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Post-Race Reactions: Heluva Good ! Sour Cream Dips 400
The top 5 drivers along with an upset Dale Earnhardt Jr. give post-race comments.
Sour string of finishes ends for Kenseth at Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Matt Kenseth led just three laps of Saturday's GoBowling 400 at Kansas Speedway , but the No. 20 spent much of the night knocking on the door. After two late restarts and a four-car crash that Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota avoided, he finished fourth behind winner Kyle Busch , Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch , respectively. A fourth-place finish is Kenseth's best mark of the season -- a season sprinkled with bad luck and simply bizarre circumstances at times. "You always want the finishes," Kenseth said after the Saturday night race. "We've run up front, terrible finishes. A lot of races we haven't even finished this year. So you always want to get the finish. "I felt like we ran better than all three cars that finished in front of us so that part I guess is a little bit disappointing. The 78 ( Martin Truex Jr. ) had us covered but those other guys I felt like after 10 laps we were probably better than they were. Still didn't quite get the finish." Martin Truex Jr . and the No. 78 team know about bad luck. After dominating much of the race and leading 172 laps, a tire problem sent the Furniture Row Racing Toyota down pit road for an unscheduled stop that put them a lap down. "I don't know what the racing gods have against me," Truex radioed to his team after coming on Lap 216 in to fix a vibration after something got jammed up in a wheel. "Did everyone search their souls and figure out who's livin' wrong?" Truex's team radioed on a subsequent caution as Truex fought to a 14th-place finish. Kenseth has seen his share of rotten luck this season, but despite race-ending crashes at Las Vegas and Talladega and a tangled black-flag situation at Atlanta -- where he had dominated before a pit road violation and communication mixup -- Kenseth doesn't feel like dark forces are to blame. "All our problems we've had all year haven't necessarily been luck," Kenseth said. "I feel like everybody did a good job tonight. We executed everything good . We just weren't quite fast enough and weren't quite in the right positions. We got a decent finish so that was good ." Kenseth comes out of Kansas up one place in the drivers point standings to 14th, 121 points behind series leader Harvick. Kenny Bruce contributed to this report.
Best in-car audio from the AAA 400 Drive for Autism
Check out some of the best in-car audio from the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway as Martin Truex Jr.'s bad luck continues and Matt Kenseth gets his first win of the year.
Starting lineup for AAA 400 Drive for Autism
See the entire 40-car field for Sunday's 400 -mile race.
Matt Crafton wins Truck race at Charlotte
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings CONCORD, N.C. -- Matt Crafton had a lot to overcome on Saturday -- a 17th-place starting position and a difficult pit stall that cost him dearly in the early stages of Saturday's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . But after 134 laps, Crafton was 5.748 seconds ahead of second-place Kyle Busch , winning the race and extending his series lead to 12 points over seventh-place finisher Timothy Peters . In fact, the two-time champion won consecutive races for the first time in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career, going back-to-back in successive weeks at Dover and Charlotte. Even though it took Crafton more than half the race to get to the front, he sensed the quality of his ride from the drop of the green flag. "I literally did," Crafton said. "I was like, 'Wow!' This thing was unbelievable from the time we dropped the green. This thing went through (Turns) 1 and 2 -- well, the first original start, everybody got jumbled up and went through (Turns) 1 and 2 and then 3 and 4, and I'm like, 'This thing feels really good right here.' "Then we fell back to the 20s (after pit road issues) at that point and we started driving back through them and I was like, 'Oh, my goodness, these boys are in trouble today.' " The victory was the 13th of Crafton's career, but despite the wide margin of victory, his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota didn't take the lead for the first time until Lap 80, when Crafton tracked down Peters and passed him for the top spot. After starting mid-pack, Crafton worked his way forward during the first run but had major issues on pit road, first sliding through his pit box and later getting blocked in his stall. The miscues forced Crafton to pass a gaggle of cars, but by Lap 78 he was fourth for a restart after Christopher Bell 's spin off Turn 4, and two laps later, Crafton had the lead. The advantage grew to more than 8.5 seconds before a cycle of green-flag pit stops for fuel trimmed Crafton's winning margin in the closing laps. Johnny Sauter did an extraordinary job of saving fuel and rolled home third behind Crafton and Busch. Tyler Reddick and Matt Tifft , the latter recently named to the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class, were fourth and fifth, respectively, both on fuel strategy. Spencer Gallagher , Peters, Bell, Daniel Hemric and polesitter William Byron completed the top 10. Busch led 27 laps in the early going but suffered a suspension part failure that caused the handling of his No. 18 Tundra to tighten up. Nor did it help that Busch's team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop on Lap 68, forcing the driver to restart at the rear of the field on Lap 71. "Once we got back in traffic, it just got super, super tight," said Busch, whose Kyle Busch Motorsports organization also owns the trucks driven by Bell, Byron and Daniel Suarez . "Something broke, and after that, it was just laying on the splitter."
Whelen to sponsor Newman's Coca-Cola 600 car
WELCOME, N.C. (May 23, 2016) - Richard Childress Racing announced today that Whelen Engineering Co., the "Official Warning Lights of NASCAR", will serve as the primary sponsor on Ryan Newman 's No. 31 Chevrolet SS for the 57th running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 29, 2016. "Whelen Engineering, the Official Warning Lights of NASCAR, is pleased to be the primary sponsor of the Whelen No. 31 Chevrolet for the Coca-Cola 600 ," said Phil Kurze, vice president of motorsports. "Ryan (Newman) is a familiar name to us since he has been in Victory Lane a number of times in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway . It is fitting to have a graduate engineer driving a race car sponsored by an engineering company. The familiar red and white Sam Bass paint scheme will be displayed on the car and we look forward to the excitement of the longest race on the Sprint Cup schedule." The red and white colors of the No. 31 Whelen Chevrolet will hit the track for the annual Memorial Day weekend event, in which Newman has three top-five and six top-10 finishes, in addition to five pole awards. "Whelen's commitment to motorsports is comprehensive, and we are proud to partner with them for the Coca-Cola 600 ," said Torrey Galida, president of Richard Childress Racing . "Their dedication to innovation and safety is in line with the philosophy here at RCR, and we look forward to seeing the No. 31 Whelen Chevrolet on the track this Memorial Day weekend." A company that now employs over 1, 400 workers, Whelen began in 1952 when George W. Whelen invented the first rotating aircraft "anti-collision" beacon in his garage in Deep River, Connecticut. Over the years, Whelen grew out of the garage and into the mainstream, working with police, public works, and fire departments across the country. Today, Whelen has two manufacturing facilities totaling over 1,000,000 square feet, employs the largest staff of design engineers in the industry, and has partnered with OEMs on new vehicle design and product integration. While this is RCR's first partnership with Whelen in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Whelen has an extensive history and presence in motorsports. As the "Official Warning Lights of NASCAR", Whelen provides all of the caution lights, pit road entrance, and pit road exit lights, "hot pit/garage area" warning lights, as well as all of the warning lights used on pace cars and safety vehicles across all three NASCAR national touring series. Whelen also serves as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and the NASCAR Whelen Euro-Series. This commitment to motorsports extends beyond NASCAR as well. Whelen is the primary sponsor on the Action Express No. 31 DP Corvette in the IMSA Weather Tech Championship Series. For additional information on today's announcement, and all that's happening at RCR, please visit rcrracing.com .
Full schedule for Charlotte
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series will race at Charlotte Motor Speedway this week, while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off. Check out the full weekend schedule below. Note: All times are ET THURSDAY, MAY 26: ON TRACK -- 2-3:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 3:30-4:25 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series first practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 5:30-6:50 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 7:15 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Follow live ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 1:30 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- 3 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series SATURDAY, MAY 28: ON TRACK -- 10-10:55 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series second practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 11:15 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 1-1:50 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 2:30 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 4K TV 300 (200 laps, 300 miles), FS1 ( Follow live ) SUNDAY, MAY 29: ON TRACK -- 6 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 ( 400 laps, 600 miles), FOX ( Follow live )
Hard luck, near-win heartbreak for Kyle Larson
RELATED: Full race results CONCORD, N.C. – Kyle Larson nearly became the latest driver to go from the preliminary event to the winner's circle of the annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. But a loose-handling car and a hard-charging Joey Logano proved to be his undoing Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway . It's a familiar feeling for the young driver of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' No. 42 Chevrolet, who has finished second four times in points-paying races in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. RELATED: Larson grabs runner-up finish at Dover Saturday night's 113-lap show wasn't for points, but there was a $1 million payday waiting at the checkered flag. And when the 23-year-old shot the gap on the race's final restart, he zoomed from third to first with less than 13 laps remaining. But Logano ( Team Penske ) was able to track the leader down and after a side-by-side battle, Larson slipped up and into the wall less than three laps from the finish. Logano held on for the victory; Larson limped to the garage, 16th in the final rundown. "I definitely didn't over-correct," a dejected Larson said afterward. "I was just going fast, got loose, lost control and hit the wall. I'm disappointed. I feel like I keep letting my guys down." Larson had qualified for the Sprint All-Star Race by winning a sheetmetal swapping, last-lap battle with Chase Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports ) in the final segment of the Sprint Showdown preliminary event earlier in the day. The damage done to his car kept his team busy throughout the afternoon, but by the time the red-and-white entry rolled through pre-race inspection for the main event, it looked good as new. And it ran that way, too. RELATED: Larson edges out Elliott " See frame-by-frame of the finish "They worked their tails off after I got all the damage in the Showdown," he said. "We had a really, really good Target Chevy and were able to get to the front pretty quick there to be in the best position possible there for the last restart." After starting the race 18th , Larson ended the first 50-lap segment inside the top 10. He eventually took the lead on Lap 94 and was the race leader after 100 laps had been completed to end the second segment. He restarted third for the final 13-lap dash after only two drivers, Jimmie Johnson ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), running 12th and 13th respectively, were re-slotted to the front. The top 11 were required to pit. "I was getting looser throughout the race," Larson said. "We were making adjustments but weren't making big enough ones. I just got loose and Joey caught me. "He did a really good job side-drafting me. I tried to hang on his quarter panel like I did with Chase earlier today. I got really loose as soon as I got in the corner." Logano said he knew Larson would "try to suck me around from the outside and I knew I had to drive in to make sure he didn't do that. "Just good hard racing there at the end. It was a lot of fun. He's a heck of a racer. He's going to win a lot of races, that's for sure." Kasey Kahne ( Hendrick Motorsports ) was the last driver to win the Sprint All-Star Race despite not automatically qualifying for it (and having to race in the preliminary event) heading into the weekend, accomplishing the feat in 2008. (Kahne won the Sprint Fan Vote that year.) "I thought clean air would be everything there on four tires," Larson said. "Joey was just really good there that last run; I thought I was better than him most of the race. I don't know, I feel bad. But it's good that we have fast race cars right now. "Just really, really proud of everybody on this team. We were pretty down earlier in the year but we've got cars now and confidence and one of these days it will all come together."
Carl Edwards rallies from miscues for top-five spot
RELATED: Full race results CONCORD, N.C. -- A missed pit-road entry, a snag by the dreaded lug-nut check, and Carl Edwards still wound up on the cover of a video game. Despite a stinging penalty just before the final 13-lap segment of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Edwards manufactured a fourth-place finish with a heavy-duty rally in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . He led three times for just four of the 113 laps, but made a bigger mark with how he threaded traffic in the final dash to the checkered flag. It was enough to lay claim to his spot as the top-finishing Toyota driver, landing him on the cover of the NASCAR Heat Evolution game that debuts in September. "We didn't really have the fastest car and we tried to screw it up about four different times," Edwards said with a sheepish grin. Edwards then explained how missing the entrance to pit road during the second of three segments cost the No. 19 team valuable track position, putting extra pressure on the mandatory final stop. That stop was a fast one, helping Edwards gain four spots among those pitting. But the check for lug-nut tightness led to a thumbs-down from the NASCAR official checking the drivers' side of the car. "I put my guys in a box, they had to do the fastest pit stop basically you could ever do," Edwards said afterward on pit road. "One lug nut was not all the way up, but we got it done and went to the back. We made it back up to fourth, and really after all the dust settled, if we had one more caution, I think we would've had a shot at it. It's crazy, just a crazy night." Edwards was rewarded for his final charge after lining up in the seventh row for the final restart. The 36-year-old driver won the All-Star Race in 2011 and had more recent Charlotte history on his side with his Coca-Cola 600 victory here last May. But he's also had a consistently solid pit crew all year, a track record that made it hard for crew chief Dave Rogers to assign blame. "The one thing we got going for us, we've got a bunch of tough guys," Rogers said. "We've got a real tough driver, real tough pit crew, and nobody on this race team gives up. We didn't do a very good job executing today, we just had a couple things go against us. That's not the norm for us. Usually, we're spot-on with our execution, so I'm not too worried about it, but even despite that, everyone battled down, got everything we could get, finished fourth. "If it wasn't the All-Star Race, you'd go home with fourth really pleased, but here it's winner-take-all. We'll go home and regroup for the 600 and we'll be back next week."
Driving While Daddy: How fatherhood affects NASCAR drivers
The 2014 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway was one of the most anticipated races in NASCAR history, the culmination of the sport's widely anticipated new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format. Already that year, the Chase had been the wildest in history, with drivers fighting after races at Charlotte and Texas, and Ryan Newman wrecking Kyle Larson on the last lap at Phoenix to bully his way into the four-driver finale. The final race pitted Kevin Harvick against Newman, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin in the first-ever, best-finisher-wins-the-Sprint-Cup format. Harvick had already had the most dominant season of his career and set personal records in poles, laps led and earnings -- all of which would be diminished, if not forgotten, if he didn't win the championship. He was the favorite, but in a high-stakes, one-race, do-or-die format, nobody knew what to expect, Harvick included. Leading up to the race, he examined problems that could crop up and strived to eliminate as many of them as he could. He thought back to the season finale the year before. His son, Keelan, was 1 1/2 at the time and had cried all night long. It's hard enough to sleep in a house with a racket like that. In the 40-foot motorhome in which Harvick sleeps at the race track, it was impossible. Harvick got, at most, two hours of sleep that night. He managed to overcome his exhaustion enough to finish 10th. But he knew that a sleep-deprived 10th wouldn't be good enough to win the 2014 championship. On the eve of the season finale in 2014, Keelan was 2 1/2 and thus less likely to spend the whole night crying, but Harvick took no chances. He rented a separate motorhome for Keelan to sleep in and parked it near his own motorhome in the infield. If Keelan screamed for hours, Harvick would be oblivious. Harvick slept better that night than he had any other night that week, woke up refreshed, then won the race and the championship.