Gray Gaulding to make Sprint Cup debut at Martinsville
Statesville, N.C. -- Eighteen-year-old NASCAR Next alumnus Gray Gaulding will take the next step in his career by making his debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). Gaulding will drive the No. 30 Feed the Children Chevrolet for The Motorsports Group (TMG) at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 30. "It's exciting bringing a new partner into the series and to be making my NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at a track like Martinsville (Speedway) where we've had a really good history in the past is honestly unfathomable," Gaulding said. "I'm excited to partner with Feed the Children and use NASCAR as a platform to deliver our message and work to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry. A lot has happened in a short period of time but I've never been as excited to debut this beautiful Feed the Children car next week at Martinsville Speedway ." "We are pleased to sponsor Gray Gaulding , the youngest NASCAR driver in the Martinsville field and one of the most promising and fierce competitors among the many legendary NASCAR drivers who have made NASCAR one of the most exciting sports in America," said J.C. Watts, Jr., president and CEO of Feed the Children. "He's not only bold in his approach, he's also blazing new trails, and we at Feed the Children strive to do the same. Gray knows firsthand the value of family, especially the NASCAR family who has joined us in our work as we have brought disaster relief to those whose lives and livelihoods have been severely affected by Hurricane Matthew and all the subsequent flooding." "We're grateful to be partnering with Feed the Children in their mission to provide hope and resources for those without life's essentials," said Stephen Lynn, chief executive officer for GGR Enterprises. Along with their debut at Martinsville Speedway , Gaulding and the No. 30 Feed the Children team will also make starts at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13 and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20. Help take action and donate to end hunger by texting FEED30 to 41444.
Gaulding lands Martinsville ride with Red Horse
17-year-old made nine Truck Series starts with NTS Motorsports in 2014 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Full entry list for Martinsville Red Horse Racing officials said Monday that NASCAR Next driver Gray Gaulding will drive the team's No. 7 Toyota in Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway . Representatives with the Tom DeLoach-owned Red Horse team confirmed the one-race deal for Gaulding on Monday morning, shortly after NTS Motorsports announced that the 17-year-old driver had left its organization. Krispy Kreme, a sponsor of Gaulding since his days racing in the developmental NASCAR K&N Pro Series, will back his Red Horse No. 7 Toyota Tundra entry in Saturday's Kroger 250 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Gaulding and Red Horse Racing are working on adding additional races for him in the Truck Series. "This is a awesome opportunity for myself and Krispy Kreme," Gaulding said in a team release provided by Red Horse Racing. "We have had a relationship with Toyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) for several years and when the opportunity came to partner with (team owner Tom) DeLoach and Red Horse Racing it was a dream come true. Walking into that facility just three days ago and seeing the teamwork, professionalism, and how everyone was working together I knew instantly this is where I needed to be to compete in the Camping World Truck Series. Red Horse Racing, Toyota, and Triad Engines really stepped up to make this happen so quickly for me." Butch Hylton will be the crew chief for the No. 7 entry. The veteran wrench has eight wins atop the pit box in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with two of those victories coming at Martinsville. He also has eight wins atop the pit box in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. "This all came about very quickly, but a lot of hard work by everyone here at Red Horse Racing and the support from Toyota and Triad Engines made it happen," DeLoach said in a release. "I've known Gray ( Gaulding ) for a long time and expect him to be strong at Martinsville (Speedway)." In addition, Gaulding will partner will Precision Performance Motorsports for the remaining NASCAR K&N Pro Series East slate. He is currently third in the point standings in that series. NTS, which will field entries at Martinsville for former series champ James Buescher and Daniel Hemric , first joined forces with Gaulding in 2014. Gaulding , the youngest winner in K&N Pro Series history, drove NTS trucks in nine Camping World Truck Series races last season scoring a fourth-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for his first top-five in a NASCAR national series. "I am very appreciative of Gray and everything that Gray Gaulding Racing did to help NTS Motorsports during their time with us," team owner Bob Newberry said in a release provided by the team. "I wish them nothing but good luck in the future." Red Horse will also field Toyotas for former Martinsville winner Timothy Peters and 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Ben Kennedy this weekend. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Quiroga wrecks with bold move, angers Gaulding
No. 77 makes it four-wide trying to take the lead RELATED: Sauter goes after Peters post-race MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- German Quiroga is trying to win races this year in hopes of securing a ride for next year. That's why, with 12 laps remaining in the Kroger 200 and his No. 77 Toyota in third place, the Red Horse Racing driver made it four-wide at the smallest track on the NASCAR circuit. Leader Darrell Wallace Jr . went high around the lapped truck of Wendell Chavous , second-place Johnny Sauter held his line and Quiroga dove down to the apron. The kamikaze move didn't quite work, as Quiroga and Wallace met in the middle after making their respective passes, which turned Quiroga's truck around and brought out the final caution of the day. It was a similar late move that set the stage for a post-race discussion between Quiroga and Gray Gaulding that went on outside the watchful eye of television cameras, which were focusing on a different fracas -- that of Sauter and Timothy Peters . While Quiroga remained steady and talked calmly after the race, an irate Gray Gaulding blasted the 34-year-old driver, who is 18 years his senior. "Yeah, you can't talk to him," said Gaulding , who was still incensed nearly 10 minutes after the checkered flag fell. "He just don't know what he's doing. I was going down the straightaway there and he just turned left and just killed my right front. We were going to have a top-10. "I'm telling you, the guy has no idea what he's doing out there." Quiroga, meanwhile, explained his side by saying Gaulding just didn't know his group was running four-wide. "He told me I was running him off, but we were running four-wide at the time," Quiroga said. "He didn't realize that. That's what I was telling him when he (confronted) me, and I told him to chill out." Quiroga would nurse his battered Toyota Tundra across the start/finish line in 10th place, while Gaulding settled for 14th. The 16-year-old driver -- whose age was exposed when his metal braces gleamed in the Virginia sunshine on pit road -- started sixth and ran as high as second before getting outside the racing groove on a Lap 53 restart, plummeting 27 spots in the running order. The NASCAR Next driver, competing in his eighth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race of the season, worked his way back up through the field and settled on a different pit strategy to put himself in position to challenge for his second top-10 of the year. "We were fighting our way back through," Gaulding said. "But just, right there at the end when it gets bottled up and when German does crazy moves that he knows aren't even going to work -- I was at his left front tire, and he still wants to turn down. I should have just spun him out. We fought our way back, but unfortunately we came home 14th." Quiroga was more despondent over the failed late-race move, which he said nearly worked, than his talk with Gaulding . "I didn't stick the rear tires," he said. "I left them up. But we're looking for our first win. It's coming. Hopefully we can get everything together and pull it off before the end of the year, because I don't have anywhere to go next year. Hopefully, we can make it happen." Quiroga has been close this year. He has two runner-up finishes and was in contention in other races. But this isn't the first time he's left Martinsville with someone angry at him. In March, it was teammate Timothy Peters . Peters had a dustup of his own Saturday, but offered his perspective after finishing second to Wallace. "German had a really good truck and I hate to see what happened," Peters said. "Obviously, maybe four-wide might not be ideal at Martinsville. German had a great truck today. He has a ton of talent. As soon as that is contained to keep it there at the end, he's going to win a lot of races. He's shown that he has the ability, and I appreciate a man like that." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR mad libs: 2017 preseason edition
I’m so excited for the 2017 NASCAR season! The off-season makes me so -- grumpy frustrated bored anxious . I’ve had to spend every single day -- tweeting Denny Hamlin the number of days until Daytona whittling Derrike Cope action figures watching old NASCAR races on YouTube writing Greg Biffle fan fiction while I -- wrap my street car to match Jimmie Johnson ’s car stock my refrigerator with Monster Energy sob uncontrollably sing holiday songs in Larry McReynolds’ accent . Bring back the -- restarts Big One two-hour pre-race shows uncontrolled tires and -- race cars Kyle Busch Cautions™ Throwback weekend paint schemes spilling tacos on race cars ! -- Monster Energy Erik Jones Gray Gaulding Ty Dillon has joined the Cup Series, which makes me feel -- excited old nervous thirsty . Things sure are changing, especially since you never see -- shirtless fans with a ‘3’ shaved into their back hair the Labonte brothers Johnny Sauter singing patriotic tunes Sterling Marlin anymore. I haven’t seen -- a fuel mileage race Greg Biffle a start and park car people trying to start ‘the wave’ in the grandstands for as long as I can remember. I’m definitely planning to go to -- all 36 races the Fanatics tent the infield at Talladega the local Applebee’s every single weekend next season. Maybe I’ll pick up -- a foam finger for the David Ragan fan in my life Tony Stewart ’s race-used fire suit from Watkins Glen an authentic Austin Dillon cowboy hat seven of my favorite drivers' t-shirts for every day of the week , and -- a family pack of Martinsville hot dogs an Air Titan a charter a Ryan Blaney tattoo for my -- fun uncle dear mother Sharona neighbor’s dog . It seems like everybody at the track these days is such a -- Dale Jr. fan proud American vegan like Landon Cassill millennial ! You’re not -- a true NASCAR fan welcome in Junior Nation living having a good time unless you -- own a Kyle Larson bobblehead have a Denny Hamlin neck tattoo know Dale Jr.’s average finish in 2004 ask Mike Helton if you can touch his mustache . Most of all, I can’t wait for the -- Chase return of Joey Gase 2017 Dale of the Month calendar Clash at Daytona . I hope this year’s champion is -- Jimmie Johnson not Jimmie Johnson Dale Earnhardt Jr . the fans — especially after last year, when -- Dale Jr. missed a bunch of races Jimmie Johnson tied Earnhardt and Petty Danica Patrick signed my fig bar that I later ate Brian Scott tearfully said goodbye and my heart hurts . I suppose I have no choice but to spend the rest of the off-season the same way I spend it every year, -- complaining about everything imaginable on Facebook working on my steamy Joey Logano fan fiction brainwashing my niece and nephew into rooting for my favorite driver bump-drafting on the highway calling into radio shows complaining about that driver I hate flaring the fenders on my minivan watching pay-per-view wrestling between Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley creating my own car graveyard, just like Dale Jr. trying to acclimate myself to banana-and-mayonnaise sandwiches coming up with a new nickname for Kevin Harvick researching scientific journals on evidence of The Vortex Theory trying to re-create the secret Martinsville hot dog recipe going four-wide on the interstate .
Gaulding , Newberry team up at NTS Motorsports
Both drivers to compete part-time in Truck Series, full-time in K&N Pro Series East
The Rundown: Martinsville driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway : 1. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson's veteran savvy enabled him to overcome a tire smoking and damage after contact with Denny Hamlin (Lap 198), 40 seconds on pit road for repairs from the contact (Lap 202) and nursing his car back to pit road on fumes during the decisive fifth caution. Now, Johnson has a clear shot to a seventh championship. Grade: A 2. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Back-to-back 38th-place finishes -- his only DNFs this season -- stopped Keselowski from moving on in the Chase, but his second-place finish Sunday showed he's as strong as ever. Grade: A 3. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin's eventful day included his 10th speeding penalty of the season, a dust-up with Jimmie Johnson and battling teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch down the stretch, which enabled Johnson to open a big lead. Bottom line, though: Hamlin's sitting pretty on the Chase front. Grade: A- 4. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth led a race-high 176 laps and, like teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch , had a great points day. But the bigger issue is whether there will be any spillover from how the three raced each other late in the race. Grade: A 5. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . We can always count on Kyle Busch to put events into perspective. "We worked so good together we gave ( Jimmie Johnson ) the win today; that's how good JGR is." Grade: A 6. Jeff Gordon , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . If this indeed was Gordon's last race -- no one anticipated the events of 2016, so who knows what 2017 will bring? -- it was a good one. Grade: A 7. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex led six times for 147 laps after winning the pole. No surprise. Even without a shot at the championship, this has been Truex’s season. Grade: A 8. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . Timing was on McMurray's side when the fifth caution happened, and he turned it into his 11th top 10 of the season, one more than 2015. Grade: A 9. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . This year's Goody's race sure turned out better than last year's for Logano, didn't it? Grade: A 10. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger, along with Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray , were the big winners of the timing of the fifth caution, but unlike Johnson, Allmendinger didn't have enough fuel to make it until pit road opened, and he pitted early. That dropped him to the last car on the lead lap, and that's where he finished. Grade: A 11. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne was in position to get the free pass after the fifth caution, but the final 114 laps were run under green and Kahne could do no better than finishing just outside the top 10. Grade: B 12. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott had his best finish at Martinsville in three starts (38th, 20th, 12th). Grade: B 13. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle felt he had a top-10 car -- if not for the nose of the car splitting early in the race. Grade: B 14. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . Larson led six laps, his first laps led at Martinsville in six starts. Grade: B 15. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola posts back-to-back top-15 finishes for the first time since the first two races of the season. Grade: B 16. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Long green-flag runs worked against the No. 31, which Newman said was tight through the corners. Grade: B- 17. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon did a good job to move up from starting 32nd, but the long green-flag run to end the race helped pin Dillon one-lap down at the finish. Grade: B- 18. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family. McDowell overcame dehydration and burns on his feet to post his best finish at Martinsville in 12 starts. Grade: B+ 19. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney has finished 19th in both of his starts at Martinsville, and he knows what ails him: inexperience. "I need to get a lot better here, and that's probably the biggest thing," he said. Grade: B- 20. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick was running in the top five when he was penalized for speeding on pit road during the third caution. He was never a factor after that. Grade: C- 21. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears posted his best finish since also finishing 21st at Richmond on Sept. 10. Grade: C 22. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . When you describe your car as "numb" during a race, that's not a good sign. Busch finished three laps back and is seventh in the Chase standings. Grade: C 23. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne started 31st and never progressed past 21st. Grade: C 24. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Brake issues kept Patrick in check Sunday. At least her beloved Cubs didn't make Sunday a total loss. Grade: C 25. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard said, "The car just wouldn't turn today," and at Martinsville, that's a deal-breaker. Grade: C 26. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart's final race at Martinsville was stymied by handling issues, especially in Martinsville's infamous tight corners. Grade: C 27. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Buescher improved on his 33rd-place finish in April at Martinsville, but better yet, "lots learned," the rookie said. Grade: C- 28. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer suffered his worst finish since coming home 40th at Michigan two months ago. Grade: C- 29. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Landon was 29th midway through the race, had an average running position of 29.4 and finished 29th for the fourth time in the past seven Sprint Cup races and for the third time at Martinsville. Twenty-nine, nice? Grade: C- 30. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith finished six laps off the pace. Grade: D 31. Dylan Lupton , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . Lupton finished 10 laps back in his third Sprint Cup start. Grade: D 32. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 93 Toyota, BK Racing . Look for DiBenedetto to finish 33rd or 28th at Martinsville in April. In his first four starts there, he has finished 31st, 30th, 29th and 32nd. Grade: D 33. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing. Earnhardt finished four laps off the pace in his first Sprint Cup race at Martinsville. Grade: D 34. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott had a problem with wheel hopping in practice, and the same thing happened in the race. Grade: D 35. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . The heat took its toll on Annett, who finished 21 laps back and was in the infield care center after the race. Grade: F 36. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . An all-around bad day for Edwards, who was caught speeding during the first caution and then smashed into the wall on Lap 358 when his right-front tire gave out. He's last in the Chase standings. Grade: F 37. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan's smoking car brought out the second caution on Lap 62. The culprit: a small hole in an oil line. Grade: F 38. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. In his 16th start at Martinsville, Sorenson completed his fewest laps (407) in a race he finished. He has been running at the finish in 11. Grade: F 39. Gray Gaulding , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. An issue with the rear gear ended the 18-year-old's debut after 360 laps. Grade: D- 40. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse started at the rear of the field because he wheel-hopped, spun and hit the wall in practice. On Sunday, he did the same on Lap 22 in his backup car. Grade: F
The Rundown: Phoenix driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway: 1. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. How's this for irony? The guy who won the race -- in overtime no less -- almost didn't make it past Lap 1. Grade: A+ 2. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch said it was an "ugly race for us" and "we ran pretty bad all day." Perhaps. But he has a shot at the championship, and teammate Matt Kenseth, who had the exact opposite day of Busch, doesn't. Unfortunate for Kenseth, but that's racin'. Grade: A 3. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. It was Larson who almost took out Joey Logano -- and himself -- on the first lap when he got loose in Turn 3, drifted into Logano (causing a tire rub on the No. 22) and then went for a spin through traffic. But that wasn't Larson's only adventure. He was involved in the second caution when he got hit from behind by Ryan Newman as both were entering pit road. Quite a day. And quite a finish. Grade: A 4. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Early problems with the car's handling were too much to overcome, and for the first time since the current Chase format went into effect, Harvick will not be driving for a championship at Homestead. Grade: A- 5. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Busch caught some breaks and tied a career high with his 21st top 10 of the season, but only a win would have kept him alive in the Chase. Grade: A 6. Alex Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Bowman led a race-high 194 laps and was the car to beat all afternoon. He was strong enough to win or at least finish second. He looked so good behind the wheel, you would have thought Dale Earnhardt Jr. was inside the No. 88, not a guy without a ride for 2017. Grade: A++ 7. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin's team rolled the dice when he didn't pit after the sixth caution and restarted with the lead on Lap 262. The move didn't work, but playing it safe likely wouldn't have, either. Grade: A 8. Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing. With all the focus on the Chase drivers and Alex Bowman, Blaney drove under the radar to his ninth top 10 of the season. The last time Wood Brothers Racing had nine top 10s in a season was 2005 with Ricky Rudd. Grade: A 9. Chase Elliott, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott posts back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in more than two months. Grade: A 10. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Menard's third top 10 of 2016 was RCR's 26th of the season, one more than last season. Grade: A 11. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. McMurray finished in the top 15 at Phoenix for the sixth consecutive race (11.3 average finish). Grade: B 12. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. For a guy who was instrumental in two cautions -- running into Kyle Larson and later Martin Truex Jr. -- Newman posted a dang good finish. Can't say the same for Truex, though. Grade: C+ 13. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The overtimes cost Kahne a top-10 finish. Grade: B 14. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski's 29th- and 14th-place finishes at Phoenix this year were his worst combined performance at the track since he finished 16th and 42nd in 2010, his first full season racing for Roger Penske. Grade: B 15. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart is not making a lot of noise as he heads off into retirement. His finish Sunday was only his third-best in the past 13 races. Grade: B- 16. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. The driver of the No. 16 finished 16th in his 500th consecutive Sprint Cup start. Sweet. Grade: B- 17. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing. Score one for consistency: Allmendinger finished 17th for the second straight race at Phoenix and for third time in his past four starts at the track. (And for good measure, AJ finished 17th last week, too.) Grade: B- 18. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. Mears posted his best finish since running 12th at Watkins Glen in August. Grade: B 19. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards qualified for a shot at the championship with his win last week at Texas and was not a factor Sunday. Grade: B- 20. Landon Cassill, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Cassill's seventh top-20 finish in 2016 is equal to his top 20s in his previous three seasons combined. Grade: A 21. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth went from race leader to out of the Chase in a flash when he thought he was clear after the first overtime restart but wasn't and went spinning after pinching down on Alex Bowman. The focus quickly went to Kenseth's spotter, Chris Osborne, who later tweeted his apologies to all of Kenseth's fans "for ending our Chase hopes," adding "this one's on me." Maybe, maybe not. It's not as if Osborne had all day to make the call. As Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast." Grade: B 22. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Sunday's finish ended Almirola's run of nine consecutive top-20 finishes at Phoenix. Grade: C 23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. An untimely caution after a green-flag pit stop put Stenhouse in a hole he couldn't climb out of. Grade: C 24. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Bowyer's 12th top-25 finish of the second half of the season equaled his number in the first 18 races of the season. Grade: C 25. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing. DiBenedetto finished in the top 25 for the sixth time this season, including for the third time in his past five starts. Grade: B 26. Michael Annett, No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Annett equaled his third-best finish of the season (26th at Kentucky in July). Grade: B- 27. Regan Smith, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Looking for progress? Smith finished in the top 30 for the 12th time in the second half of the season Sunday, compared with eight top 30s in the first half. And he did it in three fewer starts. Grade: C 28. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne went for a slide on the first lap when Kyle Larson spun out, and later was a victim of bad timing on a caution after he had pit under green. Grade: C- 29. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Patrick endured her fourth-worst finish of the season Sunday. She finished 19th at Phoenix in March. Grade: D 30. Brian Scott, No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Three days after announcing he would retire after the season, Scott finished five laps off the pace Sunday. Grade: D 31. David Ragan, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Ragan had his worst finish at Phoenix in three years. Grade: D 32. Chris Buescher, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. The onetime Chaser posted his worst finish of the nine Chase races. Grade: D 33. Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing. Earnhardt finished six laps back in his first Sprint Cup start at Phoenix. Grade: D 34. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family. McDowell changed the course of the race -- and the Chase -- when he blew a tire with one lap left in regulation, hit the wall and brought out the eighth caution. Grade: D 35. D.J. Kennington, No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Kennington made his first Cup start, and if he never starts another race, he'll be guaranteed to be able to tell his grandchildren that for all of Jimmie Johnson's accomplishments in NASCAR, Six-Time (or, perhaps, Seven-Time) never beat him on the track. Grade: D- 36. Reed Sorenson, No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson finished nine laps back. Grade: F 37. Gray Gaulding , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. A fuel pump problem spoiled Gaulding's second Sprint Cup start. Grade: F 38. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson went to pit road as the leader during the fourth caution, but he passed the pace car on pit road and was penalized and that led to the unraveling of his day. On the subsequent restart, he suffered heavy damage to the nose of his car when he ran into the back of Greg Biffle, who had checked up when Austin Dillon's car lost power. Not the best way to go into Homestead racing for a championship, but if anything, absorbing that penalty Sunday pretty much guarantees if Johnson is in a similar situation next Sunday, he won't make the same mistake. Better this week than next week. Grade: F 39. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. On a restart on Lap 218, a part failed and shut off Dillon's engine. Dillon eventually returned to the track, but he left Phoenix with his worst finish of the season. Grade: F 40. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing. If you Google "How do you finish last in a Sprint Cup race?" this might be one of the results: Roll off the starting grid 40th. Be on pit road under green when there's a caution. Be penalized for passing the pace car on pit road. Race too close to Ryan Newman. Grade: F
Top consecutive 10-lap averages for Martinsville
Practice 1: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 42 Kyle Larson 6 15 95.242 2 24 Chase Elliott # 18 27 95.176 3 88 Jeff Gordon 5 14 94.818 4 23 David Ragan 5 14 94.805 5 95 Michael McDowell 10 19 94.586 6 47 AJ Allmendinger 8 17 94.584 7 43 Aric Almirola 10 19 94.472 8 10 Danica Patrick 6 15 94.430 9 5 Kasey Kahne 22 31 94.426 10 6 Trevor Bayne 20 29 94.334 11 14 Tony Stewart 1 10 94.289 12 93 * Matt DiBenedetto 15 24 94.197 13 3 Austin Dillon 2 11 94.195 14 7 Regan Smith 6 15 93.882 15 1 Jamie McMurray 1 10 93.862 16 34 Chris Buescher # 11 20 93.590 17 38 Landon Cassill 2 11 92.560 18 83 Dylan Lupton (i) 5 14 91.884 19 30 * Gray Gaulding 1 10 90.525 Practice 2: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 78 Martin Truex Jr 5 14 96.198 2 14 Tony Stewart 4 13 96.135 3 1 Jamie McMurray 4 13 96.111 4 42 Kyle Larson 4 13 95.999 5 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) 5 14 95.907 6 18 Kyle Busch (C) 4 13 95.891 7 19 Carl Edwards (C) 4 13 95.856 8 4 Kevin Harvick (C) 7 16 95.838 9 47 AJ Allmendinger 4 13 95.780 10 15 Clint Bowyer 6 15 95.679 10 15 Clint Bowyer 7 16 95.679 12 88 Jeff Gordon 18 27 95.639 13 20 Matt Kenseth (C) 16 25 95.597 14 43 Aric Almirola 11 20 95.595 15 23 David Ragan 5 14 95.551 16 41 Kurt Busch (C) 35 44 95.518 17 31 Ryan Newman 17 26 95.463 18 10 Danica Patrick 5 14 95.462 19 27 Paul Menard 5 14 95.432 20 3 Austin Dillon 7 16 95.418 21 16 Greg Biffle 38 47 95.322 22 13 Casey Mears 43 52 95.264 23 2 Brad Keselowski 4 13 95.249 24 24 Chase Elliott # 7 16 95.193 25 5 Kasey Kahne 5 14 95.173 26 6 Trevor Bayne 5 14 95.122 27 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 26 94.837 28 95 Michael McDowell 32 41 94.761 29 46 Michael Annett 4 13 94.732 30 11 Denny Hamlin (C) 31 40 94.732 31 21 * Ryan Blaney # 2 11 94.712 32 93 * Matt DiBenedetto 18 27 94.621 33 44 Brian Scott # 28 37 94.444 34 7 Regan Smith 26 35 94.391 35 38 Landon Cassill 5 14 94.230 36 34 Chris Buescher # 18 27 93.688 37 30 * Gray Gaulding 4 13 92.793 38 83 Dylan Lupton (i) 12 21 91.922 39 32 Jeffrey Earnhardt # 5 14 91.187 Practice 3: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 42 Kyle Larson 33 42 95.462 2 18 Kyle Busch (C) 7 16 95.356 3 14 Tony Stewart 3 12 95.279 4 22 Joey Logano (C) 3 12 95.278 5 78 Martin Truex Jr 11 20 95.219 6 88 Jeff Gordon 42 51 95.113 7 41 Kurt Busch (C) 6 15 95.108 8 31 Ryan Newman 10 19 95.103 9 24 Chase Elliott # 7 16 95.098 10 23 David Ragan 2 11 95.010 11 1 Jamie McMurray 6 15 95.001 12 20 Matt Kenseth (C) 13 22 94.950 13 4 Kevin Harvick (C) 2 11 94.950 14 47 AJ Allmendinger 5 14 94.908 15 2 Brad Keselowski 1 10 94.871 16 3 Austin Dillon 8 17 94.861 17 19 Carl Edwards (C) 3 12 94.860 18 11 Denny Hamlin (C) 5 14 94.752 19 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) 46 55 94.742 20 15 Clint Bowyer 7 16 94.719 21 93 * Matt DiBenedetto 3 12 94.602 22 95 Michael McDowell 5 14 94.586 23 13 Casey Mears 52 61 94.578 24 10 Danica Patrick 44 53 94.575 25 16 Greg Biffle 4 13 94.558 26 43 Aric Almirola 8 17 94.427 27 27 Paul Menard 9 18 94.395 28 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 7 16 94.318 29 5 Kasey Kahne 34 43 94.158 30 7 Regan Smith 9 18 94.010 31 44 Brian Scott # 3 12 93.877 32 21 * Ryan Blaney # 23 32 93.757 33 46 Michael Annett 2 11 93.709 34 34 Chris Buescher # 17 26 93.634 35 6 Trevor Bayne 3 12 93.415 36 38 Landon Cassill 4 13 93.057 37 83 Dylan Lupton (i) 7 16 92.644 38 32 Jeffrey Earnhardt # 30 39 91.560 -- Car must run 10 consecutive laps on the track to be included in the above charts. (C) indicates driver is in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . (#) indicates Sunoco Rookie of the Year Candidate. (*) indicates driver required to qualify on time. (i) indicates ineligible for Sprint Cup championship points.
With long history in sport, Childress ready for Friday's Hall of Fame induction
RELATED: Mark Martin on what drove him to success Richard Childress will go into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday night with perhaps a bit more of an appreciation than most, having spent the better part of his life tied snugly to the sport of stock car racing. It's been his livelihood and his lifeblood. From selling snacks as a youngster in the grandstands at a local track to overseeing a racing organization today that boasts more than 500 employees, Childress is one of the few still around that has seen and done it all. Childress, 71, will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday along with fellow team owners Rick Hendrick and Raymond Parks and former drivers Mark Martin and Benny Parsons (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Incredible stories shadow each of this year's inductees. The story of Childress' rise from dropout to multi-millionaire is no less so. Today, his Richard Childress Racing organization fields three full-time teams in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and three in the NASCAR XFINITY Series . His teams have won 12 championships and 214 races across NASCAR's three national series (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck). Six of his championships came with driver Dale Earnhardt, an inaugural member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and regarded by many as one of the sport's most talented and influential drivers. "I'm sure every one of the inductees are very proud," Childress said last week during a round of media availabilities for this year's Hall of Fame Class. "My feeling is, I started out selling peanuts and popcorn at Bowman- Gray Stadium watching my heroes, Billy and Bobby Myers, Curtis Turner and Glen Wood, these guys race and that's all I ever wanted to do was become a race driver." He worked full time to live his dream part-time until the pull of the racing won out and for the longest time it looked like a fool's errand. Money didn't flow and bills piled up but like everyone else chasing a dream, Childress was undeterred. At 24, he got his first big break, competing at Talladega Superspeedway after many of NASCAR's top stars, citing tire concerns, boycotted the race. He returned home to purchase a small parcel of land with the money he earned from that weekend's races, and started his own auto repair business. "I left there with more money than I'd ever seen at one time," he said. Being his own boss also kept his NASCAR dream alive. He jumped in full time in 1976 as an owner/driver at a time when only a handful of teams had the support and the finances to contend for wins on a consistent basis. "I can remember the days when we had to syphon the fuel out of the race car to get home, put it in the tow car," Childress said. "A lot of people don't understand how it was back in the early '70s … what not just me but everyone was going through. You had the Pettys, Junior Johnson, Bud Moore, there were about four big teams … those were the guys you were racing against." His second big break came in the early '80s when he made the decision to focus on ownership and leave the driving to someone else. Earnhardt came and went, driving a handful of races at the end of the '81 season. A two-year stint with Ricky Rudd helped the team turn the corner and build the consistency necessary to compete for wins on a regular basis. By '84, Earnhardt had returned and RCR had improved its product tremendously. "Ricky was a young, up and coming driver and I think we both helped each other a lot," Childress said. "He helped me as a car owner and I think we helped him as a driver, with the past driving experience I had and as an owner being able to work with a driver was totally different. I think it was a learning experience for all of us. "When Dale came back in '84 I was much more comfortable as an owner at that point." It's been three years since a driver for RCR won in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series although all three of its current drivers -- Austin Dillon , Paul Menard and Ryan Newman -- have qualified for the Chase on one or more occasions. Childress, winless as a driver in 285 career starts, remains positive and focused. No different than when he was just starting out with little more than a dream and a desire. "You had to have a passion," he said. "Even when I was driving and wasn't winning … I never started a race that I didn't think this was going to be the day that the big boys had a problem and I was going to be able to come in there and win. "Just the sheer drive of wanting to succeed, that's what kept me going." And it's led him right into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
KBM and Krispy Kreme sponsoring new driver
17-year-old Gray Gaulding set to run in three NCWTS races Kyle Busch Motorsports announced on Thursday that 17-year-old Gray Gaulding will drive the No. 54 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Toyota Tundra for three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season. Gaulding , who ia a NASCAR Next alumni, will gear up for his first race on August 30 for the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Ontario. "I'm very excited to be a part of KBM," said Gaulding . "It's a dream as a driver because I remember growing up watching Kyle and how much I wanted to drive for him when he started his own team. I know his mentality is to go out every weekend and win races. It's a championship organization with great people and I know I'll be able to go to the race track and have an opportunity to win at each race. "I can't thank Krispy Kreme and the over 40,000 world-wide team members enough for believing in me and taking a chance on a 17-year-old kid. Driving a KBM Toyota Tundra is my dream opportunity." The Virginia native will also participate in the upcoming NCWTS races in Loudon Sept. 26 and Martinsville Oct. 31. Gaulding has made 10 starts in the series since 2014 with his best place finish being at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, where he finished fourth. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule