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JTG Daugherty Racing
The history of JTG Daugherty Racing and full crew for AJ Allmendinger
Longtime partner renews with JTG Daugherty Racing
AJ Allmendinger announced Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway that Bush's Beans renewed its longtime partnership with his JTG Daugherty Racing No. 47 team. "Earlier this year we announced Kroger, just here to announce that Bush's Beans is coming back for a multiyear deal," Allmendinger said. "They've been with the company for over a decade. It's one of the best sponsors we have, especially when it comes to being family-oriented. They've been a family-oriented company for almost 107 years now." The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, seeking his second consecutive Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berth, will be driving his Bush's Grillin' Beans Chevrolet SS in Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM) in his sponsor's home state. "Just to be able to announce that for another multiyear deal with them, especially in this day and age of sponsorship and continually keep trying to find sponsors to have such great sponsors like we do and to have them pumped up about our race team and come back for more years and hopefully a lot of great years to come, it's great for us," Allmendinger said. Bush Brothers & Company, a family business for over 100 years ago in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee, considers his NASCAR partners to be part of the family. "We are very excited to extend and expand our long-standing relationship with JTG Daugherty Racing ," Tom Ferriter, President and CEO, Bush Brothers & Company, said in a statement. "After 13 years, we think of Jodi (Geschickter), Tad, Brad ( Daugherty ), AJ and all of the No. 47 team as part of our family. "We look forward to continuing to work with JTG Daugherty Racing for many more years to come. We are especially proud to make this announcement at Bristol Motor Speedway since East Tennessee has been home to Bush Brothers & Company since our company's founding in 1908." Allmendinger will make his 15th career start in Thunder Valley, where he's led 54 laps with a 25.4 average finish. His best result was 12th in the 2011 spring race. He sits 22nd in the standings and likely needs to win his way into the Chase with three races left in the regular season.
JTG Daugherty Racing adds Burnett, Cope to team
RELATED: Learn which drivers, crew chiefs are on the move AJ Allmendinger will have a new crew chief and JTG Daugherty Racing will have a new director of competition as Randall Burnett and Ernie Cope have joined the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization. The team made the announcement Thursday via news release. Burnett previously served as lead race engineer at Chip Ganassi Racing , working with drivers Jamie McMurray (2010-12), Juan Pablo Montoya ('13) and Kyle Larson ('14-15). It will be his first stint as crew chief. In total, Burnett spent 10 years at Chip Ganassi Racing , where he also served as a 7-post analysis engineer, a lead team engineer and a data acquisition engineer. "I know the quality of work they do and the level they hold themselves to," Burnett, a native of Fenton, Missouri said. "Also, working with AJ is going to be exciting for me. We kind of grew up with the same background. AJ obviously had a tremendous amount of talent and is very passionate and very vocal about his passion." Burnett, a former Late Model racer, received a mechanical engineering degree from UNC Charlotte. "What I really like about Randall is that even though he hasn't been a crew chief, he's done every role you can ask for," Allmendinger said, "whether it's as a driver, car chief, engineer, test team or building race cars. "I think we are going to speak the same language pretty quickly. I know his knowledge is going to help us." The 2016 season will be Allmendinger's 10th, and his third (full-time with JTG ) since taking over the No. 47 entry. He scored his first career victory in 2014, winning at Watkins Glen and earning a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . He subsequently finished 13th in points, his best points finish to date. Burnett replaces the team’s former crew chief, Brian Burns. For Cope, it will be a reunion of sorts. The Tacoma, Washington native served as a crew chief in 2006-07 for the team’s drivers, Stacy Compton and Marcos Ambrose , in what is now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series. In 2015, he guided Chase Elliott to the runner-up honors in the XFINITY Series this past season while at JR Motorsports. He also has led Kevin Harvick to 12 wins in the series. Cope, 46, will oversee development of the cars how they are built, and will likely work closely with Richard Childress Racing officials, with whom JTG Daugherty Racing has a technical alliance. "I'll make sure … Randall has exactly what he needs to be competitive," Cope said. "It's going to be his first shot at being crew chief and he's the right guy for the position. "I feel 100 percent in my heart that he is going to succeed and I'm going to help him succeed." Allmendinger failed to make this year's 16-team Chase field, and finished 22nd in points. An accomplished road racer, he scored poles at both NASCAR road-course stops this past season, starting out front at Sonoma and Watkins Glen.
Allmendinger signs extension with JTG Daugherty
The 33-year-old driver to stay with team through 2020 season SHOP: NASCAR gear " RELATED: Allmendinger inks multiyear deal with Kroger KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver AJ Allmendinger has signed a five-year extension to remain with JTG Daugherty Racing , a move that will keep him in the No. 47 Chevrolet through the 2020 season. Allmendinger, 33, competed in nine Sprint Cup races with the team in 2013 before taking over the driving duties fulltime for the '14 season. A victory at Watkins Glen International was his first in the Sprint Cup Series, the first for the organization and secured a berth in last year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . While he and the team failed to advance to past the opening Challenger Round of the Chase, his 13th-place points finish was a career best. The team is co-owned by husband and wife Tad and Jodi Geschickter as well as former NBA star Brad Daugherty . It was recently announced that The Kroger Company had increased its funding for the single-car team, serving as primary sponsor for 17 races this season and 24 in '16. "It goes along with this Kroger deal and a lot of the companies we have," Allmendinger said of his contract extension during a press conference prior to Saturday night's SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, Sirius XM). "… The great thing is we've got a lot of sponsors; the tough thing is trying to remember them all. My suit weighs like 12 pounds now. It's a good problem to have. "With that said, those sponsors are here long-term; Tad and I did a new deal through 2020 which to me was just a no-brainer. Tad and Jodi have been such a big influence on my life outside the race car. Inside the race car it's great to have a job and be here for a long time but what they mean to me outside the car is family, people I consider some of my best friends. Kind of a renewed love of the sport they've given me, just a different outlook. … Tad handed me the contract and I flipped to the back page and signed it and said 'here you go.'" Allmendinger has 237 career starts in the Sprint Cup Series. He is also a two-time winner in the XFINITY Series. "Anybody that knows me they see my passion that I have, I always try to go out there and try to be better," he said. "It pushes me and my life every day. This race team, I really take everything to heart because I know how hard (they) work, what they give us and the effort they put into this race team. And I think sponsors see that too." Allmendinger enters tonight's race at Kansas Speedway 19th in points. He has two top-10 finishes in 10 starts this season. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Hard tires, reworked curbing present challenges at repaved Watkins Glen
RELATED: Before and after: Watkins Glen repave WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams wrapped up a two-day organizational test Wednesday at newly repaved Watkins Glen International, emerging with better ideas of the challenges they'll face when the series returns for the Aug. 4-7 race weekend. Among those challenges: reworked curbing, a fast circuit and a harder-compound tire that has made grip elusive. A total of 16 Sprint Cup teams -- one permitted from each organization -- tried to unlock the novelty of the $12 million resurfacing project, using a Goodyear tire that emphasizes durability at the expense of traction and wear. The rubber compound chosen is similar to that used July 9 at Kentucky Speedway, site of the Sprint Cup Series' most recent race on a repaved track. At Kentucky, the tire selection made for treacherous conditions in certain spots and made passing a delicate process. Though road courses don't lend themselves to the multi-groove racing seen at several well-aged oval tracks, Watkins Glen might still be a tricky place to maneuver when the series reconvenes for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen. "The main thing we've learned so far is how hard the tire is," said Jamie McMurray, driver of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet. "It just seems to be no wear at all or lap time fall-off right now. This place didn't ever wear tires like Sonoma, but it seems like the tire is pretty hard." Sonoma, the other road course where the Sprint Cup Series races, is a much more intricate circuit with qualifying speeds roughly 30 mph slower than at Watkins Glen's open, free-wheeling layout. The Goodyear tire compound designated for both the Watkins Glen test and the race weekend is the same used for right-side tires in XFINITY Series competition at Iowa Speedway. Those Iowa right-sides will be used at all four corners for the Sprint Cup event at the 2.45-mile road course. Racing with a softer tire with more adhesion would potentially introduce the threat of excessive wear or blistering. It's a trade-off that Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Chase Elliott says he's willing to accept. "I think a lot of it is just having a fresh surface like this, you've got to have a tire that's pretty hard," said Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports' driver representative for the two-day test. "It's fast, and to ask a tire to hold up, you've got to bring something that's durable. It puts Goodyear in a tough spot, but I think they do a good job of trying to make the most of tough situations. There's been a lot of repaves here lately and I know they're working hard." David Groseclose, NASCAR's lead tire engineer, said Wednesday that the benefits of competing with a more rigid rubber compound outweighed the potential drawbacks. "As with all repaves -- same thing as Kentucky -- if you don't have a hard tire, you're going to blister them up," Groseclose said. "The way that works is if you've got a soft compound and you use it, the soft compounds tend to retain heat. It's just the nature of a soft compound. But on a repave, it's not going to wear so that heat's not going to be dissipated out of the tire. It has nowhere to go, so it stays in the tire, so that's why it blisters up. That's what we saw at Kentucky with the XFINITY and Truck Series." In addition to the surface itself, the track features new concrete for the rumble strips that border the circuit's turns and run-off areas. Some drivers found the differences barely noticeable, but Kurt Busch discovered a distinction the hard way with an early Tuesday spin as he bounded over the apex points in the backstretch chicane on one of his initial laps. "It's a lot different," said Tony Gibson, Busch's crew chief on the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet. "Kurt's like, 'I've got to learn all the curbs again.' The curbs over in the bus stop (chicane) are probably the biggest change. They're way more aggressive, and they've tightened up, so it's a lot tighter lane through there." Said Elliott, who will race here in Sprint Cup for the first time next weekend: "Some of the curbs may be a little different here or there, some a little rougher, a little smoother just depending on how they laid the asphalt in or however it worked. It's as close as you could make a track from an old surface to a repave, for sure." Five Sprint Cup teams participated in a Goodyear tire test May 10-11, and another 16 were present for this week's organizational test. For the remaining half of the field, the work toward finding the proper handle begins with opening practice on Friday, Aug. 5. "If you get your balance right, it'll be a no-drama," Gibson said. "Man, I told Kurt earlier, 'I'd hate to know I had to come here next Friday and hit the track for the first time and try to figure out these curbs and how much the race track has changed.' It'll be a handful in the short amount of time we get to practice. "It'll be interesting to see when we come back who has issues and who doesn't. But it's definitely going to be a plus to come and learn the race track, even if your car is not right or whatever, just getting here and getting behind the wheel and getting time on the race track is going to mean more." Pit notes: -- The full roster (in alphabetical order) of drivers and teams participating in the test: AJ Allmendinger ( JTG Daugherty Racing ), Ryan Blaney (Wood Brothers Racing ), Clint Bowyer (HScott Motorsports), Chris Buescher (Front Row Motorsports), Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing ), Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing ), Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports), Brad Keselowski (Team Penske), Michael McDowell (Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing ), Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing ), Casey Mears (Germain Racing ), Brian Scott (Richard Petty Motorsports), Regan Smith (Tommy Baldwin Racing ), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing ), Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing ). -- Casey Mears turned the fastest lap in the two-day test, which was divided into four sessions of four hours apiece. Mears pushed the Germain Racing No. 13 Chevrolet in the closing session to a best lap of 126.7 mph, a good bit slower than the track qualifying record of 129.491 mph set by Marcos Ambrose in August 2014. -- Brad Keselowski returned to the track Wednesday, one day after his severe, nearly head-on crash in Turn 1. He turned 74 laps over both sessions in a reserve Team Penske No. 2 Ford. -- Two teams -- Furniture Row Racing (driver Martin Truex Jr.) and Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing (driver Michael McDowell) -- were absent from testing's opening day, arriving in the Watkins Glen garage Wednesday in time for the two closing sessions. -- Wednesday's final session was extended 30 minutes to a 5:30 p.m. ET close because of a nearly hour-long clean-up for fluid on the track. After Chase Elliott's No. 24 Chevrolet suffered a broken axle, Clint Bowyer's No. 15 Chevy ran over the part, damaging the car's transmission. -- NASCAR XFINITY Series teams are scheduled to turn their first laps on the new Watkins Glen surface next Thursday. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will stage a support race the following day on the 2.45-mile course.
Allmendinger not injured, still feeling 'gut-punched'
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- AJ Allmendinger's crash at Kentucky Speedway almost three weeks ago left him with a bandaged left hand and a thumb that required X-rays. Those scans came back negative, and the 34-year-old driver says it hasn't given him trouble since. Still, Allmendinger maintained he's suffering some ill effects -- just not from that. "Nah, I feel like I've just been gut-punched and kicked in the not-such-fun place the last seven weeks," Allmendinger said, "so that's more the lingering effect." Allmendinger's remarks came Tuesday during Day 1 of a two-day organizational test for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams on the fresh pavement at Watkins Glen International, site of the JTG - Daugherty Racing driver's only premier-series victory in 2014. Given his road- racing pedigree, the 2.45-mile road course serves as an ample opportunity when the series returns Aug. 7 for the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen. But worn down by the results of the last two months -- a nine-race stretch with a 23.9 average finish and three DNFs -- Allmendinger says he's placing a greater value on bettering the No. 47 team's overall execution than punching a ticket to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs with a one-race wonder. "Performance everywhere's just got to improve," Allmendinger said. "It's no secret I love this race track, I love road course racing . It's my background, but it's no different mentality than going to Pocono this weekend, going to Bristol after that, going to Michigan. We've just got to be better as a team -- all of us together. "This is a place -- here and Sonoma, just road course racing in general -- where I think a driver can make more of a difference, but you've still got to have the right package." The two-day test afforded Allmendinger some extra prep time on the track's new asphalt. And while Watkins Glen ranks as a track where Allmendinger might control his own fate, minimizing the mistakes and misfortunes that have dogged the No. 47 Chevrolet of late is the priority, according to first-year crew chief Randall Burnett. "It's definitely one of AJ's niches -- here, Sonoma, he runs really well at Martinsville. We're definitely trying to capitalize on that," Burnett said. "That's why we're up here testing, making sure we can put our best foot forward on this deal. We've been working really hard on all of our programs -- our mile-and-a-half stuff's come a really long way this year. We've still got to get better for sure."
JTG Daugherty Racing announces Allmendinger for ‘14
JTG Daugherty Racing announces Allmendinger as driver for 2014.
Kenseth, No. 20 team penalized for failed inspection
NASCAR levied penalties to the race-winning Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota team Wednesday after last weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. As a result of infractions found in a post-race pass through the laser inspection station (LIS), the No. 20 team was docked 15 championship points in the team owner standings and driver Matt Kenseth absorbed a 15-point deduction in the Sprint Cup drivers' standings. The points penalty moved Kenseth, a two-time winner this year, from eighth to ninth place in the standings. The P3-grade penalty also carries a $25,000 fine for No. 20 crew chief Jason Ratcliff. The No. 20 Toyota driven to victory by Kenseth in the New Hampshire 301 was found out of compliance during Sunday's post-race trip through the LIS platform. The car was sent to the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, for further evaluation this week. A host of other teams were issued written warnings Wednesday by the sanctioning body: -- The Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet team for driver Austin Dillon and the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevy for driver Kevin Harvick were both handed written warnings and docked 15 minutes of practice time during this weekend's activities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The No. 3 team failed LIS three times pre-race and pushed their current warning total to four. The No. 4 entry failed body template inspection three times pre-qualifying. -- The Team Penske No. 22 Ford team for driver Joey Logano and the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota of driver Carl Edwards both failed LIS twice. The No. 22's violation came in pre-race inspection; the No. 19's was in pre-qualifying. Both teams received written warnings (their first). -- The following Sprint Cup teams received written warnings for failing pre-qualifying template inspection twice: Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 1 (driver Jamie McMurray ) and No. 42 ( Kyle Larson ), Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 ( Austin Dillon ), Roush Fenway Racing's No. 6 ( Trevor Bayne ), Stewart-Haas Racing's No. 10 ( Danica Patrick ) and No. 14 ( Tony Stewart ), HScott Motorsports' No. 15 (Clint Bowyer), Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 19 ( Carl Edwards ), Wood Brothers Racing's No. 21 ( Ryan Blaney ), JTG Daugherty Racing's No. 47 (AJ Allmendinger) and BK Racing's No. 83 (Matt DiBenedetto). -- The Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet team for driver Ty Dillon in the NASCAR XFINITY Series was also issued a written warning for failing template inspection three times before qualifying. </p>
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Standings
After Race 20 of the 2016 season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pos Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt PPos G/L Attempts 1 Stewart-Haas Racing 4 671 0 -- 1 0 20 2 Team Penske 2 647 -24 -24 2 0 20 3 Stewart-Haas Racing 41 627 -44 -20 3 0 20 4 Team Penske 22 606 -65 -21 5 1 20 5 Joe Gibbs Racing 18 601 -70 -5 6 1 20 6 Joe Gibbs Racing 19 593 -78 -8 4 -2 20 7 Furniture Row Racing 78 573 -98 -20 7 0 20 8 Hendrick Motorsports 48 552 -119 -21 8 0 20 9 Joe Gibbs Racing 20 545 -126 -7 9 0 20 10 Joe Gibbs Racing 11 542 -129 -3 10 0 20 11 Hendrick Motorsports 24 525 -146 -17 11 0 20 12 Richard Childress Racing 3 520 -151 -5 13 1 20 13 Richard Childress Racing 31 507 -164 -13 12 -1 20 14 Hendrick Motorsports 88 504 -167 -3 14 0 20 15 Chip Ganassi Racing 1 496 -175 -8 15 0 20 16 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 472 -199 -24 20 4 20 17 Stewart-Haas Racing 14 469 -202 -3 18 1 20 18 Hendrick Motorsports 5 462 -209 -7 19 1 20 19 Roush Fenway Racing 6 458 -213 -4 16 -3 20 20 Wood Brothers Racing 21 450 -221 -8 17 -3 20 21 Roush Fenway Racing 17 449 -222 -1 21 0 20 22 JTG Daugherty Racing 47 421 -250 -28 22 0 20 23 Roush Fenway Racing 16 397 -274 -24 23 0 20 24 Richard Childress Racing 27 397 -274 0 24 0 20 25 Stewart-Haas Racing 10 373 -298 -24 25 0 20 26 Richard Petty Motorsports 43 363 -308 -10 26 0 20 27 HScott Motorsports 15 359 -312 -4 27 0 20 28 Germain Racing 13 310 -361 -49 28 0 20 29 Front Row Motorsports 38 305 -366 -5 29 0 20 30 Circle Sport-Leavine Family 95 280 -391 -25 31 1 20 31 BK Racing 23 278 -393 -2 30 -1 20 32 Front Row Motorsports 34 237 -434 -41 34 2 20 33 Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 234 -437 -3 33 0 20 34 Richard Petty Motorsports 44 234 -437 0 32 -2 20 35 Premium Motorsports 98 204 -467 -30 36 1 20 36 BK Racing 83 201 -470 -3 35 -1 20 37 HScott Motorsports 46 186 -485 -15 37 0 20 38 GO FAS Racing 32 161 -510 -25 38 0 20 39 Premium Motorsports 55 125 -546 -36 39 0 15 40 The Motorsports Group 30 93 -578 -32 40 0 20 41 Front Row Motorsports 35 46 -625 -47 41 0 3 42 Circle Sport - Leavine Family 59 26 -645 -20 42 0 1 43 BK Racing 93 11 -660 -15 43 0 4 44 BK Racing 26 3 -668 -8 44 0 1 45 Hillman Racing 40 0 -671 -3 45 0 1
The Rundown: Indianapolis driver grades
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Crown Royal Presents The Combat Wounded Coalition 400 At The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: 1. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Total domination. Busch won Saturday's and Sunday's races from the pole and led a record 149 laps Sunday. His average running position Sunday was 1.2, and his lowest position was third. Seriously? Busch's hammerlock on the field was on par with what Martin Truex Jr. did in the Coca-Cola 600 . Thus the same mark. Grade: AAA+ 2. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth is still winless at the Brickyard but has now finished second three times. More numbers: In Kenseth's first four starts at Indianapolis for JGR, his finishes are 5th, 4th, 7th and 2nd. Grade: A 3. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson had to do a pass-through on Lap 86 for a pit-road speeding penalty, dropping him to 23rd. Attrition and persistence led to Johnson's first top 10 since he finished third at Charlotte two months ago. Nice finish, but this team still needs to clean up its mistakes. Grade: A- 4. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Ditto the No. 11 team. Hamlin was assessed his seventh pit-road speeding penalty of the season one lap after Jimmie Johnson (same round of green-flag stops). Hamlin was running third at the time and fell back to 18th. Nice recovery, but … Grade: A- 5. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . Larson was the second-biggest winner of the afternoon, moving up four spots in the standings to 15th. Grade: A 6. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick upped his points lead to 24. Two races ago it was down to four. If you don't think that's important, remember this: If qualifying is rained out, the field is set by the standings -- as is the order of selecting a pit stall. So, yes, the standings still matter. Grade: A 7. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. Logano restarted second on the final restart but couldn't hold the position or make a run at Kyle Busch. Logano, by the way, finished second to Busch in last year's Brickyard. Grade: A 8. Martin Truex Jr. , No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex was strong all afternoon – his 5.6 average running position was second to Kyle Busch's – but he was no match for the winner. Grade: A 9. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Sunday's top 10 was Dillon's ninth of the season (20 starts), equaling his total for the first 85 starts of his Sprint Cup career. Grade: A 10. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard benefited from accidents in front of him that he was able to avoid to score his second top 10 of the season. Grade: A- 11. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart started third and was running with the leaders when he was caught speeding on pit road just before the third caution and had to restart at the tail end of the field, one lap down. He was still back in the pack (20th) with 25 laps to go in regulation. But then came all the cautions. "Smoke" finally got his lap back with a free pass on the fifth caution, survived contact with Jamie McMurray on Lap 166 and salvaged a decent finish on his last go-round at Indy. Grade: B 12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse survived the big Carl Edwards - Ryan Newman wreck that brought out the red flag to get a finish that belied his day. He turned 14 laps in the top 15 and had an average running positon of 20.1. Grade: B- 13. Jeff Gordon , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Despite problems with restarts, Gordon was able to post his best finish of the season and overcome the incredible pressure of replacing Alex Bowman in the No. 88. ... Yes, I'm kidding. Except for the restarts part. Vive Monsieur Gordon! Grade: A 14. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Buescher recorded the best finish of his Sprint Cup career on a day in which he turned all of two laps in the top 15 and had a 23.7 average running position. Grade: B 15. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott registered his best finish since a second-place finish at Michigan more than a month ago. Grade: B 16. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . For only the second time this season, Busch failed to finish in the top 10 in back-to-back races. Grade: B- 17. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski was the rage early on with his team's bold pit strategy, but the second half of the race bore zero resemblance to the first half. Getting caught up in the Carl Edwards - Ryan Newman wreck didn't help, either. Grade: B 18. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Despite a fourth-straight finish outside the top 10, Kahne moved up two spots in the standings to 16th, 10 points behind Kyle Larson . He jumped one driver who missed the race ( Dale Earnhardt Jr. ) and one who didn't use the best judgment and crashed with 10 laps to go ( Trevor Bayne ). Grade: C 19. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray's nice run came to a screeching halt on the restart on Lap 165 when he moved down in front of Tony Stewart but hadn't cleared the No. 14. Stewart wasn't about to lift, and the No. 1 went for a slide onto the access road before returning to the track and smacking Ryan Newman . Worse, the caution gave the free pass to Chase-cutoff competitor Kasey Kahne . Grade: B- 20. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Cassill avoided calamity to get his fourth-best finish of the season. Grade: B 21. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Bowyer contributed to the caution-fest at the end of the race when he got into the back of Trevor Bayne , who inexplicably went for the block with so much on the line (Chase standings) and running so far back in the field. Grade: C 22. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Wrong place, wrong time. Again. Patrick had nothing to do with the Carl Edwards - Ryan Newman wreck but still ended up a part of it. On the other hand, she finished right where she spent most of the race. Grade: C 23. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family. McDowell posted his best finish at the Brickyard in seven starts. Grade: B- 24. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears finished in the top 25 for the 10th time this season. Grade: C 25. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Almirola, who is still looking for his first top 10 of the year, is on pace to have his worst season with RPM, for which he has been driving full time since 2010. Grade: C 26. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith posted his best finish since a 22nd at Pocono in early June. Grade: C 27. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Despite being collected in the last wreck of the day, Scott picked up his best finish in his past eight starts. Grade: C 28. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . After posting four top-30 finishes in his first 14 starts, Annett has four in his past six. Grade: C 29. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Since a 37.3 average finish in his first three starts of the season, Whitt has an average finish of 27.5 over his next 14 races. Grade: C 30. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne's move to block Clint Bowyer on the backstretch on Lap 158 was as costly as it was ill-advised. Bayne spun all the way to his worst finish of the season and to 18th in the standings, 14 points behind 15th-place Kyle Larson . Grade: D 31. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman's day began to unravel on the restart on Lap 154. He restarted sixth, outside of Carl Edwards . On the first turn, Edwards drifted up into Newman and the No. 31 suffered major damage. With Newman sitting near the Chase cut-off line, it was important for him to coax the car home. He returned to the track but couldn't make it to the finish when Jamie McMurray ran up the track into him on the Lap 165 restart after contact with Tony Stewart . Bottom line: Valiant effort but a DNF and 10-point day. Grade: C 32. Ryan Ellis , No. 93 Toyota, BK Racing . Ellis picked up a career-best finish in his fourth Sprint Cup Series start. Grade: C 33. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson ran to form, and his 33.8 average finish is third-worst in the Sprint Cup Series among drivers with at least 10 starts. Grade: D 34. Patrick Carpentier, No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing . After not starting a Sprint Cup Series race since 2011, Carpentier made his second start of 2016. He finished 37th last month at Sonoma. Grade: D 35. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards was part of the strong JGR contingent all afternoon – 6.6 averaging running position – until his mishap on Lap 154. Whether it was a tight car or dirty tires, the outcome was costly as he dropped two spots in the standings. Grade: F 36. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney was collected and knocked out of the race in the Carl Edwards -initiated wreckage that resulted in a red flag. Blaney dropped two spots in the standings to 19th, and is now 22 points behind 15th-place Kyle Larson . Blaney began the day nine points ahead of Larson. Grade: C 37. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan brought out the third caution on Lap 120 when his left-rear tire went down and he slammed the wall. It was his third DNF and second-worst finish of the season. Grade: F 38. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger was running 11th when his car lost water pressure. Moments later it overheated with less than 100 laps to go. It was Allmendinger's second DNF in the past three races. Grade: F 39. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle's day ended after 53 laps when his right-front tire went down and he slammed into the outside wall. His streak of top 10s – three – ended as well. Grade: F 40. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . His engine didn't even make through five laps, leaving DiBenedetto with his seventh DNF of the season. "How is that even possible?" DiBenedetto tweeted. "Who has the voodoo doll of me that severely dislikes me?" Grade: F