Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. react after a thrilling conclusion in Phoenix.
Get caught up for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNEWS) RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today What: Third annual VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 Where: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky When: Saturday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET TV/Radio: ESPNEWS/PRN Distance: 200 laps, 300 miles Defending race winner: Ryan Blaney Fastest in practice " Full results First session: Chris Buescher , No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford (174.701 mph) Second session: Cale Conley , No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (175.404 mph) Best consecutive 10-lap average: First session: Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford (170.478 mph) Second session: Chase Elliott , No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet (173.298 mph) Former winners in the field: None. Driver debut: "I really feel up to the challenge. There are definitely some big shoes to fill in driving the No. 20 Toyota, but I'll have some great teammates to lean on for these two weeks." -- Justin Boston on making his Nationwide Series debut for Joe Gibbs Racing Bumpy road: "Kentucky has a lot of unique characteristics to it. Whether it's the bump on the front stretch or the multi-grooved corners, it's definitely a fun place to race on." -- Trevor Bayne Recycled knowledge: "Statistically, Kentucky is one of my best tracks, and I hope to continue the trend and have another great race Saturday afternoon. Last time we were here, we battled with an extremely loose car and we weren't able to correct the problem until the closing 50 laps. The plan is to use those adjustments and collectively put together a fast race car that can compete for a victory on Saturday." -- Elliott Sadler Chart toppers: "I would say there is probably four or five of us that still have a shot at (the title). Realistically, maybe a couple of those guys need some bad luck from cars ahead of them. If somebody rolls off three or four wins in a row, those bonus points are huge and you're going to jump right back up into it pretty quickly." -- Regan Smith on the current points standings Closing chance: "This opportunity has been a great learning experience for me, and I'm very grateful for the chance to work with such a talented organization. I hope I can get these guys a great finish and end this three-race-deal on a positive note." -- Chase Pistone on his last scheduled race with Turner Scott Motorsports 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
Brendan Gaughan manages to make a great save after being bumped by Dylan Kwasniewski.
Opportunity to run in the No. 22 comes within heated owner race RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today SPARTA, Ky. -- The last time Michael McDowell was in a NASCAR Nationwide Series ride, he was driving the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing at Iowa Speedway earlier this season. He battled Brad Keselowski in the No. 22 Team Penske ride throughout the final laps, settling for second while Keselowski celebrated in Victory Lane. This weekend at Kentucky Speedway , McDowell will be in that No. 22 for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 as he continues to hunt down his first Nationwide victory. Aside from his own aspirations of a win, McDowell's job is also to keep owner Roger Penske atop the owner standings -- the weight of which won't keep the driver down. "I've been in these sort of high-pressure situations in the past with Joe Gibbs Racing going in over the years," McDowell said. "There's a lot at stake, I realize that, and obviously this is a car that's won four races already this year and runs up front every week. And so the pressure for me is just, I really just take every week the same, I go out there and do the best I can and try to get the most out of the race car that I can, and hopefully the results will come from that." With two top-10 finishes in two Nationwide Series starts this season, McDowell has had a welcome respite from finishing outside of the top 20 as so often happens in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride. McDowell has competed in 13 races in the top national series and earned only two top-20s. In three races, his No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford did not qualify. Racing for a small team has presented its challenges, but competing for top teams in Nationwide has kept them from getting to the driver. "(I've) sort of struggled and had to do a lot of things that you wouldn't think would be ideal in a career: ... not have well-funded programs in both the Nationwide and Cup sides," McDowell said. "And it just made me realize, OK, this is why I stuck in it, and this is why I continue to do what I'm doing -- is for an opportunity like this to drive a great race car for a great organization and hopefully get a shot at Victory Lane, you know, it makes it all worth it for sure." His opportunities with Penske and Gibbs have been beneficial to the small, single-car organization where McDowell spends most of his time. While Leavine Family Racing continues to battle limited funds and a smaller staff than teams like Penske, who provides its equipment, having the chance to be a part of a winning team brings LFR closer to doing so itself. "The opportunities that I've had over the last three or four years in the Nationwide Series, I feel like is what's really kept me in this sport, because I got great opportunities to hop in and get top-fives and a couple of runner-up finishes, and it kind of makes you relative in this sport," McDowell said. "But more than anything for me was, it wasn't so much a confidence boost as it was, 'OK, this is what it needs to feel like, this is where we have to get,' and it allowed me to go back to my Cup programs a little more focused on, 'OK, here's the areas we do well, here's the areas where they do it better.' And that's really helped me be able to bring more to the Cup program." 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
Driver talks past, future in interview RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated AJ Allmendinger has seen his share of adversity during nearly a decade in NASCAR. Two years ago, he hit the lowest point in his career after a failed drug test led him out of Team Penske and into NASCAR's Road to Recovery program. Chastened, the 32-year-old driver kick-started the second chapter of his career by winning two Nationwide races last year for Roger Penske. Allmendinger is now back in the Cup Series trying to push JTG Daugherty's program and his career to the next level. We caught up with Allmendinger a day after the No. 47 was swept up in an early wreck at Daytona. Just two weeks earlier, he'd led a race-high 34 laps at Sonoma before contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr . derailed his shot at for a first Cup victory and the Chase berth that would've come with it. NI: You're known as a strong road racer but what are your thoughts on plate racing? Allmendinger: Out of all the racing we do, it's my least favorite. There's just so much that goes into it. A lot of it's luck, being in the right place at the right time and missing the "big one." The racing can be exciting at times for sure. As a driver, you definitely have to be at full concentration the whole time you're out there when you're in the pack just because one 2-inch mistake can be a big, big crash. Especially if you're the one making that mistake, you feel bad because you wrecked yourself and you've got a lot of competitors that you feel bad about because they're probably pissed off at you. NI: You had a car that could have won at Sonoma before you were taken out. Does it take long to get over that? Allmendinger: I don't know if you ever fully get over it. To a certain degree, in this sport, you gotta be ready to go the next weekend. You can't let a bad weekend carry over into the next weekend. It's tough because I thought we had a shot to win. We were up front, top two cars every practice session and qualifying, led the most laps, played the strategy to what ours was and we just got into an incident. It is what it is. You can't fix it. NI: If you can get that first win, you're all but in the Chase. No added pressure there? Allmendinger: Honestly, I look at it two different ways. The Chase would be great for the fact that our sponsors and this race team being such a small team, to be able to promote that we won a race and are in the Chase, that would be fantastic. But when it comes to, "Do we have to make the Chase for it to be a successful season?" No. We're not a championship-winning team right now. There's no doubt about it. We're a small team, we're trying to grow to that at some point and it's going to be a long process to get there and a lot of hard work. I think with the right effort we can actually get there. NI: It might sound like a strange question but are you almost glad things played out the way they did back in 2012? Allmendinger: Except for the mere fact of having to put Roger Penske through that. Other than that, I'm way happier now than I have ever been when it comes to a lot of things. I still put a lot of pressure on myself racing, so I still have those ups and downs, but it's a different kind of pressure now. The ownership just makes this team such a family. I want to take this team to a new level. That's the pressure I put on myself, to put this team on my back and take it to another level. I feel like they deserve it down from ownership and the team because they work so hard. NI: How has your perspective changed in the past couple of years? Allmendinger: It's a different perspective now. It's not the only thing in the world, you know? There are other things that are important and in the grand scheme probably a lot more important than racing. But obviously when you make your life and you put your heart and soul into it, it feels like the most important thing. I wouldn't change anything that I've had to go through for anything except for disappointing Roger Penske. Hopefully, last year, winning the Nationwide races and having a shot to win Indy made up for it. NI: It's our tailgate issue, so I have to ask about your abilities on the grill. Can we call you a grilling master? Allmendinger: No (laughs). We can lie to everybody and tell them I can grill anything up. Only problem is hopefully I won't get called out on it. I really enjoy grilling because it is so healthy to be able to do that and I'm real health conscious when it comes to what I eat. The sponsors we have on our team are great when it comes to all that. So it makes it a lot easier because we’re stocked with a lot of great things to eat. I live in an apartment right now so it's hard to grill in the corner without a balcony. My girlfriend is really good at grilling so she's shown me some stuff. Hopefully, in the near future, I can have a house and practice up but right now it'd be a stretch to say grilling master. I'd like to be. Let's put it that way. NI: It's hard to believe you've been in NASCAR for almost a decade now. What's been your personal highlight so far? Allmendinger: The Nationwide wins were something I'll never forget, especially with what led to those. I remember making my first race at Bristol -- it took me four tries to finally make a race -- back in 2007 when there were 50 or 60 cars trying to qualify each weekend. Making our first Daytona 500 in 2009 and almost winning the thing. (Allmendinger finished third in the No. 44 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge.) But I think the highlight is still being here really. This sport is tough. It will bring some guys in, especially with the open-wheel side of it, and spit them back out pretty quick. So to have the commitment level and just the do-or-die work ethic trying to stay in when things were bad and things got better and things got bad again, and keep coming back, I feel very fortunate that people believe in me. Whether it's the "King" or the "Captain" or Tad (Geschickter) to give me another shot to jump in this race car and feel like I can get the job done now. More than anything, just being able to still be a part of it through thick and thin is something that's probably the most special. SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender will compete for BBM starting at Las Vegas Billy Boat Motorsports is expanding into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and will begin fielding an entry starting next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Rhino Linings 350 (Saturday, Sept. 27, 10 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Mason Mingus will drive the entry at Las Vegas as well as the final five races of the season. Dan Deeringhoff, a championship-winning crew chief in 2008 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series , will serve as the team's crew chief at Las Vegas. Mingus shared his excitement on Twitter. I am excited to announce that I will run the last 6 races of the @NASCAR_Trucks season with @BBMTeam84 starting at @LVMotorSpeedway — Mason Mingus (@Mason_Mingus) September 18, 2014 With BBM, Mingus will run the No. 15 Call 811 Before You Dig Chevrolet Silverado. Mingus, who has run the first 15 races of the season and will run this weekend's UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Win-Tron Racing, is 11th in the Camping World Truck Series points standings with one top-10 finish. He is also second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle. "I am really looking forward to Las Vegas and my first race with Billy Boat Motorsports," Mingus said in a release. "They have brought quality equipment to the track in both the ARCA Racing and NASCAR Nationwide Series, and I know their transition to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be no different. BBM has built great trucks, and with the help of ECR Engines and my sponsors Call 811 Before You Dig and Diamond Equipment, I know I can run up front. I believe we will come out of Vegas with a strong finish, and it will be a great foundation to build on for the remaining five races of the 2014 season." Here is a look at the paint scheme: The @NASCAR_Trucks rookie will complete the 2014 season with #TeamBBM in the No. 15 @Call811 Before You Dig Chevy. pic.twitter.com/ks0VZTcLfD — BB Motorsports (@BBMotorsprts) September 18, 2014 BBM currently runs a part-time team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Chad Boat , who has made 11 starts this season. "My goal has always been to run multiple cars or trucks and multiple drivers out of our shop," said team owner Billy Boat. "We have been building the foundation of our team, hiring talented people and building quality race cars and trucks. Having raced against Mason last year in the ARCA Racing Series, I was very familiar with his talent and determination. I hope to use these six races as a springboard into 2015, with Billy Boat Motorsports running full-time entries in the NCWTS." 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
Six-time champion knows there are no guarantees in postseason RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota LOUDON, N.H. -- Jimmie Johnson knows the capabilities of his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. And he knows its current status. The two are not the same. Often the yardstick by which others measure their own progress, Johnson and his team are currently showing more signs of vulnerability than dominance as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup moves into week No. 2 of 10 here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . No one's writing the team off, but neither is anyone conceding wins to the six-time Sprint Cup champion. "Truthfully, we're not the dominant car right now," Johnson said Friday at NHMS. "We're a good car. We still have nine weeks to get our act together; especially the way the Chase lays out, if we continue to get the most our of our good car and have a dominant car at Homestead, if we're in that position, then we can get seven (championships). "If" isn't typical for the team, which has normally been in more of a "when" mode by now. With the opening race out of the way (Johnson finished a pedestrian, for him, 12th at Chicagoland Speedway ), he enters this weekend's race eighth in points. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus haven't lost their way, but it's clear that others have improved. "This is a tough industry," said Johnson, who turned 39 earlier this week. “And we're working as hard as we can and I'm happy to see my teammates with speed. "And then there are a couple of guys out there that aren't in our camp that we're chasing and just trying to out-race them. But they're amazing race teams and drivers as well." Among them -- 2012 champion Brad Keselowski , winner of the last two Sprint Cup races. His Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano , has been no slouch, finishing fourth and sixth. Keselowski won here in July, and Johnson expects the No. 2 team to be no less of a threat this time around. Keselowski went on to finish first in the opening practice, while Johnson finished 29th. "I would expect him to be in a similar position for two reasons," said Johnson. "One, he had so much more pace than the rest of the field here in the spring race that it's hard to believe that everybody could cover that gap and get back to him. And then when we went to Richmond, which wasn't too long ago … and they had that form there, too. So I'd definitely say those guys are tough to handle." By themselves, Johnson's 24 Chase victories alone would rank in the top 10 among active drivers' total wins. And there are tracks ahead where Johnson will be expected to excel. Next week's stop at Dover ? He's won nine times there. Martinsville? Eight victories. Charlotte ? Seven career wins, including this year's Coca-Cola 600 . But he's taking nothing for granted. "It's awesome to have tracks that you love and tracks that you've had success at in the Chase," he said. "I feel like seven or eight of them have been historically awesome tracks for us. That part is great . "Stats are nice to look at, but you've got to live in the present. So just because we've been good at those tracks before doesn't guarantee us anything going back." A winner of three races in a four-race span earlier this season, Johnson hopes the team can rediscover the magic. "We've had one hot spot in the middle of the year … and we've kind of been lukewarm on the other sides," he said. "I'm hoping we heat up. I'm hoping we get to that hot spot again." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Chase standings leader wins pole at New Hampshire RELATED: Qualifying results LOUDON, N.H. -- You couldn't script a better beginning to Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for Brad Keselowski , who showed no sign of stopping his relentless run toward a second championship on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Fresh from a dramatic victory in last Sunday's first Chase race at Chicagoland Speedway , Keselowski blew away the track record in winning the pole for Sunday's Sylvania 300 at the Magic Mile (2 p.m. ET on ESPN). The Coors Light Pole Award was Keselowski's fifth of the season, the eight of his career and his third in 11 starts at the 1.058-mile flat track. In the second and final round of knockout qualifying, Keselowski covered the distance in 27.090 seconds (140.598 mph) to edge Jamie McMurray (140.437 mph) for the top starting spot by .031 seconds. Kevin Harvick qualified third for the second Chase race at 140.065 mph. "The kind of track is kind of right in my wheelhouse, right in our team’s wheelhouse," said Keselowski, who won the July race at New Hampshire in dominating fashion. "We had this race circled before the Chase started, and we felt decent about Chicago, but we really felt like this was a race of emphasis for us to get a win and get out of the first bracket (three-race elimination round). "It's good, right? We just want to keep it going." Despite the excellent performances of the first two weeks, Keselowski isn't ready to claim ownership of the title just yet. "With the resets (after each round), the success of today really means nothing come Homestead (where the four remaining eligible drivers will race for the title, with the highest finisher among the four claiming the prize)," Keselowski said. "It's great . It's positive momentum. It's everything you want to do, and it’s everything you think you should do. "But when it resets, it resets, and nothing that you've done in the past really matters, as long as you're eligible for the bracket. I'm a long, long way from using the word favorite or feeling overly confident." McMurray, who did not make the Chase field, was pleased with his effort in qualifying. "I felt like, in my first run, I didn't get everything out of the car and maybe left a little bit on the table," McMurray said. "The first run I didn't think I got it all, but the second run out (in the final round), the second lap was really good. "Honestly, I came off Turn 4 and tried to run three laps and tried to just drive a little bit harder, but the tires just wouldn’t hold up for another quick lap." Chase drivers who will start in the top 12 on Sunday include Denny Hamlin (fourth), Kyle Busch (fifth), Jimmie Johnson (sixth), Joey Logano (seventh), Carl Edwards (eighth), Ryan Newman (ninth) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (11th) Keselowski led the first of the two qualifying sessions with a lap at 139.614 mph (27.281 seconds), a scant .005 seconds faster than the No. 99 of fellow Ford driver Edwards. All told, 26 drivers in the 30-minute first round broke the track qualifying record of 138.130 mph (27.574 seconds) set by Kyle Busch on July 11, 2014. Earnhardt Jr. was the 12th and last driver to advance to the second session with a lap at 138.987 mph (27.404 mph). Chase drivers Jeff Gordon (13th), Kurt Busch (15th), Matt Kenseth (16th), Kasey Kahne (17th), Aric Almirola (21st), Greg Biffle (26th) and AJ Allmendinger (27th) failed to advance to the 10-minute final round. Notes: The track qualifying record was the 19th set this year in Sprint Cup Series time trials, in the first year of the knockout format. ... Keselowski has accounted for four of those records. ... The last two times Keselowski has won a pole for a Sprint Cup race (at Kentucky and Richmond), he has also won the race. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
With two laps remaining in the Great Clips 200 , points co-leader Elliott Sadler, Cole Whitt and Brendan Gaughan collide.
NASCAR, Front Row Motorsports, Kyle Busch Motorsports and Martinsville Speedway to pay tribute DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR, Front Row Motorsports, Kyle Busch Motorsports and Martinsville Speedway announced today they will honor 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott, the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR premier series event, with a series of tributes during the Martinsville race weekend from Oct. 24-26. Front Row Motorsports will pay homage to Scott, also the first African-American driver to race full-time in NASCAR’s premier series, with a full throwback paint scheme on its No. 34 Ford driven by David Ragan, reminiscent of the blue No. 34 that he drove to Victory Lane for his first NASCAR premier series victory at Jacksonville Speedway on Dec. 1, 1963. Ragan is one of just three drivers to win in the No. 34, and the first since Scott. "It's going to be cool to honor Wendell Scott at his home track with his family," said Ragan. "I got to drive a tribute scheme for Ned Jarrett a while back, and it's a tribute to the history of our sport that I get to honor Mr. Scott as an inductee, the last driver to win in the No. 34 before I did. I'm a fan of our sport’s history and have a real appreciation for it, so it's special to be able to bring that paint scheme back for a weekend." In addition, Kyle Busch Motorsports will change the number of Darrell Wallace Jr.'s truck from 54 to 34 in honor of Scott. A NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate, Wallace became the first African-American to win a NASCAR national series race since Scott’s historic 1963 triumph when he captured the checkered flag in last season’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville. "It's an honor to run the No. 34 Toyota Tundra at Martinsville," said Wallace. "I got my first win at Martinsville and the historical significance of that win and to be so close to Wendell Scott's hometown was a really cool bonus to getting my first win. The Scott family has followed my career since I ran the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program for Rev Racing and I've kept a relationship with the family over the years. Thanks to Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Toyota and NASCAR for allowing me to run the No. 34 at Martinsville. I'm pumped to get back there and hope to get another victory." Adding to the celebration, Martinsville Speedway and the NHOF will host members of the Scott family during the race weekend and offer special Q&A opportunities for fans on-site. "Wendell Scott faced numerous adversities throughout his racing career. At the end of the day though, he persevered and overcame all odds," said Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway. "That perseverance serves as an inspiration today and as a testament to that, he was inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame." A trailblazer whose legacy extends to the present day, Scott was the 1959 NASCAR Virginia Sportsman champion and won over 100 races at local tracks prior to starting his NASCAR premier series career. The Danville, Virginia native served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II where he honed his skills in the motor pool. In 13 years of NASCAR premier series competition, Scott made 495 starts (35th on the all-time list), accumulating 20 top-five and 147 top-10 finishes. He passed away in 1990, at the age of 69. NASCAR currently awards scholarships in Scott’s name through the United Negro College Fund, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. The Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award is awarded to a diverse or female driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series who has demonstrated significant contributions on and off the track. Current NASCAR D4D driver and last year’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Nevada state champion Jay Beasley was the 2013 award recipient. In addition, NASCAR has designated the first race weekend in March as a time to remember Wendell Scott's legacy during a week that marks his first career start. Cars in all series run a decal in honor of his accomplishments within the sport. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody’s ® Headache Relief Shot ® 500 will run Sunday, Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 will run Saturday, Oct. 25 at 1:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1. Both races will also air on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, with additional coverage on NASCAR.com. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView