Get the latest Joe Nemechek news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Get the latest Joe Nemechek news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Get the latest Joe Nemechek news, media, stats, and standings for the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver only on the official site of NASCAR.
Driver of No. 11 Toyota has strong history at final four tracks on the schedule RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Denny Hamlin has had an up and down year, but that hasn't stopped the Joe Gibbs Racing driver from emerging as a dark horse to win this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. From an eye ailment that kept him out of a race at Auto Club Speedway , to his win at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring, to seeing his crew chief Darian Grubb be suspended for the six races before the start of the Chase to battling his way through the Challenger and Contender Rounds, it has been a roller coaster season. And with his advancement into the Eliminator Round of eight drivers, things are setting up nicely for "The Deliverminator" to get to the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a shot at the title. "Really, this year, our expectations have been so low from everyone around that we've flown so much under the radar that we don't have any pressure from here on out," Hamlin said during Eliminator Round Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I mean, no one thought we'd be here. Now, I love our chances at having a shot for a championship at Homestead. "This format is just tailor made for an average team that's just been squeaking by, squeaking by, to get hot at the right time and next thing you know, steal a championship." Martinsville Speedway , Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway are three of Hamlin's better tracks in the Sprint Cup Series. The 33-year-old has four wins at Martinsville (with an average finish of 8.8, his second-best among active tracks), two wins at Texas (with an average finish of 10.8, his fifth-best among active tracks) and one win at Phoenix (with an average finish of 11.3, his seventh-best among active tracks). "Looking at these three racetracks, I can win any of them, easily." Hamlin sees this round -- specifically Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) -- as a great chance for his team to take advantage of speed not being as big of an issue. "It's a huge opportunity for us," Hamlin said. "As average as our team, in general, has been this year, we go into a short track where horsepower doesn't matter. Aerodynamics doesn't matter. It's about the driver and mechanical setup. And I feel like that's our strong suit with our team." While speed has been an issue at times for the Gibbs group and the Toyota fleet in general, Hamlin sees no reason that the team can't be right there at the end. "I believe we've got all the tools necessary. We've got a pit crew that is very, very fast even though we've got a setback there with losing our jackman (Nate Bolling). There's no reason we can't be as competitive as any one of these seven guys that we're going to be racing against these last four races." Despite his good record at Martinsville, Hamlin finished 19th there in the spring after qualifying second. He warned that those results came with little practice time at the track as the final two practices were washed out by rain. Since then, Hamlin disclosed that his team worked on their Martinsville setup at a similarly-configured track in Sandusky, Ohio. "Normally I wouldn't give that information away, but there's no more testing," Hamlin joked referring to a change announced as part of the 2015 rules package for the Sprint Cup Series that bans private testing by teams. And should he reach Homestead, Hamlin has a strong record there with two wins and an average finish of 11.2, his sixth-best among active tracks. The driver of the No. 11 Toyota won there in last year's season finale. "Truth be told, if you ask me 'you have one race to race heads up for a championship, pick either Martinsville or Homestead?' I'd almost pick Homestead simply because we've just had a lot of success there over these last few years and its been a great track for us. No one saw us winning last year. We were running like 15th every week and all of sudden, we win Homestead." Hamlin came to Homestead once before with a shot at the championship. In 2010, Hamlin led Jimmie Johnson by 15 points entering the season's final race. Hamlin finished 14th that day, while Johnson finished second, securing his fifth straight title by 39 points. Since then Hamlin has learned plenty, but mostly he just wants that chance to race for a championship in the season finale again and the new format makes that a bit easier to reach. "What we learned in 2010 is to have fun," Hamlin said. "And this year is going to be fun no matter what, because the expectations have been so low. I always said that if you just give me that Homestead 2010 chance back, then I promise I'd win it. It's hard to do that knowing you are going to have to race three guys heads-up and its going to be the best of the four (that wins the title), but I just want that chance again to be heads-up with those guys at Homestead." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Team Penske uses Logano's locked-in status to its advantage RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize TALLADEGA, Ala. -- As cars whipped around Talladega Superspeedway in the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Brad Keselowski had teammate Joey Logano just behind him. Logano threw a block to stave off a charging Kevin Harvick , keeping Keselowski out front in his battle with Ryan Newman . After his win at Kansas Speedway , Logano was a lock to advance into the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His teammate, however, needed a win to continue on after two poor performances at Kansas and Charlotte. Team Penske owner Roger Penske made Logano's obligations clear. "It's pretty simple," Penske said. "With the structure of the Chase, he was already committed into the next round, so we sat down with he and Brad and (Ryan) Blaney and said, 'Whatever you can do today to help the 2 car get in the winner's circle, that's what you have to do.' And I think he obeyed orders pretty well." Not every team had that luxury. Hendrick Motorsports had all four drivers winless and battling to make the next round: Jeff Gordon , Kasey Kahne , Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Only Gordon advanced to the next round. There was little teamwork between the Hendrick drivers; no pushes to the front or blocks to keep a teammate into the lead. Earnhardt and Johnson both needed a win to move on, and often found themselves battling each other for the lead. "(The Penske) situation for teammates worked out pretty nice, because Joey was locked in," Johnson said. "My situation with the 88, who I ran around a lot -- I had to win. I had to beat him in order to transfer, so it was more of a competition than thinking, 'Hey, there's my buddy, there's my teammate. Let's race.' " The Joe Gibbs Racing group was in a similar position. None of the team's cars had clinched advancement into the next round. Kyle Busch appeared to have the biggest buffer, coming into Talladega second in the points standings, six points away from Logano. Denny Hamlin was just above the cutoff in seventh, while Matt Kenseth was in ninth place, the first elimination position. Each driver was on a different strategy. Hamlin and Kenseth advanced to the Eliminator Round, while a wreck runied Busch's day and saw him finish on the wrong side of the Chase cut line. "(I) hate lagging in the back, but couldn't afford to have what happened to the 18 happen to us and take our chances out," Hamlin said of his 18th-place finish. "Still proud of our effort and happy that we made it." Kevin Harvick was able to take chances for Stewart-Haas Racing , but is the only remaining driver on the four-car team's roster still in competition for a title this year. Part of his effort went toward helping Kurt Busch , who was eliminated after the first round of the Chase, to a seventh-place finish. "I felt like on the last restart that Bowyer was going to be our catalyst, but it ended up he didn’t stay attached to our rear bumper, so I couldn't get to Newman in time and that outside groove was going," Busch said. "So, I had to get to the middle to salvage what I could, and that was seventh. I just have to thank Kevin Harvick for being a great teammate all day today." Getting that push when it mattered prove to be a win-or-go-home moment. Johnson said he knew he was "in trouble" when, after a late restart, he moved to a new line and had nobody behind him. Keselowski, on the other hand, had that push. Their points reset to level the playing field at 4,000 points coming into the Eliminator Round, so neither Penske driver will have the benefit of a locked-in teammate ready to throw a block at Martinsville Speedway . For Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing, both with only one car remaining in title contention, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick , teammates will be at the ready. "Moving forward, Jeff and Kasey and Junior have always been amazing team players for me on my championship runs," Johnson said. "And I'll do my best to help them." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Cheez-It to serve as a primary sponsor for 'The Biff' starting in 2015 RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Greg Biffle has picked up a new primary sponsor for the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season. Roush Fenway Racing announced that the Cheez-It brand will serve as a primary partner of the No. 16 Ford. The deal is a multiyear partnership with other Kellogg's brands, such as Frosted Flakes, which have appeared on the No. 99 car of Carl Edwards . With Edwards moving on to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015, that sponsorship will now be on Biffle's No. 16. "It's going to be really great to have Cheez-It on the car next season," Biffle said in a team release. "My family and I have been enjoying Cheez-It snacks for years and I could not be more excited to represent them. The Cheez-It cars have always looked really good on the track and they are going to look even better with the No. 16 on the side." Check out the short clip below, posted on YouTube by Roush Fenway Racing to announce the news. Biffle will also carry sponsorship for Ortho Insect Control next season for approximately half of his races. Biffle's longtime primary sponsor, 3M, is moving to Hendrick Motorsports next season to sponsor the No. 24 Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon . Biffle qualified for the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup but was among the four drivers eliminated following the final race of the opening Challenger Round at Dover. He is currently 14th in the points standings. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Get caught up quickly before the GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize What: 46th annual GEICO 500 Where: Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Alabama When: Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014 TV/Radio: ESPN, Motor Racing Network Time: 2:00 p.m. ET Distance: 188 laps (500.08 miles) Pit road speed: 55 mph Caution car speed: 70 mph On the front row " Starting lineup 1. Brian Vickers , Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota (196.129 mph) 2. Jimmie Johnson , Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet (195.732 mph) Failed to qualify Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ( Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford); Justin Allgaier (HScott Motorsports No. 51 Chevrolet); Joe Nemechek (RAB Racing No. 29 Toyota) To the rear Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski will drop to the rear of the field prior to the start of today's race. Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing team changed engines in the No. 20 Toyota Saturday morning while Keselowski's Team Penske group made an alternator change before qualifying. Kenseth qualified 13th while Keselowski was fifth fastest. Going out in style Two-time NASCAR premier series champion Terry Labonte will make his final Sprint Cup start today, driving the No. 32 Ford fielded by Go FAS Racing. It will be the 61st start at Talladega for Labonte, tying the mark currently held by Dave Marcis, and Labonte’s 890th career Cup start. The decklid of the car features artwork depicting his first Cup entry, as well as the two in which he won championships in '84 and '96. Fastest in practice First Practice: Clint Bowyer , Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Toyota (200.385 mph) Final Practice: Kyle Busch , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota (195.205 mph) Defending GEICO 500 Champion Jamie McMurray , Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet Driver rating (Best driver rating average at Talladega Superspeedway based on past nine years) Kyle Larson , Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet (94.8*) Matt Kenseth , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota (90.9) Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Hendrick Motorsports No 88 Chevrolet (90.3) *Based on one career start Former Talladega winners in the field Jeff Gordon (6); Dale Earnhardt Jr . (5); Clint Bowyer , Jimmie Johnson , Terry Labonte , Jamie McMurray , Brad Keselowski (2); David Ragan , Tony Stewart , Brian Vickers , Michael Waltrip , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin (1). MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Veteran holds off Malsam, Gallagher for first win of 2014 season RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings TALLADEGA, Ala.—Holding off all challengers in a race that went four-wide on the final two laps, Timothy Peters won the fred's 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway . Peters arrived at the finish line .143 seconds ahead of second-place starter and finisher Tayler Malsam . Spencer Gallagher ran third, followed by Tyler Reddick and Ryan Blaney , who trimmed 14th-place finisher Matt Crafton ’s lead in the series standings to 16 points with four races left in the season. The victory was Peters' first of the season, his first at Talladega and the eighth of his career. After ducking onto the apron to ensure a strong flow to the fuel pickup in his No. 17 Toyota, Peters, who had charged forward from the 26th starting position, led the field to a green-white-checkered-flag finish on Lap 94 of 95, after Norm Benning 's spin in Turn 2 slowed the field for the sixth time. With a strong push from Malsam, Peters hugged the inside line into Turn 1 with Ryan Blaney to his outside. As the field spread out over the final two laps to three-wide and even four-wide, Peters doggedly held the lead and took the checkered flag with Malsam in his tow. "Chris Lambert, who spots for me, did a great job from the time the green flag fell till the checkered flag waved," Peters said. "It was system overload, telling me everything, how far apart they were in front of me, how close the guy behind me was, what run was coming on the outside coming to the checkered flag… "We were making our Toyota Tundra as wide as we could (on the final two laps), and so it feels really good to come across the start/finish line and kind of wipe missing the Daytona/Talladega sweep by (16) hundredths of a second (Peters finished second at Daytona by that margin earlier this year). "It just felt really good to go to Victory Lane." On the final restart, Blaney got a push from sixth-place finisher Erik Jones and thought he was in position for the win but acknowledged he didn't expect a third line to develop to his outside as quickly as it did. "I thought we were in the perfect spot, leading the outside line into Turn 2," Blaney said. But the side draft from the outside line separated Jones from Blaney and broke their momentum, dropping them out of contention for the win. A rare engine failure torpedoed Johnny Sauter 's championship hopes. Sauter's Toyota slowed on Lap 24 and coasted onto pit road. His resulting 31st-place finish left him fourth in the standings, 36 points behind Crafton, his ThorSport Racing teammate. "Whatever… the championship's over," a disconsolate Sauter said in the garage as his team worked on his Tundra. "From here on out, we can just race like hell." At a track legendary for wild action, Ben Kennedy sustained the hardest hit on Lap 65, when Joe Nemechek lost control of his truck and knocked Kennedy's Chevrolet into the outside wall. Nemechek's first concern was for Kennedy's safety. After learning he had walked away from the wreck, Nemechek radioed, "Put all of the blame for that one right square on my shoulders," indicating his Toyota had been sucked around in turbulent air. Note: Daniel Suarez finished 15th in his NCWTS debut. On Sunday, he races in his native Mexico in the NASCAR Toyota Mexico Series. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule