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Kyle Larson leaps to top of practice board late at Dover
RELATED: Full practice results " Top 10 consecutive lap averages Kyle Larson topped the speed charts in Friday's only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 165.578 mph in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet. Right behind him was Carl Edwards in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 165.122 mph. Rounding out the top five were Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 JGR Toyota, Ryan Newman in the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Sprint Cup Series Chase points leader Brad Keselowski was 19th fastest with a speed of 162.177 mph in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford. The lowest Chase driver was Chris Buescher in 31st place with a speed of 160.100 mph in the Front Row Motorsports Ford. The start of the practice session was delayed 15 minutes in order to finish drying the 1-mile track after rain moved through the area earlier. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Junior becomes an honorary member of the 'Alabama Gang'
Members of the 'Alabama Gang', Donnie Allison, Bobby Allison and Red Farmer, make Dale Earnhardt Jr. an official member during a ceremony at Talladega Superspeedway.
Chase Bubble Watch: Analyzing the playoff picture ahead of Dover
RELATED: Full race results " Updated Chase Grid SHOP: Chase gear Two races into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and several drivers are in jeopardy of not advancing past the Round of 16, which ends next Sunday at Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Let's find out which drivers are resting comfortably following Sunday's Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Who's hot: Kevin Harvick . Harvick came into Loudon one point shy of advancement after a dismal showing (20th) in the Chase opener in Chicago. The 2014 champion and the man nicknamed "The Closer" came on strong on the final restart to take the lead on Lap 295 and nab a win and a locked-in spot in the Round of 12. The victory, in which he only led eight laps, has to erase a little bit of the bitter taste from last fall's race at New Hampshire, where Harvick led 216 laps but ran out of fuel with two to go. Matt Kenseth . Kenseth came into this race with two straight wins at the "Magic Mile" and looked to be closing in on his third-straight win before Harvick surged on a late restart. The 2003 champion led 105 laps en route to a runner-up finish and moved up to fourth in the standings, 25 points to the good of transferring into the next round. Kyle Larson . A top-10 finish at Loudon moved Larson from 15th in the standings (two points back of the last transfer spot) to 12th and five points to the good. It was an up-and-down weekend for the third-year driver, who didn't show the same speed in the race he had shown in practice. Still, he is on the right side of the bubble heading to Dover, where the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver has an average finish of 6.2 and led 85 laps in the spring en route to a runner-up finish. Who's not: Tony Stewart : The three-time champion was stuck a lap down for much of the second half of the race and finished 23rd, the second-lowest finish among the Chase field. The result had to be disappointing for "Smoke" after a runner-up showing at New Hampshire in July. Following a summer surge thanks to his Sonoma win, Stewart has not notched a top-10 finish in six races and is on the wrong side of the Chase cut line heading to Dover. Austin Dillon . The weekend started rough when a wreck in the latter stages of the opening practice forced the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 team to pull out a backup car. Dillon's 16th-place finish was aided by a few late cautions to get him back on the lead lap, but he is still five points behind the cutoff line. On top of that, his overall numbers at Dover (see below) have the Chase rookie in a very tough spot to advance. Four in, four out: Here's a look at the Chase bubble, with four drivers being eliminated after the third race of this round, at Dover International Speedway .
With influx of pumpkin spice, is NASCAR about to become basic?
"Yeah, I've got a PSL for an 'Osten Dillen' at the pick-up counter." "Right here, thanks ... hey, wait a minute that's not how you sp ... ah, never mind." And that's when he knew. He'd become basic. ------------------------------------------ The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup continues this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , located in the heart of New England -- the undisputed fall foliage champion of the world -- mere days after the calendar turns to the first day of autumn. As we all know, with the crisp air and orange leaves comes ... pumpkin spice everything season. While the interaction to open this post is fictional -- I hope -- it could certainly become a reality as Richard Childress Racing driver Austin Dillon announced that to celebrate the season, he'll be running a Pumpkin Spice Cheerios paint scheme on his No. 3 Chevrolet for the Bad Boy Off Road 300 (Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.) Pumpkin Spice Cheerios is in the Chase https://t.co/xDIge0Pg8x @RCRracing @RCR3ADillon @austindillon3 @CheerThe3 pic.twitter.com/fgBOtdaO6B — General Mills (@GeneralMills) September 14, 2016 It begs the question, though. Is NASCAR about to become too basic? " They basically said, ‘Have fun with it.’ So I took some of those elements from the box and made them fit on a race car," PJ Brassard, a graphic artist at RCR who designed the scheme , told General Mills' website. "Once I saw the box, I had a good idea of how I wanted the car to look … I think it turned out real nice." Just look at the second word of that quote. He's trolling us and he knows it. The track already serves pumpkin spice whoopie pies to keep your belly warm as you brave the frozen tundra of the NHMS Media Center. What's next? Pumpkin-spiced Sunoco E-15 fuel? Pumpkin-spiced lobster? We've somehow shifted the conversation entirely from lug nuts to nutmeg. And I'm basically not OK with it. &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;gt;
Dale Jr. posts unedited* video of his "talking" dogs
Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s "talking" dogs, Gus and Junebug, enjoy a level of celebrity that few other dogs have ever reached. Unfortunately, it doesn't really look like the two get along as well as he would probably like. Perhaps because the "dog days" of summer are over? Junior posted this video on Instagram Wednesday of his dogs. We promise this video has in no way been altered from the original. *By unedited, we mean that @nascarcasm actually may have tweaked the video a little bit.
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup clinching scenarios for Round of 12 spots
The Citizen Soldier 400 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Dover International Speedway marks the first elimination of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as the field shrinks from 16 drivers to 12. How can drivers advance to the Round of 12? Martin Truex Jr . and Kevin Harvick are already locked into the next round with victories at Chicagoland and New Hampshire, respectively. Here's a look at how drivers can clinch spots in the next round. Possible to Clinch: — Brad Keselowski (0 Wins, 2087 Points) - Would clinch on points with 12 Points (29th and no laps led, 30th and led at least one lap, 31st and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 7 Points (34th and no laps led, 35th and led at least one lap, 36th and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. — Kyle Busch (0 Wins, 2085 Points) - Would clinch on points with 14 Points (27th and no laps led, 28th and led at least one lap, 29th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 9 Points (32nd and no laps led, 33rd and led at least one lap, 34th and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. — Matt Kenseth (0 Wins, 2078 Points) - Would clinch on points with 20 Points (21st and no laps led, 22nd and led at least one lap, 23rd and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 15 Points (26th and no laps led, 27th and led at least one lap, 28th and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. — Joey Logano (0 Wins, 2073 Points) - Would clinch on points with 26 Points (15th and no laps led, 16th and led at least one lap, 17th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 21 Points (20th and no laps led, 21st and led at least one lap, 22nd and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. — Denny Hamlin (0 Wins, 2071 Points) - Would clinch on points with 28 Points (13th and no laps led, 14th and led at least one lap, 15th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 23 Points (18th and no laps led, 19th and led at least one lap, 20th and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. — Jimmie Johnson (0 Wins, 2070 Points) - Would clinch on points with 29 Points (12th and no laps led, 13th and led at least one lap, 14th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 24 Points (17th and no laps led, 18th and led at least one lap, 19th and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. — Chase Elliott (0 Wins, 2068 Points) - Would clinch on points with 31 Points (10th and no laps led, 11th and led at least one lap, 12th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 26 Points (15th and no laps led, 16th and led at least one lap, 17th and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. — Carl Edwards (0 Wins, 2068 Points) - Would clinch on points with 31 Points (10th and no laps led, 11th and led at least one lap, 12th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 26 Points (15th and no laps led, 16th and led at least one lap, 17th and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. — Kurt Busch (0 Wins, 2067 Points) - Would clinch on points with 32 Points (9th and no laps led, 10th and led at least one lap, 11th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 27 Points (14th and no laps led, 15th and led at least one lap, 16th and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. — Kyle Larson (0 Wins, 2057 Points) - If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on points with 37 Points (4th and no laps led, 5th and led at least one lap, 6th and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help. For the following, the only guaranteed clinch would be with a win. Each could clinch without a win, but would need varying levels of help, however: — Jamie McMurray (0 Wins, 2052 Points) — Austin Dillon (0 Wins, 2052 Points) — Tony Stewart (0 Wins, 2046 Points) — Chris Buescher (0 Wins, 2027 Points)
A day in the life of a NASCAR interior specialist
In this edition of 'Our Normal Drives', check out what happens on race day for the interior specialists of the No. 10 and No. 14 teams.
Furniture Row heeds call of the West
RELATED: Denver offers warm embrace " Chase Grid Editor's Note: This story was published before Martin Truex Jr .'s Chase-opening winning at Chicagoland DENVER -- NASCAR's most unique race shop sits across from a fabric-manufacturing warehouse on Denver's industrial northeast side. Colorado's "Favorite Meat Store" is down the street. Dull gray concrete walls dominate the addresses here. The noisy and steady sounds of the nearby Interstate 70 freeway are interrupted at regular intervals by the heavy clunking and loud train whistles coming from the neighboring railroad tracks. The street front of Furniture Row Racing 's shop blends in completely with the industrial look of its neighboring businesses. There are no signs to identify the gray building or to offer even a single clue of what lies behind the sturdy, always-locked front doors. Team members have parked their pick-up trucks in a small lot alongside the shop and many more line the street out front. This is NASCAR's version of Oz. And it's been quite the yellow-brick road. "This building has been a lot of different things,'' Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser said, allowing a slight smile. "It was a warehouse for our company, then a waterbed factory, then an oak furniture factory then an upholstery plant. "But we wanted to make sure the inside is real nice for the race team.'' And sure enough, behind the concrete facade and nondescript front doors of the building, is a comfortable home base to a busy, well-equipped, highly motivated NASCAR race shop -- an inspired group of people who spend their Rocky Mountain days on East Coast time preparing the No. 78 Toyotas for driver Martin Truex Jr .'s path into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . No team based west of the Mississippi River has ever won NASCAR's most celebrated trophy. And in fact, until Furniture Row Racing 's championship bid, no one had even considered it a realistic possibility. It may be far removed from NASCAR's traditional Carolina hallowed ground, but as Visser's Denver-based team and two-time 2016 winner Truex have proven, this group is primed, ready and willing to expand conventional wisdom. There is great pride for the team members and this community knowing that this company is doing things its own way and literally changing the landscape of the sport. The team's General Manager Joe Garone -- a Colorado native -- quickly discovered the team's "way" absolutely meant operating out of Denver, not opening up another shop in NASCAR's Southeastern backyard. "In my mind when Barney said we're going to race in Cup, I was like 'OK, we'll find a shop in Charlotte, we'll get this thing going, not a problem,' " Garone recalled of his initial meetings with Visser. "And Barney said immediately, 'No Joe, not in Charlotte, in Denver.' '' "It's what we need,'' Garone said, looking around the facility with pride. "It's more than what we need. It may not be a Taj Majal, but it's all about building race cars that go fast." ***** ***** *****
Heads up: Dover and Las Vegas weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Dover International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway . WEATHER The weekend forecast for Dover, Delaware, looks like there's a chance for rain. Friday for Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole qualifying there is a 60 percent chance for precipitation. For the XFINITY Series race on Saturday, there is an 50 percent chance for precipitation with a high of 76 degrees. And for the Sprint Cup race on Sunday, there's a 30 percent chance for precipitation and a high of 76 degrees. For Las Vegas, site of this weekend's Camping World Truck Series events, it will be clear and 70 degrees for the start of Saturday's practices. And on Saturday it will be clear and 90 degrees for the start of the race. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The Sprint Cup Series holds its first practice Friday at 10 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) followed by Coors Light Pole qualifying at 3:40 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The Citizen Soldier 400 is at 2 p.m. ET Sunday (NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). XFINITY Series: The XFINITY Series opens practice on Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) and qualifies Saturday at 11:45 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The Drive Sober 300 is on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series is scheduled for a Keystone Light Pole qualifying session Saturday at 6:10 p.m. ET on FS2, followed by the DC Solar 350 race at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Dover media center at NASCAR.com/presspass. Click here for a full schedule. Click here to tune into the live stream . LAST TIME In September of 2015, Kevin Harvick punched his ticket to advance to the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by leading 355 of 400 laps at Dover International Speedway , a career-best at any track. Harvick beat out eventual 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch by 2.639 seconds for the victory. YOU SHOULD KNOW • Chris Buescher (-30 from 12th place), Tony Stewart (-11), Austin Dillon (-5) and Jamie McMurray (-5) are all on the outside looking in as far as the Chase Grid standings are concerned. Of those drivers, Stewart is the only one who has won at the "Monster Mile" -- three times to be exact. Stewart's most recent win came in 2013. • With 10 wins, six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has been to Dover's Victory Lane more times than any NASCAR driver. Johnson is looking to punch his ticket to the next Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup round and a win at his best track could be in the cards. • Winning the opening XFINITY Series Chase race at Kentucky, Elliott Sadler continues his momentum to Dover where he has earned three top five and 10 top-10 finishes, two of which came in the last two XFINITY Series races at the 1-mile track. Sadler's experience in 17 starts at Dover could shine through on Saturday compared to the young guns he's competing against for the championship. • Of the Camping World Truck Series Chase drivers, only Johnny Sauter and Timothy Peters have wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Canadian Tire Motorsport Park winner John Hunter Nemechek has the best average finish of 4.0 out of the Truck Series Chase drivers. Behind Nemechek is Ben Kennedy with 5.0. Nemechek has run just one Truck Series race at Dover, while Kennedy has experienced two. In 15 starts, two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton has an average finish of 11.9, but is still seeking a win.
No. 8 of Nemechek fails post-race inspection
RELATED: Full race results " Current Truck Series Chase Grid LOUDON, N.H. – Following the conclusion of Saturday's UNOH 175 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series inaugural Chase race, NASCAR officials announced that the No. 8 Chevrolet of John Hunter Nemechek failed the post-race heights inspection. Nemechek brought out the fourth caution of the day, spinning on Lap 53 after slight contact with Kaz Grala, but rallied to finish ninth. The driver currently sits fourth on the Chase Grid. Any penalties would be announced later in the week. MORE: Full driver standings