Rain jumbles Friday's schedule at Kentucky
RELATED: Get live weather updates Inclement weather altered Friday's on-track schedule at Kentucky Speedway. Nearly 30 minutes into the day's first of two scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices, a severe thunderstorm warning had officials sending Sprint Cup Series cars into the garage. Denny Hamlin had posted the fastest speed at the time, with Jimmie Johnson -- who later smacked the wall solidly -- sitting in second. Heavy rains followed, and the practice officially ended at 12:25 p.m. ET. Four other on-track events were planned, but altered. Here's what's new: The second Sprint Cup Series practice began at 3:45 when the track was dry and was scheduled to run until 4:25 p.m. ET. NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying will follow at 4:45 p.m. ET, with Sprint Cup Series final practice running from 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying is canceled and will be set per the rule book (owner points) -- that puts Kevin Harvick on the pole position with Brad Keselowski also on the front row. MORE " See the full lineup The NASCAR XFINITY Series Alsco 300 (8:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, Live Extra, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will wrap up the day's events. RELATED: See the full weekend schedule Wet weather also altered Wednesday's original schedule, which had three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practices on the books. That schedule was adjusted to have two practices, including an extended 175-minute session. The extra time had added importance as Kentucky underwent a repave and the 1.5-mile track has a fresh racing surface. Sprint Cup teams tested at the track last month over two days following the Michigan weekend and practiced here yesterday. XFINITY Series teams had four practices on Thursday. This story will be updated. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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Post-Race Reactions: Kentucky 225
Austin Dillon comments on his effort to catch Hornaday and James Buescher recaps his night in Kentucky .
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Byron earns fourth Camping World Truck Series win of 2016
RELATED: Results SPARTA, KY. -- William Byron didn't have the fastest truck at the end of Thursday night's Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway. But Byron had the most important ingredient in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the newly repaved and reconfigured 1.5-mile track. Byron held the top spot for all 42 laps after the final restart of the event on lap 108 of 150. It was no cakewalk. Byron had to stave off assaults from both runner-up John Hunter Nemechek and third-place finisher Daniel Hemric , who dogged the race winner -- and each other -- for the entire closing green-flag run. At the end, after surviving a last-ditch effort from Nemechek, Byron's No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota crossed the finish line .190 seconds ahead of Nemechek's family-owned No. 8 Chevrolet. Hemric was .291 seconds behind the winner at the finish. The victory was the fourth in 10 starts this season for the 18-year-old Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner, and it was the 51st win for KBM, most all-time for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. "It's a dream come true to get a fourth win like this," Byron said. "I can't thank the team enough." With Christopher Bell finishing fourth, KBM grabbed two of the top four spots, but team owner Kyle Busch had to watch the last 93 laps from the sidelines after Spencer Gallagher checked his Chevrolet up in front of him and triggered a wreck that sent Busch's Toyota spinning into the outside wall on Lap 57. Busch expressed frustration in the aftermath of the crash, but was more upbeat after the race when reflecting on the meteoric rise of the team he launched in 2010. "This is a special moment," said Busch, whose drivers have won the last four series races. "It's been really cool. What to me makes it most special, I think, is how we've done it in such a short period of time. "From 2010 through 2016, we've gotten 51 wins, and many of the teams that we excelled ahead of have been around a lot longer than we have. That's pretty awesome." Byron felt a vibration in his truck in the closing laps but stayed on the throttle. "It was tough," he acknowledged. "I honestly felt like I had a right rear tire going down. With the new surface, it's hard to get a tire to last that long. I had quite the vibration the last three or four laps. "I was just hoping and praying that there would be no cautions. Just a great run for us. Our Liberty University Tundra was really good tonight, and we were able to stay out front that last run and that was the key." Though they had faster trucks in the closing laps, Nemechek and Hemric couldn't focus solely on Byron because they were battling each other. Hemric lost momentum into Turn 1 on Lap 146 when he closed quickly on Byron's bumper, and he and Nemechek ran side-by-side for the better part of two laps before Nemechek took the second spot on Lap 147. Though Nemechek was clearly stronger than Byron through high-speed Turns 1 and 2, he wasn't able to get to Byron's rear bumper on the final lap. "The 19 (Hemric) got down on my right rear a couple of times and got me loose, but that's just racing, I guess," Nemechek said. "It sucks to be disappointed with second, but I guess that's a good thing." Hemric gave a tip of the hat to Byron, who had to work extremely hard to stay out front. "The 9 (Byron) was put in a position where he had to run perfectly for the last 40-45 laps, or else he wouldn't have won," Hemric said. "So congratulations to him." Byron, locked into the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, extended his series lead to 13 points over second-place Matt Crafton , who ran eighth, and 17 points over Hemric and Timothy Peters (ninth Thursday), who are tied for third.
KBM logs 51st Camping World Trucks Series win, most in series
SPARTA, Ky. -- Kyle Busch Motorsports etched its name into the NASCAR history books Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway with a fitting number -- 51. Team owner Kyle Busch's organization eclipsed Roush Fenway Racing atop the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' all-time win list with its 51st victory, the fourth of the year for ultra-hot rookie William Byron. The 18-year-old driver led 70 of the 150 laps in the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 and signaled the landmark win with a commemorative flag during his post-race burnout. "Certainly you want to be the best at what you do," Busch said. "I've tried to assemble a great group of guys. I feel like we have a great group of guys now. We have in our whole time that we have been in existence at Kyle Busch Motorsports. It's been a lot of fun, it's been a lot of trying times; it's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears by both my wife (Samantha) and myself and all these guys that are on this team now and all the people that have been a part of Kyle Busch Motorsports in the years past. We wouldn't be here without all them. This is a special moment. It's really, really cool." The number, so frequently associated with Busch's efforts in NASCAR's lower two national divisions, was a collaborative total achieved by eight drivers -- Busch himself (29 wins), Erik Jones (7), Darrell Wallace Jr. (5), Byron (4), Denny Hamlin (2), Christopher Bell (2), Kasey Kahne (1) and Brian Scott (1). Busch lauded the relatively short amount of time (2010-16) in which his organization achieved the milestone. Likewise, it's been a quick rise to success for Byron, who is now 4-for-11 -- a .364 winning percentage -- in his brief Camping World Truck Series career. "I can't say enough about this organization," Byron said. "It's so awesome to have Kyle and Samantha's support, Toyota's support with great Toyota Tundras and great JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) engines tonight. It's a dream come true to get a win like this. It just keeps going."
NASCAR penalizes No. 86 team in Truck Series
RELATED: Current series standings NASCAR handed down penalties Wednesday to the Brandonbilt Motorsports team in the Camping World Truck Series for a lug-nut infraction incurred during last weekend's race at Kentucky Speedway . NASCAR assessed a P3-grade penalty to the No. 86 Chevrolet operation for improper lug nut installation. NASCAR officials suspended crew chief Adam Brenner through July 27, which makes him ineligible for the series' next race, July 20 at Eldora Speedway . Brenner was also fined $5,000 and placed on probation through the end of the year. Brandon Brown finished 20th in the No. 86 Chevy during last Thursday's Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 . Brown -- who has competed in all but one event this season -- ranks 20th in the drivers' standings ahead of the series' lone race on a dirt track, next Wednesday's Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby (9 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM).
Suarez, Sadler clinch spots in XFINITY Series Chase
RELATED: Full race results " Standings " Chase Grid Daniel Suarez and Elliott Sadler have both clinched spots in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase coming out of the Lilly Diabates 250 on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Suarez (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) and Sadler (No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) already had spots locked up in the top 30 in points, but needed a new Chase-eligible driver not to win at Indianapolis. That was achieved with Kyle Busch's third straight win and seventh victory of the season in the series. Suarez and Sadler join Erik Jones (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) as the only drivers to officially clinch spots in the 12-driver, elimination-style playoff that will be used in the series this fall. The drivers must start the remaining eight races of the regular season. Jones has two wins (Bristol and Dover), while Suarez and Sadler have one each (Suarez won at Michigan, Sadler at Talladega). The seven-race XFINITY Series Chase opens on Sept. 24 at Kentucky Speedway. MORE: All of 2016's XFINITY winners
Kentucky : The missing track for Chevrolet drivers
Of the 23 tracks that currently host one or more NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, Kentucky Speedway remains the only venue that hasn't seen a Chevrolet driver celebrating in Victory Lane. The 1.5-mile track, which will host Saturday night's Quaker State 400 Presented (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) held its first Sprint Cup race in 2011. This weekend's race will be just the sixth premier series event at the facility, which is owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc. Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota) has a pair of victories there, as does Brad Keselowski (Team Penske No. 2 Ford). Matt Kenseth (JGR No. 20 Toyota) is also a former Kentucky winner. Keselowski, last week's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola winner at Daytona International Speedway, won at Kentucky in a Dodge (in 2012) as well as a Ford (2014). The lack of success at the track isn't something Chevrolet officials and teams take lightly. "Our teams are very aware that we haven't won at this race track," said Alba Colon, program manager for Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "It's a big deal." Chevrolet drivers have finished second twice, Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports) in 2012 and Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) the following year. But perhaps the automaker's most difficult loss to swallow was the '13 race, one that saw Jimmie Johnson dominate only to lose the lead, and the race, following a late caution. Johnson (HMS) led 182 of 267 laps before a fuel-only stop by Kenseth put the JGR driver out front on a restart; Johnson's chances faded when the No. 48 entry spun moments later. There are tracks where Chevrolet teams have been dominant. They have won six straight at Phoenix International Raceway, for example, and 12 of the past 13 events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Thus far, Kentucky has been a tougher nut to crack. “We have had only five races so far (at Kentucky )," Colon said, noting runnerup finishes by McMurray and Kahne. "We've won the pole three times. Top-five and top-10 finishes. We haven't been able to close it." That could change this weekend. For just the second, and final, time this season teams will be competing with a lower downforce aerodynamic package. The track has been repaved and Turns 1 and 2 have been reconfigured with the banking increased three degrees. "I really believe that with the new rules and everything being so equal right now … this is a great chance for us to do it," Colon said. Fourteen teams tested at Kentucky June 13-14. Fastest through the two days of practice was the Chevrolet entry of 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team. Harvick has yet to lead a lap at the track, but has finished 10th or higher in his last three starts there. It's one of only four tracks, along with Pocono, Sonoma and Texas, where he has yet to win. Ditto for Johnson, who counts Kentucky , Watkins Glen, Homestead and Chicagoland as tracks where he has yet to visit Victory Lane. And three-time champ Tony Stewart is winless at only two current tracks – Kentucky and Darlington. The three-times series champion will close the book on his Sprint Cup Series career at season's end. Going out with a win at each track, he said, would make his departure all the more memorable. Chevrolet teams have 758 wins in NASCAR through the years, most of any automaker. "But it's a goal," Colon said, "to have a win at every track. "We have been very successful. And we still have one more track to win."
Kentucky's revamp, asymmetry provide racing unknowns
SPARTA, Ky. -- Considering its brief term as a host to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, Kentucky Speedway is still making modest gains at establishing a sense of heritage. Before last season, the 1.5-mile track's most momentous occasion was the crowd-choking traffic jam that snarled a large swath of nearby Interstate 71 for its premier-series debut in 2011. That changed last year, with Kentucky's most competitive race -- a 400-mile festival of passing that signaled a major shift in the sport's approach to aerodynamics. This year, the Bluegrass State track aims to enrich that sense of tradition in Saturday's Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM) with a new chapter in its story -- a repaved surface that seems to have retained the venue's character, a reconfigured layout with mismatched banking at its opposite ends, and another big swing at aerodynamic nuances that likely will shape the 2017 rules package. "This is the big unknown with the new surface, the tire, the package -- all that stuff," said Carl Edwards , echoing words that his crew chief, Dave Rogers, shared with him before the race weekend. "And that's the kind of racing that's fun to go do. We don't know what to expect." RELATED: Ty's team gives his tires an ice bath NASCAR competition officials tinkered with aero setups at four tracks last season, deploying a reduced-downforce package first at Kentucky then Darlington, and then trying an ill-fated high-drag package at Michigan and Indianapolis. The Kentucky rollout delivered on its raised expectations, producing a track-record 22 green-flag passes for the lead and a total of 2,665 green-flag passes overall. The array of side-by-side racing served not only as a launching pad for further aero changes this season, but as the fulcrum for a closer working relationship between the series' drivers and its officials. "I would say this race a year ago was a huge landmark for our sport that maybe goes a little bit unnoticed, in terms of we had a collaborative effort for a rules package and we saw a significant increase, in my opinion, of the on-track product that we saw," said Brad Keselowski , a two-time Kentucky winner and last weekend's victor at Daytona International Speedway. "And I think that showcased a lot of hope for our abilities to work together as a sport that has kind of created a wave of momentum that we're carrying today." Edwards finished fourth at Kentucky last season as Joe Gibbs Racing placed its four cars among the top five. But instead of feeling dejection for a Victory Lane near-miss, Edwards was among a chorus of drivers finishing behind race winner Kyle Busch who reveled in the racing produced by downforce reduction. "I think it was a really big deal," Edwards said. "If you go back and watch the race, just watch the interviews, you know everyone's demeanor. Even guys that weren't in it for the win, everybody got out and said, 'Man, that was fun.' NASCAR did a really great job responding to that, implementing a lot of that stuff for this season. After some of these races, it's got a whole different feel to it. It really has been a good time. There's been some great races." The series makes its Kentucky return with even further restrictions on the effects of downforce and sideforce. Foremost among the changes is a smaller rear spoiler -- a 2.5-inch tall version that was also used at Michigan -- and the elimination of rear-axle offset or "skew" for a more neutral setup. That configuration -- the likely forerunner to the 2017 package -- was tested here June 13-14, immediately after it was used for the series' first Michigan stop of the season. The only change from then to now was a different right-side tire, designed to better adapt to the fresh surface. And what a surface it is. The track's trademark teeth-rattling bumps have been smoothed in certain places, but retained in others -- something drivers commonly refer to as "character." But in repaving, track officials traded one character trait for another by going asymmetrical with its banking -- Turns 1 and 2 were increased from 14 to 17 degrees with a narrowing of the racing groove; Turns 3 and 4 remain at their original 14 degrees. "I think anytime you have a track like that it lends itself to compromises with race car drivers, techniques and car setups, and all those things that tend to open up the box to allow for better racing because whenever there are those (banking) discrepancies, I think that’s when you see mistakes and when you see strengths and weaknesses that vary from car to car and driver to driver," said Keselowski, who plans double duty in Sprint Cup and the NASCAR XFINITY Series to become more familiar with the new layout. "I think that's a really good thing for our sport, so I'm interested to see how that is gonna play out this weekend."