Post-Race Reactions: Kentucky 201
Championship contenders Kligerman, Coulter, Dillon, and Peters comment on their Kentucky runs along with Brian Scott.
Numbers crunch: Can Logano, Busch keep trend?
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! While we understand this may be more of a coincidence than a correlation, results from the season-opening Advance Auto Parts Clash could be an accurate predictor for a championship push. Since the postseason format shifted to an elimination-style setup prior to the 2014 season, one finisher in the top three of the season-opening, non-points race has advanced to the four-driver Championship Round at Miami. That's good news for Sunday's winner Joey Logano , runner-up Kyle Busch and third place … uh, Alex Bowman . Bowman doesn't have a full-time ride for 2017, so while he filled in beautifully for Dale Earnhardt Jr . in "The Clash," we don't expect him in the championship round. That leaves Logano and Busch as the drivers looking to carry the torch here, and they are two perfect candidates. In three postseasons, Busch (2016, 2015) and Logano (2016, 2014) have each made it to the championship battle twice. Both were in the field last year when Jimmie Johnson sped to his record-tying seventh title. Here's a look back at the previous three years in the Advance Auto Parts Clash: 201 6 1. Denny Hamlin 2. Joey Logano (Made Championship 4) 3. Paul Menard 2015 1. Matt Kenseth 2. Martin Truex Jr . (Made Championship 4) 3. Carl Edwards 2014 1. Denny Hamlin (Made Championship 4) 2. Brad Keselowski 3. Kyle Busch
Waltrip wrestles with emotions as he preps for his last Daytona 500
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Waltrip's Daytona moments " Daytona schedule DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- He's still just "Margaret and Leroy's little boy," but Michael Waltrip is pushing 54 and Sunday he'll be making his final start in the Daytona 500 . "I just thought it was a cool place to run my last race," Waltrip said during Wednesday's annual media day at Daytona International Speedway . It will be his 30th start in a race and at a place that still generates a wide range of emotions for the Owensboro, Kentucky , native. His record of futility was a solid 462 races heading into the 2001 Daytona 500 when he finally made it to Victory Lane in his first start for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Jubilation was short-lived. In a race that crowned a new Daytona 500 champion, the sport lost one of its biggest figures -- team owner and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. Waltrip, the younger brother of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Darrell Waltrip, won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series biggest race again in 2003. He won the summer race at Daytona in '02 and the fall stop at Talladega the following year. "I try not to get reflective or nostalgic because it's too emotional," he said of his Daytona memories. "Mostly I just think about getting to race the car. Obviously I have faced the range of emotions that humans probably aren't designed to face and it all probably happened within 10 seconds, so that's hard to think about. "But I love coming to Daytona, I've been coming here since I was a kid, so every time you talk about coming to Daytona I get a big smile on my face which is crazy but that's racing I guess." Outside the car, he works as a NASCAR analyst for FOX "and I've got great teammates there," he said. For 32 years he's made at least one start in the series -- the last time he ran a full schedule was '09. He will suit up for a final time with help from long-time sponsor Aaron's -- they've been with him in some form or fashion for nearly two decades -- and Premium Motorsports owner Jay Robinson in the team's No. 15 Toyota . "When we ran last year's Daytona 500 (with BK Racing ) it didn't go well," he said. "We didn't run good and I guess we got in a little bit of a fender-bender and messed up the car. I didn't want to quit like that. So I went to Talladega (with Premium) and we got a 12th-place finish, ran up front a little bit. "Then I decided we would try to have one more competitive run down here. You've got to quit sometime." For Waltrip, sometime comes Sunday. "When we close the books on this it will say 11 XFINITY Series wins and one Camping World Truck win and it will definitely say four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup wins, maybe it will say five," he said. "But I qualified 35th so unless our strategy is we've got 'em right where we want 'em … we might be in a little bit of trouble on this one. "But I'm looking forward to trying." &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Kyle Busch wins at Kentucky in overtime finish
RELATED: Results " Standings SPARTA, Ky. – It was a race Kyle Busch won with a dramatic run around the outside lane at Kentucky Speedway. It was a race Erik Jones lost when he hit the wrong switch on his dashboard, killed the engine and slowed under caution late in the race. But, interestingly, it was a race where Jones showed Busch, the pole winner, the key to victory, demonstrating to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate that the outside line was viable when racing side-by-side with an opponent. Clearing Austin Dillon off Turn 4 in the first lap in overtime in Friday night’s Alsco 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race, after caution slowed the race for the fifth time, Busch pulled away to beat the Richard Childress Racing scion to the finish line by .455 seconds. Daniel Suarez finished third after chasing Busch to the final yellow flag, then losing the runner-up spot to Dillon on the last restart. Jones came home a disappointing fourth after outdueling Busch for the lead on Lap 175, only to give it up when his car wouldn’t refire under caution and failed to keep up with the pace car, costing Jones two positions. Busch led 185 of the 201 laps in winning for the fifth time in nine starts this season, the second time at Kentucky and the 81st time in his career, extending his own series record. But it was the run around the outside lane, after Dillon pulled even on the backstretch on lap 200, that proved decisive. And that’s exactly how Jones had passed Busch for the lead on Lap 175. “I didn’t think he’d be able to hold it through (Turns) 3 and 4 like that,” said Dillon, who thought he had the preferred position on the inside. “But he did a great job of holding me down. I wish we could have got it done for (sponsor) Rheem, but it was a really close race.” Busch was roughly a half-second ahead of Suarez and appeared to have the race in hand when caution flew on Lap 195 with smoke billowing from Mike Harmon ’s car. “We always get the Kyle Busch cautions,” Busch said. “Apparently this time it was true. There was some problems with another car smoking. You always have to make your money’s worth, I guess. Always have to give the show to the fans and their money’s worth. “Certainly means a lot to us to win here and bring our Camry home to Victory Lane again at Kentucky Speedway.” Jones said he hit the wrong button when he was rolling under caution and fell behind the pace car, allowing Busch to pass him. NASCAR rules require a driver to maintain pace car speed in order to keep his or her running position. “I think we had the fastest car here once we got out front,” Jones lamented. “It’s just hard to get back up to the front when you get back in traffic.” But before he fell back, Jones had already given Busch the road map to victory. “When Erik drove into Turn 3 with me, I started to roll out just a little bit, because I knew I needed to in order to run the bottom,” Busch said. “And he drove right on past me, and I was like, ‘Well, all righty then.’ “I was waiting for him to slip and to not be able to control his car in the black, in the rubber. And it stuck for him and he made it work. I definitely learned that there was a little bit of speed up there, at least for one lap, for one corner.” And that one corner made all the difference on Friday night.
Erik Jones left frustrated by late mistake at Kentucky
RELATED: Results " Standings SPARTA, Ky. -- Erik Jones had the best view from his office Friday night at Kentucky Speedway, leading in the closing stages, with only the pace car in front of him during a late caution period and with another NASCAR XFINITY Series win in sight. But the equivalent of knocking over a pencil holder or a box of paper clips spoiled both the office feng shui inside his car and his shot at a victory in the Alsco 300. While making adjustments inside the cockpit during the fourth of the race's five yellow flags, Jones accidentally hit the ignition kill switch, causing his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota to stall. NASCAR competition officials ruled that Jones failed to keep pace during his flight fade, forcing him to line up third on the next-to-last restart on Lap 180 of 201 laps. "I don't know. I fell back 20 feet from the pace car, no different than if you're saving fuel and they put me to third place, so I guess I gave it away," Jones said after finishing fourth in the 40-car field. "It's unfortunate. Good Reser's Camry and nothing to show for it." Jones, who led three laps, explained that his late-race gaffe wasn't a matter of purposely turning the car off and on to save fuel. "There's a lot of things obviously these drivers do in these car that the general fan doesn't realize," said Chris Gabehart, crew chief for Jones' JGR No. 20. "They're just as busy or busier under caution trying to manage a lot of things, and that's what Erik was doing. Moving from one switch to the other, he just accidentally hit the ignition switch and turned it off, and it only takes a few seconds before you can't maintain speed and that's all." Jones' frustration as he emerged from the car was evident late Friday night, but Gabehart said the miscue wasn't solely the responsibility of the driver, who is still in his first full season of XFINITY Series competition. "No one puts more pressure on him than he does on himself, like any great athlete or performer would," Gabehart said. "It's no different with him. But he's just 20. He's still making mistakes every day for the first time like we all are, but when you're younger, you make a lot more of them in a day and you've got to learn from them. "Just a simple mistake, but we made the mistake. That's what I want to stress is, it's not Erik we're talking about. Just like it wasn't my team we were talking about last week at Daytona or at Iowa, it's us as a race team no matter what, and that's the biggest lesson I want him to take from this. And he will. He's a smart kid." Jones said he was able to salvage some consolation from his ninth top-five effort of the year, the most of any full-time XFINITY Series driver so far this season. The Michigan native sits fourth in the standings heading to the series' next race, scheduled next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "I mean, we had some good moments, we had a good race car, and it was a good team-building day for us," Jones said. "A lot of good changes, a lot of good gains and it's a pretty good run for a repave. Just unfortunate it didn't work out. I felt like we did have the fastest car here once we got out front, but it's just hard to get back up there once you get back in traffic, so not our night."
Victory Lane: James Buescher
Buescher thanks his team and sponsors after celebrating his Kentucky 201 win.
Heads up: Loudon and Kentucky weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway , including the Chase openers for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. WEATHER The weekend forecast for Loudon, New Hampshire, looks mostly clear for on-track activity. Friday for Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole qualifying there is a 48 percent chance for precipitation. For the Camping World Truck race on Saturday, skies will be partly cloudy and the high is expected to be 64 degrees. And for the Sprint Cup race on Sunday, we're looking at clear skies and a high of 61. For Sparta, Kentucky , site of this weekend's XFINITY events, it will be clear and 89 degrees for the start of Friday's practices. And on Saturday it will be clear and 78 degrees for the start of the race. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The Sprint Cup Series holds its first practice Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) followed by Coors Light Pole qualifying at 4:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The Bad Boy Off Road 300 is at 2 p.m. ET Sunday (NBCSN/NBC Sports App/PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). XFINITY Series: The XFINITY Series opens practice on Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) and qualifies Saturday at 4:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 is on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET (NBC/NBC Sports App). Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series is scheduled for a Keystone Light Pole qualifying session at 10:10 a.m. ET on FS1 Saturday followed by the UNOH 175 race at 1 p.m. ET (FS1). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the New Hampshire media center at NASCAR.com/presspass. Click here for a full schedule. Click here to tune into the live stream . LAST TIME In September of 2015, Matt Kenseth outlasted Kevin Harvick , who ran out of fuel with three laps to go, to capture the victory in the Sylvania 300 and punch his ticket to the second round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Kenseth backed up that win with another at New Hampshire in July of this season. In that one, Kenseth pulled away from Tony Stewart to win by 1.982 seconds. YOU SHOULD KNOW • Chris Buescher (-12 from 12th place), Kyle Larson (-2), Kevin Harvick (-1) and Austin Dillon (-1) are all on the outside looking in as far as the Chase Grid standings are concerned. Of those drivers, Harvick is the only one who owns a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at New Hampshire (fall of 2006). Harvick has finished in the top four in three of his past four races at Loudon, with the only exception being the 21st-place finish in the Chase race here last season. • New England native Joey Logano considers New Hampshire to be his home track and high on his list as far as valued victories. Logano has won here twice, in the 2014 Chase race and in 2009 when he notched his first-ever Sprint Cup Series victory as a member of Joe Gibbs Racing . At this time last year, Logano was hitting his stride in a season in which he captured six Sprint Cup victories. Although this season hasn't been as dominant, his second-place finish at Chicago gives him momentum coming into Sunday. • Erik Jones comes to Kentucky atop the Chase standings in the XFINITY Series thanks to his four victories this season. And chances are he'll get his Chase off to a good start there. In three races at Kentucky , Jones has an average finish of 4.7, and earlier this season, he finished fourth. Jones is trying to back up last year's Camping World Truck Series championship with an XFINITY title before moving to Sprint Cup with Furniture Row Racing next season. • Cole Custer is the only Camping World Truck Series regular who has a win at New Hampshire, but he's not in the Chase after his controversial run-in with John Hunter Nemechek at the end of the Sept. 4 race at Canadian Tire Motor Sport Park. Could Custer take out his frustrations on Nemechek now that the Chase in underway? We shall see. Interestingly, Nemechek's average finish of 5.0 (in two races) at New Hampshire is bested only by Johnny Sauter 's 4.8 (in five races) entering this weekend.
Full schedule for New Hampshire and Kentucky
RELATED: Find NBCSN in your area " Find CNBC " Watch live online at NBCSports.com The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series will gather for a doubleheader showing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. The XFINITY Series will race at Kentucky Speedway . Check out the full schedule below. Note: All times are ET SUNDAY, SEPT. 25: ON TRACK: New Hampshire --1:25 p.m.: NCSC Driver Introductions with NASCAR Special Awards --1:58 p.m.: Canadian National Anthem by Kirk Young --2:00 p.m.: Presentation of Colors by New Hampshire State Police Honor Guard and Combined Services Military Color Guard --2:00:20 p.m.: Invocation by Dustin Pari, actor on the show "Ghost Hunters" --2:01 p.m.: National Anthem by Daniel M. Clark, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and retired Massachusetts state trooper --2:02:30 p.m.: Fly-by, two F-15s from Massachusetts ANG 104 --2:07:30 p.m.: "Drivers, Start Your Engines" by Kevin Holleran, president of Textron Specialized Vehicles -- 2:15 p.m.: Start of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bad Boy Off Road 300 (300 laps, 317.4 miles), NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCE ( Watch live ) -- 5 p.m. (approximately): NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post race press conference DAILY ROUNDUP -- At-track photos: Sunday, New Hampshire -- Full schedule for Dover and Las Vegas -- Harvick charges to New Hampshire with late-race surge -- Kenseth: 'The last restart is my fault' -- Chase bubble watch: Harvick, Stewart head in opposite directions -- Stewart's Fathead makes appearance during Harvick's post-race presser -- Edwards rallies to sixth-place finish after Loudon penalty -- All 16 Chase cars pass post-race inspection FRIDAY, SEPT. 23: ON TRACK: New Hampshire -- 11:30 a.m.-12:55 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series first practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 1:45-2:40 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series first practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 3:30-4:25 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 4:45 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) GARAGECAM: New Hampshire -- 11 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ( Watch live ) -- 1 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ( Watch live ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) —10:15 a.m.: Joey Logano —10:30 a.m.: Matt Kenseth —11 a.m.: John Hunter Nemechek —11:15 a.m.: William Byron —1:05 p.m.: Carl Edwards —3 p.m.: Austin Dillon —5:30 p.m.(approximately): NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post qualifying press conference ON TRACK: Kentucky -- 3:30-4:25 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series first practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 6-7:25 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) DAILY ROUNDUP -- Five to Watch: XFINITY Chase -- Dillon wrecks in Larson-led practice -- At-track photos: Friday, New Hampshire and Kentucky -- Second-best thrills Logano as he readies for Chase long haul -- Nemechek, Byron ready for anything in Truck Chase -- Truex, Harvick discuss on-track Chicago contact -- Rhodes, Crafton sweep Friday's practices -- Drivers rally from pre-qualifying hang-ups -- Drivers react to social unrest in Charlotte -- Edwards earns Coors Light Pole Award at New Hampshire -- See the full lineup for Sunday -- Full XFINITY practice results -- Snapshot: Sunday's event SATURDAY, SEPT. 24: ON TRACK: New Hampshire -- 9-9:55 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series second practice, CNBC/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 10:10 a.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) -- 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, CNBC/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 (175 laps, 185.15 miles), FS1 ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCE ( Watch live ) -- 3 p.m. (approximately): NASCAR Camping World Truck Series post race press conference ON TRACK: Kentucky -- 4:45 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) -- 8 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com (200 laps, 300 miles), NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Results ) DAILY ROUNDUP -- Larson sweeps Cup practices at New Hampshire -- Phone call changes Johnson's Chase outlook -- Byron wins Trucks Chase opener at New Hampshire -- Top 10 consecutive lap averages at New Hampshire -- Nemechek fails post-race inspection -- Runner-up Bell: 'Just got to keep digging' -- Jones earns 21 Means 21 Pole Award at Kentucky -- Sadler wins first XFINITY Chase race in caution-filled night -- Jones, Dillon's Chase positions in trouble post- Kentucky
Kentucky Speedway to add layer of asphalt
RELATED: Tire dragon goes to work at Kentucky Kentucky Speedway announced Monday that it will add another surface layer of asphalt to the 1.5-mile track this month. The Bluegrass State circuit underwent a full reconfiguration earlier this year that included a increased banking in Turns 1 and 2, improved drainage, additional energy-absorbing SAFER barrier and a total repave. The work was completed ahead of a tripleheader NASCAR weekend for all three national series July 7-9. "When our team examined the race track, portions of the paving performed earlier this year did not meet the construction specifications," Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger said in a release provided by the track. "These deficiencies had no impact on this year's racing and would affect only the long-term viability of the surface if left uncorrected. In order to remedy these issues, an additional surface course of asphalt will be applied. The track will cure over the winter and be fully in use in the spring." The speedway indicated that all work would be complete in October. The track hosts two NASCAR weekends on the 2017 schedule, the first for all three national series July 6-8 and a return trip for the XFINITY Series in September.
Sadler wins first XFINITY Chase race at Kentucky
RELATED: Results " Standings " Chase Grid SPARTA, KY – A huge push from Daniel Suárez on a restart with four laps to go in Saturday night's eventful VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 sent Elliott Sadler ahead of Ryan Blaney to win the opening race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase at Kentucky Speedway . Sadler's third win of the season and 13th of his XFINITY Series career was about more than just stamping his way into Round 2 of the Chase. The Emporia, Virginia, native fought for the win while thinking of his mother, Bell, who was released from the hospital Saturday, after a week of hospitalization and two surgeries. "We fought through a lot tonight," Sadler said in Victory Lane. "I'm going to get a little emotional on you, I've been in the hospital all week with my mom in ICU watching her fight and fight through a lot of pain and suffering. (She) made her way back home tonight to watch the race. Mom, I love you. She leads so much by example." Sadler also credited his team, who helped Sadler battle from outside the top 15 earlier in the race. "These guys are my heroes," Sadler said. "We had a 10th or 15th place car at best. Still had to come in and really take our time and work on it. Great pit calls by Kevin (Meendering, crew chief) and the guys to get us in position. Got a good push there at the end. I do want to say thanks to Josh Berry for helping me a ton tonight. That kid did some cool things on the restarts. This OneMain Financial team has no quit in them. We just fight till the end. This is a great way to start the Chase." Suárez, who finished second, said he struggled with a tight condition all night but was best at the end of the race. "Right at the end, we were pretty good, maybe just a little tight but we were strong," he said. "I feel like we were the fastest car out there at the end. I just needed one or two laps more to get the win." The inaugural XFINITY Series Chase race offered plenty of excitement and drama. With the "win and advance" format putting a greater premium on victories, drivers found themselves on the edge of control at a track where the racing groove was extremely tight since undergoing a repave in May. "At halfway, we were running 20th," Sadler said. "By my calculations, we were probably 10th or 11th in points, so to fight back that last 100 laps to gain that kind of momentum probably means a lot for us and these guys. I'm so proud of these guys. Dale (Earnhardt Jr., team owner) and Kelley (Earnhardt-Miller, team manager) and all of our partners for Hunt Bros., and Chevrolet and everyone that does so much for us at JR Motorsports. This is a great way to start off the Chase and keeps the momentum on our side, we can relax and go to Dover and have fun there and Charlotte and get ready for the second round." XFINITY Chase drivers Ty Dillon , Brandon Jones and Erik Jones all found themselves in a deep hole after being collected in accidents throughout a caution-filled race. Dillon and Erik Jones tangled while racing for second with 12 laps remaining. The event was red-flagged for five minutes, 34 seconds for cleanup of the Turn 3 incident. RELATED: See the wreck " Jones' take " Dillon's take Jones, the pole sitter who led a race-high 100 laps, took responsibility for the crash. "I just got sucked around," Jones said after the incident. "I tried to slow down but Ty was holding me down there pretty tight on the restart, slamming doors through (Turns) 1 and 2. It was my fault but it's a pretty tough aero situation to be in. "I just couldn't hang on to it. I tried to slow down but he kept slamming down on my door and I did all I could to hang on to it. It definitely looks like we're going to have to run really well at Dover and Charlotte or even win." Behind Sadler and Suárez, Sprint Cup rookie Ryan Blaney finished third while Sam Hornish Jr . and Matt Tifft completed the top five. Tifft, a NASCAR Next alumnus made his XFINITY Series return after undergoing brain surgery in July to remove a remove a benign, low-grade glioma. Sadler leaves Kentucky Speedway with an eight-point lead in the standings and guaranteed admission to the next round of the Chase at Kansas Speedway in three weeks. Suárez (+27 points above the cutoff line) is second in the Chase standings, followed by Brendan Gaughan (+21), Ryan Reed (+19), Darrell Wallace Jr . (+19), Justin Allgaier (+17), Brennan Poole (+16), Blake Koch (+15), Erik Jones (-3), Ryan Sieg (-5), Brandon Jones (-15) and Ty Dillon (-15). &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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