The top 5 drivers along with an upset Dale Earnhardt Jr. give post-race comments.
A statistical look ahead to the third race of the Chase RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota 2014 Chase Grid Pos. Drivers Season Wins Chase Points 1 Brad Keselowski 5 2,097 2 Joey Logano 4 2,096 3 Kevin Harvick 3 2,090 5 Jimmie Johnson 3 2,080 5 Kyle Busch 1 2,077 6 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3 2,077 7 Jeff Gordon 3 2,070 8 Matt Kenseth 0 2,057 9 Carl Edwards 2 2,057 10 AJ Allmendinger 1 2,056 11 Kasey Kahne 1 2,055 12 Ryan Newman 0 2,055 13 Denny Hamlin 1 2,049 14 Greg Biffle 0 2,049 15 Kurt Busch 1 2,047 16 Aric Almirola 1 2,045 Green = In position to move to the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Orange = In position to possibly be eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Challenger Round Red = Eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. –Below is a look at the 16 Challengers at Dover International Speedway in Dover , Delaware going into the AAA 400 on Sept. 28. ESPN’s coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET and the race is scheduled for 2 p.m. 1 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Wurth Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 104.1 2014 Rundown • Five wins, 12 top fives, 15 top 10s; five poles • Average finish of 12.8 • Led 22 races for 1,418 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • One win, three top fives, three top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 14.4 in nine races • Average Running Position of 13.8, 10th-best • Driver Rating of 87.9, 11th-best • Average Green Flag Speed of 143.620 mph, 11th-fastest 2 - Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.8 2014 Rundown • Four wins, 12 top fives, 17 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 12.5 • Led 19 races for 794 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Two top fives, seven top 10s • Average finish of 14.7 in 11 races • Average Running Position of 17.0, 17th-best • Driver Rating of 81.3, 17th-best 3 - Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.4 2014 Rundown • Two wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; six poles • Average finish of 14.0 • Led 20 races for 1,369 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Three top fives, 12 top 10s • Average finish of 15.3 in 27 races • Average Running Position of 15.8, 14th-best • Driver Rating of 84.8, 14th-best • 831 Green Flag Passes, second-most • 4,556 Laps in the Top 15 (59.9%), ninth-most • 393 Quality Passes, eighth-most 4 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.1 2014 Rundown • Three wins, nine top fives, 17 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 13.8 • Led 15 races for 1,035 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Nine wins, 13 top fives, 18 top 10s; three poles • Average finish of 8.4 in 25 races • Series-best Average Running Position of 6.6 • Series-best Driver Rating of 122.5 • Series-high 1,069 Fastest Laps Run • Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 144.536 mph • Series-high 6,661 Laps in the Top 15 (87.6%) • 387 Quality Passes, 11th-most 5 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0 2014 Rundown • One win, six top fives, 11 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 17.4 • Led 13 races for 411 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Two wins, nine top fives, 12 top 10s • Average finish of 14.4 in 19 races • Average Running Position of 11.8, fifth-best • Driver Rating of 105.3, third-best • 413 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 144.166 mph, third-fastest 6 - Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.2 2014 Rundown • Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s • Average finish of 10.8 • Led 12 races for 220 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • One win, six top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 16.2 in 29 races • Average Running Position of 17.4, 18th-best • Driver Rating of 82.5, 16th-best • 232 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most • 748 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 143.547 mph, 12th-fastest 7 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.5 2014 Rundown • Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 10.3 • Led 19 races for 571 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Four wins, 17 top fives, 24 top 10s; four poles • Average finish of 11.7 in 43 races • Average Running Position of 12.1, sixth-best • Driver Rating of 94.5, sixth-best • 289 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most • 783 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 143.994 mph, fourth-fastest • 5,815 Laps in the Top 15 (76.5%), third-most • Series-high 521 Quality Passes 8 - Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.0 2014 Rundown • 10 top fives, 17 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 14.1 • Led 16 races for 465 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Two wins, 14 top fives, 20 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 13.0 in 31 races • Average Running Position of 8.8, second-best • Driver Rating of 108.3, second-best • 461 Fastest Laps Run, third-most • 726 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 144.261 mph, second-fastest • 6,224 Laps in the Top 15 (81.9%), second-most 9 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 82.4 2014 Rundown • Two wins, six top fives, 11 top 10s • Average finish of 15.0 • Led 9 races for 133 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • One win, eight top fives, 12 top 10s • Average finish of 10.2 in 20 races • Average Running Position of 10.8, third-best • Driver Rating of 100.0, fourth-best • 491 Fastest Laps Run, second-most • 786 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 143.927 mph, sixth-fastest • 5,374 Laps in the Top 15 (70.7%), sixth-most • 519 Quality Passes, second-most 10 - AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Hungry Jack / ACME Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.4 2014 Rundown • One win, two top fives, four top 10s • Average finish of 20.6 • Led 5 races for 68 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Three top 10s • Average finish of 22.8 in 13 races • Average Running Position of 21.7, 27th-best • Driver Rating of 75.4, 21st-best 11 - Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.6 2014 Rundown • One win, three top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 16.4 • Led 10 races for 204 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • One top five, five top 10s • Average finish of 21.0 in 21 races • Average Running Position of 16.5, 16th-best • Driver Rating of 80.4, 18th-best • 311 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most • 792 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most • 4,101 Laps in the Top 15 (53.9%), 12th-most 12 - Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans “Design A Scheme” Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 84.9 2014 Rundown • Two top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 14.3 • Led 4 races for 24 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Three wins, six top fives, 12 top 10s; four poles • Average finish of 13.6 in 25 races • Average Running Position of 12.8, eighth-best • Driver Rating of 88.1, 10th-best • 4,978 Laps in the Top 15 (65.5%), seventh-most • 375 Quality Passes, 12th-most 13 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.4 2014 Rundown • One win, six top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 15.7 • Led 12 races for 195 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Three top fives, six top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 19.6 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 15.8, 15th-best • Driver Rating of 83.3, 15th-best 14 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 Post-It Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 79.8 2014 Rundown • Three top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 15.6 • Led 6 races for 109 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • Two wins, six top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 13.4 in 24 races • Average Running Position of 11.8, fourth-best • Driver Rating of 98.9, fifth-best • 434 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most • 786 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 143.959 mph, fifth-fastest • 5,497 Laps in the Top 15 (72.3%), fifth-most • 505 Quality Passes, third-most 15 - Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.7 2014 Rundown • One win, six top fives, eight top 10s • Average finish of 19.4 • Led 11 races for 181 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • One win, six top fives, eight top 10s • Average finish of 18.2 in 28 races • Average Running Position of 13.4, ninth-best • Driver Rating of 91.6, eighth-best • 292 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most • 816 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 143.741 mph, ninth-fastest • 4,415 Laps in the Top 15 (58.1%), 10th-most • 415 Quality Passes, sixth-most 16 - Aric Almirola (No. 43 Nathan’s Famous Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 74.1 2014 Rundown • One win, two top fives, seven top 10s • Average finish of 20.4 • Led 5 races for 23 laps Dover International Speedway Outlook: • One top 10 • Average finish of 15.4 in five races • Average Running Position of 17.7, 20th-best • Driver Rating of 77.2, 20th-best The 16 Challengers at Dover International Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Brad Keselowski 9 1 1 3 3 0 14.4 87.9 2 Joey Logano 11 0 0 2 7 1 14.7 81.3 3 Kevin Harvick 27 0 0 3 12 1 15.3 84.8 4 Jimmie Johnson 25 3 9 13 18 2 8.4 122.5 5 Kyle Busch 19 0 2 9 12 4 14.4 105.3 6 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 29 1 1 6 11 1 16.2 82.5 7 Jeff Gordon 43 4 4 17 24 5 11.7 94.5 8 Matt Kenseth 31 1 2 14 20 5 13.0 108.3 9 Carl Edwards 20 0 1 8 12 0 10.2 100.0 10 AJ Allmendinger 13 0 0 0 3 2 22.8 75.4 11 Kasey Kahne 21 0 0 1 5 6 21.0 80.4 12 Ryan Newman 25 4 3 6 12 2 13.6 88.1 13 Denny Hamlin 17 2 0 3 6 3 19.6 83.3 14 Greg Biffle 24 1 2 6 11 1 13.4 98.9 15 Kurt Busch 28 0 1 6 8 6 18.2 91.6 16 Aric Almirola 5 0 0 0 1 0 15.4 77.2 * – Based on last 19 races at Dover International Speedway. Dover International Speedway: History • The official opening of Dover International Speedway, then called Dover Downs International Speedway, was in 1969. • The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on July 6, 1969 – won by Richard Petty. • The first two races at Dover were 300 miles. The race length was changed to 500 miles in 1971. • The track surface was changed to concrete in 1995. • The race length was changed to 400 miles beginning with the second race in 1997. • The track name was changed to Dover International Speedway in 2002. Notebook • There have been 89 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Dover International Speedway, one race in 1969 and 1970, two races per year since 1971. • 381 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway; 274 in more than one. • Ricky Rudd leads the series in starts at Dover with 56. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 43 starts; followed by Joe Nemechek with 39. • David Pearson won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Dover in 1969 with a speed of 130.430 mph. • 38 drivers have Coors Light poles at Dover , led by David Pearson with six. Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman lead all active drivers in poles with four each. • Nine drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Dover . David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Dover with three; from 1973 to the spring race of 1974. • Two active drivers have posted consecutive Coors Light poles at Dover : Ryan Newman (fall 2005 and spring 2006), and Denny Hamlin (fall 2012 and spring 2013). • Youngest Dover pole winner: Jeff Gordon (06/04/1995 – 23 years, 10 months, 0 days). • Oldest Dover pole winner: Mark Martin (06/01/2012 – 53 years, 4 months, 23 days). • 34 different drivers have won at Dover International Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with nine wins (2002 sweep, fall 2005, 2009 sweep, 2010 fall, spring 2012, fall 2013 and spring 2014). • 12 drivers have posted consecutive wins at Dover International Speedway, including three consecutive by David Pearson (fall 1972 and 1973 sweep), Rusty Wallace (fall 1993 and 1994 sweep) and Jeff Gordon (fall 1995 and 1996 sweep). • Youngest Dover winner: Kyle Busch (06/01/2008 – 23 years, 0 months, 30 days). • Oldest Dover winner: Harry Gant (05/31/1992 – 52 years, 4 months, 21 days). • Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at Dover in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 16: Jimmie Johnson (nine), Jeff Gordon (four), Geoff Bodine (one), Ken Schrader (one) and Ricky Rudd (one). • Nine different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Dover ; led by Chevrolet with 35 victories; followed by Ford with 25. • 13 of the 89 (14.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Dover have been won from the Coors Light pole; the two most recent were Jimmie Johnson in 2009 and 2010. • The second-place starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Dover International Speedway. • 28 of the 89 (31.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Dover have been won from the front row: 13 from the pole and 15 from second-place. • 70 of the 89 (78.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Dover have been won from a top-10 starting position. • Five of the 89 (5.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Dover have been won from a starting position outside the top 20 – most recently: Tony Stewart , spring 2013 (22nd-place starting position) • The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Dover was 37th, by Kyle Petty in the spring of 1995. • Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Dover with eight; followed by Dale Earnhardt with five. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with four. • Mark Martin leads the series in top-five finishes at Dover with 24; followed by Dale Earnhardt with 19. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 17. • Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Dover with 33; followed by Richard Petty and Ricky Rudd with 26 each. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 24. • Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Dover with a 9.240. • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Dover with an 8.360. • 11 of the 12 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Dover International Speedway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Jimmie Johnson won at Dover in his first two appearances. • Among the 12 active NSCS Dover winners Kurt Busch (22) and Matt Kenseth (14) made 10 or more attempts before their first win. • Joe Nemechek leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Dover without visiting Victory Lane at 39; followed by Kevin Harvick with 27. • Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Dover International Speedway was the September 25, 2005 race won by Jimmie Johnson over Kyle Busch with a MOV of 0.08 second. • There has been one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Dover International Speedway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): fall of 2005 ( 400 /404). • Not one of the 89 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Dover International Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions. • Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Dover International Speedway five times: fall of 1984, spring of 2001, fall of 2003, spring of 2005 and spring of 2011. • Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series active drivers have made their first career start at Dover International Speedway: Matt Kenseth (9/20/98), Kurt Busch (9/24/00) and David Ragan (9/24/06). • Two active drivers have posted their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Dover International Speedway: Matt Kenseth (06/02/02) and Michael Waltrip (06/03/1991). • One active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has posted his first career win at Dover International Speedway: Martin Truex Jr . (06/04/07). • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Dover with 2,976 laps led in 25 starts. • If Jimmie Johnson leads 24 laps or more this weekend he will surpass the 3,000 laps led mark at Dover International Speedway, becoming the seventh driver in series history to lead 3,000 or more laps at a single track. Jeff Gordon is the only other active driver to accomplish the feat (Martinsville – 3,593 laps led). • Two female drivers have competed at Dover International Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick . Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Janet Guthrie 11 33 9/19/1976 Janet Guthrie 15 11 9/18/1977 Danica Patrick 38 28 9/30/2012 Danica Patrick 39 24 6/2/2013 Danica Patrick 31 29 9/29/2013 Danica Patrick 28 23 6/1/2014 NASCAR in Delaware · There have been 89 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Delaware all at Dover International Speedway. Track Name City NSCS Dover International Speedway Dover 89 · Eight drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Delaware; none of the eight have recorded a victory in NASCAR national series competition. 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
See which drivers will make up the field for the return trip to Dover RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 1 Jamie McMurray Felix Sabates Keith Rodden 14 Chevrolet McDonald's 2 2 Brad Keselowski Roger Penske Paul Wolfe 14 Ford Wurth 3 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Gil Martin 14 Chevrolet Dow 4 4 Kevin Harvick Tony Stewart Rodney Childers 14 Chevrolet Budweiser 5 5 Kasey Kahne Linda Hendrick Kenny Francis 14 Chevrolet Farmer's Insurance 6 7 Michael Annett Tommy Baldwin Kevin Manion 14 Chevrolet Cypress HQ No. 7 Chevrolet 7 9 Marcos Ambrose Richard Petty Drew Blickensderfer 14 Ford Twisted Tea 8 10 Danica Patrick Tony Stewart Tony Gibson 14 Chevrolet GoDaddy 9 11 Denny Hamlin J D Gibbs Darian Grubb 14 Toyota FedEx Freight 10 13 Casey Mears Bob Germain Bootie Barker III 14 Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 11 14 Tony Stewart Margaret Haas Chad Johnston 14 Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops 12 15 Clint Bowyer Rob Kauffman Brian Pattie 14 Toyota 5-Hour Energy 13 16 Greg Biffle Jack Roush Matt Puccia 14 Ford Post-it 14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr John Henry Michael Kelley 14 Ford Zest 15 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Dave Rogers 14 Toyota Interstate Batteries 16 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Jason Ratcliff 14 Toyota Home Depot Husky 17 22 Joey Logano Walter Czarnecki Todd Gordon 14 Ford Shell Pennzoil 18 23 Alex Bowman Ron Devine Dave Winston 14 Toyota Dr. Pepper Toyota 19 24 Jeff Gordon Rick Hendrick Alan Gustafson 14 Chevrolet Drive To End Hunger 20 26 Cole Whitt Anthony Marlowe Randy Cox 14 Toyota Uponor Toyota 21 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Slugger Labbe 14 Chevrolet CertainTeed / Menards 22 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Luke Lambert 14 Chevrolet Quicken Loans "Design A Scheme" 23 32 J J Yeley(i) Frank Stoddard Jr Ben Leslie 14 Ford CorvetteParts.net 24 33 David Stremme Joe Falk Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos 25 34 David Ragan Bob Jenkins Jay Guy 14 Ford PLIMPTON & HILLS 26 36 Reed Sorenson Allan Heinke Todd Parrott 14 Chevrolet American Muscle Driving Experience Chevrolet 27 37 Mike Bliss(i) Tommy Baldwin Tommy Baldwin 14 Chevrolet Accell Construction Inc. 28 38 David Gilliland Brad Jenkins Frank Kerr 14 Ford LONG JOHN SILVER'S 29 40 Landon Cassill(i) Michael Hillman Mark Hillman 14 Chevrolet Newtown Building Supplies 30 41 Kurt Busch Gene Haas Daniel Knost 14 Chevrolet Haas Automation 31 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Chris Heroy 14 Chevrolet Target 32 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Trent Owens 14 Ford Nathan's Famous 33 44 Timmy Hill John Cohen Peter Sospenzo 14 Chevrolet Phoenix Warehouse 34 47 A J Allmendinger Tad Geschickter Brian Burns 14 Chevrolet Hungry Jack / ACME 35 48 Jimmie Johnson Jeff Gordon Chad Knaus 14 Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 36 51 Justin Allgaier Harry Scott Jr Steve Addington 14 Chevrolet BRANDT Professional Agriculture 37 55 Brian Vickers Michael Waltrip Billy Scott 14 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 38 66 Joe Nemechek(i) Jay Robinson Scott Eggleston 14 Toyota Land Castle Title 39 78 Martin Truex Jr Barney Visser Todd Berrier 14 Chevrolet Furniture Row 40 83 Ryan Truex Ron Devine Joe Williams 14 Toyota Burger King Toyota 41 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Rick Hendrick Steve Letarte 14 Chevrolet National Guard 42 98 Josh Wise Mike Curb Gene Nead 14 Chevrolet Phil Parsons Racing 43 99 Carl Edwards Jack Roush James Fennig 14 Ford Fastenal MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Alan Cavanna gets you Up To Speed on what Jimmie Johnson needs to do to advance in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Kyle Busch in good shape to advance; Kenseth and Hamlin will battle at Dover RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota One week after all three of its teams came out of Chicagoland Speedway with top-10 finishes, Joe Gibbs Racing heads into the final race of the Challenger Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with two teams suddenly looking very vulnerable. Only a Herculean effort by driver Kyle Busch and his crew kept the No. 18 team from finding itself in a similar position. "Completely the opposite," JGR’s Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing operations, said following Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when asked to compare the results of the first two Chase races. Busch, seventh the previous week, somehow managed to salvage an eighth-place finish at NHMS in spite of severe damage to the front of his Toyota. Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin weren't as fortunate. Fueling issues kept Hamlin on pit road for an extended period during the race, which in turn left him deep in the field and in the middle of trouble when a four-car accident unfolded on Lap 180 of the scheduled 300-lap race. Kenseth had run in the top 10 for much of the day, eventually climbing as high as third, before contact with Paul Menard sent the No. 20 entry into the wall with less than 30 laps remaining. Kenseth wound up 21st on the day, Hamlin finished 37th. With four drivers trimmed from the field of 16 after this week’s race at Dover International Speedway, Kenseth will be looking to, at the very least, hold his ground. The 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion enters Sunday’s AAA 400 (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET), eighth in points and only eight ahead of Hamlin in the No. 13 spot. Kenseth's record at Dover is solid, with a pair of victories (2006, ‘11) and 20 top-10 finishes in 31 career starts at the fast, high-banked one-mile track. He finished third there earlier this year. Hamlin and his No. 11 team sit six points out of the 12th spot, held for now by Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman . But Hamlin's far from alone -- only 12 points separate those between Kenseth (2,057) and 16th-place Aric Almirola (2,045). A week ago, the gap was a far more imposing 34 points between the two positions. He has yet to win at the Monster Mile, but Hamlin has finished inside the top 10 on six occasions, including a fifth-place result this past June. "Kyle was able to get up on the wheel and do what he could, fought hard for all his positions and they ended up with a respectable finish out of it," Makar said. "Matt didn't have time to get back; it was just a bad situation with just a few laps to go. He … didn't have time to actually race back with a couple of laps to go. It was just a tough situation for him." "Denny, I tell you, just snake bit there. We still don't know what happened to the fuel system. It was some freak thing, something we’ll have to look at when we get back (to the shop). But right now … it's nothing really obvious." Hamlin's issues put the driver "in a bad spot, a bad place on the race track" Makar said. And with everything else that happened after Hamlin's fuel issues, there were no guarantees he would have escaped those unscathed. "But he had a good , fast race car. It's a shame they weren’t able to race all day like that," Makar said. The strange turn of events for the three teams certainly weren't expected, given their solid start a week earlier. Now, they regroup and head to Dover , hoping to remain relevant. "I was really surprised," said Makar. "But I think it's going to be interesting next week. We've got to go race hard and get a good finish with everybody and hopefully we can move on." Four more drivers will be trimmed from the field following the Contender Round (Kansas, Charlotte and Talladega), leaving eight to battle through the Eliminator Round (Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix ). The final four will advance into the Championship Round, scheduled for Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16. 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
Get all the on-track times for the weekend's NASCAR action RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota All times ET TV LISTINGS / BUY TICKETS FOR DOVER / BUY TICKETS FOR LAS VEGAS / WEEKEND TRACK EVENTS This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series head to Dover International Speedway while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway . FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26: ON TRACK -- 10-10:50 a.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 2-3:20 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice, ESPN2 ( Follow live ) -- 3:40 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, ESPN2 ( Follow live ) GARAGECAM PRESENTED BY MOBIL 1 ( Watch live ) -- 10:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GarageCam -- 1:30 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series GarageCam SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27: ON TRACK -- 11-11:50 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- Noon-1:15 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice -- 12:15 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 2 ( Follow live ) -- 1:45-3 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice -- 2-2:50 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 2 ( Follow live ) -- 3:30 p.m.: NASCAR Nationwide Series race (200 laps, 200 miles), ESPN2 ( Follow live ) -- 6:40 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying ( Follow live ) -- 10 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rhino Linings 350 (146 laps, 219 miles), FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28: ON TRACK -- 2 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 ( 400 laps, 400 miles), ESPN ( Follow live ) MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
After starting last, points leader frustrated with giving up lead late RELATED: Full race results LOUDON, N.H. -- Matt Crafton wasn't much for silver linings after a roundabout worst-to-first type of day, but a spirited rally from pre-race misfortune was the type of resilient performance that kept his bid for a repeat NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title on track. Crafton started dead last in the 30-truck field in Saturday's UNOH 175 , but turned in a stirring drive all the way to the lead before the last in a series of late-race restarts shuffled him to a third-place finish. He left with his lead in the series standings intact, adding two points for a seven-point edge over ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter , but the frustration in falling just short behind history-making 16-year-old race winner Cole Custer was evident in his succinct assessment of the race. "Started in the back, drove to the front, got beat at the end," Crafton said. It was a familiar sight to see Crafton playing with his daughter, Elladee, in the moments before the race, the 2-year-old toddler exploring the cockpit of his racer. It was quite unfamiliar to see his No. 88 Toyota so far back on the starting grid, the result of unapproved adjustments during Saturday morning's Keystone Light Pole Qualifying. Crafton's crew detected a loose battery plug and raised the hood during the opening round of knockout-style qualifying. Because of the violation, Crafton did not make a qualifying attempt. Starting at the rear of the field in such a short race loomed as a potentially devastating penalty, but instead wound up being a stroke of good fortune -- far better to catch the issue early rather than suffering mechanical gremlins during the 175-lap main event. "Actually, we were really lucky to find it in qualifying," said Carl "Junior" Joiner, Crafton's crew chief. "A little bad luck created some good luck." Said Crafton: "That definitely wasn't what we wanted, but at the same time it was very good that we found it when we did and not start the race in a dead end. We were very lucky there, but just super disappointed in the finish." Though Crafton wasn't able to show his speed in qualifying, he pounced at the drop of the green flag. By the end of the first lap, he had jumped from 30th to 19th place; just 20 laps in, he was up to the top 10. Crafton eventually found his way to the top five, then advanced over a flurry of late-race cautions to take the lead for the first time on Lap 152. He withstood the challenges for two late-race restarts, but not the final one as Custer -- in the lone front-running truck on four fresh tires -- and Darrell Wallace Jr . freight-trained past him with four laps left. "They led the most laps and sat on the pole, so he deserves a win," Joiner said of Custer's first career victory. "Hats off to those guys. I think our stuff was really good , man. I think we were probably the second-best truck if not the best, so we'll move on." While the dejection was clear in the No. 88 camp, the ability to take such a major comeback to nearly full fruition was an inspiring takeaway from a day that could've had a far worse outcome. With just 35 points spanning the top four spots in the standings, Crafton and Co. take the series lead to next weekend's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with six more races to try to close out championship No. 2. "I think if we don't get a yellow there (at the end), we're over there in Victory Lane right now, but that didn't happen and it's still a good , solid points day," Joiner said. "That's what these guys need to do. We've been strong, and I think we're about to hit stride. We've really stepped on some stuff and we're picking up our game. Just needed Lady Luck on our side, and I think maybe today, we had it." 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
Memories of 2012 conjured with trip to New Hampshire RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota LOUDON, N.H. -- A visit to New Hampshire Motor Speedway two years ago still holds many fond memories for Denny Hamlin . That trip to the Magic Mile was a dominant performance where he guaranteed a victory on Twitter days earlier, slightly backtracked, but ultimately trounced the field with a "called shot" celebration in Victory Lane as the capper. But current events have somewhat clouded that memory. Brad Keselowski ruled at New Hampshire in July. His familiar Deuce rolled to victory in the regular-season finale at Richmond. The hot streak continued with Keselowski's fifth win of the season the following week at Chicagoland Speedway in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff opener. Sure enough, Keselowski's No. 2 was atop the leaderboard again Friday afternoon, leading opening Sprint Cup practice and then winning the Coors Light Pole Award. With all the talk about the hottest driver on the circuit, does 2012 still seem like recent history? "Well, somehow my car's disappeared and it's got a 2 on the side of it now," Hamlin quipped. Jokes aside this time around in New Hampshire, Hamlin seems convinced of one more guarantee -- that the string of 13 different winners at the 1.058-mile track will end with a repeat triumph in Sunday's Sylvania 300 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN). Hamlin just hopes he's the one snapping the streak and not Keselowski. Hoisting the lobster trophy come Sunday would give Hamlin a free pass into the Contender Round, the next three-race elimination phase in the redesigned Chase format. A little rekindling of the magic of 2012 from his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 team wouldn't hurt the cause. "You just show up and your car's just really fast and you can't do anything wrong," Hamlin said of that charmed performance here two years ago. "You're fastest in every practice and you just know what's going to happen. ... It's a good feeling to have a car that fast, and know that you would spend more time messing it up than you would making it better. As a driver, those days don't come around too often and I haven't seen it since." Hamlin opened the postseason with a convincing sixth-place effort last weekend as the top-finishing Toyota team at Chicagoland, potentially setting the tone for what could be a productive path through the Chase Grid. The nine-year veteran reiterated his view that the 10 playoff venues stack up favorably for his team's chances, but he's careful not to get ahead of himself as he searches for his first championship in NASCAR's premier series. "All my better race tracks are in the Chase. They really start getting good for me the last four races of the Chase," Hamlin said. "The key for us is to get eligible with four races to go and get to that final eight spots. If we can do that, then I feel on speed and our record on those second-to-last tracks, we can put ourselves in position to go to Homestead with a shot. That's looking so far ahead -- we have to concentrate on what we can do this weekend." 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
No. 22 joins Team Penske teammate in Contender Round MORE: Full race results " Updated series standings RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota LOUDON, N.H. -- Out of the maelstrom that was New Hampshire Motor Speedway sped Joey Logano , who took control of Sunday's Sylvania 300 on a restart with 27 laps left and held on to win the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. But the crux of Sunday's race wasn't about Logano's fourth victory of the season and the second straight for Team Penske in the Chase. It wasn't about Logano winning for the seventh time in his career and punching his ticket into the second elimination round under NASCAR's new playoff format. It wasn't about Sunoco rookie Kyle Larson posting his second straight top-three finish. Yes, Larson ran second, passing third-place finisher Kevin Harvick on a green-white-checkered flag restart that took the race three laps past its scheduled distance, but Larson was almost an afterthought amid the chaos that scrambled the Chase standings. It wasn't about another strong run for Jamie McMurray , who finished fourth, or about a top-five for six-time champion Jimmie Johnson , who came home fifth. It wasn't about the crazy afternoon of polesitter Brad Keselowski , who ran back and forth through the field like a yo-yo, spun on Lap 194 of a scheduled 300 and nevertheless had a chance to win the race at the end before falling back to seventh on the restart that took the race to overtime. No, the crux of the race wasn't about the winner. It was about those who survived the crucible of pressure the Chase creates -- and those who didn't. It was about uncharacteristic mistakes on pit road. It was about the aggression and desperation on the track that left the cars of six of 16 Chase drivers in relative states of damage and disrepair. It was about Aric Almirola 's heroic drive to a sixth-place finish after the heartbreak of a late engine failure last week at Chicagoland Speedway . It was about a 13th-place finish for AJ Allmendinger , who re-entered the Chase conversation, as did Almirola, by avoiding the calamities that placed some of their more potent peers on the cusp of elimination. But first, credit to Logano, who survived a succession of restarts in a race littered with cautions -- 13 of a total 15 in the last 134 laps -- and prevailed on tires that, thanks to crew chief Todd Gordon's astute call with 53 laps left in regulation, were superior to those of the drivers in contention on the final restart. Logano won Sunday’s race at a track that gave him his first victory in NASCAR’s premier series -- but a win that will always have an asterisk in Logano's mind because it resulted from a fortunate pit call in a rain-shortened race. The call for four tires on Lap 247 helped Logano on Sunday, but he had to earn the win, and he did so with a bold charge past Harvick and Keselowski on the Lap 274 restart. "I thought we gave it away at that point," said Logano, who traded track position for the new rubber and restarted 16th on Lap 251. "But four tires were good , and we had some good restarts and were able to get ourselves back up there. We worked hard. This is my home race track, the coolest place to win for me. I could never pick a better race track to win. I watched my first Cup race here when I was 5, and I won that other Cup race here, but I just felt like I had to win one the right way here, and this means so much. "I've got to thank all the boys at Team Penske. We're doing what we've got to do to win this thing right now -- both teams are -- and I'm proud of that. This is my home track, so it means so much to me." If Logano was elated with the victory, other Chase drivers experienced a gamut of emotions that ranged from relief to abject misery. Kyle Busch crumpled the hood of his car in a wreck that started when Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth got loose in traffic on the backstretch. Busch's team did yeoman work to keep him on the lead lap, setting up an eighth-place finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought his No. 88 Chevrolet to pit road for an unscheduled stop on Lap 123 to tighten a loose wheel -- the result of a hurried-but-unsuccessful attempt to tighten the lugs -- and lost a lap in the process. But Earnhardt regained his lap under caution and salvaged a ninth-place finish, so no harm done to his hopes of advancing after next Sunday's race at Dover . Kenseth survived the melee with Busch on Lap 188 but was gobbled up in a wreck with Paul Menard on Lap 270 and finished 21st. When Busch slowed after contact with Kenseth, he was rear-ended by the No. 5 Chevy of Kasey Kahne , who obliterated the nose of his car. Kahne finished 23rd. Ryan Newman also got a piece of that same accident and came home 18th. But the real casualties of the afternoon were Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin , who finished 36th and 37th, respectively and saw their hopes of advancing to the next round take a serious turn for the worse. Hamlin led early but a problem with the fuel probe in his No. 11 Toyota prevented his crew from filling the fuel cell. All told, Hamlin lost four laps as his team tried to rectify the issue. But Hamlin's woes were far from over. On Lap 180, he slid into a Turn 2 wreck involving Martin Truex Jr . and David Ragan , knocked his right front wheel out of kilter and took the car to the garage. He lost another 34 laps before returning to the track. Kurt Busch had to return to pit road on Lap 109 to tighten a loose wheel. Busch fell one lap down after Harvick passed him on Lap 162, but got the lap back as the beneficiary under a debris caution called on Lap 170. But that was a brief reprieve. Busch was running 15th when he clobbered the Turn 3 wall on Lap 221. He lost 35 laps in the garage before returning on Lap 255. After Sunday's race, only 12 points separate Kenseth in eighth from Almirola in 16th, with Carl Edwards , Allmendinger, Kahne, Newman, Hamlin, Biffle and Kurt Busch in between. The tightness of the standings sets up a free-for-all next Sunday at the Monster Mile for the remaining spots in the Chase's second round. 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
Dillon settles for third after leading 155 laps RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings SPARTA, Ky. -- From its pole-winning qualifying lap to triple-digit laps led, Ty Dillon 's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet was the car to beat in Saturday's VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway . After leading 155 of the race's 200 laps, the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 looked to have competition only in fellow rookie-of-the-year contender Chase Elliott . Yet as Elliott's No. 9 and Dillon's No. 3 fought side-by-side for the lead, it was Dillon's RCR teammate Brendan Gaughan who surprised them both by charging ahead. Brian Scott followed, moving ahead of Dillon and putting the driver with what seemed an ironclad grip on Victory Lane back to third. "This one definitely hurts," Dillon said. "I hate it for our Bass Pro Chevy guys. We had the night's dominant car and it was obvious that we really put it together as RCR and (Earnhardt Childress Racing engines) as a whole this weekend." The loss wasn't much easier for Scott, who earned his best finish of the season with the runner-up effort. "I think it was a toss-up between Ty and I, and he was a little better -- he was able to adjust his car in clean air where we were fighting with dirty air most of the race," Scott said. "At the end, I was proud of our guys to take four tires. I was surprised more cars didn't take four tires -- we had 50 laps on them and I was fighting a little bit loose … at the end it was too tight, probably needed one more round up on the track bar and we could've won this thing." RCR ended the night with all three of its full-time drivers in the top three. The finish shows the change the organization has seen since earlier this season, which saw Gaughan outside of the top 10 in all but two of the first 13 races, before his win at Road America . Second-place finisher Scott sat outside of the top 10 in seven of the first nine races this season. While Dillon frequented the top 10 earlier in the year, he didn't notch his first top-five finish until the 18th race of the season at Chicagoland Speedway . "We've all worked hard, we all realized we were pretty off in the beginning of the year and nobody was happy with it, nobody got complacent with it," Dillon said. "We fought hard. ECR stepped it up, and so did the guys at the race shop that don't get the credit; the guys behind the scenes, they stepped it up too." Even 22-year-old Cale Conley , who drove RCR's No. 33 Chevrolet in his ninth Nationwide Series start, finished in the top 10. With the clear addition of speed across the Richard Childress Racing fleet, the final laps at Kentucky came down to strategy, with the No. 3 on two fresh tires and the No. 2 and No. 62 on four fresh ones each. The race's eight cautions -- several of which landed in the race's closing 50 laps -- nudged both Dillon and Scott out of the running, and Gaughan into Victory Lane. "I think the series of cautions played against us … " Scott said. "I think we gave it some good restarts and got trapped on others. I wish I could do it over again, but I'm sure Ty feels the same way, and everybody but Brendan feels that way right now." Even without a trophy, Dillon's performance stands out among his record. His dominance surpassed his previous best of leading 130 laps in a NASCAR national series race in the Camping World Truck Series. His Indianapolis win earlier this year gave the driver his previous Nationwide Series best, with 24 laps out front. Even though it wasn't a win, Dillon's finish moved two points closer to Elliott in the points standings, and the driver continues to look forward to the contending for a title. "We don't ever give up, we don't ever let up," Dillon said. "I think that's kind of the RCR motto -- it starts with my grandfather and spreads through the whole company." 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