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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.
Kyle Busch wins at Kentucky in overtime finish
RELATED: Results " Standings SPARTA, Ky. – It was a race Kyle Busch won with a dramatic run around the outside lane at Kentucky Speedway. It was a race Erik Jones lost when he hit the wrong switch on his dashboard, killed the engine and slowed under caution late in the race. But, interestingly, it was a race where Jones showed Busch, the pole winner, the key to victory, demonstrating to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate that the outside line was viable when racing side-by-side with an opponent. Clearing Austin Dillon off Turn 4 in the first lap in overtime in Friday night’s Alsco 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race, after caution slowed the race for the fifth time, Busch pulled away to beat the Richard Childress Racing scion to the finish line by .455 seconds. Daniel Suarez finished third after chasing Busch to the final yellow flag, then losing the runner-up spot to Dillon on the last restart. Jones came home a disappointing fourth after outdueling Busch for the lead on Lap 175 , only to give it up when his car wouldn’t refire under caution and failed to keep up with the pace car, costing Jones two positions. Busch led 185 of the 201 laps in winning for the fifth time in nine starts this season, the second time at Kentucky and the 81st time in his career, extending his own series record. But it was the run around the outside lane, after Dillon pulled even on the backstretch on lap 200, that proved decisive. And that’s exactly how Jones had passed Busch for the lead on Lap 175 . “I didn’t think he’d be able to hold it through (Turns) 3 and 4 like that,” said Dillon, who thought he had the preferred position on the inside. “But he did a great job of holding me down. I wish we could have got it done for (sponsor) Rheem, but it was a really close race.” Busch was roughly a half-second ahead of Suarez and appeared to have the race in hand when caution flew on Lap 195 with smoke billowing from Mike Harmon ’s car. “We always get the Kyle Busch cautions,” Busch said. “Apparently this time it was true. There was some problems with another car smoking. You always have to make your money’s worth, I guess. Always have to give the show to the fans and their money’s worth. “Certainly means a lot to us to win here and bring our Camry home to Victory Lane again at Kentucky Speedway.” Jones said he hit the wrong button when he was rolling under caution and fell behind the pace car, allowing Busch to pass him. NASCAR rules require a driver to maintain pace car speed in order to keep his or her running position. “I think we had the fastest car here once we got out front,” Jones lamented. “It’s just hard to get back up to the front when you get back in traffic.” But before he fell back, Jones had already given Busch the road map to victory. “When Erik drove into Turn 3 with me, I started to roll out just a little bit, because I knew I needed to in order to run the bottom,” Busch said. “And he drove right on past me, and I was like, ‘Well, all righty then.’ “I was waiting for him to slip and to not be able to control his car in the black, in the rubber. And it stuck for him and he made it work. I definitely learned that there was a little bit of speed up there, at least for one lap, for one corner.” And that one corner made all the difference on Friday night.
Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists named
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. -- Finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide were announced on Wednesday night on NASCAR America on NBC Sports Network. The award will be showcased on Sept. 27 at the Foundation's inaugural Honors Gala at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. The award honors volunteers – who are also NASCAR fans – who dedicate themselves to children's causes in their communities throughout the United States. The award winner will be determined via an on-line vote now underway and running through Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. (ET) at www.NASCAR.com/Award . This year's award presentation will be part of the "10 Years of Giving" celebration for The NASCAR Foundation, which has donated $25 million to more than one million children since its inception in 2006. Betty Jane France, founder and chairwoman emeritus of The NASCAR Foundation, will present the award. The NASCAR Foundation will donate a total of $ 175 ,000 to the charities represented by the finalists – with the winner's charity receiving a $100,000 donation. This year's finalists include Jim Giaccone of Bayville, New York, representing Tuesday's Children; Andy Hoffman of Atkinson, Nebraska, founder of the Team Jack Foundation; Logan Houptley of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a founding member of Mikayla's Voice; and Parker White of Greensboro, North Carolina, founder of BackPack Beginnings. "The body of work by this year's four finalists reflects an impressive level of commitment to improving the lives of children," France said. "Their accomplishments likewise reflect The NASCAR Foundation's fundamental ideals and what the Foundation strives to achieve on a daily basis. All four finalists are wonderful representatives of our award process and of the NASCAR community." Following is additional information about the 2016 finalists: Jim Giaccone, Tuesday's Children: Giaccone lost his older brother, Joseph, in the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Giaccone determined quickly that the best way to honor his brother was by assisting others -- especially children -- who also were affected by the tragedy. That led to Giaccone's involvement with Tuesday's Children, an organization founded in 2001 and dedicated to providing long-term support to those directly impacted by the events of 9/11 and other communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss. Jim is involved with many aspects of Tuesday’s Children including raising funds, serving on the Mentoring Advisory Board, serving on the Family Advisory Board and his most significant contribution: serving as a mentor. Andy Hoffman, Team Jack Foundation: In 2011, Hoffman's world was turned upside down when his son, Jack, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Hoffman soon learned that procedures to treat pediatric brain cancer -- surgery and chemotherapy -- were more than 30 years old. He also learned that less than four percent of federal funding is dedicated to childhood cancer research each year. One year after the diagnosis, Hoffman made T-shirts as a fundraiser for children's brain cancer research; through his efforts he was able to sell 20,000 shirts and raise more than $300,000. Inspired by that success, Hoffman and his wife formed Team Jack Foundation in January 2013. The foundation raises money to fund pediatric brain cancer research and works to create national awareness for the disease. Logan Houptley, Mikayla's Voice: Houptley met a young lady named Mikayla Resh in his third-grade classroom after moving to a new school district in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Mikayla had profound multiple disabilities that included brain damage, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, along with facing the challenges of being blind and deaf. At only 10 years old, Houptley was incredibly understanding and accepting, treating Mikayla with love, kindness, and inclusion. Ten years after they met, Houptley has continued his friendship with Mikayla, in the process helping create Mikayla's Voice. Founded in 2010, the organization is dedicated to inspiring children and young adults to embrace individuals of all abilities. The organization promotes cultural change by teaching communities about the importance of inclusion and acceptance. Parker White, BackPack Beginnings: White founded BackPack Beginnings in 2010, driven by a compassion for families struggling to provide for their children on a daily basis. With two young children of her own, Parker understood a mother's desire to see her child be happy and successful. But she also knew that not every family has the means to put enough food on the table or provide basic necessities for their children. That led White to establish BackPack Beginnings, which strives to provide children in the Greensboro and High Point, North Carolina areas with nutritious food, clothing, and other basic necessities. BackPack Beginnings works with local schools to open food and clothing pantries, donate backpacks filled with blankets and school supplies, and provide comfort and hygiene items to children in need. To learn more about The NASCAR Foundation's Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide and each of the national finalists, please visit: www.NASCAR.com/Award .
Rain jumbles Friday's schedule at Kentucky
RELATED: Get live weather updates Inclement weather altered Friday's on-track schedule at Kentucky Speedway. Nearly 30 minutes into the day's first of two scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices, a severe thunderstorm warning had officials sending Sprint Cup Series cars into the garage. Denny Hamlin had posted the fastest speed at the time, with Jimmie Johnson -- who later smacked the wall solidly -- sitting in second. Heavy rains followed, and the practice officially ended at 12:25 p.m. ET. Four other on-track events were planned, but altered. Here's what's new: The second Sprint Cup Series practice began at 3:45 when the track was dry and was scheduled to run until 4:25 p.m. ET. NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying will follow at 4:45 p.m. ET, with Sprint Cup Series final practice running from 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying is canceled and will be set per the rule book (owner points) -- that puts Kevin Harvick on the pole position with Brad Keselowski also on the front row. MORE " See the full lineup The NASCAR XFINITY Series Alsco 300 (8:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, Live Extra, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will wrap up the day's events. RELATED: See the full weekend schedule Wet weather also altered Wednesday's original schedule, which had three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practices on the books. That schedule was adjusted to have two practices, including an extended 175 -minute session. The extra time had added importance as Kentucky underwent a repave and the 1.5-mile track has a fresh racing surface. Sprint Cup teams tested at the track last month over two days following the Michigan weekend and practiced here yesterday. XFINITY Series teams had four practices on Thursday. This story will be updated. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Brad Keselowski wins fuel-mileage game at Kentucky
RELATED: Full race results " Standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Keselowski gear SPARTA, Ky. – Brad Keselowski had his mojo working in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Saving just enough fuel to get to the finish line, Keselowski eked out a heart-thumping victory over Carl Edwards to win his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and his third at Kentucky Speedway. But this was not the same bumpy, abrasive Kentucky Speedway where Keselowski went to Victory Lane in 2012 and 2014. This was a repaved, reconfigured 1.5-mile intermediate track fraught with treachery, especially when combined with the lower-downforce aerodynamic package in use for the race. RELATED: Recap all of Keselowski's wins Keselowski got to the finish line . 175 seconds ahead of Edwards, who made up a deficit of more than six seconds in the final 10 laps but couldn't quite get to Keselowski's rear bumper on the final lap. When Keselowski took the checkered flag, his fuel cell was dry. The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford didn’t have enough gas to do a celebratory burnout, and he needed a push from a safety truck to get to Victory Lane. Keselowski took the lead from Kevin Harvick after a restart on Lap 200 and held it the rest of the way, except for Lap 261, when Matt Kenseth took the top spot and immediately came to pit road for fuel. By then, the die was cast for Keselowski, who was committed to finishing the race without another fuel stop. "We knew the fuel mileage," said Keselowski, who won for the fourth time this year, the 21st time in his career, and became the first driver to officially clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. "We went out and we set a really fast pace there on that restart and were just using fuel, and then it became obvious that you were going to have to save fuel at the end, but I already used so much. "It's a testament to our guys to have the fuel mileage that we did to be able to get back what I burnt early in the run and get the Miller Lite Ford in Victory Lane. Usually these repaves are kind of my Achilles heel, but to get a win here at Kentucky… I know it's been a good track for us in the past, but this isn't the same Kentucky, I can tell you that. "These cars were tough to drive today, but a good tough. This was a hard-fought battle, and I'm really proud of everybody on the 2 crew to get win number four and take that first place." When Keselowski slowed through Turn 4 on the next-to-last lap, Edwards thought he had the race won, but in retrospect, Edwards believed he had been beaten by a cunning opponent. "Yeah, I thought he was out of fuel coming off of (Turn) 4, but he actually did it very well," Edwards said of Keselowski, who indicated on his radio with more than a lap left that he was out of fuel. "If he didn't beat me, I'd be more impressed… "I guess I'm impressed that he did beat me, but I don't want to be. He waited. He basically shut the car off and went right off of 4 and matched it perfectly to where I couldn't get by him down the front straightaway, and then he ran like heck through 1 and 2, and then I thought maybe he'll run out down the back straight. Man, I dove it down in there trying to catch him into 3, and I couldn't even get to him." RELATED: Edwards discusses finish of race Keselowski, however, said he thought he was out of gas when his car sputtered off Turn 4. "I didn't think I was going to win the race," Keselowski said. Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. dominated the first two-thirds of the event, leading 128 and 46 laps, respectively. Truex had taken the lead off pit road on Lap 196, but NASCAR sent him to the rear of the field for passing Harvick, then the race leader, on the entry to pit road. For the last 68 laps, Truex drove like a madman, advancing from 23rd to as high as third before pitting for fuel and finishing 10th. "It wasn't my night on that deal," Truex said. "It's frustrating, we had the car to beat. We came out with the lead and they took it away from us. It's just the way it goes, I guess." Particularly perilous throughout the race were the flatter of the two corners —Turns 3 and 4 — with the entry to Turn 3 especially daunting. Ten laps into the race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. pancaked the right side of his No. 17 Ford against the outside wall of the Turn 3 torture chamber. Nor were champions and frontrunners exempt from calamity. On Lap 32, Jimmie Johnson spun through Turn 4 and crumpled the left rear quarter of his No. 48 Chevrolet. On Lap 53, Joey slammed the Turn 3 wall after scraping it 10 laps earlier. On Lap 88, Ryan Blaney spun from the middle of a three-wide dilemma in Turn 3 and took the No. 24 Chevrolet of fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitor Chase Elliott with him. On Lap 93, the cars of Brian Scott , Chris Buescher and AJ Allmendinger were mangled in an eight-car pileup. Lap 194 produced the 11th caution of the race, tying the record set last year, but from a restart on Lap 200 through the finish on Lap 267, the race ran green, and Keselowski was able to squeeze 68 laps out of his fuel cell. "We were totally out at the start/finish line," said Paul Wolfe, Keselowski's crew chief. "So it couldn't have timed out any better." Notes: Kurt Busch ran fourth, followed by Tony Stewart , who scored a top five in his 600th career start… Greg Biffle scored a season-best sixth-place finish… Harvick came home ninth and saw his series points lead shrink to four markers over Keselowski. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch top Fontana XFINITY practices
Practice 2 recap " Results Austin Dillon rolled right to the top of the NASCAR XFINITY Series leaderboard in Friday's second session in his No. 2 Chevrolet after putting the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Sprint Cup car atop that series' first practice at Auto Club Speedway . Dillon's top speed in the final session was 176.622 mph, compared with Kyle Busch 's fastest lap of 177.327 mph to pace the opening session. Busch put his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota pretty close to the top of the speed chart again, ranking second at 176.013 mph in the final practice session for the TreatMyClot.com 300 by Janssen (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.) Ryan Blaney was third-fastest at 175 .863 mph in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford, Ty Dillon 's No. 3 Chevrolet was fourth ( 175 .623 mph) and Kyle Larson ran fifth ( 175 .588 mph) in the No. 42 Chevrolet. Brandon Jones made contact with the wall in his RCR machine about halfway through the afternon XFINITY practice session at Fontana, causing some damage on the right side of the No. 33 car. Practice 1 recap " Results Kyle Busch continued his 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series domination by topping the opening practice at Auto Club Speedway ahead of Saturday's TreatMyClot.com 300 by Janssen (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Busch paced the opening 85-minute session with a fast lap of 177.327 mph, which was just over 2.3 mph faster than the second-place lap of teammate Erik Jones (174.982 mph). Kyle Larson (174.910 mph), Elliott Sadler (174.795 mph) and Austin Dillon (174.681 mph) rounded out the top five. Busch, Larson and Dillon will be pulling double duty this weekend, running in Saturday's XFINITY race and Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). For Busch, the top spot on the speed chart picks up right where he left off last weekend at Phoenix. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has won the last three XFINITY Series races of the season and six of the last 10 held at Auto Club. Points leader Daniel Suarez placed seventh in the session, while defending race winner Kevin Harvick was 11th. Justin Allgaier , fresh off a fourth-place effort at Phoenix International Raceway , made contact with the wall a little over 20 minutes into practice. That damage led the JR Motorsports driver to go to a backup car.
Kyle Busch wins after dominating Phoenix effort
RELATED: Full race results AVONDALE, Ariz. – Kyle Busch calls it a "knack." His rivals might refer to the continuing saga of Kyle Busch at Phoenix International Raceway as absolute dominance. But the record books will show Saturday's result in the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 as yet another NASCAR XFINITY Series victory for the Busch juggernaut. Leading 175 of 200 laps at the 1-mile race track, Busch notched his ninth victory in 20 starts at PIR. That's the highest total number of wins by a single driver at an active XFINITY Series venue. ( Mark Martin holds the all-time single track record with 11 victories at Rockingham.) In winning for the third straight time this season and the 79th time in his career -- extending his own series record -- Busch has now led 493 of a possible 563 laps in his three 2016 starts. "It's just a knack for this place, I guess," Busch said. "We've been off a little bit on the (Sprint) Cup side for years, but this year we seem to be a lot better, and last year we improved a lot. But the XFINITY program has always been good." In fact, it was good for the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization, which started 1-2-3, with pole winner Erik Jones and Daniel Suárez leading Busch in qualifying, and finished 1-2-3, with Jones and Suárez trailing Busch to the finish line by 2.285 and 9.980 seconds, respectively. Busch, Suárez and Jones also ran 1-2-3 in that order a week earlier at Las Vegas, a further indication of just how much JGR has gapped the competition. Justin Allgaier was a distant fourth in Saturday's race, more than 14 seconds behind the winner. "I can't say enough about (crew chief) Chris Gayle and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing ," Busch said. "Obviously, (they) did a great job for me, giving me the car that I needed and prepared everything for today's race. "We didn't sit on the pole, but our teammates did. They were obviously really fast, and they made me run hard all day long. I mean, there was nothing left in this car. It's all used up. Instead of having to go back to the shop and freshen her up a little bit, they're going to have to rebuild it." The race ran without caution for the final 99 laps, and on Lap 172, Jones caught Busch in traffic and pulled alongside. But Busch regained control of the top spot and led Jones to pit road for a two-tire green-flag stop on Lap 177. That stop proved crucial, with Busch gaining more than three seconds in the exchange. "I knew we were in a little bit of trouble when he rolled by, right when we were just trying to leave the box," Jones said. "I didn't know how much time that was going to equal to, but by the time we got up to speed, he was four or five seconds ahead. It was too much to run back down in that amount of time." Suárez expanded his series lead to eight points over Elliott Sadler , who finished eighth. Chase Elliott followed JR Motorsports teammate Allgaier in fifth, with the Dillon brothers, Ty and Austin, running sixth and seventh. Brad Keselowski and Brennan Poole completed the top 10. With three victories to its credit, the No. 18 JGR Camry leads the owners' standings by seven points over the No. 88 JR Motorsports all-star car driven by Elliott on Saturday. In post-race inspection, Jones' No. 20 was cited for rear toe outside of tolerance when measured by the laser inspection station. NASCAR will address possible sanctions at next week's competition meeting. The series heads to Auto Club Speedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series 300 on Sat., March 19th at 4 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM). Contributing: Staff reports RELATED: JGR No. 20 team fails post-race inspection at Phoenix
Dillon dominates Loudon, wins 500th Truck Series event
RELATED: Complete results from New Hampshire LOUDON, N.H. -- The milestone 500th race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series produced important "firsts" for two key figures on the winning team. When Austin Dillon took the checkered flag in Saturday's UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , he delivered the first victory in the series to both team owner Maurice Gallagher of GMS Racing and to crew chief Shane Huffmann. Dillon pulled away after a restart on Lap 167 of 175 , a resumption that followed the sixth caution of the race, for Tyler Reddick 's spin off Turn 2 on Lap 161. Dillon, who had stayed out on older tires while most other lead-lap trucks came to pit road under caution on Lap 142, crossed the finish line 1.054 seconds ahead of two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton . "It's very special," said Dillon, whose grandfather, Richard Childress, fielded the winning truck for Mike Skinner in the inaugural Truck Series race at Phoenix in February 1995. "I owe a lot to the Truck Series for getting me to where I am today. "I've had a lot of success qualifying, racing and winning in the Truck Series. It taught me a lot about how to race hard when you have to. It's definitely a fun series to be in, and I'm thankful for it. Hopefully, we can have thousands of races in the Truck Series. I've enjoyed all of mine." Huffman, who once drove for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, was elated with the victory. "This is a big day for Mr. Gallagher here," Huffman said. "He's put a lot of effort and financial support into this team -- a lot of hard work and effort over the last couple years. It's just great to be able to reward him with a win." Dillon, the 2011 series champion, won his first event of the season, his first at New Hampshire and the seventh of his career. Johnny Sauter ran third, followed by Timothy Peters and John Hunter Nemechek , last week's winner at Chicagoland Speedway . Daniel Hemric , Jones, Austin Theriault , Dalton Sargeant and Gray Gaulding completed the top 10. With his runner-up finish, Crafton, now second in the standings, closed his deficit to leader and seventh-place finisher Erik Jones to seven points. Reddick came home 15th and trails Jones by 19 points. "The 33 (Dillon) was definitely a little better," Crafton said. "We missed it a little today. We fought tight, tight and just kept freeing it up, and I was just a little too free on the short run right there. I don't know what I was doing wrong, but I was missing my restarts so bad. "My teammate Johnny (Sauter) helped me on those last couple restarts and gave me a good shove and got me down in there. I just missed it, and we'll get them next week." Jones was disappointed with his seventh-place finish. "We just missed it by a long ways," said the series leader. "We didn't get the finish we wanted, and we'll just have to go back and make our Tundras a little bit better. "It's just we can't do that this late in the year -- we can't be that far off. We'll just have to work on it and figure out what was wrong and how to be better here for the next six weeks." Kyle Busch , who fields the trucks Jones drives, started second on Saturday but developed a tire rub late in the race. An unscheduled pit stop to address the problem relegated Busch to an 11th-place finish.
NASCAR TV schedule: Sept. 21-27
RELATED: See the full weekend schedule " NBC Sports Live Extra All times ET Monday, Sept. 21 6 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 8 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 2 p.m., NASCAR 120, NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Tuesday, Sept. 22 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Wednesday, Sept. 23 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Thursday, Sept. 24 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour: South Boston (tape), NBCSN 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Friday, Sept. 25 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN Noon, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, NBCSN 1:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice, FOX Sports 1 2:30 p.m., 1979 Daytona 500 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 3 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 3:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, NBCSN 4:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, NBCSN Saturday, Sept. 26 9 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, CNBC 10 a.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, CNBC 12:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup, FOX Sports 1 1 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 , FOX Sports 1 4:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), NBCSN 7:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Countdown to Green, NBCSN 8 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 , NBCSN Sunday, Sept. 27 11:30 a.m., NASCAR Race Day, FOX Sports 1 1 p.m., Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge - Circuit of the Americas (tape), FOX Sports 1 1 p.m., NASCAR America Sunday, NBCSN 1:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Countdown to Green, NBCSN 2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 , NBCSN 5:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Post-Race Show, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN 11:30 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 12:30 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1 &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;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;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;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;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;
Ben Kennedy to compete in IRONMAN post-Loudon race
LOUDON, N.H. -- NASCAR will crown two Iron Men on Sunday. Jeff Gordon , who will take the nod for most consecutive races run (789) in the Sprint Cup Series when the green flag drops for Sunday's Sylvania 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra), will occupy most of the headlines, but Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Kennedy 's pursuit of IRONMAN triathlon status is nothing to ignore. Following the conclusion of Saturday's UNOH 175 (1 p.m. ET, FS1), Kennedy will hop on a plane with his mother, Lesa France Kennedy, en route to Augusta, Georgia, where the pair and her boyfriend will all compete in a 70.3-mile IRONMAN race. We've seen fitness freaks Jimmie Johnson , Landon Cassill and Josh Wise spend their off-time training for these types of events, but until recently it never appeared to be on Kennedy's radar. "I don't know (how it happened)," the 23-year-old said Friday at the 'Magic Mile.' "It came about in November of last year. We were all sitting down at dinner; it was me, my mom and her boyfriend and we'd done some small triathlons, 5Ks but nothing major. "I've always wanted to do at least a half IRONMAN and we were probably a little bit crazy in the head (at the time), but it was something that we committed to and now we're here doing it this weekend." Kennedy said that as his career has progressed, he's come to realize the importance fitness and nutrition play when he's in the truck. There have been a few "wake up calls", as he put it, when he realized he needed to be more physically fit as he advanced within the sport and races got longer and more demanding. Now, he's using the same training program that Carl Edwards , arguably NASCAR's fittest driver, uses and he's seeing the benefits play up both off the track in his alternate racing career and on the track, where he already has more top-fives and is on pace to earn more top 10s than his 2014 campaign. Kennedy's competitive nature -- which every NASCAR driver certainly needs, to an extent -- is apparent, but he's keeping his expectations in check for Sunday, when he'll have to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles just to complete the grueling race. "I've got two different goals and I'll just be happy finishing, honestly," said Kennedy, whose other goal is to place first in his age group and qualify for the next stage in Australia. "Especially after this weekend, because I'm going to race on Saturday and jump on a plane right after to fly down to Georgia. "Only thing I'm worried about is being kind of wired after the race, because I know I'm going to be wired even more so about Sunday morning. I don't know how much sleep I'll get." No matter if he places first or not; or even if he finishes or not, the five months of training that led up to Sunday are enough to be proud of for anyone, let alone a NASCAR national series driver trying to balance a race schedule on top of a routine that saw him doing two of the three legs every day. Sunday will tie Kennedy back together with his childhood hero, whose legend in the sport will be further ingrained around 2 p.m. ET. Just another reason for him to admire the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion. "With everything that Gordon's done for the sport; I remember when I was, I think, 3 years old, I had the opportunity to meet him and he was the first driver I think I ever met," Kennedy said. "I made that connection in the back of my mind growing up through my childhood that he was always my favorite driver. "It's so cool to see him running so good at this point of his career. You look at some athletes and they're not at their strongest the last couple years of their career, but Jeff Gordon , he's as strong as he's ever been, especially in the field that's out there; it's so unbelievably competitive. It's cool to see what he's done and brought to the sport."