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Chase Pistone lands ride with NTS Motorsports
Pistone will make season debut at Martinsville
Kahne seeks win while in familiar Chase bubble spot
RELATED: Standings heading into Sunday BROOKLYN, Mich. -- It's an unfortunate yet familiar position for Kasey Kahne , driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports . Unfortunate because with only three races remaining before the 16-team field is set for this year's NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup , Kahne finds himself winless on the season and 17th in points. Familiar because the 36-year-old has been here before. Kahne slid into the Chase field in 2014, the inaugural season of the format awarding positions to full-time competitors that managed at least one victory through the season's first 26 races, with a late victory at Atlanta, just one stop from the cutoff event. Three races remain before this year's field is set, beginning with Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 here at Michigan International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Then it's on to Darlington and Richmond to determine the remainder of this year's Chase field before the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway . Two years ago, the final three-race run consisted of stops at Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond. "I don't think that was anything like this year; I think this is a lot different," Kahne said Saturday at Michigan. "That was a great night for us and we were right there all night, got in the right position on restarts … we were fast all night. I think restarts were big for us. I could run really fast for 15 laps. It's been a while since we've been like that." Indeed. The Atlanta win was Kahne's 17th but it was also his last. He enters Sunday's race shadowed by a 70-race winless streak. In the meantime, Kahne's Hendrick teammates have won 14 times since his Atlanta victory. "For us, I think it's been so many areas, so many little things that add up to being four-tenths (of a second) off per lap often," he said. "I don't think it's from a lack of effort because the effort is there. But it's maybe working in the right areas or trying to understand things that will make it easier for me to drive for my driving style. That's been a huge part of the last couple of years. "It doesn't matter what other guys are doing, (it's) 'what will help Kasey? What will help him with his car because he drives a little different?' I feel like this weekend we've kind of done our thing and it seems to be working pretty well so car." Ten Sprint Cup drivers have one or more wins this season and sit inside the top 16, virtually assuring themselves of a slot in the Chase . Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher also have one win each, and while further back in points, their status likely leaves only four Chase positions up for grabs. Seventeen others are still mathematically alive, should they earn a win in one of the next three races. If no different winners emerge, points will be used to determine the remaining spots. Kahne trails the holder of the last spot in the Chase Grid, Ryan Newman by 39 points, with Trevor Bayne and Kyle Larson sandwiched between the two and chasing one of the final playoff spots as well. Austin Dillon , Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray and Newman are just on the right side of the Chase bubble as of now. Hendrick drivers qualified second (Johnson), fifth (Elliott), sixth ( Alex Bowman driving in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr .) and 11th (Kahne) at Michigan. It is the seventh time this season Kahne will start from the No. 11 spot on the 40-car grid. "We run 13th to 18th every week; we qualify there and we race there," Kahne said. "That's just the speed we have. And then we do the same thing the next week. It's nice to do something a little different this week and to have speed to show it's helping." Kahne, 10th in Saturday's morning practice and fourth in the weather-shortened final session, has qualified for the Chase five times, the last coming in '14.
Chase -clinching scenarios for Michigan and Road America
With three races remaining in the regular season, 10 drivers have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , assuming each driver starts 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. Stewart can clinch a top 30 spot at Michigan with some help as he must be 91 points ahead of the 31st position in the standings. A number of drivers who currently have no wins can clinch this weekend, but only if they win the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Winless drivers in the standings from Austin Dillon all the way to Aric Almirola could lock in a spot with a victory. See the Sprint Cup standings here . Possible to Clinch: -- Tony Stewart (1 Win, 400 Points, +85 Points Ahead of 31st): Could Clinch a Top 30 spot with help (magic number is 91 points), which is all he needs to do to clinch on wins. The following drivers would clinch with a win: -- Austin Dillon (0 Wins, 596 Points, +281 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Chase Elliott (0 Wins, 588 Points, +273 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Jamie McMurray (0 Wins, 583 Points, +268 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ryan Newman (0 Wins, 576 Points, +261 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Trevor Bayne (0 Wins, 541 Points, +226 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Kyle Larson (0 Wins, 537 Points, +222 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Kasey Kahne (0 Wins, 537 Points, +222 Points Ahead of 31st) -- AJ Allmendinger (0 Wins, 518 Points, +203 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr (0 Wins, 514 Points, +199 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ryan Blaney (0 Wins, 508 Points, +193 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr (0 Wins, 461 Points, +146 Points Ahead of 31st)** -- Greg Biffle (0 Wins, 441 Points, +126 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Danica Patrick (0 Wins, 432 Points, +117 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Paul Menard (0 Wins, 431 Points, +116 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Clint Bowyer (0 Wins, 407 Points, +92 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Aric Almirola (0 Wins, 406 Points, +91 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Casey Mears (0 Wins, 375 Points, +60 Points Ahead of 31st): With a win, he could clinch a Chase spot on wins if he got help with clinching a Top 30 spot. **Not entered at Michigan XFINITY The following drivers have already clinched a spot in the top 30 of the points standings, so a win at Road America (Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) would lock them into the Chase field -- Justin Allgaier , Ty Dillon , Brendan Gaughan , Brennan Poole , Brandon Jones , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Ryan Reed , Blake Koch , Ryan Sieg , Ross Chastain , Dakoda Armstrong , Jeremy Clements , Ryan Preece , Ray Black Jr . and BJ McLeod . Joey Gase would also clinch a Chase spot with a win. Camping World Truck With a win at Michigan (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), any of the four drivers currently sitting with one win would clinch their Chase spot. -- Johnny Sauter (1 Win, 306 Points, +243 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Christopher Bell (1 Win, 296 Points, +233 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ben Kennedy (1 Win, 287 Points, +224 Points Ahead of 31st) -- John Hunter Nemechek (1 Win, 281 Points, +218 Points Ahead of 31st) Daniel Hemric (0 Wins, 312 Points, +249 Points Ahead of 31st) -- With a win and help, he would clinch a Chase spot on wins. (The help would be in the form of all winless drivers being eliminated from leading the standings after Chicago.)
Reddick's Chase hopes take major hit at MIS
Tyler Reddick, on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase bubble, sees his chances take a major hit after contact with Johnny Sauter on the frontstretch.
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.
Teams look for Chase edge at Chicagoland test
With the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup only one month away, several Sprint Cup Series teams will try to get a leg up on the competition at Chicagoland Speedway this week by taking part in an organizational test for the series. Thirteen teams are tentatively scheduled to make the trek to the 1.5-mile track for the two-day test initially scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 23-24. Because of weather in the area, the test was adjusted to an all day session on Tuesday running into the night. Drivers expected to be on hand are: -- Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet) -- Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet) -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr . ( Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford)--- Trevor Bayne filled in so Stenhouse could attend Bryan Clauson's services -- Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota) -- Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford) -- Joey Logano ( Team Penske No. 22 Ford) -- David Ragan ( BK Racing No. 23 Ford) -- Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet) -- Chris Buescher ( Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford) -- Brian Scott ( Richard Petty Motorsports No. 44 Ford) -- Michael Annett ( HScott Motorsports No. 46 Chevrolet) -- Jimmie Johnson ( Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet) -- Michael McDowell (Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing No. 95 Chevrolet) Chicagoland is scheduled to host the opening Chase race, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400, on Sunday, Sept. 18 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) That the test will be held so close to the race date "is huge," said six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson . "To be on the track in close proximity when we go back and race, we obviously have a lot going on just as all teams do trying to gear up and get ready for the Chase ," he said. Johnson has 14 career starts at the 1.5-mile track, but it is one of four -- along with Watkins Glen, Homestead and Kentucky -- where he has yet to win. "We have all these great machines that simulate on-track activity at the shop but until you take it to the race track and put it to use you have no idea if it's really paying off," he said. "So we're looking to validate quite a few things and hopefully we get sunshine and really true conditions to what we'll see when we come back for the race." The Chicago test is the fourth of five organizational tests for Sprint Cup Series teams this season. The remaining test is scheduled at Homestead Miami Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 18-19.
Chase Bubble: Analyzing the playoff picture post-Bristol
RELATED: See the full Chase Grid Here's a breakdown of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Grid and bubble picture after Sunday's Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway . BUESCHER'S STANDING Chris Buescher vaulted into the top 30 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with a resounding fifth-place finish in the rain-delayed 500-lapper. Crossing the top-30 plateau ticked off the final requirement for postseason eligibility, coupling it with his breakthrough Sprint Cup victory earlier in the month at Pocono Raceway . Sunday's effort hands the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate a 13-point cushion over 31st-ranked David Ragan , who finished 21st Sunday. Buescher will need to maintain or improve his spot in the top 30 to give his Front Row Motorsports team its first Chase appearance. 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 , Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr . After Sunday's 500-lapper, three regular-season races (Michigan, Darlington, Richmond) remain before the postseason field is set. WIN, BASICALLY IN Tony Stewart endured an extended stay behind the wall for a mechanical issue, finishing 29 laps down in 30th place. The Sonoma winner sits 27th in Sprint Cup points with a comfortable cushion on a top 30 spot. With Stewart's stature and Buescher's newfound Chase status, just four at-large spots (at present) for non-winners remain up for grabs based on drivers' positioning in the standings. Here's how that picture looks post-Bristol. BUBBLE WATCH Editor's note: The standings below are the Chase Grid standings, not the Sprint Cup Series drivers standings.
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 .
Lofton, Pistone top Friday's Truck practices
Lofton -- filling in for Gaulding -- scored the fastest speed in the second session
Chase Bubble Watch: Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson is on the bubble for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Check out some of Larson's key stats as the race for the Chase heats up.