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The Rundown: Talladega driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Breaking down the full field for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway : 1. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski stayed out of trouble all day, and that was the difference in picking up his second win of the year and fourth at Talladega. Big pushes from Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch helped, too. Keselowski led a race-high 46 laps, including the final 17. Grade: A+ 2. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. The No. 18 was stout all day and kept Busch ahead of the crashes, although the 18 did receive a nudge at the outset of the 21-car wreck on Lap 161. He finished second for the second consecutive week for his eighth top-five finish of the season. Grade: A+ 3. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Car chief Greg Osborne summed up Dillon's day on Twitter: "We pitted 17 times. Wrecked 4 times. Ran out of tires. We were 32nd 1 lap down. We NEVER quit." Dillon was thrilled with the finish and credited the team for not panicking: "It was wrecked, and we finished third!" Grade: A+ 4. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Despite being collected in the 21-car wreck on Lap 161, McMurray scored his first top five of the season. It was his seventh at Talladega, tying the superspeedway with Charlotte for McMurray's most top-five finishes. Grade: A 5. Chase Elliott, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott started from the pole and led the first 13 laps and 27 overall. Even though he posted his third top-five finish in the past four races, Elliott said the No. 24 team was "pretty lucky to get where we got to." He avoided trouble -- and all the wrecks -- by running near the front most of the race. Grade: A 6. Tony Stewart /Ty Dillon, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart made his second start of the season, but unlike last week at Richmond, he didn't finish the race. Stewart, who missed the first eight races of the season because of a back injury, gave way to Dillon -- as planned -- during the second caution. Dillon then navigated through two big, multicar accidents to bring home the No. 14 with its second top 10 of the season. Stewart gets the points and the top-10 finish, but it doesn't take away the spotlight from Dillon. Grade: A+ 7. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer survived involvement in the 12-car wreck on Lap 161 to post his best finish of the season and second top 10 in the past three races. Grade: A 8. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Busch was the catalyst for the 21-car wreck on Lap 161 when he got into the back of Jimmie Johnson while running in the top 10. Busch emerged unscathed to restart fourth. Later, he couldn't hold the lead after the last restart on Lap 186 and is now 0-for-61 in restrictor-plate races. Grade: C. 9. Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing. Blaney survived the 21-car wreck on Lap 161, and the 12-car wreck on Lap 181 happened right behind him. His good fortune resulted in his third top 10 of the season. Grade: A 10. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. A speeding penalty on his first pit stop was no omen. Bayne spent plenty of time in the top five on Sunday, while leading 22 laps. (He led 12 laps in the previous nine races.) His average running position was 8.6, fourth best, and that -- along with good fortune -- kept him out of every wreck Sunday. Grade: A 11. Landon Cassill, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill had an eventful day to find himself just outside the top 10 with one lap to go after surviving a pit-road penalty on his first stop and eluding big trouble in the race's two biggest multicar wrecks. But his grade drops a notch because it was Cassill who started the final multicar wreck. He was running 12th when he turned Cole Whitt into Kevin Harvick , touching off a seven-car wreck and a caution just before the leaders reached the finish line. Grade: B- 12. Michael Waltrip , No. 55 Toyota, Premium Motorsports . Making his 60th start at Talladega, Waltrip posted his best finish at the superspeedway since finishing fourth three years ago. Waltrip survived an early scare on Lap 59 when Joey Logano pushed Martin Truex Jr . into the back of Waltrip, who was running fifth at the time. Waltrip went onto the apron but came back onto the track and spun, narrowly avoiding contact. Grade: B+ 13. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing. Truex was running in the top 10 immediately behind Kurt Busch when Busch made contact with Jimmie Johnson to ignite the 21-car wreck on Lap 161. Truex's Toyota returned to the track all taped up before sustaining even more damage in the seven-car wreck that happened just before Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag. Grade: B- 14. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing. The multicar wreck at the finish had Allmendinger on his knees next to his battered Chevrolet, but it couldn't overshadow his fourth top-15 finish at Talladega in 13 starts and his first lap led of the season. Grade: B 15. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick raced among the leaders for most of the afternoon and led four times for nine laps before sliding across the finish line sideways in a damaged car, one of seven cars involved in a crash leading up to the checkered flag. Grade : A 16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Stenhouse was able to avoid major damage in the 21-car wreck on Lap 161 but sustained heavy damage coming to the finish line when he was collected in the seven-car pileup. Grade: B 17. David Gilliland , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland survived the late wrecks for a top-20 finish in first start of the season (he failed to qualify at Daytona). It was his best finish since an 11th in the 2015 Daytona 500 . Grade: B 18. Cole Whitt, No. 98 Toyota, Premium Motorsports . Whitt was just outside the top 10 with one lap to go but couldn't improve his position before taking a hard hit against the outside wall as he approached the finish line. It was the fifth top-20 finish of his career and first since his career-best 13th at Talladega a year ago. Grade: A 19. Bobby Labonte , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing. Making his second start of the season (he finished 31st at Daytona), Labonte avoided major damage in the 12-car wreck on Lap 181 and scored his first top 20 since the 2014 Daytona 500 . Grade: A 20. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. That Biffle finished 20th should come as little surprise. His average finish at Talladega is 19.7, and he finished 20th last October at Talladega, too. Grade: C 21. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. McDowell produced his second-best finish of the season (he finished 15th at Daytona) despite being involved in two of the day's biggest wrecks along with drawing the ire of Danica Patrick . Grade: B- 22. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The No. 48 was caught up in two wrecks, the second the 21-car monster on Lap 161, which sent the 48 to the garage for repairs. Johnson returned and finished six laps down. Grade: C 23. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hard-luck Kenseth's eventful day didn't end when his car got airborne after contact from Danica Patrick and came down on its roof on the backstretch with eight laps to go. Well after the race, he had heated words for nemesis Joey Logano , who had forced him below the yellow line with 15 laps to go. Those two events obscure the fact Kenseth led 39 laps, second only to winner Brad Keselowski 's 46. Grade: B 24. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Patrick's race ended with her hitting the inside wall violently with eight laps to go after contact from behind by Michael McDowell . "I've hit the inside wall of a superspeedway I think maybe like four times now and that was the worst," she said. "I know I got drilled from behind and turned sideways … and hello wall." Grade: C 25. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. Logano was still sore from his wreck on the final lap of Saturday's XFINITY race, and his day ended in the 12-car wreck on Lap 181. His aggressive driving initiated the second caution, and there also was his contact with Matt Kenseth that resulted in an earful from Kenseth after the race. Logano didn't want to discuss what Kenseth said, instead saying, "Two days in a row , a couple big hits; can't wait to get out of this place." Grade: C- 26. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Menard was in the top 10 having a good run -- but at the wrong time. He was running beside Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson on the outside when Busch turned Johnson right into Menard's Chevrolet, setting off the 21-car wreck on Lap 161. Twenty laps later Menard's day ended in the 12-car wreck on Lap 181. Grade: C 27. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola was collected in two wrecks, with the second one, a 12-car mashup on the backstretch with eight laps to go providing the knockout blow to the No. 43. Grade: C 28. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Newman was running around 15th place when the 21-car wreck on Lap 161 began right in front of him. His Chevrolet sustained damage and left the scene trailing flames. He finished 10 laps back. Grade: D 29. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson led nine laps and had the lead three-quarters of the way through the race. Larson was running just outside the top 10 when Kurt Busch hit the back of Jimmie Johnson two cars in front him, touching off a 21-car accident that collected his Chevrolet. Grade: C 30. Brian Scott, No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . The rookie's promising day was derailed after the big wreck on Lap 161. He finished 16 laps back, his most off the lead this season. Grade: D 31. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin's trouble on the track extended to pit road, where he had two incidents and several penalties. He also sustained damage in the 21-car pileup on Lap 161. Grade: D- 32. Regan Smith, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Smith was running in the top 10 with 30 laps to go but was collected the Lap 161 wreck and finished 20 laps back. Grade: D 33. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. Mears spun into Aric Almirola on Lap 59 after he was hit by Michael Waltrip , sending the No. 13 to the garage for repairs. It wasn't Mears' fault, but he still finished 22 laps back. Grade: C 34. David Ragan, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Ragan was running 24th and within a second of the lead when his engine expired on Lap 151. Grade: D 35. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards' two-race winning streak came to an abrupt halt. On Lap 110 "something let go" and the No. 19 ran up the track and pinned Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s No. 88 to the wall, ending the day for both drivers. Grade: F 36. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing. The No. 83 suffered damage in the first wreck of the race. Engine issues ended his day after 98 laps run. Grade: F 37. Chris Buescher, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Just past the halfway point, Buescher's car became the first of the day to go airborne and flip. Buescher called the wreck "miserable" and a "bummer." He was right. Grade: F 38. Michael Annett, No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett was collected in the same wreck that sent Chris Buescher flipping. Annett's Chevrolet smashed hard into the inside wall, ending his day. Grade: F 39. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne followed his best finish of the season (fourth at Richmond) with a two-crash dud, the second a single-car accident that brought out the fifth caution. Grade: F 40. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Terrible day for the 88. Earnhardt's first crash was similar to his crash in the Daytona 500 -- the back of his car came around. "We missed something this morning," he said. "It shouldn't have been on the splitter that hard." Then when he returned to the track after repairs, his steering wheel came off. On Lap 110, Earnhardt's day ended when Carl Edwards ran up the track and smashed into his Chevrolet. Grade: F.
Front Row Motorsports
The full history of Front Row Motorsports plus full driver and crew member rosters
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Standings
After Race 10 of the 2016 season at Talladega Superspeedway Pos Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt PPos G/L Attempts 1 Stewart-Haas Racing 4 351 0 -- 2 1 10 2 Joe Gibbs Racing 18 342 -9 -9 4 2 10 3 Joe Gibbs Racing 19 337 -14 -5 1 -2 10 4 Hendrick Motorsports 48 329 -22 -8 3 -1 10 5 Team Penske 22 316 -35 -13 5 0 10 6 Stewart-Haas Racing 41 312 -39 -4 6 0 10 7 Team Penske 2 300 -51 -12 9 2 10 8 Hendrick Motorsports 88 279 -72 -21 7 -1 10 9 Furniture Row Racing 78 274 -77 -5 10 1 10 10 Richard Childress Racing 3 272 -79 -2 12 2 10 11 Hendrick Motorsports 24 271 -80 -1 11 0 10 12 Joe Gibbs Racing 11 269 -82 -2 8 -4 10 13 Chip Ganassi Racing 1 261 -90 -8 13 0 10 14 JTG Daugherty Racing 47 232 -119 -29 17 3 10 15 Joe Gibbs Racing 20 231 -120 -1 15 0 10 16 Roush Fenway Racing 6 228 -123 -3 18 2 10 17 Hendrick Motorsports 5 224 -127 -4 14 -3 10 18 Wood Brothers Racing 21 219 -132 -5 20 2 10 19 Richard Childress Racing 31 219 -132 0 16 -3 10 20 Roush Fenway Racing 17 218 -133 -1 19 -1 10 21 Stewart-Haas Racing 14 209 -142 -9 23 2 10 22 Richard Childress Racing 27 201 -150 -8 21 -1 10 23 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 197 -154 -4 22 -1 10 24 Roush Fenway Racing 16 188 -163 -9 24 0 10 25 Richard Petty Motorsports 43 180 -171 -8 25 0 10 26 Front Row Motorsports 38 170 -181 -10 28 2 10 27 Stewart-Haas Racing 10 166 -185 -4 26 -1 10 28 HScott Motorsports 15 160 -191 -6 31 3 10 29 Germain Racing 13 149 -202 -11 27 -2 10 30 Richard Petty Motorsports 44 142 -209 -7 30 0 10 31 BK Racing 83 139 -212 -3 29 -2 10 32 Circle Sport-Leavine Family 95 131 -220 -8 34 2 10 33 Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 127 -224 -4 32 -1 10 34 BK Racing 23 124 -227 -3 33 -1 10 35 Front Row Motorsports 34 101 -250 -23 35 0 10 36 HScott Motorsports 46 90 -261 -11 36 0 10 37 Premium Motorsports 98 86 -265 -4 37 0 10 38 GO FAS Racing 32 84 -267 -2 38 0 10 39 Premium Motorsports 55 41 -310 -43 41 2 5 40 The Motorsports Group 30 34 -317 -7 39 -1 10 41 Circle Sport - Leavine Family 59 26 -325 -8 40 -1 1 42 Front Row Motorsports 35 24 -327 -2 44 2 2 43 BK Racing 93 5 -346 -19 42 -1 2 44 BK Racing 26 3 -348 -2 43 -1 1 45 Hillman Racing 40 0 -351 -3 45 0 1
Cassill joins Front Row Motorsports for 2016
RELATED: See the big moves for 2016 " Driver lineup for all teams STATESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 20, 2016) -- Six-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Landon Cassill will join the Front Row Motorsports line-up to drive the No. 38 Ford for the 2016 season. The 26-year-old Cassill has 187 Sprint Cup starts under his belt, most recently competing for Hillman Racing in 2015. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native has raced in all three of NASCAR’s national series, earning XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2008. Cassill will join rookie teammate Chris Buescher at Front Row Motorsports , which will field two full-time Sprint Cup entries in 2016. "I feel like Front Row Motorsports is a great fit for me," Cassill said. "I've got several years of experience in the series now, and being a part of this team will help me take the next step in my career. I'm grateful to Bob Jenkins and Ford Motor Company for the opportunity and can’t wait to get in the car." Cassill's Sprint Cup career-best finish is a fourth-place run at Talladega Superspeedway (2014), a track where Front Row Motorsports has also excelled. "We've always been impressed with Landon and what he can do behind the wheel," said team owner Bob Jenkins. "He's got a lot of natural talent. You could see that at every level of racing he’s competed in throughout his career. We’re happy to have that talent in one of our race cars this year." Sponsorship programs for the No. 38 team will be announced soon. Get more information about Front Row Motorsports and follow updates about the team at teamfrm.com, on Twitter at @Team_FRM and on Facebook at facebook.com/FrontRowMotorsports .
Donnie Wingo moves to Front Row Motorsports
Veteran pit boss to serve as crew chief for David Gilliland and the No. 38 team MORE: Find out who else is on the move in 2015 Donnie Wingo has joined Front Row Motorsports for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as crew chief for the No. 38 Ford and driver David Gilliland . Several news organizations reported the news Monday afternoon, and a spokesperson for the Statesville, North Carolina-based team confirmed the reports independently to NASCAR.com. Wingo, 54, has worked with the venerable Wood Brothers Racing team for the past four seasons, a span that produced his biggest win -- the 2011 Daytona 500 with Trevor Bayne at the wheel. Wingo has seven victories during his 25-year tenure as a crew chief in NASCAR's premier series. Gilliland tweeted his excitement over the news on Monday afternoon. Super excited to have @donniewingo for my crew chief. Going to be a great addition to @FrontRowNASCAR #cantwait — David Gilliland (@DavidGilliland) January 5, 2015 Gilliland, 38, worked with crew chief Frank Kerr for the first 30 races last year, then closed out 2014 with Jay Guy atop the pit box. Gilliland, a teammate to David Ragan on the Bob Jenkins-owned Front Row team, wound up 30th in the final Sprint Cup standings with a best finish of 17th place at Pocono Raceway in August. Gilliland, who joined the Sprint Cup circuit in 2006, spent the holidays driving cross-country to his home state of California. On social media, he has documented visits to at least 20 Love's Travel Stops -- one of his primary sponsors -- along the way. As previously announced, Wingo will be replaced by Jeremy Bullins as crew chief for the Wood Brothers' famed No. 21 Ford and the team's new driver, Ryan Blaney . Last season, Bullins helped guide the Team Penske No. 22 to six victories and the team owner championship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, now the XFINITY Series.
Josh Wise leaving Front Row Motorsports
Wise had spent two seasons at Front Row Motorsports
Josh Wise parts ways with Premium Motorsports
Driver takes to Twitter to announce news of his departure from No. 98 team Josh Wise will no longer be driving the No. 98 car for Premium Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he announced on Twitter Monday morning. I have parted ways with Premium Motorsports . The team and I did not share the same goals moving forward. — Josh Wise (@Josh_Wise) July 13, 2015 I wish them the best and look forward to what the future holds. — Josh Wise (@Josh_Wise) July 13, 2015 Wise has 121 starts in the Sprint Cup Series and he scored his first career top 10 this season at Talladega Superspeedway in May. Currently 36th in the point standings, Wise has run every Cup race this except for the season-opening Daytona 500 . Wise made his way into the 2014 Sprint All-Star Race via the Sprint Fan Vote thanks in large part to the Reddit.com community backing him. The 32-year-old California native spent 2012 and 2013 driving for Front Row Motorsports before moving over to Phil Parsons Racing for the 2014 season. He remained with the team as the No. 98 car was sold to Premium Motorsports during the 2015 season. There was no immediate word on Wise's future plans. Timmy Hill will drive the No. 98 Ford this weekend at New Hampshire in the 5-hour ENERGY 301 (Sunday, 1:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, PRN, SiriusXM). Looking forward to piloting the #98 for @PremiumMSNASCAR ! Glad to be back behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup car! — Timmy Hill (@TimmyHillRacer) July 14, 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender and driver of the No. 26 BK Racing Toyota, Jeb Burton , took to Twitter to offer his support for Wise. @Josh_Wise Your a good driver you will find something bro. — Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) July 13, 2015 FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Love's extends sponsorship with Front Row
Front Row Motorsports announced Wednesday that Love's Travel Stops has renewed its sponsorship, joining the No. 34 Ford team with Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Chris Buescher . Love's, an Oklahoma City-based travel plaza company, will be the primary sponsor for 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, including the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 21 and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20. Love's joined the Bob Jenkins-owned organization in 2013 with the No. 38 Ford driven by David Gilliland . The company has expanded its sponsorship in previous years, jumping from two Sprint Cup races in 2013, 15 events in 2014 and last year's 18-race deal. Buescher, 23, enters his first full Sprint Cup season after claiming the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship with Roush Fenway Racing last year. Buescher competed in six premier series races last year for Front Row , which has entered into a technical alliance with the Roush Fenway team this season. RELATED: Five young drivers to watch in 2016 Dave Frankenfield, Love's director of marketing, indicated in a release provided by Front Row that the company was "jazzed" about the alliance and the sponsorship renewal. Buescher echoed those sentiments. "I can't wait to work with Love's," Buescher said in the team's release. "They've been a great partner with Front Row Motorsports over the years and have really embraced the sport." Here's a look at his paint scheme for 2016. Love’s extends @Team_FRM partnership, introduces @Chris_Buescher in the No. 34 Ford Fusion. https://t.co/qdpOT6FEC6 pic.twitter.com/dw3eLvGvTa — Love's Travel Stops (@LovesTravelStop) January 13, 2016
The Rundown: Bristol driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Chase Grid MORE: Peyton's day at the track " Before and after of damaged cars Breaking down the full field for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway : 1. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards was the class of the field Sunday at Bristol and the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver not to have an issue. Starting from the pole Edwards dominated the race and made it pay off, earning his first victory of the season and all but punching his ticket to the Chase. Grade: A+ 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt's day got off to a terrible start when his car did not have power at the drop of the green flag and he fell two laps down just as the race got under way. Never giving up, he got his lap back by taking the wave around on the third caution of the day and fought hard to climb his way to the front . On the final restart of the day he powered to second and held off Kurt Busch and teammate Chase Elliott . Grade: A+ 3. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet came to life late in the race and took the lead for the first time with 145 laps to go. Despite a left rear tire rub in the closing stages Busch fought hard and ended the day inside the top five. Grade: A 4. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Running inside the top 10 on Lap 179, the rookie contender had to hit pit road with a loose wheel and fell back. With less than 100 laps to go he was inside the top five and charging forward. With 32 laps to go Elliott got a huge restart and jumped to second and put pressure on Carl Edwards for the lead. He slipped to fourth in the end, but recorded the best finish of his young career. Grade: A 5. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Could Roush Fenway Racing be on the upswing? Bayne started 10th and had another strong run until he had a pit road commitment line violation on the fourth caution of the day. He rallied back, beat and banged his way to the front and finished fifth. Grade: A 6. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto had a solid, quiet day going at Bristol, racing his way into the top 10 with less than 20 laps to go. The BK Racing driver was far from content, though. He knocked on the door of the top five in the closing laps and earned a career-best finish. It was the feel good story of the weekend for sure. Grade: A+ 7. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . As the race approached the halfway mark, Harvick's car came to life and charged to the front of the field. Harvick hit the wall with 16 laps to go while chasing Chase Elliott for second, but the contact caused little damage to the No. 4 Chevy. He kept restarting on the bottom lane and was unable to challenge for the win. Grade : A 8. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Off to one of the worst starts of his career, Bowyer and the HScott Motorsports team came to life Sunday at Bristol. Starting 36th, Bowyer stayed out of trouble and gained 28 spots to earn his first top 10 of the season. Grade: A+ 9. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Crew chief Luke Lambert called for two tires on the first stop of the day, putting the No. 31 into the top 10. A pit road speeding penalty under the eighth caution sent Newman to the rear of the field with less than 165 laps to go. Newman fought hard after the setback and climbed back to ninth when the checkered flag flew. Grade: B+ 10. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . One of the fastest cars early in the race, Logano had to pit with a vibration under green and was then hit with a tire violation. The No. 22 fell two laps down, but fought back. With 32 laps to go Logano was fifth, but lost power and dropped like a rock on the late-race restart. Grade: B 11. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . The rookie contender worked his way into the top five throughout Sunday's race, but the No. 21 Ford slipped just outside the top 10 at the end of the day. Grade: B 12. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle was penalized for speeding on pit road under the sixth caution of the day and sent to the rear of the longest line for the restart. Despite the setback, Biffle quietly worked his way back to the top 10. When the checkered flag flew, Biffle had dropped to 12th. Grade: B 13. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray started 13th and finished 13th. He avoided trouble and tied his season-best finish. Grade: B 14. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . The No. 78 was fast once again, but issues on pit road continued to slow the team throughout the day. Running second with roughly 75 laps to go Truex reported a loose wheel and was forced to pit road under green. The team just could not find a rhythm. Grade: C 15. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard took two tires on the third caution of the day and restarted second. The No. 27 fell back when the green flag flew, but the move looked to pay off in the long run. Later in the going he had to pit a second time to check for loose lug nuts, suffered damage on the car, but climbed back to 15th at the end of the day. Grade: B- 16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse got loose in the corner and spun off Turn 2 to bring out the second caution of the day. The RFR driver fought his way into the top 10 with 25 laps to go, but fell just outside the top 15 in the closing laps. Grade: B 17. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The driver of the No. 5 raced his way into the top five with 150 laps to go and shows signs of strength. Unable to maintain that spot, he dropped to 17th when the checkered flag flew. Grade: B- 18. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski worked his way into the top five after 55 laps, but was hit with a pit road speeding penalty under the first caution. Racing his way through the field took its toll on the No. 2, which was beaten up all around. Running fourth with 115 laps to go Keselowski broke a valve stem after contact and had to pit under green. He could only climb his way back to 18th. Grade: B 19. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger had another great run going, as he started in the top 10 and was racing at the front of the field in the opening stages of the day. However, just before the halfway mark Allmendinger hit pit road with a loose wheel under green. While he got his lap back, he was never able to rally back. Grade: B- 20. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . After getting into Danica Patrick in practice, Hamlin got into Brian Scott on pit road during the fifth caution of the day. The contact caused significant damage to to the right front of the No. 11 Toyota. Hamlin then hit the wall while running 15th with 92 laps to go to bring out the 11th caution of the day. Grade: C- 21. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The rookie contender started 21st, sent Kyle Busch spinning on Lap 115 when the field stacked up, finished 21st and earned his best finish of the 2016 season. Grade: C 22. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . After running mid-pack for much of the day, Cassill stayed out on the seventh caution of the day to take the lead. Cassill held onto the lead for 20 laps and was able to stay in the top five when the eighth caution of the day flew. Cassill was forced to pit road with 38 laps to go after contact with Ty Dillon late in the race. Grade: A- 23. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . A pit road speeding penalty under the first caution of the day sent Johnson to the rear of the field, but by the 200-lap mark Johnson was inside the top five. Johnson was forced to pit with a vibration while running third at the 300-lap mark, falling back to 31st, two laps down. The former champ fought back to 23rd, but was the first car one lap down. Grade: C 24. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . The No. 13 Chevy was hit by AJ Allmendinger on a restart with less than 165 laps to go and Mears made a great save avoiding any damage to the car. While he broke into the top 15 just past the halfway mark, he fell through the field in the closing part of the race. Grade: C 25. Ty Dillon , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . After having issues in qualifying, the younger Dillon brother used strategy to make his way to the front of the field and was able to maintain a solid top-10 position. Earnhardt Jr. used up the No. 14 with less than 50 laps to go, causing a significant left rear tire rub. The problems weren’t over, as Landon Cassill did the same thing just a handful of laps later. Grade: C+ 26. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon used up the right side of the No. 3 Chevrolet after getting into the wall multiple times. He was also hit with a pit road speeding penalty under the sixth caution of the day. The older Dillon brother definitely had a rough outing at the Last Great Colosseum. Grade: C- 27. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Running mid-pack, Patrick stayed out on the seventh caution of the day and jumped into the top five. Once the race went back to green, the No. 10 Chevy faded and Patrick slipped back in the pack. The team was hit with two separate pit road penalties with less than 90 laps to go. Grade: C- 28. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports . Whitt had a quiet run at the half-mile short track, but gained 11 spots on the day. Grade: C+ 29. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . McDowell raced his way as high as 17th just past the halfway mark, but dropped to 29th at the end of the day. After starting 31st, it was still a gain. Grade: C 30. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott made contact with Denny Hamlin on pit road, causing damage to both cars. He was running the top 30 when he got loose in the corner and spun to bring out the 10th caution of the day. Grade: C- 31. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Starting last, Annett spent much of the day racing around 35th, but he was sent spinning late in the race after contact with front -runner Kevin Harvick . Grade: C 32. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . The fourth-generation driver started 37th, stayed out of trouble and finished the day 32nd. Not too bad for his first Bristol start. Grade: C 33. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group . Wise's No. 30 Chevrolet had a tire issue and hit the outside wall to bring out the eighth caution of the day. Grade: C- 34. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Stuck behind Dale Jr. to start the day, Almirola suffered damage to the nose of the car just as the green flag flew. He was running 19th when he was hit by Martin Truex Jr . and sent spinning into the outside wall, causing significant damage to the No. 43 Ford. He didn’t want to get out of the car, but NASCAR said he had to and a post-race meeting in the hauler was the end result. Grade: C- 35. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. After giving a win away on Saturday in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Larson charged from his 25th starting spot and was in the top 10 before the 90-lap mark. Running third, a trackbar issue forced Larson and team to take the car behind the wall. Grade: D 36. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Dominating the race in the early stages, Kenseth blew a right front tire and hit the wall to bring out the fifth caution of the day while leading on Lap 186. After racing back in the top 10, Kenseth had another tire issue late in the race and was forced to pit road. With no caution thrown, the No. 20 team’s chances at victory were gone and the car went behind the wall. Grade: D 37. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith was a non-factor throughout the day until he was hit by Danica Patrick and made hard contact with the wall with just nine laps to go. Grade: D 38. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Running third on Lap 52, Busch lost a right front tire and hit the outside wall to bring out the first caution of the day. Busch made his way into the top 20, but was spun on Lap 115 after contact with Chris Buescher . After working into the top five, he was hit with a speeding penalty on the fifth caution of the day. While racing back to the front again, Busch made heavy contact with the wall on Lap 258 and took the car behind the wall. Grade: D 39. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan was stuck behind Dale Jr. when he had his issue on the initial start of the day, and things did not get much better. With smoke billowing out of the exhaust, Ragan took the car behind the wall with an engine issue on Lap 217. Grade: F 40. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports . Sorenson started 38th, but pulled the car behind the wall after completing just 169 of the 500 laps. Grade: F
SHR tweaks pit crews of No. 10, No. 14 teams
In an effort to improve pit stops, Stewart-Haas Racing has moved around several crew members between its teams. This past weekend's Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway saw different faces on different teams. So let's start with the easy stuff: The No. 4 ( Kevin Harvick ) and No. 41 ( Kurt Busch ) looked to be the same as at Daytona. Both teams have been performing at a top level for years, and we didn't see any changes as of Richmond. Now the fun stuff. The No. 10 car of Danica Patrick had a different front carrier, rear changer, and rear carrier. The team moved rear carrier Matt Holzbaur to the front and added rear changer Jonathan Sherman and rear carrier Jeremy Howard. Both Sherman and Howard came from the No. 38 team ( Landon Cassill ), which is pit supported by SHR. The No. 14 of Tony Stewart got a new front changer in Ryan Mulder. Mulder was moved from the rear of the No. 10 to the front of the No. 14. The No. 38 team got a new front changer, front carrier, rear changer and rear carrier. Bryan Jacobsen moved from the No. 14 is now on the front with Jeff Shoaf, who moved from the No. 10 team. Anchoring the rear are now Chris Jackson and Tyler Bullard, who previously had worked up front on the 38. From what we can tell, no new pit crew members were hired or fired, just a restructuring of crewmen. Sometimes it takes a shake up to get the best crews together and it looks like SHR is trying to find the best combinations for its teams. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .