- Did you mean:
JTG Daugherty Racing
The history of JTG Daugherty Racing and full crew for AJ Allmendinger
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.
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.
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
JTG Daugherty Racing announces Allmendinger for ‘14
JTG Daugherty Racing announces Allmendinger as driver for 2014.
'Dinger paving road to success for JTG Daugherty
Driver credits RCR alliance with early 2015 gains Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live FONTANA, Calif. -- It's not hard to get lost in the long roster of drivers when you're on a single-car team. But when a single-car team driver like AJ Allmendinger is racing up front with NASCAR champions, he's on everyone's radar. The California native comes to Auto Club Speedway for Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) sitting in the top five in driver standings with two top-10s already under his belt and looking to score another this weekend. But the No. 47 team isn't paving the way to single-car success on its own. Martin Truex Jr . and Casey Mears join Allmendinger's company. Truex Jr., driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, sits third in the driver standings and has started his 2015 season scoring nothing but top-10s. Mears, the driver of the No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet, is currently 12th in the standings with a top-10 finish in the Daytona 500 . All three are in a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing and from last year to now the gains the organizations have made are astounding. For Mears, the refining of the alliance has mostly come from understanding the specifics of what goes into a successful race car. "Just improving communication, it is one thing to get a sheet of paper that says, 'Hey, here is the setup,' " Mears said on Saturday. "But when you actually go up and put your arm around the guy that is actually setting that car up and looking at his procedure and understanding how he does it there are a lot nuances. The devil is in the details. I think that we have paid closer attention to a lot of those details, and it is starting to pay off." "I think we're working well together," Allmendinger said. "It's hard when you make an alliance, trying to fit in and see where you fit in and see how much data you truly get ... I think a lot last year we were just behind because we did the alliance basically right before 2014. So we were trying to catch up on cars and everything. We didn't maximize the tools we had, which RCR really allowed us to have pretty much everything we needed." After a slow churn in the alliance, Allmendinger and the No. 47 team are finally getting their footing and it shows. "Going into this year, we just looked at 'OK, how do we make ourselves better,' " Allmendinger said. "We just started a lot further ahead this year than we were last year. This weekend and last weekend we have a brand new car. It's one of the first brand new cars from top to bottom we've had since the team was with Toyota. Just being ahead has really helped us." Allmendinger might have gotten a slow start last year before making the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field, but he scored his first top-10 of the season at the Fontana track. Looking ahead, Allmendinger recognizes that hard work equals success. "I'm happy with our team and where it's going," Allmendinger said. "We've got a lot of work to go to be one of those No. 48s and No. 4s and all those teams every weekend, but I can see the hard work is paying off and that's what's great from inside the race car and outside of it." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
JTG Daugherty forms Chevrolet-based alliance
Single-car entry latches on with Richard Childress Racing for 2014
The Rundown: Bristol driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Chase Grid MORE: Peyton's day at the track " Before and after of damaged cars Breaking down the full field for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway : 1. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards was the class of the field Sunday at Bristol and the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver not to have an issue. Starting from the pole Edwards dominated the race and made it pay off, earning his first victory of the season and all but punching his ticket to the Chase. Grade: A+ 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt's day got off to a terrible start when his car did not have power at the drop of the green flag and he fell two laps down just as the race got under way. Never giving up, he got his lap back by taking the wave around on the third caution of the day and fought hard to climb his way to the front. On the final restart of the day he powered to second and held off Kurt Busch and teammate Chase Elliott . Grade: A+ 3. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet came to life late in the race and took the lead for the first time with 145 laps to go. Despite a left rear tire rub in the closing stages Busch fought hard and ended the day inside the top five. Grade: A 4. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Running inside the top 10 on Lap 179, the rookie contender had to hit pit road with a loose wheel and fell back. With less than 100 laps to go he was inside the top five and charging forward. With 32 laps to go Elliott got a huge restart and jumped to second and put pressure on Carl Edwards for the lead. He slipped to fourth in the end, but recorded the best finish of his young career. Grade: A 5. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Could Roush Fenway Racing be on the upswing? Bayne started 10th and had another strong run until he had a pit road commitment line violation on the fourth caution of the day. He rallied back, beat and banged his way to the front and finished fifth. Grade: A 6. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto had a solid, quiet day going at Bristol, racing his way into the top 10 with less than 20 laps to go. The BK Racing driver was far from content, though. He knocked on the door of the top five in the closing laps and earned a career-best finish. It was the feel good story of the weekend for sure. Grade: A+ 7. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . As the race approached the halfway mark, Harvick's car came to life and charged to the front of the field. Harvick hit the wall with 16 laps to go while chasing Chase Elliott for second, but the contact caused little damage to the No. 4 Chevy. He kept restarting on the bottom lane and was unable to challenge for the win. Grade : A 8. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Off to one of the worst starts of his career, Bowyer and the HScott Motorsports team came to life Sunday at Bristol. Starting 36th, Bowyer stayed out of trouble and gained 28 spots to earn his first top 10 of the season. Grade: A+ 9. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Crew chief Luke Lambert called for two tires on the first stop of the day, putting the No. 31 into the top 10. A pit road speeding penalty under the eighth caution sent Newman to the rear of the field with less than 165 laps to go. Newman fought hard after the setback and climbed back to ninth when the checkered flag flew. Grade: B+ 10. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . One of the fastest cars early in the race, Logano had to pit with a vibration under green and was then hit with a tire violation. The No. 22 fell two laps down, but fought back. With 32 laps to go Logano was fifth, but lost power and dropped like a rock on the late-race restart. Grade: B 11. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . The rookie contender worked his way into the top five throughout Sunday's race, but the No. 21 Ford slipped just outside the top 10 at the end of the day. Grade: B 12. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle was penalized for speeding on pit road under the sixth caution of the day and sent to the rear of the longest line for the restart. Despite the setback, Biffle quietly worked his way back to the top 10. When the checkered flag flew, Biffle had dropped to 12th. Grade: B 13. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray started 13th and finished 13th. He avoided trouble and tied his season-best finish. Grade: B 14. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . The No. 78 was fast once again, but issues on pit road continued to slow the team throughout the day. Running second with roughly 75 laps to go Truex reported a loose wheel and was forced to pit road under green. The team just could not find a rhythm. Grade: C 15. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard took two tires on the third caution of the day and restarted second. The No. 27 fell back when the green flag flew, but the move looked to pay off in the long run. Later in the going he had to pit a second time to check for loose lug nuts, suffered damage on the car, but climbed back to 15th at the end of the day. Grade: B- 16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse got loose in the corner and spun off Turn 2 to bring out the second caution of the day. The RFR driver fought his way into the top 10 with 25 laps to go, but fell just outside the top 15 in the closing laps. Grade: B 17. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The driver of the No. 5 raced his way into the top five with 150 laps to go and shows signs of strength. Unable to maintain that spot, he dropped to 17th when the checkered flag flew. Grade: B- 18. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski worked his way into the top five after 55 laps, but was hit with a pit road speeding penalty under the first caution. Racing his way through the field took its toll on the No. 2, which was beaten up all around. Running fourth with 115 laps to go Keselowski broke a valve stem after contact and had to pit under green. He could only climb his way back to 18th. Grade: B 19. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger had another great run going, as he started in the top 10 and was racing at the front of the field in the opening stages of the day. However, just before the halfway mark Allmendinger hit pit road with a loose wheel under green. While he got his lap back, he was never able to rally back. Grade: B- 20. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . After getting into Danica Patrick in practice, Hamlin got into Brian Scott on pit road during the fifth caution of the day. The contact caused significant damage to to the right front of the No. 11 Toyota. Hamlin then hit the wall while running 15th with 92 laps to go to bring out the 11th caution of the day. Grade: C- 21. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The rookie contender started 21st, sent Kyle Busch spinning on Lap 115 when the field stacked up, finished 21st and earned his best finish of the 2016 season. Grade: C 22. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . After running mid-pack for much of the day, Cassill stayed out on the seventh caution of the day to take the lead. Cassill held onto the lead for 20 laps and was able to stay in the top five when the eighth caution of the day flew. Cassill was forced to pit road with 38 laps to go after contact with Ty Dillon late in the race. Grade: A- 23. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . A pit road speeding penalty under the first caution of the day sent Johnson to the rear of the field, but by the 200-lap mark Johnson was inside the top five. Johnson was forced to pit with a vibration while running third at the 300-lap mark, falling back to 31st, two laps down. The former champ fought back to 23rd, but was the first car one lap down. Grade: C 24. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . The No. 13 Chevy was hit by AJ Allmendinger on a restart with less than 165 laps to go and Mears made a great save avoiding any damage to the car. While he broke into the top 15 just past the halfway mark, he fell through the field in the closing part of the race. Grade: C 25. Ty Dillon , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . After having issues in qualifying, the younger Dillon brother used strategy to make his way to the front of the field and was able to maintain a solid top-10 position. Earnhardt Jr. used up the No. 14 with less than 50 laps to go, causing a significant left rear tire rub. The problems weren’t over, as Landon Cassill did the same thing just a handful of laps later. Grade: C+ 26. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon used up the right side of the No. 3 Chevrolet after getting into the wall multiple times. He was also hit with a pit road speeding penalty under the sixth caution of the day. The older Dillon brother definitely had a rough outing at the Last Great Colosseum. Grade: C- 27. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Running mid-pack, Patrick stayed out on the seventh caution of the day and jumped into the top five. Once the race went back to green, the No. 10 Chevy faded and Patrick slipped back in the pack. The team was hit with two separate pit road penalties with less than 90 laps to go. Grade: C- 28. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Whitt had a quiet run at the half-mile short track, but gained 11 spots on the day. Grade: C+ 29. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . McDowell raced his way as high as 17th just past the halfway mark, but dropped to 29th at the end of the day. After starting 31st, it was still a gain. Grade: C 30. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott made contact with Denny Hamlin on pit road, causing damage to both cars. He was running the top 30 when he got loose in the corner and spun to bring out the 10th caution of the day. Grade: C- 31. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Starting last, Annett spent much of the day racing around 35th, but he was sent spinning late in the race after contact with front-runner Kevin Harvick . Grade: C 32. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . The fourth-generation driver started 37th, stayed out of trouble and finished the day 32nd. Not too bad for his first Bristol start. Grade: C 33. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group . Wise's No. 30 Chevrolet had a tire issue and hit the outside wall to bring out the eighth caution of the day. Grade: C- 34. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Stuck behind Dale Jr. to start the day, Almirola suffered damage to the nose of the car just as the green flag flew. He was running 19th when he was hit by Martin Truex Jr . and sent spinning into the outside wall, causing significant damage to the No. 43 Ford. He didn’t want to get out of the car, but NASCAR said he had to and a post-race meeting in the hauler was the end result. Grade: C- 35. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. After giving a win away on Saturday in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Larson charged from his 25th starting spot and was in the top 10 before the 90-lap mark. Running third, a trackbar issue forced Larson and team to take the car behind the wall. Grade: D 36. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Dominating the race in the early stages, Kenseth blew a right front tire and hit the wall to bring out the fifth caution of the day while leading on Lap 186. After racing back in the top 10, Kenseth had another tire issue late in the race and was forced to pit road. With no caution thrown, the No. 20 team’s chances at victory were gone and the car went behind the wall. Grade: D 37. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith was a non-factor throughout the day until he was hit by Danica Patrick and made hard contact with the wall with just nine laps to go. Grade: D 38. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Running third on Lap 52, Busch lost a right front tire and hit the outside wall to bring out the first caution of the day. Busch made his way into the top 20, but was spun on Lap 115 after contact with Chris Buescher . After working into the top five, he was hit with a speeding penalty on the fifth caution of the day. While racing back to the front again, Busch made heavy contact with the wall on Lap 258 and took the car behind the wall. Grade: D 39. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan was stuck behind Dale Jr. when he had his issue on the initial start of the day, and things did not get much better. With smoke billowing out of the exhaust, Ragan took the car behind the wall with an engine issue on Lap 217. Grade: F 40. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson started 38th, but pulled the car behind the wall after completing just 169 of the 500 laps. Grade: F
Allmendinger confident in second year with JTG
AJ Allmendinger talks about his second year with JTG Daugherty Racing , his first memories at Daytona International Speedway, and his hair gel.
The Rundown: Texas driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Chase Grid Below is a breakdown of how the 40-car field fared at Texas Motor Speedway . 1. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Can anyone stop the 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion? Busch didn't dominate the entire race in Texas, but leapt to the lead when it counted -- on the final restart with 33 laps remaining -- and stayed there until the checkered flag. He's won the last four national series races and seems unbeatable right now. Grade: A+ 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Junior is still lacking his first win of the season, but by passing Joey Logano with eight laps remaining and overcoming a brief pit stall fire, he earned his second runner-up finish. All that talk this week of bananas and mayonnaise didn't deter from a strong showing for a car that started 16th. Grade: A 3. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Despite starting on the front row, Logano still is searching for his first win of the season. He was solidly in the top 10 throughout most of the race, slipping to as low as 14th just before the midpoint. But he jumped from 10th on Lap 200 to sixth on a restart on Lap 220 and stayed near the front for his sixth top-five finish at Texas Motor Speedway . Grade: A- 4. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson couldn't extend his Texas winning streak to four straight races, but the fact he was able to rebound from his involvement in a 13-car crash on Lap 293 and a pit-road collision with Kyle Busch on Lap 31 showed that he's still a threat in any race. Grade: A 5. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The rookie started at the rear when he changed his transmission, but still managed his best finish of the season -- and his first top-five result in the Cup series. His decision to take four tires on the final pit stop was the difference in helping him surge into the top five. Grade: A 6. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex consistently had the fastest car all weekend in Texas, and led a race-high 141 laps. But the decision to stay out on four old tires -- when all other leaders pitted in the final two cautions -- pushed him back from the lead in the final 33 laps. Grade: B- 7. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The pole-sitter led 124 laps, but a loose wheel on the Lap 221 restart forced him to pit, and he never fully recovered. Still, it was Edwards' sixth top-10 finish in seven races this season. Grade: B+ 8. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . A car that has struggled all season found some late-race magic. First, Kahne was the lucky-dog beneficiary on a Lap 277 caution, then he made contact with Greg Biffle on Lap 287, which sent the No. 16 car into the wall but helped Kahne surge into the top 10 for the final restart. Grade: B+ 9. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch was without crew chief Tony Gibson for all but race day in Texas as Gibson was tending to his ill wife, and the No. 41 car struggled to find the right combination. Busch said he was loose all through practices but tight during the race. A solid final restart helped him grab his fifth top-10 finish of the season. Grade: B 10. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick is now 0-for-27 in Cup at Texas, one of the few tracks that vexes the dominant driver. This time, he had to rebound from a speeding and tire violation on Lap 217 just to make his way into the top 10. Grade: B- 11. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth's bad-luck streak continued this season. He led 20 laps, including from Lap 217-235, but a problem with a loose rear tire forced an unscheduled pit stop that knocked him out of the top 10. Grade: B- 12. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin started sixth, and made it to as high as third late in the race but slipped outside the top 10 in the final 20 laps. Grade: C+ 13. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray started 18th and worked his way up to fifth mid-race. In the end, he logged his second top-15 showing of the season. Grade: C+ 14. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson steadily worked his way up throughout the race, starting 20th and eventually finding himself in the top 15 by Lap 300. Grade: B- 15. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne led for 12 laps -- the first time he's led a race since May 4, 2014 at Talladega. He was involved in the 13-car wreck on Lap 293, however, and the best he could manage was 15th. Grade: B- 16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse equaled his best start of the season in rolling off the grid fifth but had slipped to 13th by Lap 180. He, too, was involved in the late-race wreck, which pushed him outside the top 15. Grade: C+ 17. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Another car involved in the late-race wreck, Newman had been just fair to middling throughout the race. In the end, he finished just two places higher than he started. Grade: C 18. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . He started eighth, but Keselowski had an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel on Lap 128, and said some of the things the No. 2 team tried in preparation for the Chase race in the fall didn't work. Grade: C- 19. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Driving on worn tires, Dillon was clipped by Jimmie Johnson and spun into traffic to cause the 13-car wreck on Lap 293. After starting 10th, he had reached as high as second but was lucky to finish 19th. Grade: C- 20. Ty Dillon , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . Dillon worked his way up from starting 30th, to log his greatest place differential in four Cup races this season. Grade: C- 21. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . One race after her best finish of the season (16th in Martinsville), Patrick couldn't improve much from her 26th-place start. Grade: C- 22. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger couldn't find any of the moxie that helped him finish second in Martinsville, starting the day 23rd, hovering around 23rd to 26th for most of the race before pushing to 22nd at the finish. Grade: C- 23. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears equaled his worst starting position of the season (32nd) and worked his way up to 21st by Lap 240 but couldn't get over the hump to improve further. Grade: C 24. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . A roller coaster season continued for Almirola as he dropped to as low as 35th and as high as 10th before finishing exactly where he began. Grade: C 25. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill said he couldn't figure out the right adjustments to make on his No. 38 Ford until the end of the race -- when it mattered most. He jumped from 33rd on Lap 260 to finish 25th. Grade: C 26. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . One of the 13 cars involved in the Lap 293 wreck, Menard logged his second-worst finish of the season -- after his second-worst start of the season. Grade: D+ 27. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Another car involved in the big late-race wreck, ended up finishing exactly where he began the race. Grade: C- 28. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Buescher had his second-best finish of the season, and improved six places on his start. Grade: C- 29. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . The rookie started seventh, but had to pit twice under green for reports of vibration. The No. 21 Ford never could figure out a solution, and slipped all the way to 29th. Grade: C- 30. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Starting 37th, Whitt improved little by little throughout the race until he finished 30th. Grade: C- 31. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Another car involved in the Lap 293 wreck, Smith had been running around 24th until the incident. Grade: C- 32. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Yet another car involved in the 13-car wreck near the end, Annett still managed to finish three places higher than he began. Grade: C 33. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan was dinged in the late-race wreck, and his finish was his worst of the season. Grade: D+ 34. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . The No. 83 Toyota had shown improvement from Daytona, but took a step back after starting 29th in Texas. Grade: D+ 35. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . In his fourth Cup race of the season, Earnhardt simply couldn't make up much ground after starting 38th. Grade: D 36. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Starting 40th for the second straight week, Sorenson managed to improve on his finish by one spot over last week. Grade: D. 37. Brian Vickers , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . A long day for Vickers began on a pit stop on Lap 110 when his brakes locked up as he attempted to avoid hitting Clint Bowyer . His car never felt right, and his day ended when he was involved in the Lap 293 wreck. Grade: D. 38. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer's subpar year continued, and his involvement in the 13-car wreck ended his day. His 38th was his worst finish of the season. Grade: D- 39. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle started 14th, but the contact with Kasey Kahne sent him careening into the wall for his worst finish of the season. Grade: D- 4 0. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise slammed into the Turn 3 wall on Lap 212 and finished 40th for the first time this season. Grade: D-