicago. It's a race that sets the tone for the 10-race playoff, the driver of the Team Penske No. 22 Ford said. "A lot on the line here and you always want to start off the Chase on a good note and have a lot of momentum leaving Chicago," Logano said. "So far so good. … "This is a great track; to me it almost acts like a small Fontana for us. You can run anywhere you want on the race track, its got a lot of speed and it's bumpy. Its got a ton of character." One more organizational test remains for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, scheduled for Oct. 18-19 at Homestead Miami Speedway. While Sprint Cup teams were testing at Chicagoland, several Camping World Truck Series teams were busy at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Monday and Tuesday. Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates William Byron, Christopher Bell and Cody Coughlin , along with Kaz Grala (GMS Racing) and Stewart Friesen (Halmar Racing) were on hand to test in preparation for the Truck Series' opening Chase race, the UNOH 175 (Sept. 24, 1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "This is one of my favorite race tracks," Byron, the series' points leader and winner of five races this season, said. "I won here in the K&N Series last year so think I have a lot of confidence here. "It's good to come back with a truck; it handles totally different but it's the same race track. I'm trying to use some of the things I learned last year and hopefully make that apply for when we come back in the Chase ." The inaugural Chase in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series begins at New Hampshire and will feature a field of eight drivers competing for the 2016 championship.
Chase Elliott tops final New Hampshire practice
RELATED: Final practice results " Practice 2 results Rookie Chase Elliott zipped to the top spot in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Elliott guided the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet to a best lap of 131.347 mph in the 55-minute final prep session for Sunday's New Hampshire 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The 20-year-old driver will be making his first Sprint Cup start Sunday on the 1.058-mile track. Denny Hamlin , a two-time New Hampshire winner, turned the second-fastest lap at 131.302 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota. He was just ahead of JGR teammate Matt Kenseth , another two-time winner in the Granite State who clocked the third-best lap at 131.044 mph in the No. 20 Toyota. Kevin Harvick , the top points-earner in the Sprint Cup Series this season, was fourth-fastest in final practice at 130.941 mph in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevy. Defending race winner Kyle Busch landed the fifth-fastest lap in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota at 130.891 mph. Jimmie Johnson , who will start first in Sunday's 301-lapper after securing the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying, was seventh-fastest in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet. Alex Bowman , the replacement driver this weekend for Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he recovers from concussion-like symptoms, registered the 22nd-fastest lap in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet. Sunday's event, the first of two New Hampshire stops for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season, is the 19th of 36 points-paying races this year. Edwards edges ahead in second practice " Results It was a Joe Gibbs Racing parade at the top of the board with the race team taking the top three spots in the first of two Saturday practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota) paced the 55-minute session with a fast lap of 131.456 mph, with his JGR teammates Denny Hamlin (131.284 mph, No. 11 Toyota) and Matt Kenseth (131.193 mph, No. 20 Toyota) taking second and third in the session, respectively. Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet) and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) completed the top five with fast laps of 130.914 mph and 130.855 mph, respectively. Defending race winner Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota) made it four-for-four for JGR cars in the top 10 as he posted the seventh-fastest lap. Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) came in 14th in the session a day after scoring his first Coors Light Pole Award of 2016. Alex Bowman , who is filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend, placed 24th. Earnhardt is out for Sunday's New Hampshire 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) with concussion-like symptoms.
Snapchat to bring live stories to Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 24, 2016) -- Snapchat is covering the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ™ this fall with Live Stories from Charlotte Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway , NASCAR announced today. Fans will be able to share their race-day experiences with millions of Snapchat users from the Bank of America 500 in Concord, North Carolina, on Oct. 8, and the Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead, Florida, on Nov. 20, when NASCAR will crown its 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ champion. "There's no experience in sports quite like attending a NASCAR race, especially during the Chase ," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "Snapchat's Live Story coverage provides young audiences with a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the real Chase race experience, through the lens of our fans and drivers." The announcement comes as the NASCAR industry celebrates Kids Drive NASCAR, a new initiative created to engage the sport's young fans and featuring kids-focused events and activities. All this week, the sport's rising stars, as well as drivers with young children, will be hosting driver takeovers on the NASCAR Snapchat account. Later this fall, Snapchat users at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway will contribute their race-day perspectives through video and photo Snaps submitted to collective Live Stories, capturing the real NASCAR story, straight from the fans. The thousands of submitted Snaps from each event will be curated and packaged by Snapchat into a video stream that is shared globally with Snapchat's more than 100 million daily active users. Each NASCAR Live Story will be available to view on Snapchat for 24 hours. In February, NASCAR announced its first-ever partnership with Snapchat doubling the platform’s coverage of NASCAR premier race events in 2016. The 2016 Daytona 500 , which set records for NASCAR social media engagement, and May race at Talladega Superspeedway featured Live Stories this season. Snapchat is available on iOS and Android. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Michigan International Speedway for the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and MRN.
Chase -clinching scenarios for Bristol
With four races remaining in the regular season, 10 drivers have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , assuming each start the remaining races. The 10 clinchers: Brad Keselowski , Kyle Busch , Carl Edwards , Jimmie Johnson , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Joey Logano , Martin Truex Jr . and Denny Hamlin . Everyone who has a win this season is locked in -- except for Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher , both of whom have yet to clinch a top-30 spot. A number of drivers who currently have no wins can clinch this weekend, but only if they win at Bristol Motor Speedway and leave the race with at least a 136-point lead over Stewart and Buescher. There's also the potential for the points leader to be a guaranteed winner after race No. 26 at Richmond, the final regular-season race. If that's the case, the below drivers would only need to have a 136-point lead over Buescher. The XFINITY Series clinch scenarios follow as well. Possible to clinch: Tony Stewart : (1 Win, 389 Points, +97 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Could clinch a Top 30 position with help Possible to clinch at Bristol with a win: Ryan Newman (0 Wins, 562 Points, +270 Points Ahead of 31st) Chase Elliott (0 Wins, 561 Points, +269 Points Ahead of 31st) Austin Dillon (0 Wins, 559 Points, +267 Points Ahead of 31st) Jamie McMurray (0 Wins, 550 Points, +258 Points Ahead of 31st) Kyle Larson (0 Wins, 520 Points, +228 Points Ahead of 31st) Trevor Bayne (0 Wins, 512 Points, +220 Points Ahead of 31st) Kasey Kahne (0 Wins, 509 Points, +217 Points Ahead of 31st Ryan Blaney (0 Wins, 502 Points, +210 Points Ahead of 31st) AJ Allmendinger (0 Wins, 486 Points, +194 Points Ahead of 31st) Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (0 Wins, 475 Points, +183 Points Ahead of 31st) Dale Earnhardt Jr .* (0 Wins, 461 Points, +169 Points Ahead of 31st) Paul Menard (0 Wins, 422 Points, +130 Points Ahead of 31st) Possible to clinch at Bristol with a win plus help: Greg Biffle (0 Wins, 416 Points, +124 Points Ahead of 31st) Danica Patrick (0 Wins, 413 Points, +121 Points Ahead of 31st) Clint Bowyer (0 Wins, 397 Points, +105 Points Ahead of 31st) Aric Almirola (0 Wins, 379 Points, +87 Points Ahead of 31st) *Not currently entered at Bristol XFINITY Series The following drivers have already clinched a spot in the top 30 of the points standings, so a win would lock them into the Chase field -- Ty Dillon , Justin Allgaier , Brendan Gaughan , Brennan Poole , Brandon Jones , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Ryan Reed , Ryan Sieg , Blake Koch , Ross Chastain , Dakoda Armstrong and Jeremy Clements . Ryan Preece would clinch a top 30 spot in the points with a win, so he'd be in the Chase , too, if that happened. With a win, and some help in the points, Ray Black Jr . and BJ McLeod could qualify for the Chase .
Chase Bubble Watch: Chris Buescher
Chris Buescher is on the cusp of a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after his win at Pocono Raceway. Buescher is outside the top 30 in points, just three points behind 30th-place David Ragan and has 4 races to clinch a spot in the Chase .
Chase Bubble Watch: Kasey Kahne
Check out where Kasey Kahne sits in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings as the cutoff for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is only 4 races away.
Chase Bubble Watch: Trevor Bayne
Trevor Bayne is just outside the cutoff of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with just four races remaining. Check out the stats that could determine whether or not he makes it in.
Chase Bubble: Analyzing the playoff picture post-Watkins Glen
RELATED: See the full Chase Grid Here's a breakdown of the Chase Grid and bubble picture following Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International . BUESCHER'S STANDING Chris Buescher remains on the cusp of a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup because of his win at Pocono Raceway , but the rookie's involvement in a wreck with six laps remaining at the Cheez-It 355 hurt him greatly. Buescher still sits outside of the top 30 in points -- a requirement to make the Chase -- and is 31st, just three points behind 30th-place David Ragan . Ragan also was involved in the wreck on Lap 84, so Buescher stood to gain some ground if he could have found a way back into his car, but his No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford couldn't be fixed in time to get back on the track. Buescher, the reigning XFINITY Series champion, has four races to get into the top 30 and lock in his playoff spot. LOCKED IN Drivers who have clinched a spot in the Chase are: Brad Keselowski , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin (all with multiple wins), along with one-win drivers Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr . WIN, BASICALLY IN With one win and a place in the top 30, Tony Stewart has all but claimed one of the remaining six spots. That accounts for 11 drivers in the 16-driver postseason field, leaving five spots up for grabs via points, with Buescher still sitting outside the top 30 in the standings. Here's how that picture looks post-Watkins Glen. BUBBLE WATCH Editor's note: The standings below are the Chase Grid standings, not the Sprint Cup Series drivers standings.
Watkins Glen mayhem tightens XFINITY Chase standings
Related: Zippo 200 at The Glen Results " Updated Chase Grid WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Early misfortunes, including a major multi-car wreck, had an unsettling effect on the Chase chances for several NASCAR XFINITY Series playoff hopefuls Saturday at Watkins Glen International . Darrell Wallace Jr . and Blake Koch were among the hardest hit in a 10-car stack-up on the 18th of 82 laps in the Zippo 200, a pileup that forced a red flag of nearly 14 minutes. Wallace's Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford sustained heavy front-end damage and spent plenty of time in the garage for repairs, extending his streak to four straight races without a top-10 finish. He wound up 29th in the final rundown, 19 laps off the pace. Wallace started and ended the day ninth on the provisional Chase grid, but slipped to just a 16-point edge over 10th-place Ryan Reed -- the wrong direction for momentum ahead of the playoffs. "All I see is we have bad luck and it is getting old, my friend," Wallace told NBCSN. "It is unfortunate for my team. We come here and I messed up on the first lap in the first practice we had, and then we were sitting pretty for the rest of the weekend. It is just getting old. We will go on to Mid-Ohio and try to have some luck there." Koch's Kaulig Racing No. 11 Chevrolet was done for the day with damage all around. Koch, who was clinging to the final spot on the provisional Chase grid after last weekend's event at Iowa Speedway , failed to finish for the second time in the last four races. "Just points. That's the only thing going through my mind from the first impact, all I thought was points," Koch said. "It's not good, but I made a mistake early on and lost a bunch of spots and got us back there and that kind of started it. I've just got to be a little bit smarter at these road courses, but man, I hate it for everybody." Koch was evaluated and released from the infield care center, but had his right hand bandaged -- a byproduct, he said, of blisters from all of the shifting in Thursday's extended XFINITY practice on Watkins Glen's new pavement. "You know what, I need to have manlier hands," Koch said with a laugh. "That's the issue." Jeremy Clements was another driver with plenty to gain from the multicar wreck, entering the day tied for the top spot among drivers outside the provisional Chase grid. But Clements' No. 51 Chevrolet had its own pitfalls, limping to the garage with a broken track bar on Lap 9 and returning for a 25th-place finish. He dropped from 13th to 15th in the series standings. Ross Chastain took sole possession of 13th place in the XFINITY standings with a 14th-place outing Saturday at The Glen. He closed from 24 points back to just a two-point gap behind Koch in the final cut-off spot. The XFINITY Series sticks to road racing next week for Saturday's Mid-Ohio Challenge (3:30 p.m. ET, USA, MRN, SiriusXM) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course .
Chase Watch: 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman breaks down the Chase Grid for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as the 2016 season heads down the final stretch before the series' inaugural Chase .