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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.
Sadler wins first XFINITY Chase race at Kentucky
RELATED: Results " Standings " Chase Grid SPARTA, KY – A huge push from Daniel Suárez on a restart with four laps to go in Saturday night's eventful VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 sent Elliott Sadler ahead of Ryan Blaney to win the opening race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase at Kentucky Speedway . Sadler's third win of the season and 13th of his XFINITY Series career was about more than just stamping his way into Round 2 of the Chase. The Emporia, Virginia, native fought for the win while thinking of his mother, Bell, who was released from the hospital Saturday, after a week of hospitalization and two surgeries. "We fought through a lot tonight," Sadler said in Victory Lane. "I'm going to get a little emotional on you, I've been in the hospital all week with my mom in ICU watching her fight and fight through a lot of pain and suffering. (She) made her way back home tonight to watch the race. Mom, I love you. She leads so much by example." Sadler also credited his team, who helped Sadler battle from outside the top 15 earlier in the race. "These guys are my heroes," Sadler said. "We had a 10th or 15th place car at best. Still had to come in and really take our time and work on it. Great pit calls by Kevin (Meendering, crew chief) and the guys to get us in position. Got a good push there at the end. I do want to say thanks to Josh Berry for helping me a ton tonight. That kid did some cool things on the restarts. This OneMain Financial team has no quit in them. We just fight till the end. This is a great way to start the Chase." Suárez, who finished second, said he struggled with a tight condition all night but was best at the end of the race. "Right at the end, we were pretty good , maybe just a little tight but we were strong," he said. "I feel like we were the fastest car out there at the end. I just needed one or two laps more to get the win." The inaugural XFINITY Series Chase race offered plenty of excitement and drama. With the "win and advance" format putting a greater premium on victories, drivers found themselves on the edge of control at a track where the racing groove was extremely tight since undergoing a repave in May. " At halfway, we were running 20th," Sadler said. "By my calculations, we were probably 10th or 11th in points, so to fight back that last 100 laps to gain that kind of momentum probably means a lot for us and these guys. I'm so proud of these guys. Dale (Earnhardt Jr., team owner) and Kelley (Earnhardt-Miller, team manager) and all of our partners for Hunt Bros., and Chevrolet and everyone that does so much for us at JR Motorsports. This is a great way to start off the Chase and keeps the momentum on our side, we can relax and go to Dover and have fun there and Charlotte and get ready for the second round." XFINITY Chase drivers Ty Dillon , Brandon Jones and Erik Jones all found themselves in a deep hole after being collected in accidents throughout a caution-filled race. Dillon and Erik Jones tangled while racing for second with 12 laps remaining. The event was red-flagged for five minutes, 34 seconds for cleanup of the Turn 3 incident. RELATED: See the wreck " Jones' take " Dillon's take Jones, the pole sitter who led a race-high 100 laps, took responsibility for the crash. "I just got sucked around," Jones said after the incident. "I tried to slow down but Ty was holding me down there pretty tight on the restart, slamming doors through (Turns) 1 and 2. It was my fault but it's a pretty tough aero situation to be in. "I just couldn't hang on to it. I tried to slow down but he kept slamming down on my door and I did all I could to hang on to it. It definitely looks like we're going to have to run really well at Dover and Charlotte or even win." Behind Sadler and Suárez, Sprint Cup rookie Ryan Blaney finished third while Sam Hornish Jr . and Matt Tifft completed the top five. Tifft, a NASCAR Next alumnus made his XFINITY Series return after undergoing brain surgery in July to remove a remove a benign, low-grade glioma. Sadler leaves Kentucky Speedway with an eight-point lead in the standings and guaranteed admission to the next round of the Chase at Kansas Speedway in three weeks. Suárez (+27 points above the cutoff line) is second in the Chase standings, followed by Brendan Gaughan (+21), Ryan Reed (+19), Darrell Wallace Jr . (+19), Justin Allgaier (+17), Brennan Poole (+16), Blake Koch (+15), Erik Jones (-3), Ryan Sieg (-5), Brandon Jones (-15) and Ty Dillon (-15). &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Miller: 'It's them pushing the envelope'
NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, Scott Miller, talks about the number of cars having trouble passing inspection before qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Larson sweeps all three Sprint Cup practices at New Hampshire
RELATED: Full results for final practice Kyle Larson made it a perfect sweep of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices, as his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet flew to the top of the leaderboard at 132.577 mph in Saturday's final practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Larson paced the field in Friday's lone session and tied Martin Truex Jr . for the fastest speed/time in Saturday's morning practice. Joe Gibbs Racing 's Denny Hamlin made a late surge to nab the second spot on the speed charts, wheeling his No. 11 Toyota at 132.549 mph. Hendrick Motorsports ' Kasey Kahne laid down the third-fastest speed, his No. 5 Chevrolet peaking at 132.489 mph. Kahne and teammate Alex Bowman (10th), who is driving the No. 88 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr . this weekend, were the only non-Chase drivers to record top-15 speeds in the final session. Pole sitter Carl Edwards came up fourth in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (132.420 mph), while Hendrick Motorsports ' Jimmie Johnson completed the top five with a fast speed of 132.255 mph from his No. 48 Chevrolet. Points leader Truex Jr. -- who tied Larson for the fastest speed in practice earlier today -- ranked sixth in the field this session, propelling his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota at 132.250 mph. Reigning race winner Matt Kenseth was seventh-fastest, his No. 20 JGR Toyota topping out at 132.222 mph. Jamie McMurray (18th), Austin Dillon (22nd) and Chris Buescher (28th) were the only Chase drivers to record practice speeds outside the top 15. The Sprint Cup Series returns to the track Sunday for the Bad Boy Off Road 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Full results for Practice 2 Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr . both reached 132.186 mph early in the second Sprint Cup Series practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday morning. The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver also paced the field during Friday's lone Sprint Cup practice session in his No. 42 Chevrolet. Last weekend's Chicagoland winner, Truex Jr. in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota laid down the exact same speed (132.186 mph) and lap time (28.814 seconds) as Larson in the 55-minute session. Reigning race winner Matt Kenseth was third-fastest, his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota reaching a top speed of 132.085 mph, while his JGR teammate Denny Hamlin came up fourth in the field (132.030 mph). Hendrick Motorsports ' Chase Elliott rounded out the top five with a top speed of 131.980 mph in his No. 24 Chevrolet. Coors Light Pole winner Carl Edwards was sixth-fastest in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The top-nine performers in the second session were all Chase drivers and Chasers made up 11 of the top-15; Brad Keselowski (18th), Tony Stewart (19th), Austin Dillon (23rd) and Chris Buescher (33rd) were the outlying Chase competitors.
William Byron wins at Loudon in Chase opener
RELATED: Race results " Series standings " Updated Chase Grid LOUDON, N. H. – William Byron stole a page from his mentor and team owner, Kyle Busch . Leading 161 of 175 laps in Saturday’s UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – the first race in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase – Byron cruised to victory, the way Busch has done so many times before, and punched his ticket into the Chase's Round of 6. Not that runner-up Christopher Bell , Byron’s stablemate at Kyle Busch Motorsports, didn’t make it interesting in the closing laps. As Byron worked traffic in the late going, Bell closed from 1.325 seconds behind with five laps left to .430 seconds down on the next-to-last lap. But Bell ran out of time and crossed the finish line .446 seconds behind his No. 1-seeded teammate, who won for a series-best sixth time. "I wore myself out passing some lappers," Byron said. "But with the amount of laps we had left, I thought I'd be OK. I was afraid the 4 (Bell) was going to catch us there at the end. We started to get tight, but that's what happens sometimes when you get out front. "It was really good – just a great race for us. I can't thank these guys enough. Everyone at KBM, (sponsor) Liberty University – it's just really cool to get a win here in the Chase. It feels awesome." Two-time series champion Matt Crafton came home third, followed by Tyler Reddick and Timothy Peters . With the Chase field to be trimmed from eight to six drivers two races hence at Talladega Superspeedway , Ben Kennedy and Daniel Hemric fell below the provisional cut line. Kennedy finished 11th and trails Johnny Sauter (10th on Saturday and sixth in the standings) by one point. If Kennedy's result was only mildly disappointing, Hemric's was a catastrophe. With his left rear tire cut down to the rim, Hemric spun in Turn 1 on Lap 25 to bring out the third caution of the race. His truck suffered a cut brake line and consequent fire in the left rear wheel well. Hemric lost 33 laps under repairs, finished 28th and fell to last in the Chase standings, 21 points behind Sauter with two races left in the Round of 8. In all probability, Hemric will have to win one of those two events, at Las Vegas and Talladega, to advance to the Round of 6. After leading the first 54 laps, Byron lost the top spot briefly when Cody Coughlin stayed out under the fourth caution and Bell, Kennedy, Crafton and Spencer Gallagher leap-frogged ahead of Byron with two-tire and fuel-only calls in the pits. But Byron regained the lead from Bell on Lap 69 and held it the rest of the way. As Bell gained ground in the final laps, Byron was trying to save his equipment to prepare for a possible late caution. "I was expecting it, so I didn't push too hard," Byron said. "I was expecting to get a caution, hopefully save something, but we gave it all we had there the whole race, and I just can’t thank these guys enough." Byron leaves New Hampshire with a 16-point lead in the standings and guaranteed admission to the next round of the Chase. Crafton (+11 points above the cutoff line) is second in the Chase standings, followed by Bell (+10), John Hunter Nemechek (ninth on Saturday, +5), Peters (+3), Sauter (+1), Kennedy (-1) and Hemric (-21). Note: Nemechek's No. 8 Chevrolet failed the post-race heights inspection. Any potential pnelaties will be announced next week. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Plenty of tests passed already for The Glen's new look
RELATED: See before and after photos of the Watkins Glen repave WATKINS GLEN , N.Y. -- The true test will come this weekend, but in some ways, the new pavement at Watkins Glen International has already had its share of trial runs -- both for the racing surface itself and the safety systems off it. A tire test in May, an organizational test last week, and now Friday's practice before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series holds its final road course event of the season, Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at the Glen (2:30 p.m. ET, USA, MRN, SiriusXM). But another true test came with getting the stamp of approval from the man in charge. "They knocked it out of the park," said Michael Printup, Watkins Glen International track president, lauding the collaborative effort to freshen the 2.45-mile circuit's layout, curbing and drainage. Besides all those laps logged, it's also had its safety measures put to the test with Brad Keselowski 's severe crash in Turn 1 during last Tuesday's opening test day. His Team Penske No. 2 Ford was totaled, and Keselowski escaped without injury. But the Sprint Cup champion was also critical in remarks last weekend at Pocono Raceway , saying that the inherent danger of the Glen's opening corner -- a sharp, 90-degree right-hander at the bottom of a hill -- was an accepted but steep risk with potentially dire consequences. Those comments struck a sour tone with Printup, who cited similar nose-first accidents in the same corner -- by Jimmie Johnson in 2000 and Denny Hamlin in 2011 -- where the safety system in place did its job. The track uses a combination of the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier system and tire-pack barriers in front of the Armco steel guardrails. "We're glad Brad walked away. We're not happy with the comments, to be blunt," Printup said this week. "I think we all believe he was out of line because if that was anything but Armco and tire barrier, it might've been -- as he put it -- the one out of 1,000. That is by far the best (barrier). … " At 90 degrees, the worst thing you can hit is SAFER, but it's only tube steel for 10 inches and then an 18-inch gap and then it's cement wall. That cement wall would've never have moved for Jimmie or Denny. Who knows what it could've been. But by far, I think Brad just doesn't understand the engineering part of it, and the engineers will tell you that at 90 degrees, tire barrier and Armco is by far the safest." Safety mechanisms were just part of the assessments made in the $12 million offseason project, which Printup said had been debated for at least five years before proceeding. The effect of New York's harsh winters and pounding from competition had yielded nearly annual patching projects. When engineers noticed an advanced degradation in the layers of the asphalt, Printup said the time had come. What ensued was a group effort between NASCAR, paving experts at Lane Construction, International Speedway Corporation and Watkins Glen's team. The result was an ultra-smooth surface that will host stock-car racing for the first time this weekend. "About a year ago, NASCAR really started to get into the foray of understanding the asphalt, said Jerry Kaproth, NASCAR's manager of race track infrastructure. "Otherwise, it's always been left to the experts to do their own thing independently. This is the first year we've really started to track some of that. The cooperation between the organizations has never been better and part of that is we have enough insight from our consultants to know a little bit and to ask the right questions." The early reviews -- muddled somewhat by the necessary use of a harder-compound Goodyear tire for durability's sake -- have been largely positive. Printup said that drivers participating in the tire test in May found no dramatic changes aside from the curbing layout in the bus-stop chicane on the backstretch. The curbs, he said, were rebuilt to the same specifications, but extended length-wise at the corner's entry. "You'll recall some of the exciting racing that's gone on in the bus stop where they're cutting the corners -- they're hitting dirt and grass, and it was getting dangerous because they were basically digging a hole, which then can upset the car or slice a tire," Printup said, adding that track crews were tasked with patching and refilling the gaps multiple times through a race weekend in the past. "It all adds up to the right thing to do." The recent repaving covered not just the 2.45-mile portion of the track used by NASCAR series, but also the 3.4-mile configuration that includes " The Boot" layout of turns used in IMSA and IndyCar events. Tony Stewart , readying for his final Watkins Glen start, raced the longer circuit during a ride-swap here with Formula One star Lewis Hamilton in 2011. After the experience, Printup said Stewart grabbed him by the shirt, saying, "Dude, we gotta race the boot." Printup said he's had informal discussions with NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell about making that happen. He said that one of the only drawbacks would potentially be a reduction in lap count to achieve the same distance, meaning drivers would make fewer appearances at the track's different vantage points, but said that as a self-professed "road course guy," he'd love to see the longer configuration get its own test. "I would love to take a hard look at that and see, can we do the K&N race, can we do XFINITY down there," Printup said. "I don't think it would be right to just jump to the (Sprint) Cup cars, in my opinion, but man, I would like to see sometime in my tenure, I would love to see NASCAR in one of those three or four series run the boot. I think it'd be great."
Keselowski takes on 'The Big Apple' for Chase media tour
Team Penske 's Brad Keselowski entered the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 's Chicagoland opener as one of the favorites thanks to his four regular-season wins. He finished a strong fifth at Chicago and enters the New Hampshire weekend with an average finish of 10.7. Ahead of Sunday's Bad Boy Off Road 300, (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) Keselowksi traveled to New York City Thursday for his Chase media day to discuss NASCAR's playoff season. See what was on the 2012 Sprint Cup champion's docket. Getting ready for Live With Kelly. Tune in now! pic.twitter.com/HJo0fErSpl — Team Penske (@Team_Penske) September 22, 2016 Off to a good start to the NYC media day for @keselowski with @LiveKelly pic.twitter.com/jJjBU70lA9 — Team Penske (@Team_Penske) September 22, 2016 . @keselowski dishing on the @Lions on NFL Radio at the @SIRIUSXM studio #TheChase pic.twitter.com/2BRaseDJBT — Team Penske (@Team_Penske) September 22, 2016 . @keselowski live now on the @RoadandTrack Facebook page. Tune in to ask questions — Team Penske (@Team_Penske) September 22, 2016
The Climb: On the move at the Magic Mile
NASCAR.com's Matthew Dillner and Regan Smith tell you which drivers will climb through the field at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the second Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race of 2016.
Speeding penalties plague pit road at Chicago
Sunday's race in Chicago had its fair share of speeding penalties entering and exiting pit road. In total, there were 11 penalties called on teams for speeding -- including, three Chase contenders (Nos. 18, 20 and 48). The most damaging penalty was on the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team ( Jimmie Johnson ) during a cycle of green-flag pit stops. The team served a pass-through penalty on Lap 236 after speeding while exiting pit road. Johnson led a race-high 118 laps. You might be asking, how this happens and what can be done to fix it? Drivers don't use speedometers for maintaining speed. Instead, they use gear and RPM. Thus, before a race they know what gear and RPM to use in order to maintain pit road speed. NASCAR, then, controls the speed by using timing lines in multiple sections of pit road. So whenever there is a penalty NASCAR can tell the teams what section the speeding was in. Since the race at Indianapolis, NASCAR added extra pit road speeding lines for all tracks in this stretch except Bristol, meaning drivers and teams have had to make an in-season adjustment. Teams will pick pit stalls depending on a few things but an important factor is timing lines -- which can be tricky. If a driver is good at getting in and out of their pit box and can get all he can on the timing lines, then that team has an advantage over the field. The disadvantage, howvever, occurs when you risk it and get caught. The penalties, as was the case of Johnson, can end the day on a sour note. The Chicagoland event saw eight of the 11 penalties from speeding while exiting pit road. Six occured under green flag conditions. After this weekend, teams might start to think twice about risk vs. reward when it comes to speed on pit road. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Hamlin earns first career road course win at Watkins Glen
RELATED: Results " Standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Hamlin gear WATKINS GLEN , N.Y. – Denny Hamlin , winner of Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at the Glen , entertained a sold-out grandstand with a celebratory burnout that trailed a plume of smoke the entire length of the frontstretch at Watkins Glen International . But Hamlin's smoke show — with a bad back, no less — paled in comparison to the fireworks that preceded the checkered flag, Hamlin's first at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course. The race was in doubt until the final corner, with Martin Truex Jr . pressuring Hamlin, who led the final 10 laps after surging past Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch in Turn 1 following a Lap 81 restart. RELATED: Second red flag brought out after another wild restart But Truex never got a chance to drag-race Hamlin's No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to the finish line. As the cars neared the exit from Turn 7, with Truex running second and Keselowski third, contact from Keselowski's No. 2 Ford sent Truex's No. 78 Toyota spinning. Defending race winner Joey Logano took advantage of the melee to finish second ahead of Keselowski and 2014 Watkins Glen winner AJ Allmendinger , who knocked Kyle Larson off the track and into the inside barrier on the way to a fourth-place finish. Tony Stewart recovered from an early mistake—blowing the inner loop and losing 10 positions in the process—to finish fifth. Kyle Busch was sixth and Truex seventh after the last-lap spin. Hamlin won the race in pain, with nerve endings on fire in his back. "I just woke up with back spasms this morning," he explained. "Just hits me every three or four months or so. I just wake up and can't move. Really doubted being in the race car today, to be honest with you, but can't say enough about this whole FedEx Freight Toyota team. "Should've won both road courses (Hamlin was second to Stewart at Sonoma ), which is something we never would've predicted going into the year. Sold out crowd, two years in a row, this is a good time. I've finally won at all of the (types of) race tracks, so it's a great accomplishment for us." For the second-straight year, the Daytona 500 champion also has gone to Victory Lane at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen road course, with Hamlin joining 2015 winner Logano in that accomplishment. The victory was Hamlin’' second of the season and the 28th of his career, and though Hamlin was in a mood to celebrate, there were plenty of hurt feelings behind him. Keselowski took responsibility for the incident with Truex, who expressed his displeasure by banging fenders with the No. 2 car on the cool-down lap. "I got right up to the bumper of the 78 (Truex) and couldn't do anything there, and he made a move to get by the 11 (Hamlin) on the inside, and the 11 blocked him," Keselowski said. "I went high, and the 78 went high, and by then I was already deep in the corner and got into him and turned him. That was really unfortunate, and the last thing I wanted to see. "This track here, when you drive into the corner, you commit, and sometimes you don't know what will happen when you commit. The last thing I wanted to do was turn him. I'm proud of my guys for a really fast race car and it was another crazy Watkins Glen day." That craziness included eight cautions for 20 laps, four for multicar incidents in the final 38 laps. There were two yellows after Hamlin took the lead on Lap 81, when Kyle Busch and Keselowski ran wide in Turn 1, and Hamlin seized the moment. RELATED: Big wreck brings heavy damage to multiple cars at The Glen After the final restart on Lap 87 of 90, Truex stayed close to Hamlin, almost getting to the bumper of the No. 11 in the final corner before the contact from Keselowski turned him. The ensuing chaos allowed Hamlin to cross the finish line 2.065 seconds ahead of Logano for a victory that was nowhere near as comfortable as that margin might seem to indicate. It was an ending befitting a race track accustomed to wild racing. "Typical Watkins Glen ," Logano said. "I mean, it's just awesome, crazy racing, full contact. Just insane out there. So a lot of fun from the driver's seat and I'm sure the fans loved it as well in front of a sold out grandstand. It was pretty cool when I pulled over for the red flag in front of the grandstands and I could hear just fans screaming and yelling and loving it. I thought, 'Man, this is really cool to be in the driver's seat right now.' " </p>