Austin Dillon talks about the importance of winning at his home track in Charlotte, North Carolina .
Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes Carolina Panthers linebacker, Thomas Davis, for a few high-speed laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway. Davis will also be the honorary pace car for the Coca-Cola 600.
Four drivers and fans have chances to win $100,000 MORE: How Dash 4 Cash works; enter now! CONCORD, N.C. -- Regan Smith said he didn't realize until Friday that Saturday's Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the qualifier for the NASCAR XFINITY Series' Dash 4 Cash Sweepstakes. But on Saturday in the driver's meeting he tapped Jason Burdett, crew chief of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, on the shoulder and said, "Hey, you know this is the Dash 4 Cash race and we need to be good today." The No. 7 remained steady and in the top 10 for the majority of the race, but what made Saturday good was a late pit stop that propelled Smith to a fourth-place finish, his best at Charlotte. Smith led a group of Dash 4 Cash qualifiers that included Darrell Wallace Jr . (fifth place), Daniel Suarez (sixth) and Ty Dillon (seventh) in a race won by Austin Dillon . The best finisher among the four in next week's Buckle Up presented by Click it or Ticket 200 at Dover International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX) will take home $100,000 and advance to the next round of the Dash 4 Cash. For Wallace, the fifth-place finish at Charlotte was a career best in his young XFINITY Series career and came on the heels of a sixth-place showing at Iowa. Wallace also finished sixth at Texas earlier this season, and the driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford said he's building some momentum. "This is a confidence booster for all of my guys," Wallace said. "We just have to clean up ourselves on pit road. That's been a struggle for us these last couple races, but we've been able to manage a couple spots on restarts and come away with our first top-five in the series. ... This is where we need to be. We're setting up ship for late in the season." As for the immediate future, Wallace said he needed to learn how to translate qualifying success at Dover International Speedway into a race win. In 2012, Wallace won the pole in the fall XFINITY race at Dover only to finish 12th. He also won a pole there in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the spring of 2013 but finished 10th. "Dover has been a very successful track for me," Wallace said. "It would be nice if (the Dash 4 Cash) paid for the pole there because I'm pretty good at qualifying there. I haven't got the finishes I wanted, but I'm excited to be in the XFINITY Series and part of the Dash 4 Cash Series, so I'm glad to be one of the four." Wallace and fellow rookie Suarez will mix it up with Smith and Dillon, who are veterans of the Dash 4 Cash battles -- with Dillon winning a Dash 4 Cash race last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway . In addition to Dover and Indianapolis, the Dash 4 Cash will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway this year. Suarez, who qualified 19th for Saturday's race in Charlotte, charged through the field early and maintained a top-10 position for the second half of the race. Suarez's sixth-place finish in his first race at CMS was his fourth top 10 of the season. "We had a hard time in qualifying -- maybe one of my worst qualifying runs of the year at 19th," Suarez said. "All these guys, they don't know how to give up and that's something that is really good , and I'm learning to be just like that as well." And like Smith, Suarez was pleasantly surprised that Saturday marked the beginning of the Dash 4 Cash. "That's cool and something new actually," Suarez said. "I saw the Dash 4 Cash, and I don't know exactly how it works or anything, but I'm really proud to be part of this and something new for me." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
RCR driver scores fourth career XFINITY Series win RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Learn more about Dash 4 Cash CONCORD, N.C. – For the second straight Saturday, Denny Hamlin had the chance to hold off a race's strongest car for the victory. Unlike last Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, however, there were too many laps left after the final restart in Saturday's Hisense 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series, and polesitter Austin Dillon powered past Hamlin on Lap 186 of 200 to finish the race where he belonged—at the front of the field. By the time he crossed the finish line, Dillon was 2.692 seconds ahead of Hamlin, who had taken the lead during a restart on Lap 167 that saw Dillon fall back to fourth from the inside lane by the time the leaders exited Turn 2. One by one, Dillon picked off Regan Smith , Kahne and Hamlin on the way to his second XFINITY Series victory of the season, his first at Charlotte and the fourth of his career. Kahne ran third behind Dillon and Hamlin, followed by Smith and rookies Darrell Wallace Jr . and Daniel Suarez . Ty Dillon came home seventh and trimmed the series lead of 11th-place finisher Chris Buescher to four points. Dillon led 163 laps and held an advantage of more than six seconds during a 54-lap green-flag run that preceded the second caution of the race on Lap 110. How good was Dillon's No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet? "I didn't want to get out of this thing," Dillon said in Victory Lane. "This thing drove so good . It was a heck of a race there with Denny at the end and Kasey (Kahne). I had to go right there in lapped traffic (to make the winning pass). "I knew if I didn't hurry up and get in front of him right there, the tires might equalize (in terms of grip)." But when Dillon picked the inside lane for what proved to be the final restart—after a caution for Kyle Fowler 's wreck in Turn 1—Hamlin seized what he considered a fortuitous opportunity and surged into the lead. "I thought when the 33 gave us the outside, that was a big advantage for us if we could stay with him through Turns 1 and 2," said Hamlin, who last Saturday held off Kevin Harvick in the final 10-lap shootout to win the Sprint All-Star Race. "We (did), and it allowed us to get position on him and even get him shuffled a few spots. "That was all good , but his car was just so fast he just overcame that track position." Hamlin lost the lead when the lapped car of Peyton Sellers stayed low and forced Hamlin's No. 54 Toyota to pass on the outside. "I needed to stay on the bottom," Hamlin said. "My car was best on the bottom. His car was pinned to the bottom as well. So I needed all of the lapped cars to move up high, and all of them did, except for the 97 (Sellers). He gave us the high line. That just killed us and killed our chances from that point, once the 33 got to our inside." Dillon chose the inside line because his car had worked well on the bottom for the entire race to that point. "My spotter (Andy Houston) made the fact that we should have probably taken the top, and I had been on the bottom all day, so I chose the bottom again," Dillon said. "I just didn't want to let these guys down (his crew). The Rheem car was so fast... "I thought about it, and I probably should have used the top, just because I would have had the run down the backstretch. It seems that, as the race goes on, that the outside can stop spinning the tires, and the rubber lays down... "Andy made the point, and it all worked out, but I'll definitely learn from that, for sure." Smith, Wallace, Suarez and Ty Dillon qualified for next week's XFINITY Dash 4 Cash competition at Dover as the top four finishers among series regulars. Those drivers will compete for $100,000 in next Saturday's race at Dover, with the top finisher among them claiming the prize. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Four-time champion makes announcement on FOX Sports 1 RELATED: Full coverage of Gordon's final full-time season, announcement CONCORD, N.C. – When Jeff Gordon steps out of the race car and into the television booth next season, he'll still be competing. Only this time it could be with himself instead of 42 other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. The four-time series champion and Hendrick Motorsports driver will be an integral part of the FOX NASCAR broadcast team full time next season as a race analyst. Gordon made the announcement Thursday on FOX Sports 1's "Race Hub" prior to LiftMaster Pole Night at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Gordon will join fellow analyst Darrell Waltrip and play-by-play announcer Mike Joy when FOX opens the 2016 season with the coverage of SpeedWeeks from Daytona International Speedway . He will help call races, practices and qualifying sessions for the network. Former crew chief Larry McReynolds, who currently works alongside Joy and Waltrip, will move to the on-site studio, known as the Hollywood Hotel, where he will be paired with Chris Myers and Michael Waltrip . "I will tell you that being up in the booth, there was an adrenalin rush … it's exciting," Gordon said after qualifying 18th for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 (FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR, 6 p.m.). "I enjoyed it. The competition might be with myself trying to always improve and be better, do the best that I can and push myself." According to a FOX release, Gordon has agreed to a multi-year contract that begins this season. He will serve as the in-race reporter during select Sprint Cup Series events for the remainder of the '15 season. He is one of four drivers so far to join FOX broadcasters in the booth for XFINITY Series races this season. Gordon's schedule saw him in the booth at Texas, Bristol and Talladega, where he joined host Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip . "I was very nervous the first race in Texas and I was not feeling well; I was under the weather unfortunately," Gordon said. "That one I was more nervous. The next one (at Bristol) I was a little more comfortable and Talladega, I got to enjoy it. The racing was fun to talk about, and I thought the experience was enjoyable and I was a little more relaxed. I look forward to gaining that confidence and being … more relaxed." SHOP: Gordon gear Gordon will end a stellar driving career at the season’s end, having won premier series championships in 1995, '97-98 and '01. His 92 career victories are tops among active drivers and third on the series' all-time list, trailing only NASCAR Hall of Fame members Richard Petty ( 200 ) and David Pearson (105). In addition to his television work, he is expected to continue to contribute to Hendrick Motorsports , where he has spent his entire Sprint Cup career. "I had already made the decision that I was going to step away (from competing full-time) because I have some good options," Gordon, 43, said, "my role at Hendrick Motorsports , my role with (sponsor) Axalta, not to mention some other partners that have interest. "… I didn't know if it was going to happen to be honest. It was going back and forth for a while whether it was going to happen. Eventually all the right things came together." The relationship with Hendrick won't be an issue, he said, but added, "it's going to be something that I'm going to have to respect. "It's something I would never want to overstep the boundaries. I'm going to be conscious of it. But I also feel like it's going to help me stay current and up to speed on the knowledge of what is going on. As long as I'm not sharing too many details, I think just speaking in general, it's going to be a huge advantage for me to have that tie … to be able to bring some of that to the booth." Erik Shanks, FOX Sports President, COO and Executive Producer, called Gordon "not only a champion but an icon of a racing generation. "We are thrilled he has chosen to become a part of the FOX family and pair his experience with Darrell. "Each is credited with helping elevate NASCAR to the popularity it attained during in his respective era, and alongside Mike Joy, this duo will treat fans to unmatched insights each and every week." Gordon’s familiar red No. 24 Chevrolet will be driven by 2014 XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott beginning next season. FOX Sports is in the first year of a new, 10-year media rights agreement that consists of coverage of each season's first 16 Sprint Cup Series points races as well as the first 14 XFINITY Series events and all Camping World Truck Series races. NBC holds the rights to the season's final 20 Sprint Cup events. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jones, Reddick chasing two-time defending champ in standings Five races into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, the cream is still on top. Matt Crafton ’s third-place finish last Friday in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway allowed the series points leader to maintain his top spot. Crafton, driving the No. 88 for ThorSport Racing, now has 217 points on the strength of two wins, four top fives and a series-best five top-10 finishes. The 38-year-old Crafton is trying to three-peat as the Camping World Truck Series points champion. Crafton has 343 Trucks races under his fire suit, starting with the Motorola 200 at Fontana back in 2000. His first-ever win was the 2008 edition of the North Carolina Education Lottery. He has a modest seven career wins, but consistency works in his favor. He’s placed among the top 10 in his Trucks races 57.4 percent of the time (197 out of 343). Erik Jones ’ epic battle with Kasey Kahne , which included side-by-side racing for most of the final lap and a photo finish, is the type of excitement NASCAR officials — and fans — want to see. Kahne won the race by 0.005 (that’s not a typo) of a second. The No. 00 Truck failed the post-race inspection for a ride-height violation. Kahne does, however, get to keep the win. Driving the No. 4 for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Jones led 88 of the 139 laps at Charlotte. Jones, who turns 19 on May 30, ranks second in the points standings. He finished 18th last year. Just two points behind Jones in the standings sits Tyler Reddick , who picked up his fourth top-five finish of the year by placing fourth last week. Driving the No. 19 Truck for Brad Keselowski Racing, Reddick already has one more top-five finish than he had in 16 starts as a rookie in 2014. The 19-year-old placed 12th in the standings last year. More than a decade removed from his rookie season in a NASCAR national series, Johnny Sauter is chasing his first-ever Truck Series title. Sauter, who turned 37 earlier this month, ranks fourth in the current standings. His best season was a second-place finish in 2011, and he placed fourth in the standings the past two years. John Wes Townley moved into the top five with a sixth-place finish at Charlotte. Townley doesn’t have a win in his 74 career starts on the circuit. He was 15th in the final 2014 standings, and his best year was an 11th-place showing in 2013. Up next for the Camping World Truck Series is the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 29 (5:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Fans, drivers have chance to win $100,000 RELATED: 100,000 reasons to win " Learn more about Dash 4 Cash CONCORD, N.C. -- Roush Fenway Racing 's Chris Buescher picked up his second win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series last weekend at Iowa Speedway and took over the series points lead, but he said Thursday the only regret he had from the performance was that it didn't come this week in the Dash 4 Cash qualifier. Saturday's Hisense 300 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, Sirius XM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway marks the first step in the 2015 Dash 4 Cash as Buescher and other drivers who are eligible for XFINITY Series points will get a chance to race into the program's opener next weekend at Dover International Speedway . The Dash 4 Cash is a yearly contest that sparks excitement in the form of a $100,000 paycheck to the highest-finishing eligible driver in four select XFINITY Series races. This year's Dash 4 Cash includes races next week at Dover, July 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway , Aug. 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway and Sept. 5 at Darlington Raceway . "I love short track racing and to have Dover and Darlington and Bristol in there is awesome, because those are three of my top five race tracks," Buescher said. "If we're fortunate enough to qualify in for it, I think the red banner on the windshield and the spoiler will match our paint scheme quite nicely." Yes, the red banner and spoiler on Dash 4 Cash-eligible cars will replace the blue ones that were used last year when Nationwide ran the show. But that isn't the only change Comcast made since taking over the program. The qualifier race is new to Charlotte, as is the finale at Darlington -- last year's finale at Iowa was won by Trevor Bayne -- and the inclusion of Dover and Bristol is also a change. Plus, the schedule is more spread out than usual, allowing Bristol and Darlington to get into the mix. But what remains the same is that fans can enter the NASCAR XFINITY Series $100,000 Sweepstakes at www.nascar.com/Dash4Cash for a chance to take home their own stack of cash if they are paired up with the winning driver at Darlington. "There's a lot of hype around it and it's cool for fan engagement and for the drivers to try and put a little extra pressure on themselves and our teams," Buescher said of the Dash 4 Cash. "It's going to be a little bit more spread out this year, which I think is a good thing. I think it gives a little more time to prepare and plan for it." First, drivers like Buescher need to qualify for the event and that means finishing in the top four among eligible drivers on Saturday. Buescher admitted that will be a tough task, because he said the track at Charlotte changes a lot throughout the weekend. Buescher has had two top-10 finishes in his three XFINITY Series starts at Charlotte, and even though it's a small sample size, it's something to build on for the 22-year-old Texas native. Plus, since he's coming to Charlotte fresh off the win in Iowa, he said he's feeling pretty confident about his chances. "It's been a good start to the season for us, for sure," Buescher said. "We've had new people on board this year, new teammates in Elliott (Sadler) and Bubba (Wallace). I feel like it's coming together quite nicely this year. We have race cars that are coming to the race track a lot quicker than they were at the beginning of last year at this point in time, and we're in a much better points position not missing Daytona for sure and being able to get a win early in the season." It's worth something, in more ways than one, to see if Buescher can carry that momentum into Saturday. For more information on the Dash 4 Cash, go to http://www.nascar.com/dash4cash.html . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
James Buescher and Johnny Sauter comment on their strong runs at the Rock, while Nelson Piquet reflects on his pit road mistake.
JGR driver discusses how baby's name was picked, if he would let Brexton race RELATED: Kyle, Samantha Busch welcome baby boy " Keselowski, Paige White have baby girl CONCORD, N.C. -- The sight of Kyle Busch riding a neon green motorized cooler into the media center on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway had some folks chuckling, but the new dad smiled as he made a sharp left turn and quickly ascended onto the front stage. The scene had "cool dad" written all over it, but Busch was perched on top of the plastic vehicle in order to rest his legs as he continues his comeback from injuries sustained in the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona. Busch returned to action last week in the Sprint All-Star Race, finishing sixth. Then, he and wife Samantha welcomed son Brexton Locke into the world on Monday. To say the least, it has been quite a busy week for the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and now he is prepping for Sunday's ultimate endurance race, the Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). Despite his claims of some lost sleep, Busch was alert and more than happy to discuss the birth of his son. On what has changed since Monday, Kyle said: "It's way different than what it was before he was born. Obviously, Samantha was taking care of him. She had him in her so just taking care of him that way and carrying him around (laughter). "I didn't have to worry about anything. I didn't have to feed him, I didn't have to change him or nothing like that, but it's a whole different world now that he's here with having to take care of him so we both have to spread our time. Obviously, when his favorite thing to do is make stinky diapers, then you've certainly got your work cut out for you." On his wife Samantha, Kyle said: "It was emotional and physically taxing on me, I couldn't imagine what Samantha was going through. Obviously, I was there and trying to help her and coach her and be with her the entire time and she did phenomenal. ... She's a champ. Samantha is my champion. No matter how well or successful I ever am in my career, she's got the championship trophy on her mantle." On how he and Samantha picked the name: "Samantha and I, we were back-and-forth a lot on names. We kind of tried to figure out whether we wanted to keep the initials K.B. or not, and we decided not to. I kind of liked her maiden name (Samantha Sarcinella), the S.S., so we decided we'd go with the B.B. So then we just started looking up some B names and put the pieces together and kind of made it up. It's pretty cool that we both agreed on it." On whether he wants his son to follow in his footsteps: "Whether he follows in my footsteps or not that's totally up to him. Brexton one day will be his own person and his own individual. If he wants to be a golfer, by golly we'll help him be a golfer. If he wants to be a racecar driver like his daddy, more power to him. We'll give him the best stuff we possibly can. He'll only make it here if he wins races, that's my stipulation. He won't make it here if he ain't any good . I'll quit spending money on him long before that. Toyota might not, but I will (laughs)." MORE: If Busch and Keselowski exchanged texts about fatherhood ... On whether he'd allow his son to go to the prom with Brad Keselowski 's daughter, also born this week: "(Brad and I) obviously don't have a relationship and may or may not ever, but that's to be seen down the road. We live two completely different lives right now -- and you know -- we'll take care of our son the best we can and put him in the best situations we can. But if for some reason, he feels like he needs to chase down Brad's daughter, then have at it, bud (laughter)." And shortly after that zinger, Busch rode his motorized cooler out the back door and off to the garage. SHOP: 'Rowdy Returns' shirts and more Kyle Busch gear FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Joey Logano will also start from the front row in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 RELATED: Full starting lineup " See all 43 cars CONCORD, N.C. – After powering to his second pole of the season on Thursday night, Matt Kenseth will start NASCAR's longest race from the most advantageous position—with his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota getting serviced in the most advantageous pit stall. Kenseth ran his fastest lap of the night (194.252 mph) in the third and final round of knockout qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway and secured the top spot on the grid for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM), the 12th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. The Coors Light Pole Award was Kenseth's first at Charlotte and the 15th of his career. Kenseth, who covered the 1.5-mile distance in 27.799 seconds, was a whopping .204 seconds faster than Joey Logano (192.836 mph), whose No. 22 Team Penske Ford will start beside Kenseth's Camry on the front row. "I think starting up front is important at this track," Kenseth said. "It typically goes through a lot of changes here, especially if the sun is out for the beginning of the race. You want to have good track position, good pit selection—all those things—so if you get a little bit off and you're chasing the setup, or the track changes, you have a little bit of a buffer being toward the front, hopefully... "All the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas had some speed tonight, and that was encouraging." SHOP: Kenseth gear Carl Edwards (192.733 mph) was third in his No. 19 JGR Toyota, followed by Greg Biffle in his No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford (192.226 mph) and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner Denny Hamlin in his No. 11 JGR Toyota (192.007 mph). Surprisingly, in consecutive seasons that have seen domination of the intermediate speedways by the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Chevrolet of reigning series champion Kevin Harvick and the No. 48 Chevy of six-time champ Jimmie Johnson , Toyotas and Fords claimed the top seven qualifying positions for the 600. To Logano, however, the absence of a Chevrolet from the top five spots on the grid for the first time this season isn't hugely significant. "Those guys have been fast in the race—that's where their speed really shines," Logano said. "They qualify good --don't get me wrong—but in the race they shine a little bit more. You're talking about the 4, the 41 ( Kurt Busch ) and the 48. Those are the ones that stand out. "And I'm sure they'll be fast when it comes to race time. Qualifying's a different animal. You use a completely different setup, and qualifying can kind of mask over some issues you have in race trim a lot of times. ... I wouldn't (read) too much into it." Notes: All four Hendrick Motorsports entries failed to advance to the final round of knockout qualifying, but Kasey Kahne had a valid excuse. A cut tire prevented him from posting a quick qualifying laps. As a result, the three-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600 will start 33rd on Sunday ... Jeb Burton , Mike Bliss , Travis Kvapil , Jeff Green and Brendan Gaughan failed to make the 43-car field. The 48-car turnout for qualifying was the largest since 49 entries showed up for the season-opening Daytona 500 .