Best in-car audio throughout the Chase
Take a listen to the best in-car audio from your favorite drivers throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup explained
As the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup turns 10, get the history, format and more
Chris Buescher joins expanding JTG Daugherty Racing for 2017
RELATED: Driver and team changes for 2017 JTG Daugherty Racing officials have confirmed that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization will expand to two full-time teams in 2017 with the addition of driver Chris Buescher . JTG Daugherty, co-owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter and Brad Daugherty, has fielded a single full-time car in the series since 2009. A.J. Allmendinger, the team's primary driver since 2014, will remain with the organization as driver of the No. 47 Chevrolet. "We can confirm at this time that JTG Daugherty Racing is currently in the process of starting a second team in the NASCAR premier series," Tad Geschickter said. "We would also like to confirm and welcome Chris Buescher to the team as our driver for the second car." Buescher, the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion while at Roush Fenway Racing , spent the 2016 season competing for Front Row Motorsports . According to a release from RFR, Buescher and the organization's charter for its No. 16 team have been "leased" to JTG Daugherty for the upcoming season. "I'm thankful for the opportunity and look forward to competing for a spot in the Chase ," Buescher, 24, said. Buescher qualified for the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup after scoring his first career premier series win, at Pocono Raceway . While he failed to advance out of the first round of the 10-race elimination-style format, he finished 16th in points, a career best for a Front Row Motorsports team. Allmendinger finished a career-best 13th in points in 2014 when he qualified for the Chase . The No. 47 team ended the '16 season with two top fives and nine top-10 finishes and Allmendinger 19th in points. He scored the organization's lone victory to date in the premier series, winning at Watkins Glen in 2014. </p>
H2H: Chase hits halfway; Talladega tempest next
RELATED: See the Chase grid " Chase Bubble Watch The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason is making the turn for home -- five races down and five to go. This weekend's stop on the 10-race ride is among the most pivotal of them all, Sunday's Alabama 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) at Talladega Superspeedway . With the playoff field about to be cut from 12 drivers to a final eight, our Holly Cain and Zack Albert tackle pressing topics ahead of a true Chase wildcard: *** Halfway through the Chase , Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr . have each won twice, leaving Jimmie Johnson as the only other race winner in the postseason's first five races. Will the champion be one of these three or is there still room for a Chase dark horse? Cain: It is highly likely that the champion will come from among these three drivers, who have not only won lately but set the bar this year. With half the Chase remaining, someone else may -- and needs to -- step up, figuring it would be Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano or one of the four remaining Toyota drivers who have led the way. No dark horse here. Albert: There's time left, but that clock -- not to be confused with the Camping World Truck Series' caution clock -- is ticking more urgently. Harvick, Truex and Johnson may be the main Chase triumvirate so far, but I'm holding the door open for a Keselowski-led Penske effort or another Joe Gibbs Racing entry to stage a Round of 12 rally, starting at Talladega. Next year, a schedule shake-up for the Chase's Round of 12 will have Kansas trading places with Talladega to be the three-race series' elimination event. Do you favor the move or was the Charlotte-Kansas-Talladega progression a suitable schedule? Cain: Depending on whom you talk to, Talladega settling the third-round Chase grid was either a huge opportunity or a crazy wild card. Everyone goes into the unpredictable Talladega race feeling like either he/she has a big opportunity or scant chance to emerge. That makes for a heightened excitement level, but the question is whether this type of race should solidify the next round of elimination. Cases can be made either way, but I think the switch-up is a good idea. Albert: Talladega races are heart-clenching enough as it is -- whether it's in the regular season in May, in the playoffs in October or a 20-lap offseason trophy dash for funsies (just a suggestion). Making the schedule shift may slightly reduce spectator palpitations, but the track loses little in stature as the middle event in a three-race series. A more conventional venue such as Kansas makes more sense as the host of an elimination race. The Chase's current bottom four: Austin Dillon , Denny Hamlin , Brad Keselowski , Chase Elliott . Of those four, who is best positioned to take out the math and guesswork and emerge with a season-saving Talladega win? Cain: I truly see any and all four of these with the possibility of point-climbing their way up to Chase advancement. Among them, it's hardest to argue with Keselowski's Talladega resume. He already has two restrictor-plate wins at Daytona in July and at Talladega in the spring. He has lots of good Alabama juju -- scoring his first-ever Cup win at Talladega in 2009 and amassing four total wins there. He's finished in the top five in three of his last trips to the track. Albert: With such a stacked quartet in the Chase basement, this is a tough one. All four drivers have the backing of teams with standout superspeedway programs, and Keselowski has evolved into one of the sport's best at the large, fast ovals where horsepower is restricted. While still imagining some No. 3 magic for Dillon or a No. 24 breakthrough for Elliott, Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin gets the slight nod from these parts in a plate-track pick 'em.
Hemric looks to overcome early Chase setback
RELATED: Truck Chase Grid Daniel Hemric clinched his spot in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase playoffs with remarkable consistency and a sizable nest egg of points. Now facing a significant deficit after a perilous postseason opener, stockpiling points may not be enough to keep his championship hopes intact. Hemric enters Saturday night's DC Solar 350 (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a much firmer focus on scoring his first victory of the season. "At the end of the day, this deal rewards winning," Hemric said last weekend after finishing a season-worst 28th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . "Yeah, we did it the other way to get here, but I don't know if with the day we had here, we'll be able to salvage it on just points. We've got to go win." The 25-year-old driver for Brad Keselowski Racing spun early in last Saturday's Chase opener, saying he believed he ran over a piece of debris that punctured his left-rear tire. The spent rubber became entangled in the brake assembly, triggering a small flash fire on pit road and eventually forcing his No. 19 Ford behind the wall for extended repairs. The deficit Hemric faces is even more daunting based on the fact that his fellow Chase competitors enjoyed relatively trouble-free days at New Hampshire. Aside from Hemric, the remaining seven Chasers all finished in the top 11. Two races -- this weekend at Vegas and Oct. 22 at Talladega Superspeedway -- remain before two of the eight drivers are eliminated from the playoff picture. Just 27 points separate New Hampshire winner and points leader William Byron and seventh-place Ben Kennedy , but Hemric sits another 20 points behind Kennedy and 21 points behind sixth-place Johnny Sauter . Hemric's regular-season run of reliability -- with top-fives in half of the 16 races -- had earned him a share of the top spot with Byron in the series standings before the points were reset for the postseason. The task of escaping the Chase's bottom two on the basis of points isn't mathematically impossible, but Hemric would rather convert an automatic transfer with a win. "I believe we can," said Hemric, who has come close with seven finishes in the top three this season. "Especially our mile and a half program's been really solid and we've shown that time and time again. That's it. We know what we have to do." While Hemric knows he has two opportunities to regain lost ground, there may extra urgency to find momentum at Las Vegas this weekend rather than roll the dice in the opening round's elimination race at Talladega, where large crashes and wild-card winners are much more probable. "That's the thought," Hemric said. "Nobody wants to go to Talladega knowing they've got to win when everybody has that mentality. The past has shown what happens. Now with the new format, we feel a lot more confident we can just go do our jobs at Vegas and not have to worry about it."
Looking for a Loudon Leap: Tony Stewart Chase watch
Tony Stewart gained ground at Kentucky Speedway, helping him stay within the top 30 in the points. Several races, and potential winners, remain before the Richmond cutoff, so is Tony Stewart safe with only his win at Sonoma?
Kaz Grala lands full-time 2017 ride with GMS
STATESVILLE, N.C. (December 5, 2016) -- GMS Racing announces today that Massachusetts-native Kaz Grala will pilot the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado full time in 2017, across all 23 races of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). The soon-to-be 18-year-old rookie, a part-time driver at GMS Racing in 2016, accomplished three top-10 results in only nine races and has now earned a larger opportunity to step up to full-time competition in one of NASCAR's premier racing series. In recent years, Kaz has made a name for himself in Late Model racing by breaking records. In his first race at fabled Hickory Motor Speedway, Kaz won the 2013 UARA 150 and became the youngest winner in series history. The following year, he became the youngest NASCAR winner in Caraway Speedway history when he held off the Whelen All-American Series National Champion to win the 171-lap event. In 2015, Kaz won his Pro All Stars Series debut at South Boston Speedway with a dominant performance, leading 131 of 150 laps. Kaz differentiates himself by tearing up road-course events each year. He has won the 12 hours of NJMP, the 13 hours of VIR, and competed in the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the pinnacle of sports-car racing in America. Kaz made it to the final round in NCWTS qualifying in all but one race in 2016. He scored his first top-10 finish in only his second start in the series at Dover International Speedway . In his first race at Gateway Motorsports Park , Kaz brought home yet another top-10 finish. At the rookie's home track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway , he brought home his best finish of 2016, a 7th-place result. "I am beyond thankful to have an opportunity with GMS Racing to run full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017. This organization has been on a steep rise the past couple of years, and it's been fun being a part of it in 2016," remarked an excited Grala. Joining the GMS Racing stable in 2017 is veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter who claims time in the principal team role in all three of NASCAR's top racing series, dating back to 1986. Baxter has worked with a variety of NASCAR notables and most recently recorded four seasons with Kyle Busch Motorsports and in 2016 with rookie Chase contender Christopher Bell . "I'm looking forward to next season with GMS and working through this transition with Kaz. I really enjoy helping young drivers get started in this series and developing their talent, and I saw what Kaz accomplished in the few races he ran last season," said Baxter. Next season Baxter will tackle year seven in the Camping World Truck Series and looks to add to his series resume of nine wins, 38 top-five finishes, 67 top-10 finishes, six pole-qualifying positions and 1,426 laps led, with the No. 33 team and Grala. Kaz further described his eagerness for next season, "GMS Racing has really gone out of their way to bring some of the best people in the industry on board, and Jerry Baxter is no exception. I'm extremely excited to get to work with Jerry, who not only is a great match for me personality-wise, but also is very accomplished in the NASCAR world. I am looking forward to returning to the No. 33 Chevy Silverado, which I made a few starts in this year. Hopefully Jerry's experience on top of the box will complement my Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender status, and bring success to the team next year." In three full-time seasons in the NCWTS, GMS Racing has earned seven wins and recently captured the 2016 Driver Championship with longtime competitor Johnny Sauter . The success was a result of the perfect combination of veteran skill and young talent. When he's not improving his race skills to become an accomplished NASCAR driver, Kaz is an honor-roll high school senior at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts. The 17-year-old who has a birthday on December 29th is currently interviewing with colleges for the fall of 2017. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt
Daniel Suárez receives hero's welcome in Mexico City
MEXICO CITY -- A NASCAR championship aside, Daniel Suárez is still making his name known in the United States. In his native Mexico, his name is etched in gold. He’s a rock star, the kind of guy who draws large crowds of adoring fans, each one seeking an autograph or selfie or handshake or high-five. Need proof? Just look at the crowd that packed Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on Sunday. Suárez served as the grand marshal of the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series exhibition race, continuing a whirlwind celebration that hasn’t stopped since he won the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship last month. Suárez could barely take a step without posing for a picture, signing an autograph or hearing the words “felicidades campeón (translation: congratulations, champion).” "I was expecting something good, but this was great," said Suárez, shortly after a large group of photographers captured a photo of him posing with the Mexican flag. "Every time I talk about this, I feel very, very happy for all the fans, all the teams and everyone who has been helping me to get to this point -- the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship." Hoy fue uno de los días más especiales del año! Gracias a todos los fans de @NASCARPEAKMX por si amor y cariño!! De corazón GRACIAS!!!! pic.twitter.com/cVBBoyWkuN — Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) December 4, 2016 Suárez went out of his way to show his appreciation to fans who came to see him in Mexico City. After being interviewed over the public address system, Suárez slowly walked down the length of the frontstretch and waved to all of his fans. Chants of "Dani! Dani! Dani!" could be heard as a beehive of photographers followed his every step. It’s no shock that Mexican fans know him well. The 24-year-old from Monterry, Mexico, was the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series Rookie of the Year in 2010. He finished third in the championship battle in 2012 and runner-up in 2013. His star power grew in the process. Such potential made him an inaugural member of the NASCAR Next program, NASCAR’s initiative that spotlight’s the sport’s rising young stars. And now he’s a champion, basking in the glory he earned during the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase . Along the way, Suárez balanced the weight of expectations with the weight of his country and found the road to success. The reception he received on Sunday is just the latest manifestation of a champion’s just reward. He’ll continue to race for Mexico … and more. "We’re not just talking about Mexico; we’re talking about the entire Latin American community," Suárez said. "That’s something that is unbelievable. I feel very lucky for being a Mexican driver racing in the U.S. and hopefully I can do that for a long time."
Showdown between JRM, JGR evident in XFINITY Chase finale
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- The first-ever Chase playoff format for the NASCAR XFINITY Series created an intriguing foursome competing for the championship in Saturday's season finale. The dualities ran deep. Two pairs of title-eligible teammates from two organizations created a showdown between Joe Gibbs Racing and JR Motorsports, Toyota and Chevrolet, and -- because of the wide range of experience among the four -- a contrast between veteran savvy and youthful exuberance. Those contrasts played out with the XFINITY Series crown on the line in Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 with Gibbs up-and-comers Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez squaring off with JRM's veteran compatriots in Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The final 50 laps saw all four drivers battling fiercly for the lead, but ultimately it was JGR's Suarez who won the race, outlasting JRM's Sadler, who gambled late with a two-tire pit stop and finished third. Sadler's teammate, Allgaier, finished seventh and JGR's Jones was ninth as they got trapped behind race leader Cole Whitt on the final restart. The four drivers were in an anticipatory mood during Thursday's Media Day at the Loews Miami Beach, trumpeting the virtues of having teammates to lean on through the weekend and conjuring up images of a virtual 2-on-2 matchup. But with a winner-take-all structure in place for Saturday's curtain-closer, the allegiances may only go so far. "We know already that we are going to help each other as much as we can before the race, and once we get into the race, everyone is on his own, and we know that, and we understand that," said Suarez, in his second full season of XFINITY competition. "There is just one trophy, and there are two drivers, two friends here. We have to take care by ourselves and move forward." Suarez has a stellar teammate in Jones, who is earmarked for a full-time ride in NASCAR's premier series next year with Furniture Row Racing . The two worked well this season under the JGR umbrella, combining for six XFINITY victories. But Jones agreed that the notion of teamwork has its limits at Homestead. "I think throughout the weekend, you don't change your process at all. We still share information, still lean on each other, help each other when we can," Jones said. "Obviously in the early and mid-part of the race, we're not going to do anything to hurt each other's races. "Once it gets down to that last hundred, last 50 laps, I think you have to go for it. At some point you're going to have to race for it. We're racing for a championship. We don't want to take each other out of that chance, but at the same time we have to be in it to try to win our team a championship and make it happen. I think that's the point of this Chase and the point of this format." Among the four championship contenders, team alliances created a split, but so has the difference in age. JRM's Sadler is the eldest of the group at 41 with his teammate Allgaier having just crossed the bridge into his 30s this summer. JGR's Suarez is 24 years old with Jones the youngest at 20. Experience can certainly help, but so does pure skill -- something the final quartet has in bunches. While variances in their racing backgrounds exist, all four can claim newbie status in regards to the new Chase format. "I don't know that the years have really given us any more experience," Allgaier said. "Who's to say with the resources and things they've gone through that they could potentially have more experience than what I do? I think we got four really talented race car drivers that made the final round. I think you've got four great teams in this final round."
My Chase - Homestead
Get an inside look at the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase with the final video in the XFINITY My Chase video series for 2016, coming to you from Homestead-Miami Speedway.