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Speeding penalty foils Larson at Bristol -- but he still put on a show
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kyle Larson's No. 42 Chevrolet was incredibly fast on the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway during Monday's rain-delayed running of the Food City 500. Unfortunately, it was a bit too fast on pit road, too, and the misstep changed the team's pit strategy, and likely cost the Chip Ganassi Racing driver a shot a second victory through eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races this season. Sixth in the final rundown, the 24-year-old Larson put on quite a show right up until the end of the race. "Yeah, I knew I gave the race away there," Larson, who won earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway, said of the infraction which came on Lap 422 of the 500-lap race. "I was surprised that I was able to line up with an opportunity there at the end. We lucked out taking two (tires), and then the 78 (of Martin Truex Jr.) sped and it lined us up fourth (for the final restart)." Larson, the points leader and pole winner (the latter coming when rain forced officials to cancel qualifying on Friday), dominated the opening 125-lap Stage 1 Monday, leading every lap. He was nearly as invincible in the second stage, leading 77 circuits around the .533-mile oval before finally yielding the point to Truex. Larson ran in the top five for much of the final 250-lap stage and was second when he dropped onto pit road following the race's eighth caution period. The speeding penalty sent him to the rear, but he was 12th when a final caution flag flew for an incident involving Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports) and Paul Menard (Richard Childress Racing). Larson was one of a handful of drivers able to run both the high and low lines around Bristol seemingly picking his spots and picking off cars at will. Fifth on the final restart, he quickly made his way to second and was closing on leader Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing), when Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports) and Clint Bowyer (SHR) began running down the two. "I thought maybe if I could get the top going quick and get by Kevin , I could get the win," Larson said. "But I think even if I was able to get into the lead, I don't think I would have won because Jimmie and Clint were way faster than I was. They were a straightaway ahead of us, I think, at the checkered flag." Johnson took the win, his 82nd , with Bowyer earning runner-up honors. Harvick, Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Joey Logano (Team Penske) completed the top five. "I think I speed on pit road every time I come to Bristol," Larson said. "So I've got to clean that up." Larson has five top-five and six top-10 finishes this season. Chase Elliott (HMS) finished seventh and trails Larson by 27 points. </p>
Kevin Harvick earns Coors Light pole at Texas
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Texas RELATED: Qualifying results FORT WORTH, Tex. -- Kevin Harvick needed a do-over in the second round of Friday's knockout qualifying session at Texas Motor Speedway, but putting the extra lap on his tires proved well worth the effort. Harvick led not only the second round but also the first and third in winning the pole for Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET on FOX). "I just didn't feel like I got through Turns 1 and 2 like I needed to," Harvick said of his first attempt in the second round. "The front took off, and I didn't want to do what everyone was doing in practice and get out of the groove and drive it into the wall. It's been a stressful day, coming in and breaking in a new (resurfaced) race track and going out there running as fast as we had to run for qualifying." In the final round, Harvick secured his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, the 19th of his career with his fastest lap of the afternoon, covering the distance on the repaved and reconfigured speedway in 27.217 seconds (198.405 mph). That was quick enough to edge Ryan Blaney (198.020 mph) for the top starting spot by .053 seconds. Blaney and Clint Bowyer ran identical times in the final round, with Blaney getting the nod for the second position on the basis of owner points. "Man, I heard that they give you a shotgun when you win the pole here," Blaney said of the coveted qualifying trophy. "I saw my lap and thought that might do it, but Kevin just snuck by us. "I think I have a really fast Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. It was even good in race trim today. The track has come a long way in a few hours, and hopefully it will widen out even more for the XFINITY race (Saturday) and for our practices. Not a bad start to the weekend." Ford drivers swept the top five starting spots, in part because several of the strongest Chevrolets were out of the equation, having failed to clear pre-qualifying inspection in time to make qualifying runs in the first round. Among the Chevy drivers missing in action were Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leader Kyle Larson and the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne. Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson had a different issue. Starting and then aborting a second lap in the first round, Johnson lost control through Turns 1 and 2 and spun, flat-spotting his tires. Since drivers must start the race on their qualifying tires, Johnson sat out the second and third rounds and will start 24th on Sunday. "I think we used up all our good luck at Homestead last year," who won his record-tying seventh title at the South Florida track. "I took the stripe, and we were in position to run two (laps) and see what was going to happen. (Crew chief) Chad (Knaus) called me off when he saw the time. "When I heard that, I dumped the throttle real hard to try and check-up and roll through the center so I could go through the corner slowly; and when I dumped out of the throttle it pitched the car sideways and I started chasing it going into the turn. I thought I had it saved and then I got into all those marbles and kept getting closer to the wall and spun." In addition to Larson and the Hendrick drivers, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones did not advance through inspection in time to qualify. Both suffered accidents in Friday’s opening practice, with Jones going to a backup car and Busch's crew attempting to repair the primary. "We were just behind the eight ball, having to fix that car, so obviously we got in line really late and in our haste, we didn't get our tech blocks set correctly, so we passed templates, passed the grid, passed undercar, passed everything except when we got to the scales, which is the very last thing," said Adam Stevens, Busch's crew chief. "The wedge has to be within a certain number, and we were below that number. That's just for tech -- it's not for on the race track -- so the car was all set to go, and we didn't get a chance to set our tech blocks because we were in such a hurry, so just an error on our part." </p>
Kevin Harvick ropes in pole for Texas
Kevin Harvick's No. 4 Ford sweeps all three rounds of Coors Light Pole qualifying Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, and Ryan Blaney will start Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 from the front row, as well.
Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 NXS car chief passes away
Ryan Shea, car chief for the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, died Wednesday night at his home in Troutman, North Carolina, according to the team. He was 34. "It is a sad day for our team as we mourn the untimely loss of Ryan," team owner Chip Ganassi said in a team release. "Ryan was a dedicated worker and a great friend to those on our team, as well as others in the garage. Our hearts go out to Ryan’s family and friends during this difficult time." Shea had previously worked at Michael Waltrip Racing before joining CGR in 2015. Kyle Larson and Justin Marks have been behind the wheel of the No. 42 this season. My thoughts on the passing of Ryan Shea: pic.twitter.com/XzKUBibck1 — Justin Marks (@JMarksDE) March 31, 2016 "Ryan was a tremendous asset to Chip Ganassi Racing and the No. 42 team and will be sorely missed," said crew chief Mike Shiplett. "My thoughts go out to his wife, children, family and friends in this time of mourning." Chip Ganassi Racing will communicate further details regarding funeral arrangements and memorials as they become available. A GoFundMe page has been established to take donations for Ryan's family -- go here to see it. Also, CGR cars will have a special decal on their Chevrolets this weekend. The NASCAR community collectively offered its condolences to the team and the Shea family on Twitter: Just heard the news of Ryan Shea passing away in his sleep. A great person and great worker in the industry.. Prayers with his wife & kids — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) March 31, 2016 Ryan Shea will be greatly missed by this community. He is a model to follow in this sport. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. — JR Motorsports (@JRMotorsports) March 31, 2016 Wow shocked to hear about the passing of Ryan Shea. He was my car chief in 2006. Thoughts and prayers to Cory and the Shea family. — Kevin Conway (@TheKevinConway) March 31, 2016 Very sad day @CGRnascar as we lost one of our teammates far too soon. Keep Ryan's family in prayers #RIPRyanShea https://t.co/lwHv4UwIUl — Steve Lauletta (@slauletta) March 31, 2016 Thoughts and prayers to Ryan Shea and his family — Jeff Burton (@JeffBurton) March 31, 2016 It takes days like today to remember just how fragile life is. Shea was a great teammate and he is already deeply missed. — Ashley Parlett (@Just_AP) March 31, 2016 Thoughts and Prayers for Ryan Shea, his wife and kids! Such sad news. — Chris Osborne (@crazy_spotter) March 31, 2016
Several drivers on tap for Fan Fest appearances
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Former Daytona 500 champions Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are among the drivers that will appear at Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 20-21. Preseason Thunder returns in 2011 as Sprint Cup Series drivers will take to the new asphalt at Daytona in a three-day test session Jan. 20-22. Test and Fest set at Daytona Expectations and excitement Order all your Daytona tickets Tickets for Preseason Thunder Fan Fest are $20 and available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Ticket-holders for the 2011 Daytona 500 and children 12 and under will receive free admission. Advanced reservations are available (limited to 250 people) for special autograph sessions to be held with participating 2010 Chase drivers and Daytona 500 champions. Additional driver autograph sessions will be held on both days with wristbands available the day of the event. To request access to the special autograph sessions, race fans can call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit the Daytona International Speedway ticket office beginning at 9 a.m. ET Saturday. In addition to viewing the on-track activity from the Sprint FanZone, fans can watch each day's testing at no cost from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands near Turn 4. Drivers currently scheduled to make appearances on Jan. 20, beginning at 6 p.m. ET, are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Martin Truex Jr. and Regan Smith. Scheduled to appear on Jan. 21, during the 5-7 p.m. ET session are Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, David Reutimann, Casey Mears, Jeff Burton, Joey Logano, Kevin Conway , Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman. In the 7-9 p.m. ET session, drivers scheduled to appear are McMurray, Gordon, A.J. Allmendinger , Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle, Juan Montoya, Marcos Ambrose and Matt Kenseth. Lastly, race fans will be able to camp in the infield at Daytona for free with their admission ticket during the three-day test inside Turns 3 and 4. Sites will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Gates to the infield will open at 8 a.m. ET on Jan. 20. Among the activities planned for both days include: interactive driver question-and-answer sessions on the main stage; show cars, displays, music; photo opportunity with the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy; and blood drive outside the Turn 4 tunnel. The Roar Before the Rolex 24, the tune-up session for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series teams in advance of the 49th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, is set for Jan. 7-9. Tickets are $15 daily for the Roar Before the Rolex 24, with driver fan forums, tech talks and pit stop demonstrations slated for Saturday. ticket-holders for the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona and children 12 and under will receive free admission. Tickets for both the Preseason Thunder Fan Fests and the Roar Before the Rolex 24 are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
OK with delay: Six who could make Monday marks
RELATED: Race lineup " Monday schedule When the skies clear and the green flag drops today (1 p.m. ET, FOX), Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will face a different type of Bristol. Pounded by rain over the past 24 hours, all of the rubber that accumulated onto the track, giving it grip, has been washed away. All of the resin-based VHT applied to the bottom of the track in an attempt to create a full-blown groove on the bottom? Who knows? What we do know: Some drivers and teams will adapt better than others. We studied the results of last year's four races that were delayed a day due to rain -- both Pocono races, the fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Bristol Night Race, which ran Sunday afternoon rather than the typical Saturday night. Some drivers excelled a day later more than others. With those results in mind, here are our six drivers to monitor today as you watch the race on FOX or as you make final tweaks to your Fantasy Live lineup. " Full fantasy preview here RELATED: Fantasy Live homepage 1. Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing. He tops the list because of his win last year at Bristol in a rain-delayed race run the following day in overcast conditions … the exact forecast for Monday, as it turns out. Harvick also notched a fourth and a ninth at Pocono. He is one of just three drivers who finished in the top 10 in three of the four delayed races from 2016. 2. Brad Keselowski, Team Penske. Two top-five finishes at Pocono plus a seventh at Charlotte in the fall equal a team that understands how to adapt to ever-changing conditions. Crew chief Paul Wolfe is one of the sport's best strategists. 3. Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing. In addition to winning Pocono last year in the summer, Busch finished 10th at Pocono in August and eighth at Charlotte. Given his Bristol history and a veteran crew chief in Tony Gibson who's done this delayed race thing a time or two, this year's Daytona 500 champ makes the list. RELATED: Go deeper on driver stats 4. Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch finished in the top 10 in two of last year's four postponed races -- sixth at Charlotte and ninth at Pocono-2. We're giving him additional credit for his Bristol performance last year, though, where he led 256 of 500 laps but had to take his car to the garage with a broken suspension. 5. Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne's top-10 performances in last year's delayed races came at the bigger tracks (Charlotte, Pocono), but they were strong finishes -- third and sixth, respectively. Plus, his 10-consecutive lap averages during Saturday's practices were among the best in the field. 6. Chris Buescher, JTG Daugherty Racing. Yes, a wild card. Buescher's Pocono-2 win was based off great strategy and intuition, but don't discount that he finished fifth at Bristol while driving for Front Row Motorsports. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Clear skies, sailing for Johnson in Bristol victory
RELATED: Race results " Stage results " Full schedule for Richmond SHOP: Winner gear! MORE: Detailed race breakdown Jimmie Johnson surged to victory in the rain-delayed Food City 500 on Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson powered the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet to his second straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, leading 81 of the 500 laps. His 82nd win of his career was his second on the .533-mile Tennessee track. The victory moved Johnson another step up NASCAR's all-time win list, putting him one triumph behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough and two back from fellow inductees Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. "That's just mind-blowing," said Johnson, who sits seventh on the all-time list. "I wouldn’t be here without Mr. Hendrick's support. Thanks to him and to Jeff Gordon for believing in me. For Hendrick Motorsports to make this job kind of a family environment for all of us to thrive in has been a perfect environment for me and (crew chief) Chad Knaus, and for the consistent group of guys behind me through all these years has led to the environment to win 82 races, or whatever it is, which is just insane. I'm truly humbled." Clint Bowyer took second place in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Ford, 1.199 seconds behind the race winner in his best finish since running second at Richmond on April 27, 2013. His late-race boost secured his second top-five finish of the season, but wasn't enough to unseat Johnson from the top spot. "It is frustrating, you could see him out there," Bowyer said, "but dammit, you'd think he'd get tired of winning all these races." Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano completed the top five. Pole-starter Kyle Larson seemed poised for a top-five finish after leading the opening 202 laps and snagging a Stage 1 win, but a pit-road speeding penalty on Lap 423 knocked him back to 17th in the running order. He rallied to a sixth-place finish and maintained his lead in the season-long standings. "Yeah, disappointed in myself," said Larson, who emerged with a 27-point lead over Chase Elliott in the standings. "I think I speed on pit road every single time I come to Bristol. So, got to clean that up." Martin Truex Jr., the Stage 2 winner and leader of 116 laps, was also bitten by a speeding penalty on pit road with 34 laps remaining. The infraction shuffled him to 15th place for the final run to the finish. He wound up eighth. "I thought I was exactly where I was the time before, so the time before must have been close," Truex said of his pit road timing. "Typically we don't get many speeding penalties for this team, but today we were just pushing the issue trying to get a win and sometimes they'll get you." RELATED: Photo gallery of at-track sights at Bristol Several other big names finished well off the pace after a variety of pitfalls. Kyle Busch, a five-time Bristol winner, rallied from a brush with the wall into the top 10, but a second hit sidelined him after 383 laps. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran just 218 laps before his day was done, a Turn 1 wall crunch and a broken oil cooler ending his race. Brad Keselowski, a two-time winner this year, and Ryan Blaney also spent extended time behind the wall with steering issues. The event was delayed one day because of persistent rain Sunday. The series' next race is the Toyota Owners 400 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM) at Richmond International Raceway. Contributing: NASCAR Wire Service &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Busch sweeps Saturday practices; Larson, Stenhouse spin early
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Bristol RELATED: Practice 3 results " Top 10-lap times from final practice Five-time Bristol winner Kyle Busch topped the leaderboard in final practice for the Saturday sweep. The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion led all drivers with a quickest lap of 128.563 mph. He was also fastest in the first practice session Saturday. Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez completed the 55-minute session second in his No. 19 Toyota (128.262 mph). A trio of Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets were next with Kasey Kahne (128.253 mph), Chase Elliott (128.185 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (128.168 mph) rounding out the top five. The 39-car field returns to the short track Monday at 1 p.m. ET for the Food City 500 (FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Practice 2 results " Best 10-lap times from Practice 2 Busch also topped the speed charts in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opening practice Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, wheeling his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota around the .533-mile track in 128.865 mph. Toyota completed the top three in the 55-minute outing with Furniture Row Racing's Erik Jones (128.649 mph) and JGR's Denny Hamlin (128.176 mph) taking second and third, respectively. Next up was Ford driver Kevin Harvick, earning the fourth-fastest lap (128.091 mph), with Chevrolet wheelman Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind him, completing the top five (128.005 mph). Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (26th, 128.846 mph) brought out the session's first caution after he brushed the wall with 36 minutes remaining. It was originally reported that the team would race in a backup car, but the Roush Fenway Racing crew decided to try to fix the No. 17 Ford so as to not lose its 19th-place starting position for Monday's Food City 500 (1 p.m. ET, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "I had just been really loose and just got down in the corner and it took off," Stenhouse said following the incident. "I thought I saved it and just got the right-rear in the wall." RELATED: Watch Stenhouse bring out the caution The second and final yellow flag was brought out after Kyle Larson clipped the outside wall with roughly 10 minutes left in the session. He was 17th quickest at 127.343 mph in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. With Friday's qualifying canceled due to rain, the series points leader will start the race on the pole position, per NASCAR Rule Book. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bounce in Bowyer's step with second at Bristol
RELATED: Johnson prevails at Bristol " Race results BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Clint Bowyer's career revival was in full swing here Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway, with the Stewart-Haas Racing driver finishing second in the Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. It was Bowyer's best result since joining the four-car operation before the start of the 2017 season. In a race that was delayed one day by rain, Bowyer could see but could not catch eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson in the waning laps of 500-lap affair. The seven-time champion was a tick of the stopwatch ahead at the finish line, earning his 82nd career victory and further cementing his status as one of the series' greatest drivers of all time. Seventh when he brought his car to pit road for the final time during a caution on Lap 464, Bowyer restarted ninth for the final push. It wasn't long before he was battling with Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson for the lead. Then it was only Johnson out his front windshield. "It's Jimmie Johnson," Bowyer, 37, said. "You're just … you try everything you possibly can and I was starting to do some pretty desperate things with brakes and my line and stuff like that, and then you just realize -- your mindset quickly changes, and you're like, 'all right, let's put it in perspective here; we've come a long way, it was a long day, and second place is probably a good run for us, and we should be happy with that. We shouldn't hang our head about it.' " This was no finish created by smoke and mirrors -- Bowyer and the No. 14 team, led by crew chief Mike Buggarewicz, earned every position picked up on the high-banked half-mile oval. And there were plenty to be collected. Bowyer started ninth on the 39-car grid but quickly found himself the last car on the lead lap. "Way too loose," he said. "(We) just missed it." Then, after racing his way inside the top 10 and staying there, a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 326. "Mike made some great adjustments (and) the pit crew was on their game all day long … gained spots almost every time and then I lost them all back on pit road speeding," Bowyer said. "Went to the back again, and then drove back up through them." The decision to take four tires on the final stop was crucial. "I think the 48 (of Johnson) was the other one (to take four tires) and he won the race, so the right strategy was there," Bowyer said. "The team effort was there. You know, that's what a weekend is all about. It's just been this long since I've won a race and here is pretty special. It would have been pretty cool to be over there in Victory Lane." Bowyer has finished 13th or better in seven consecutive races and Monday's runner-up effort edged out a third-place run at Auto Club Speedway for "season's best" honors at this point. In 2016, driving for the now defunct HScott Motorsports, he had no top-five finishes and just three top 10s, numbers he has already exceeded. Pleased with a runner-up, but disappointed just the same. "Been that way my whole life," said Bowyer, who has eight career victories but none since 2012. "Since I was about 5 years old. "You struggle and struggle and struggle for a year and a half .. and hell, next thing you know you're being greedy about (finishing) second. "That's just the way racers are and the way it's always been. (But) having a ton of fun and working hard and seeing the results is gratifying for this race team." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Battling it out at Bristol Motor Speedway
From last years fall race winner Kevin Harvick, to five-time Bristol Winner Kyle Busch, Jonathan Merryman breaks down all you need to know heading into the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.