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Truex on pit road penalty: 'We were going for it'
RELATED: Johnson jumps at Bristol victory " Race results No one at Bristol could run the bottom of the track better than Martin Truex Jr., who led 116 laps in Monday's rain-delayed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Truex lost some of his advantage when the potency of the VHT track sealer, which added grip to the bottom lane, began to fade as the race progressed. But the real whammy for Truex was a penalty for speeding on pit road incurred under the final caution on Lap 465. Truex had been battling race winner Jimmie Johnson for the lead before the infraction, but the No. 78 Toyota lost any chance for the victory after being sent to the back of the field for a restart on Lap 468. "We were going for it, you know?" Truex said. "Wish we could have had a shot there just to see if we could have won. This is the best run we've had here in a long time. It's bittersweet. I wish we could have seen if we could have beat the 48 (Johnson). We were close there before that last caution, but it is what it is, and you try to get what you can get, and sometimes you cross the line, and today we crossed the line. "All in all, it was an awesome day and a lot of fun. Had the VHT not worn out quite as bad, then we would have really killed them. The top lane came in, and some guys could run that better than I could, but overall it was a good day and a lot of fun all day." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bounce in Bowyer's step with second at Bristol
RELATED: Johnson prevails at Bristol " Race results BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Clint Bowyer's career revival was in full swing here Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway, with the Stewart-Haas Racing driver finishing second in the Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. It was Bowyer's best result since joining the four-car operation before the start of the 2017 season. In a race that was delayed one day by rain, Bowyer could see but could not catch eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson in the waning laps of 500-lap affair. The seven-time champion was a tick of the stopwatch ahead at the finish line, earning his 82nd career victory and further cementing his status as one of the series' greatest drivers of all time. Seventh when he brought his car to pit road for the final time during a caution on Lap 464, Bowyer restarted ninth for the final push. It wasn't long before he was battling with Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson for the lead. Then it was only Johnson out his front windshield. "It's Jimmie Johnson," Bowyer, 37, said. "You're just … you try everything you possibly can and I was starting to do some pretty desperate things with brakes and my line and stuff like that, and then you just realize -- your mindset quickly changes, and you're like, 'all right, let's put it in perspective here; we've come a long way, it was a long day, and second place is probably a good run for us, and we should be happy with that. We shouldn't hang our head about it.' " This was no finish created by smoke and mirrors -- Bowyer and the No. 14 team, led by crew chief Mike Buggarewicz, earned every position picked up on the high-banked half-mile oval. And there were plenty to be collected. Bowyer started ninth on the 39-car grid but quickly found himself the last car on the lead lap. "Way too loose," he said. "(We) just missed it." Then, after racing his way inside the top 10 and staying there, a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 326. "Mike made some great adjustments (and) the pit crew was on their game all day long … gained spots almost every time and then I lost them all back on pit road speeding," Bowyer said. "Went to the back again, and then drove back up through them." The decision to take four tires on the final stop was crucial. "I think the 48 (of Johnson) was the other one (to take four tires) and he won the race, so the right strategy was there," Bowyer said. "The team effort was there. You know, that's what a weekend is all about. It's just been this long since I've won a race and here is pretty special. It would have been pretty cool to be over there in Victory Lane." Bowyer has finished 13th or better in seven consecutive races and Monday's runner-up effort edged out a third-place run at Auto Club Speedway for "season's best" honors at this point. In 2016, driving for the now defunct HScott Motorsports, he had no top-five finishes and just three top 10s, numbers he has already exceeded. Pleased with a runner-up, but disappointed just the same. "Been that way my whole life," said Bowyer, who has eight career victories but none since 2012. "Since I was about 5 years old. "You struggle and struggle and struggle for a year and a half .. and hell, next thing you know you're being greedy about (finishing) second. "That's just the way racers are and the way it's always been. (But) having a ton of fun and working hard and seeing the results is gratifying for this race team." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Clear skies, sailing for Johnson in Bristol victory
RELATED: Race results " Stage results " Full schedule for Richmond SHOP: Winner gear! MORE: Detailed race breakdown Jimmie Johnson surged to victory in the rain-delayed Food City 500 on Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson powered the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet to his second straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, leading 81 of the 500 laps. His 82nd win of his career was his second on the .533-mile Tennessee track. The victory moved Johnson another step up NASCAR's all-time win list, putting him one triumph behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough and two back from fellow inductees Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. "That's just mind-blowing," said Johnson, who sits seventh on the all-time list. "I wouldn’t be here without Mr. Hendrick's support. Thanks to him and to Jeff Gordon for believing in me. For Hendrick Motorsports to make this job kind of a family environment for all of us to thrive in has been a perfect environment for me and (crew chief) Chad Knaus, and for the consistent group of guys behind me through all these years has led to the environment to win 82 races, or whatever it is, which is just insane. I'm truly humbled." Clint Bowyer took second place in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Ford, 1.199 seconds behind the race winner in his best finish since running second at Richmond on April 27, 2013. His late-race boost secured his second top-five finish of the season, but wasn't enough to unseat Johnson from the top spot. "It is frustrating, you could see him out there," Bowyer said, "but dammit, you'd think he'd get tired of winning all these races." Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano completed the top five. Pole-starter Kyle Larson seemed poised for a top-five finish after leading the opening 202 laps and snagging a Stage 1 win, but a pit- road speeding penalty on Lap 423 knocked him back to 17th in the running order. He rallied to a sixth-place finish and maintained his lead in the season-long standings. "Yeah, disappointed in myself," said Larson, who emerged with a 27-point lead over Chase Elliott in the standings. "I think I speed on pit road every single time I come to Bristol. So, got to clean that up." Martin Truex Jr., the Stage 2 winner and leader of 116 laps, was also bitten by a speeding penalty on pit road with 34 laps remaining. The infraction shuffled him to 15th place for the final run to the finish. He wound up eighth. "I thought I was exactly where I was the time before, so the time before must have been close," Truex said of his pit road timing. "Typically we don't get many speeding penalties for this team, but today we were just pushing the issue trying to get a win and sometimes they'll get you." RELATED: Photo gallery of at-track sights at Bristol Several other big names finished well off the pace after a variety of pitfalls. Kyle Busch, a five-time Bristol winner, rallied from a brush with the wall into the top 10, but a second hit sidelined him after 383 laps. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran just 218 laps before his day was done, a Turn 1 wall crunch and a broken oil cooler ending his race. Brad Keselowski, a two-time winner this year, and Ryan Blaney also spent extended time behind the wall with steering issues. The event was delayed one day because of persistent rain Sunday. The series' next race is the Toyota Owners 400 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM) at Richmond International Raceway. Contributing: NASCAR Wire Service &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Erik Jones spins Chris Buescher on pit road
While entering pit road , Erik Jones makes contact with Chris Buescher, who collects his jackman during the spin. Ty Dillon's jackman quickly filled in during the pit stop.
Racing community honors Sam Ard at memorial service
RELATED: Sam Ard dies at 78 FLORENCE, S.C. -- Gold chandeliers and dark wood may have suggested a more somber mood, but subdued wasn't an apt description of the crowd filling in to pay their final respects to Samuel Julian Ard on Tuesday evening. Spirited perhaps. But respectful, too. It was an unusually warm evening, with the sun casting long shadows across the parking lot of the Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home. Outside, folks milled about, some smoking and talking and others simply talking. Traffic moved along out on the highway, sporadic but at a respectful pace as the day was coming to an end. Inside, they lined up to express their sorrow and offer comfort to the family -- widow Agnes Josephine "Jo" Ard, a tiny woman with a big heart; the children Melinda, Joane, Robert and Sharon; and the grandchildren and great grandchildren that make up a big, close-knit family. "Mama wanted me in dresses and Daddy wanted a wrench in my hand,” Melinda, the eldest of the children, recalled. They came here to remember and say farewell to Sam Ard, one of the best racers to ever suit up and slip behind the wheel in what is now NASCAR's XFINITY Series. Ard, who was 78 and a Pamplico, South Carolina, resident for most of his life, passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning. An Air Force veteran, he served his country during the Vietnam War. In the early 1980s, Ard was one of a handful of tough and talented local racers who helped breathe life into NASCAR just one rung beneath its top series. While it shared billing with what's now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at places such as Daytona, Darlington, Bristol and Charlotte, the series didn't stray too far, too often, from its grassroots beginnings. Hickory and South Boston, Rougemont and Asheville were regular stops in those early years, and drivers such as Ard and Jack Ingram and Larry Pearson and Tommy Houston were among its stars. The familiar No. 00 Oldsmobile, white with red lettering and sponsored by Thomas Brothers Country Ham, was a frequent sight up front. Ard won 22 races in just 92 career starts and he finished 10th or better 79 times. He was the series' first two-time champion (1983-84) and finished second in the standings in 1982. He had eight wins, and the title in hand, when he was injured in a crash early in the '84 Komfort Koach 200 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. He missed the final race of season, but still outpointed Ingram for the title. He made no starts the following year and in June of '85 officially announced his retirement from NASCAR competition. "Between him and Jack Ingram, you didn't win a Sportsman race," Dale Earnhardt Jr. recalled Tuesday. "They won everywhere. "It was incredible to me that they could come out of Asheville or wherever they raced and go to Charlotte, a big mile-and-a-half track, and outrun Robert Gee's cars, or those Cup cars that all those Cup drivers were competing in. You would think they would get dusted. But Sam could show up and run better than even the Cup guys with Cup-influenced race teams. "It was incredible the speed that they had, and they had it everywhere, Sam and Jack could compete with anyone on any race track in the Sportsman series back then." His season win mark of 10, set in 1983, stood for 27 years before Kyle Busch won 13 times in 2010. But Ard's record of four consecutive wins, also set in '83, remains the standard for the series. Ard won at South Boston, Martinsville, Rougemont and Charlotte to establish the consecutive win record. "The Charlotte race was always a big deal to me because it happened around my birthday," said Earnhardt, who was born Oct. 10, 1974. "I think it was '82 or '83, Sam whipped Daddy in the 300. I was so upset because I wanted Dad to win (for) my birthday. I remember watching in the infield with all our family, all the Earnhardts and Eurys. We ran second I think, second or third, but that 00 smoked 'em. "Unfortunately, it was just after that where he got injured. I raced with his son (Robert) at Myrtle Beach quite a bit and Sam would come around with him. We became friends and I got to see Sam a little bit then." He was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame, located on the grounds of Darlington Raceway, in 1999 along with 1992 Monster Energy Cup Series champ Alan Kulwicki. And on Wednesday, Sam Ard was laid to rest, wearing his Hall of Fame blazer, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church cemetery.
Injured jackman posts video of being hit on pit road
Driver Chris Buescher, the No. 37 JTG Daugherty team and NASCAR fans were relieved Sunday when jackman Zack Young tweeted that he was OK after being hit amid a spin on pit road at Texas Motor Speedway. I'm ok. Hand/thumb is tore up, got some bruises. — Zack Young (@JackmanZack) April 9, 2017 While entering pit road during a competition caution on Lap 30 of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, Buescher's car was clipped by Erik Jones' No. 77 Toyota. That spun Buescher into his pit stall, and the rear tires flipped toward pit road and crashed into over-the-wall crew member Young. On Tuesday, Young tweeted the video, as taken from the front tire changer's helment camera. Well here it is. View from the front tire changer. #nascar #pitcrew #monsterenergycup pic.twitter.com/QtwWiDyZwP — Zack Young (@JackmanZack) April 11, 2017 Young told PitTalks.com that he "jumped but got hit by the right rear quarter panel, which threw me a good 10 feet in the air toward pit wall." Young told the website on Tuesday that he was treated immediately after the incident at the Texas Motor Speedway infield care center and was later seen by Charlotte orthopedic physicians. It appears nothing in his hand was broken, but he will receive a full report this week.
Larson, Truex Jr. claim Stages 1, 2 at Bristol
RELATED: FAQ for race format " Updated stage points STAGE 2 After placing second in Stage 1, Furniture Row Racing's Martin Truex Jr. topped Stage 2 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Monday's Food City 500. It's his series-best fifth stage win of the season. Team Penke driver Joey Logano improved his standing from Stage 1 (fourth), crossing the start/finish line in second. Points leader and pole position starter Kyle Larson, who won Stage 1 after leading every single lap, dropped off a bit. He placed seventh in Stage 2. STAGE 1 : Larson dominated the speed charts during Stage 1 at Bristol Motor Speedway, earning his second stage win of 2017. The Chip Ganassi Racing wheelman's No. 42 Chevrolet ran atop the leaderboard for all 125 circuits of the 125 -lap stage. Next up was Truex Jr. in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Erik Jones notably finished third in his first start at Bristol in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The Furniture Row Racing driver won Saturday's XFINITY Series race. The top 10 finishers in both Stage 1 and Stage 2 receive race points. The race winner will receive 40 points and five playoff points at the conclusion of the Final Stage.
Tire tweaks? Indianapolis test on tap this week
Four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will travel to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week for a two-day Goodyear tire test at the legendary 2.5-mile facility. Drivers scheduled to take part in the test, set for Tuesday and Wednesday, are Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota), David Ragan (No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford) and Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet). The Brickyard 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is scheduled for July 23 . "It seems like the last couple of years (Indy) has fairly well stabilized after the grinding that they did," Goodyear's Greg Stucker told NASCAR.com. "Kind of knocked the edges off the grooves in the surface. But the last couple of years we've felt like we were getting to the point that we could look at adding a little bit of grip. Particularly with the move from '16 to '17 with a little less downforce." NASCAR' s 2017 rules package created less overall downforce (from 2,100 to 1,600 pounds) on the cars through changes to the rear spoiler, front splitter and deck fin. Modifications to rear steer settings and a new tire rule (teams must start the race using the tires on which they qualified) were also made. While significant, the changes were an evolution of the initial package that debuted in '15 at select events when the sanctioning body began the move to take downforce away from the cars. Those changes were implemented for all races (excluding superspeedway events at Daytona and Talladega) in '16. Stucker, Goodyear's director of race tire sales, said an XFINITY Series test last October at Indy opened the door for a possible tire change in the Monster Energy Series. "When we tested with the XFINITY cars last year in preparation for their new configuration, we actually were running a little bit softer left side. It's the left side (tire) that we run at Pocono," he said. "So that gave us an indication, 'Hey, this might be something that we can standardize between Pocono and Indy, give the Cup cars a little more grip.' So that's one of the main goals, to look at that and see if that's a good move for Indianapolis this year and add a little bit more left-side grip." Stucker said the continued evolution of the rules package has not "significantly" impacted tire selection. The big bump, he said, came between '15 and '16 as the initial lower-downforce package was rolled out. "Because that was the plan," he said. "The big step from '15 to '16 (was) 'let's figure out where we land with tires and if we feel like we're in a good spot, even though we’re taking more downforce off as we go to '17, let's leave tires alone.'" But as the cars have evolved and tracks age and undergo repaves, Goodyear continues to monitor the situation and addresses the changing needs. "There are a couple of areas we wanted to work on," he said. "Kansas at the end of last year, obviously we're going to come with a little bit softer left side (tire), because we felt we were in that position even with the '16 package as we went to '17 and less downforce, that was a good move. Obviously Martinsville (was) a different focus, to rubber in the race track. Texas with the repave; Kentucky with a new top coat on now. Las Vegas, trying to generate a little more wear on a surface that generally doesn't create wear. "We had a few things to work on but it wasn't a significant move in grip like I would call the '15 to '16 move. Overall things are pretty stable and we're kind of fine-tuning specific race tracks that we feel like we can help a little bit." There currently are no plans to test at Texas, which was repaved and reconfigured prior to this month's race. Due to time constraints, there was no tire test at the 1.5-mile track. Stucker said officials were pleased with the Texas tire selection, which was the same left-side tire code used by teams at Kentucky in 2016 (Kentucky underwent a similar repave and Goodyear did conduct tire tests prior to that race). The right-side Texas tire featured the same tread compound as Kentucky but with a minor construction change. "You have to be cautious," he said. "With the (Texas) repave, we raced on it right after it was done. It's not going to change significantly as we get into the fall. I think the race track was very happy. … We certainly are. "Again, hat's off to the race track and to SMI for doing everything they could to put some rubber down with the Tire Dragon and trying to work the groove in. I think that was huge. And I think that was complimented with a pretty racy package from what we had."
Buescher helps campers escape soggy grounds
Chris Buescher is a man of the people. Not only did the JTG Daugherty Racing driver offer up a couple of cookie cakes to his teammates for forcing them to bring out the backup car for the first time in his career, the genial Buescher took it upon himself to help out some rain-soaked fans stuck on the soggy campgrounds at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday night. With Sunday's Food City 500 being postponed to Monday (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), a weekend of inclement weather put some fans in a soggy position. Buses and RVs were getting stuck in the campground mud, so leave it to the native Texan -- who likely has dealt with a flood or two in his day -- to lend a helping hand. Filling the back of the truck up helping campers get to higher ground @bmsupdates Hoping this… https://t.co/emh0a1btKL — Chris Buescher (@Chris_Buescher) April 24, 2017 But they got stuck. In desperate need of a #bubbarope all of a sudden. https://t.co/0dkK5G9jvc — Chris Buescher (@Chris_Buescher) April 24, 2017 Does anyone know whose bus this is?! I fear it will be lost soon. @ Bristol Motor Speedway https://t.co/cnGclns8jp — Chris Buescher (@Chris_Buescher) April 24, 2017 That Chris Buescher, he's all right. Perhaps @nascarcasm summed up the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver's good deed best. Good man, this @chris_buescher . He's at his best in adverse weather conditions. https://t.co/W3SfA7vq3r — nascarcasm (@nascarcasm) April 24, 2017
Excuses index: How to bail on work to watch the race
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove Today's race at Bristol (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) happens to fall during a workday. No worries. We've got you covered with a full index of ways to get out of your shift today, courtesy of @nascarcasm and Steve Luvender. Here's how @nascarcasm suggests getting out of work: 1. Tell your supervisor you'll be taking all five of your lunch breaks for the week back-to-back at 1 p.m. ET. 2. Ask Landon Cassill how many retweets it will take for Landon to personally call your boss and inform him or her that you'll be leaving around noon. 3. Claim you have jury duty. If your boss asks "What case?" do not yell "Ol' Junebug vs. the World's Fastest Half Mile! Wooooo!" While tempting, that's a dead giveaway. 4. Just find an empty bathroom stall and hang out in there and follow the race on social media. This common practice is known as "shwittering." 5. Tell your boss you have someone who will fill in for you while you're watching the race. When your replacement shows up, explain to your boss that Alex Bowman is very skilled at Microsoft Excel. 6. Use the Jeff Gordon method. Say you've decided it's time to retire, then just show up back to work the next day like it never happened. And if you're looking for excuses that technically aren't untrue, Steve Luvender has your back. • "I'm sick." Sick of not being able to watch the race while I'm working, that is. • "There's been a family hardship." Your family had to deal with you instead of watching the race yesterday afternoon. That might have been hard for them if they're used to a few hours of peace and quiet. • "I have an appointment." An appointment with the TV at approximately 1 p.m. ET, that is. (But don't tell your boss that part.) • "I'm having car problems." The problem is that you couldn't watch race cars zoom around Bristol's high banks. • "I'm expecting a delivery to my house." While your boss might expect a major appliance being delivered to your house within a five-hour window, maybe you're actually having a pizza or two delivered to your house around the end of Stage 1 or so. Technically not lying. • "I've been arrested." Sometimes you have to get really creative. It's not a good idea to pull out the "I've been arrested" card frequently, lest you arouse suspicion of your co-workers, but it's not lying if you've been arrested by the allure of NASCAR.