RELATED: Complete race lineup CONCORD, N.C. – For a driver who keeps insisting that qualifying isn’t his strong suit, Matt Kenseth continues to excel on NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole days. Touring the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway in a blistering 27.759 seconds (194.532 mph) on Thursday night, the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota earned the top starting spot for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC/Live Extra), the first race in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Kenseth was .198 seconds quicker than JGR teammate Kyle Busch (193.154 mph), who put the No. 18 Toyota on the outside of the front row. Busch's car is sporting a pink paint scheme this weekend to bring attention to the work of his foundation in fighting breast cancer. The Coors Light Pole Award was Kenseth’s fourth this year—a personal best for a single season—his second at Charlotte (and second consecutive) and the 17th of his career. Kenseth didn't have a perfect lap, but as he crossed the start/finish to complete the circuit, he knew he had a shot at the pole. "It was a heck of a lap," Kenseth said. "I knew I had a lot of speed. I kind of changed it up in (Turns) 1 and 2 a little bit, and I just got a little tight in the middle of (Turns) 3 and 4. I knew the car was fast. Our Dollar General Camry has been fast all day, and it was a lot of fun to drive." Kenseth gave the car and crew chief Jason Ratcliff's setup much of the credit for his pole-winning effort. "I knew it was going to be real fast," Kenseth said. "I didn't know we were going to sit on the pole by any means, but it had the feel and everything that I wanted. It's funny, this place, if you can get it to drive just like you want, you can really perform well here, but it's so hard to get that feel… "But today he (Ratcliff) got it to drive that way. I was going to have to mess it up to not get it, as good as he had it there." Joey Logano (193.023 mph) qualified third, followed by Greg Biffle (192.947 mph) and Denny Hamlin (192.912 mph). With Carl Edwards claiming the eighth starting spot, JGR put all four of its drivers, all of whom are Chase contenders, in the top eight. All told, Chase drivers grabbed nine of the top 12 positions on the grid, with Biffle, Jimmie Johnson (seventh) and Aric Almirola (ninth) the only non-Chase drivers able to advance to the final round of knockout qualifying. Busch, who fought his way back into the Chase with a second-place finish last Sunday at Dover, was pleased with his effort in time trials. "I don't know— Matt Kenseth , he was better than me, that's for sure," Busch said. "He got more out of it than me, but our pink M&M's Camry is awesome. We were able to post some good speed there. I'm real happy with it… and I'm looking forward to the race on Saturday night." All 12 Chase contenders advanced through the first round, but Brad Keselowski (13th), Martin Truex Jr . (15th) and Jeff Gordon (22nd) weren't fast enough to make the final elimination session, which is restricted to the top 12. Keselowski ran an identical lap to 12th-place Carl Edwards but lost the final spot in the third round on an owner points tiebreaker. Josh Wise and Timmy Hill failed to make the 43-car field. The Sprint Cup Series is back on track on Friday for practice at 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra).
Below is a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared at Dover International Speedway . 1. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick scored his spot in the Round of 12 in dramatic fashion by leading a career-best 355 laps and notching the 750th victory for manufacturer Chevrolet. 2. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Post-race, Busch said he was pleased with where his team finished, citing it had a second-place car, but also adding it had quite a bit of ground to make up to catch the "lightning-fast" No. 4 team. 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The final caution flag was a lucky break for Earnhardt, who took the opportunity to address a loose wheel. He then used a solid restart to slip past fellow Chase contender Jamie McMurray and punch his ticket to the next round. 4. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . "Nice work guys. Nothing to be ashamed of," McMurray radioed his team after just missing the cut for Round 2. For more in-car audio, sign up for RaceView . 5. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola was posting top-five lap times with 55 laps to go, but needed those remaining circuits to pick up seven spots and match his best Dover result. 6. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The decision to stop twice during the fifth caution period to ensure the No. 5 was full of fuel didn't hurt Kahne, who earned his seventh Dover top 10. 7. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth, already a Round 2 contender thanks to his Loudon victory, spent the remaining 125 laps on Sunday looking for more corner speed. 8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse restarted 10th after the fifth caution flag, and he held on for his best Dover finish. 9 . Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . Larson looked to play the spoiler when he moved into the top three in the final 100 laps, but a decision to stay out during the final caution flag hurt his chances. 10. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano advances to the next round of the Chase with his ninth Dover top 10. 11. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Truex, a Round 2 contender, climbed through the field after starting from the rear when NASCAR had a post-inspection issue with the flare on his side skirt. 12. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . " Man, it's never easy," Gordon told his team after a rough final restart. "I know that wasn't easy," spotter Eddie D'Hondt said. "But we did what we needed to" (to advance). For more in-car audio, sign up for RaceView . 13. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush-Fenway Racing. Biffle got sideways with 11 laps to go, but saved his car while running 15th . 14. Clint Bowyer , No. 15, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer recovered after dropping from eighth to 25th when he made an unscheduled stop on Lap 175 for a loose wheel. 15. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Crew chief Darian Grubb didn't want to risk the No. 19's spot in the next round of the Chase so he called his driver back down pit road during the sixth caution flag for a right-front tire issue. 16. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Around Lap 60, Keselowski was running 16th when he reported that his engine temperatures were dropping. He maintained and will compete in the second round of the Chase. 17. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . An issue with the left-front jack bolt caused Busch to lose ride height late in the race. The team corrected the issue but still had to make additional repairs during the Lap 374 stop under caution. 18. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin won the race off pit road after a four-tire stop during the competition caution, but his forward momentum was stalled because he was tagged for speeding. A second penalty sealed the deal, but he still advanced because he won Chicagoland. 19. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman earned the beneficiary pass after the third caution flag and managed to stay only one lap down as the race progressed. He advanced to the second round of the Chase. 20. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish and his team chased the handling of his No. 9 Ford all day, even as the track took on rubber. 21. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick worked with her team to help her No. 10 Chevy take off better around Dover's 1-mile oval. 22. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan, who fell off the lead lap by Lap 105, had previously told his team he was "too free on exit and pretty snug in the center." 23. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon's team made several chassis adjustments during the second half of the race to help him get into the corner better. 24. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was running 25th during the first half of Sunday's race when he was hooked in the right rear and saved his car from spinning on-track. 25. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard rolled off the grid 14th and almost immediately went backward as he watched his first Chase run fade. 26. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart recently announced he'd retire from driving after 2016 to focus on ownership. But on Sunday, the driver of the No. 14 focused on pit strategy to improve his track position. 27. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier received the beneficiary pass during the competition caution, but spent much of the race looking for mid-corner grip. 28. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Like his teammate Brett Moffitt , Whitt discovered that his car improved around Dover as the 1-mile concrete oval took on rubber. 29. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG-Daugherty Racing. Allmendinger was going too fast trying to get onto pit road when he spun up the track on Lap 311. 30. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland reported a tight-handling condition during the final 60 laps of Sunday's race, which his team worked to address. 31. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Halfway through a fuel run when the fifth caution flag was waved, Bayne elected to take the wave-around like most cars one or more laps down. 32. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman and his team continually made adjustments on the No. 7 Chevy throughout Sunday's race trying to find balance. 33. Reed Sorenson , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Already three laps down and in 36th, Sorenson told his team that he was "just racing the track right now" when they informed him leader Kevin Harvick was bearing down. 34. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . "Holy crap," DiBenedetto said while running 37th on Lap 101 when he learned leader Kevin Harvick was on his bumper -- again. 35. J.J. Yeley, No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . Long green-flag runs were a struggle Sunday for Yeley. 36. Josh Wise , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. Wise sustained minimal nose damage after making contact with Jeb Burton on Lap 3. 37. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . During the fifth caution flag, Annett reported that his entry was neutral and he couldn't pick up the gas when he wanted to. 38. Alex Kennedy , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Kennedy rolled off the grid 36th in his Dover debut. 39. Timmy Hill , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports . Starting 43rd at the fast 1-mile oval made forward progress an immediate issue for Hill in his fourth Dover appearance. 40. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill's fear that his engine was "letting go" was realized on Lap 372 and prompted the eighth caution flag. 41. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . A torn rear axle seal sidelined Johnson in his 500th Cup start and ended his quest for a seventh championship. 42. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Moffitt's lap times were improving as the track picked up rubber, but his car was "killed" when he blew a right-front and made hard contact with the wall to bring out the seventh caution flag. 43. Jeb Burton , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Burton spun on Lap 3 and cut a tire on Lap 192 to bring out the caution flag twice on Sunday.
Much like their fellow NASCAR drivers who are deservedly spending the season's final off-week relaxing on a beach or jet-setting to some exotic location, Landon Cassill and Josh Wise are using the rare downtime to travel and enjoy the scenic Austrian Alps. The difference, however, is that these two Sprint Cup drivers won't be sightseeing or taking leisurely day hikes. They will be experiencing one of the world's most beautiful regions while competing in the elite Ironman 70.3 World Championships at Zell am See-Kaprun outside Salzburg, Austria on Sunday. Their breathtaking views will be just that as they swim 1.2-miles in Lake Zell, bike 56 miles through the glacier-tipped Alps and then finish with a 13.1-mile run along the lakeshore and through the area's small villages in one of the world's most grueling and prestigious physical competitions. "When we looked at the schedule both of us had aspirations to qualify for the 70.3 or Kona (Ironman 140.6 in Hawaii)," explained Wise . "The Worlds happened to fall on our last off weekend and there was a qualifier on the next to last off weekend. "It looked like this is a once in a lifetime chance. It's a bucket list goal just to qualify, but to have opportunity to do Austria was super special and it just felt like it was meant to be." But not without a lot of work. Anyone who still dismisses the athletic ability of NASCAR drivers would have a losing argument when it comes to the training regimen of Cassill, 26, and Wise , 32, who have taken their dedication to fitness and competition to a new level. RELATED: Johnson: 'If you want to be fast, you've got to suffer' More often than not, these two drivers show up at the race track having already swam, biked or run for miles and hours before some of their competitors have even rolled out of bed. Their dedication and commitment means a 5 a.m. wake-up call even on race weekends and using a special "Swim Radar" app to find a public pool near the race track that's open early enough and will allow them to swim. They've done their laps everywhere from the small town YMCA to the pool at Ohio State University. They strategically place their long bike rides as well and that can be tricky -- both finding a safe route close to the track and "not getting lost," Wise joked. They did a 60-mile bike ride after qualifying at Indianapolis this summer and squeezed in a 20-miler between practices at Pocono. Last week at Bristol, the two swam a mile and a half and ran five miles before the night race. Cassill did his World Cup qualifier in Muncie, Ind. during NASCAR's Kentucky Speedway race weekend, flying to Muncie after the Friday night XFINITY race, competing in the 70.3-mile triathalon Saturday morning then returning to Kentucky Speedway for the Cup race that night. "That was a little test of endurance," Cassill said. "Saturday morning I got my qualifying slot and flew back and raced Saturday night (at Bristol). I felt pretty good." Both Cassill and Wise say that competitive spirit lift is an important motivation for both. Driving for small, lower-funded Sprint Cup Series teams, they are admittedly not contending for wins every week. Success in the triathalons not only is a huge fitness benefit to them both, but gives them a sense of accomplishment and success. "I think a big part of the inspiration to do this has to do with obviously with the benefit of what it does for us in the car, but for us, we drive for small teams and we don't have a chance to win every race in a car and when you're doing that for 38 weeks in a row, it can get taxing," said Cassill, the 2008 XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year who now drives the No. 40 Hillman-Smith Chevrolet in the Cup Series and the No. 01 JD Motorsports Chevy in the XFINITY Series. "This is something for us, we can control and it really just helps that confidence in the garage just to know what we're capable of with our bodies and pushing ourselves to the limit. To me, it's a confidence builder." Wise , who scored a career-best 10th at Talladega in May driving the No. 98 Ford, agreed. "It's an amazing competitive outlet," he said. "There's not a lot of things that you can do that you have so much control over. It goes back to the alarm clock. Are you going to get up and get the swim in and the running before you go to work? It's your choice. With the sport we're in, people don't realize all the external factors there are that you can't control." "When our cars aren't driving right or we're communicating with our crew in the midst of battling with someone, I feel the mental gain from the type of work we do off the track even beyond the physical. "I'm far beyond physically where I need to be, but mentally I can still continue to push myself, my body and my brain to dig deeper. When you can overcome every cell in your body shutting you down and you have to mentally force your legs to pick up and move in a run, there is a mental strength that comes from that. "I feel there's a real specificity to what we do that applies to our type of racing." The benefits go beyond just them personally. "My team has so much confidence in me that although they may not see me during the week, they don't have a doubt in their mind that I'm still working; that I’m trying to make myself the fittest race car driver, the best race car driver I can be, focused and prepared," Cassill said. "It's important because when teams are fighting for sponsorship, tough finishes the wheels can come off and you want to instill in your team that you're doing everything you can." Their pursuit is not only recognized by their team members but in the garage and bigger NASCAR community as well. While these two drivers don’t typically generate the same racing headlines as their good friend and frequent training partner, six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson , they do have his great respect -- especially with this weekend's Ironman in Austria. "My hat is off to Josh and Landon," Johnson said. "They've put in the hard work. I've watched them get very serious about it. They are both faster than me (smiling) and I'm so proud of them." All three drivers are confident that this kind of extreme cross training will be more prevalent on the starting grid in coming years. It's a visibly growing group of cyclists that join Johnson, Wise and Cassill on the bike rides during race weekend downtime or meet up at a nearby public pool for some laps. " Jimmie Johnson , in my opinion, sparked that fire by winning six championships and being the fittest driver the sport has ever seen," Cassill said. "We are in some ways just copycatting what he did. Eventually, a lot of the drivers that have the skill -- and have had the success in the past -- but aren't consistently getting the success now are going to start getting pressure from their owners and sponsors that will say they're sick of getting of their butts kicked from these fit drivers, you need to do something. "I think in the next five to 10 years you're going to see a lot more of our drivers getting fitter and fitter," Cassill continued. "I think our sport is going to go through similar transition that golf saw and I compare our sport to golf because it's a skill sport. It takes a certain skill and technique to swing a golf club and it takes a certain skill and technique to drive a race car. It doesn't necessarily take athleticism to drive a race car or hit a golf ball, but athleticism enhances that skill." This weekend Cassill and Wise will be representing their sport on a world platform and just qualifying for the world championship in the midst of a busy and demanding NASCAR season is already a huge accomplishment. "There are a lot of cyclists in the garage and people that know what's going on. I had a lot of people asking me about this weekend at the Bristol race and crew members wishing me good luck," Cassill said. "Obviously a lot of text messages from my team wishing me good luck." "I'd love to set a new PR (personal record), I feel like I try to do that at every race. But just another finish would be a win. This is a very challenging event and this is a world championship event so the competition is a lot tougher than I've competed against."
Driver takes to Twitter to announce news of his departure from No. 98 team Josh Wise will no longer be driving the No. 98 car for Premium Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he announced on Twitter Monday morning. I have parted ways with Premium Motorsports. The team and I did not share the same goals moving forward. — Josh Wise (@Josh_Wise) July 13, 2015 I wish them the best and look forward to what the future holds. — Josh Wise (@Josh_Wise) July 13, 2015 Wise has 121 starts in the Sprint Cup Series and he scored his first career top 10 this season at Talladega Superspeedway in May. Currently 36th in the point standings, Wise has run every Cup race this except for the season-opening Daytona 500 . Wise made his way into the 2014 Sprint All-Star Race via the Sprint Fan Vote thanks in large part to the Reddit.com community backing him. The 32-year-old California native spent 2012 and 2013 driving for Front Row Motorsports before moving over to Phil Parsons Racing for the 2014 season. He remained with the team as the No. 98 car was sold to Premium Motorsports during the 2015 season. There was no immediate word on Wise's future plans. Timmy Hill will drive the No. 98 Ford this weekend at New Hampshire in the 5-hour ENERGY 301 (Sunday, 1:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, PRN, SiriusXM). Looking forward to piloting the #98 for @PremiumMSNASCAR ! Glad to be back behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup car! — Timmy Hill (@TimmyHillRacer) July 14, 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender and driver of the No. 26 BK Racing Toyota, Jeb Burton , took to Twitter to offer his support for Wise . @Josh_Wise Your a good driver you will find something bro. — Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) July 13, 2015 FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver to pilot No. 32 Go Green Racing at Indianapolis RELATED: Wise leaves Premium Motorsports Josh Wise will drive the No. 32 Go Green Racing Ford next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, returning to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after leaving the No. 98 Premium Motorsports ride last Monday. Wise announced the news of his new ride on Twitter, just as he had revealed he would be leaving his former team after 17 races in 2015 and 35 races a year ago. In those 52 starts for Phil Parsons Racing and Premium Motorsports, Wise earned a career-best 10th-place finish at Talladega in May. Timmy Hill replaced Wise in the No. 98 ride this week. I am happy to be wheeling this hot rod for @GoGreenRacing at @IMS next week pic.twitter.com/GELmbjNoWe — Josh Wise (@Josh_Wise) July 17, 2015 In 16 starts this season, Go Green Racing's No. 32 has been raced by six drivers with a seventh, Massachusetts native Eddie MacDonald , attempting to make Sunday's 5-hour Energy 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Former NASCAR premier series champion Bobby Labonte turned in the team's best result of 2015 with a 24th-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 . Mike Bliss , Joey Gase , Will Kimmel, Travis Kvapil and Boris Said have also piloted the Ford Fusion this year. At Indianapolis, Wise has three starts, improving each season over the past three years. In 2012, he failed to make the finish with a 40th-place result. In 2013, he finished 38th, and last year, he earned a 29th-place finish.
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner kicks off the Contender Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by taking you through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway and talks with multiple drivers along the way.
Jamie McMurray blows a tire late in the running at Bristol, several drivers including Josh Wise and Clint Bowyer get caught in the aftermath.
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Chase Grid Complete news and notes on all 43 drivers from the myAFibRisk.com 400 1. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin's worst start at Chicagoland turned into his best finish at the track when he opted to not pit prior to the Lap 263 restart and used likely the best restart of his career to roll to the win. He is the first driver to secure a spot in the Contender round. 2. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The Chase contender rallied back after being busted for speeding on pit road on Lap 52. 3. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch bounced off the wall early in the race, but was leading when the final caution flag was waved. He opted not to pit and fell back when he didn't get a strong run at the restart. 4. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman restarted 14th on fresh tires and improved to score his fifth top-five of the season. 5. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth's team continually tweaked the No. 20 Toyota to help Kenseth maintain his grip on the points lead. 6. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano, a Chase contender, turned in his second-best result at Chicagoland on Sunday. The Connecticut-native found himself caught in between the Johnson-Harvick issue after bumping Johnson on a restart; which, in turn, caused Johnson to slide into Harvick's Chevrolet. 7. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson is two-for-two at Chicagoland -- two starts, two top-10 results at the 1.5-mile oval. Larson was the first non-Chase contender to cross the finish line. 8. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski rebounded from a loose wheel to post his 10th straight top-10 result of the year, a series best. 9. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch led a race-high 121 laps as the Joe Gibbs Racing domination continued on Sunday. 10. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola ran inside the top 15 for most of the day en route to his first Chicagoland top-10. 11. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson ruffled some feathers early when he made contact with Harvick, after being tapped by Logano, while trying to get back onto the track after the Lap 135 restart. 12. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt lost several spots in the closing laps when he committed to the top line off the restart and was stalled behind cars on older tires. 13. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . The fastest in Saturday's final practice, Truex was strong all day but got caught up in a four-wide, Lap 263 restart and shuffled to the back. 14. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon, who made a series-tying best 788th Cup start Sunday, took the lead on Lap 144 after a controversial restart, paced the field for 40 laps before pitting under green on Lap 185. 15. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan used the beneficiary pass twice and the wave-around several times to improve his track position and stay on the lead lap. 16. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. In his first Chase race as a contender, McMurray gambled with pit strategy and experienced a bit of tire rub in the closing 30 laps. 17. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . A first-time Chaser, Menard was running 12th and on the lead lap with 18 laps to go. A late-race pit stop and crazy restart cost him position. 18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse spent the first half of Sunday's race looking for the best line. When he ran the top line, he reported, the rear of his car became too tight. 19. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . It was a tough day for Bowyer, who struggled throughout the entire race getting through Turns 3 and 4. 20. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was considering fuel mileage while racing for the beneficiary pass late in the race Sunday. 21. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle, frequently vexed this season with his car's handling, experienced similar on Sunday and also had the misfortune of brushing the wall. 22. Brian Scott , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Scott rolled off the grid 21st and tying his second-best Cup result of the year (he finished 13th at Las Vegas). 23. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . "Heck yeah boys! Excellent stop," Allgaier encouraged his pit crew during their sixth stop. Unfortunately, the chassis adjustments didn't pan out in the laps to come, as Allgaier noted there wasn't a change in the handling. 24. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne made an unscheduled stop late in the race for a vibration and spent the rest of the race running quietly. The primary radio chatter was his lap times. 25. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart was among the cars knocked off the lead lap during season's longest green-flag run. He was running 16th on Lap 83 and was the last car on the lead lap. 26. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick was running 30th when she reported a "loud metal noise" in the back of her car nearing Lap 100. 27. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill was one of 16 drivers knocked off the lead lap within the first 50 laps, but he had the fortune of being a legitimate contender for the beneficiary pass. 28. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Once his team addressed a loose-handling condition, Bayne employed the wave around during caution periods and held steady in the top 28. 29. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt held steady to improve upon his previous best Chicagoland finish of 30th. 30. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish started 22nd but had to pit unexpectedly for tire rub during the first quarter of the race, causing him to go two laps down. 31. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The Chicagoland first-timer was cautioned on the restarts by spotter Tony Raines , who said "It's like Talladega or Daytona here at the start/finish line. They're all pushing each other." 32. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The caution flag was waved on Lap 191 just as Gilliland's team was completing his green-flag stop. 33. Josh Wise , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. Within the first 50 laps, Wise reported a vibration in the right rear, prompting his crew chief to call him down pit road and further off the lead lap. 34. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett pitted just prior to the second caution flag for a vibration and later chose to take the wave-around. 35. J.J. Yeley, No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley chased a free-handling car and was running 34th past the midway point on Sunday. 36. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger, who was involved in Denny Hamlin 's early on-track spin, took another hit by Lap 48 when he sustained a flat left-rear tire and had to stop on pit road. 37. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Around Lap 151, Bowman reported to his crew that something in the rear of the car had broken and he had to hit pit road. 38. Jeb Burton , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Burton battled a loose-handling condition during his debut at Chicagoland Speedway and within the first quarter of the race already had dropped the track bar a half inch. 39. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto, later tweeting his car was "off all weekend," started where he finished in his Chicagoland debut. 40. Reed Sorenson , No. 98 Ford, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson scored his second-best result this season from behind the wheel of the No. 98 Ford. 41. Timmy Hill , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports . Making his second Chicagoland start, Hill struggled to make up much track position after starting 43rd. 42. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion experienced tire rub after contact with Johnson on the Lap 135 restart and cut his left-rear tire, ultimately causing him to hit the wall hard three laps later. 43. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon's best Chicagoland start and strong top-10 run was cut short when he got into the wall on Lap 131.
LOUDON, N.H. -- NASCAR will crown two Iron Men on Sunday. Jeff Gordon , who will take the nod for most consecutive races run (789) in the Sprint Cup Series when the green flag drops for Sunday's Sylvania 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra), will occupy most of the headlines, but Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Kennedy 's pursuit of IRONMAN triathlon status is nothing to ignore. Following the conclusion of Saturday's UNOH 175 (1 p.m. ET, FS1), Kennedy will hop on a plane with his mother, Lesa France Kennedy, en route to Augusta, Georgia, where the pair and her boyfriend will all compete in a 70.3-mile IRONMAN race. We've seen fitness freaks Jimmie Johnson , Landon Cassill and Josh Wise spend their off-time training for these types of events, but until recently it never appeared to be on Kennedy's radar. "I don't know (how it happened)," the 23-year-old said Friday at the 'Magic Mile.' "It came about in November of last year. We were all sitting down at dinner; it was me, my mom and her boyfriend and we'd done some small triathlons, 5Ks but nothing major. "I've always wanted to do at least a half IRONMAN and we were probably a little bit crazy in the head (at the time), but it was something that we committed to and now we're here doing it this weekend." Kennedy said that as his career has progressed, he's come to realize the importance fitness and nutrition play when he's in the truck. There have been a few "wake up calls", as he put it, when he realized he needed to be more physically fit as he advanced within the sport and races got longer and more demanding. Now, he's using the same training program that Carl Edwards , arguably NASCAR's fittest driver, uses and he's seeing the benefits play up both off the track in his alternate racing career and on the track, where he already has more top-fives and is on pace to earn more top 10s than his 2014 campaign. Kennedy's competitive nature -- which every NASCAR driver certainly needs, to an extent -- is apparent, but he's keeping his expectations in check for Sunday, when he'll have to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles just to complete the grueling race. "I've got two different goals and I'll just be happy finishing, honestly," said Kennedy, whose other goal is to place first in his age group and qualify for the next stage in Australia. "Especially after this weekend, because I'm going to race on Saturday and jump on a plane right after to fly down to Georgia. "Only thing I'm worried about is being kind of wired after the race, because I know I'm going to be wired even more so about Sunday morning. I don't know how much sleep I'll get." No matter if he places first or not; or even if he finishes or not, the five months of training that led up to Sunday are enough to be proud of for anyone, let alone a NASCAR national series driver trying to balance a race schedule on top of a routine that saw him doing two of the three legs every day. Sunday will tie Kennedy back together with his childhood hero, whose legend in the sport will be further ingrained around 2 p.m. ET. Just another reason for him to admire the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion. "With everything that Gordon's done for the sport; I remember when I was, I think, 3 years old, I had the opportunity to meet him and he was the first driver I think I ever met," Kennedy said. "I made that connection in the back of my mind growing up through my childhood that he was always my favorite driver. "It's so cool to see him running so good at this point of his career. You look at some athletes and they're not at their strongest the last couple years of their career, but Jeff Gordon , he's as strong as he's ever been, especially in the field that's out there; it's so unbelievably competitive. It's cool to see what he's done and brought to the sport."
Chuck Bush and Matthew Dillner take an in-depth look at the life of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Josh Wise .