The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Series are at Kansas Speedway this week, while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off. Sprint Cup Series and XFINITY Series practices, qualifying sessions and races can be watched on NBC Sports Live Extra . All ti m es are ET FRIDAY, OCT. 16: ON TRACK -- 1-2:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, CNBC/ Live Extra ( Leaderboard ) -- 2:30-3:20 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, NBCSN/ Live Extra ( Leaderboard ) -- 4:30-5:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN/ Live Extra ( Leaderboard ) -- 6:15 p.m: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN/ Live Extra ( Leaderboard ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 12:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series -- 4 p.m.: XFINITY Series PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- Post-NSCS qualifying SATURDAY, OCT. 17: ON TRACK -- 11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, CNBC/ Live Extra ( Leaderboard ) -- 12:45 p.m. ET: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN/ Live Extra ( Leaderboard ) -- 2:30-3:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, NBCSN/ Live Extra ( Leaderboard ) -- 4 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Kansas Lottery 300 ( 200 laps, 300 miles), NBCSN/ Live Extra ( Leaderboard ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- Post-NXS race SUNDAY, OCT. 18: ON TRACK -- 2:15 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 (267 laps, 400.5 miles), NBC/ Live Extra ( Leaderboard ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- Post-NSCS race
Thank goodness Jimmie Johnson 's sense of humor is as keen as his racing skills and that his life perspective balances his competitive zeal. After experiencing rare back-to-back poor finishes (41st at Dover and 39th at Charlotte) and being eliminated from The Chase after just the first round, Johnson took the time to engage and indulge his critics on social media this week. The exchanges are both amusing and telling. And typically head-shaking. This week on Twitter, someone accused him of "only helping the 88 (teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr .)", which the person felt was shameful "after all the 24 (teammate Jeff Gordon ) has done for you." And then the person told the six-time champ and 74-time race winner, "you suck." Others jumped into the Twitter conversation to defend Johnson, who said -- tongue-in-cheek -- "I thought I'd get a little slack with the back to back parts failures. Guess not." In fact, it is an extremely rare thing for Johnson's No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet to suffer such mechanical problems and particularly in back-to-back weeks. It is not, however, the first time. Way back in 2004, he had three consecutive engine failures with finishes of 36th (Indianapolis), 40th (Watkins Glen) and 40th (Michigan). In 2007, he crashed two straight weeks, earning 37th and 39th-place results at Chicago and Indianapolis, respectively, prior to earning his second Cup championship title. Last year, he scored back-to-back 42nd-place finishes because of crashes in July races at Daytona and New Hampshire. Those are the only other instances in 14 seasons (501 starts) that Johnson has posted back-to-back finishes comparable to the forgettable two-week run he's currently on. Two weeks ago at Dover he called the faulty axle seal – which eliminated him from the championship Chase -- a "freak accident." And on Sunday, his Chevy was sidelined again, this time for an oil pump problem. Johnson is the modern era standard of excellence -- his five consecutive titles from 2006-2010 unprecedented. Not having him competing for the Sprint Cup Series championship should feel like a trophy-gimme for those more accustomed to having to overtake him. "Seeing Jimmie get eliminated by a mechanical part failure is really kind of disheartening as a competitor,'' Brad Keselowski told FOX Sports 1. "You want to beat him on the track as a driver and a team." Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Earnhardt agreed that the absence of Johnson as a title contender "feels weird." While a record-tying seventh Sprint Cup trophy will have to wait another year, expect Johnson to drive like a guy with nothing to lose on a path of redemption that has largely ended in Victory Lane. At a time when a win is so vital for the other Chase contenders, there's no one more likely to crash the party. Johnson's 22 combined wins at the next six Chase venues is tops in the series. He won at this week's stop, Kansas Speedway already this season, finished runner-up at next week's venue, Talladega Superspeedway , in the spring and has won the previous two races at the Texas Motor Speedway , where the Chase heads on Nov. 8. If you think it's a rough week on Twitter when when Johnson isn't competitive, imagine what will happen when the team gets back into the groove. Fortunately, he can handle it. A little victory champagne and some confetti makes for a fantastic rebuttal.
Martin Truex Jr. talks about how he wasn't confident in his car after the final practice and how finishing third at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a huge step for the No. 78 team.
David Ragan 's plans for this weekend's race in the NASCAR industry's backyard will take on special meaning, with birthday accommodations made for a special guest. Ragan paid a visit Wednesday to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Greenville, South Carolina, surprising 8-year-old NASCAR fan Hunter Black at a birthday lunch. Ragan took part in the celebration with his own gift for the youngster -- a weekend trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway as his honored guest for Saturday's Sprint Cup Series race. Ragan planned to ask Black, a patient born with cerebral palsy, to join him and assist with driver introductions as part of the pre-race ceremonies for Saturday night's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM). The two met during a previous hospital visit in April 2014. Ragan, in his ninth full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, named Shriners Hospitals for Children his official charity in 2008. Having a great birthday lunch at @shrinershosp Greenville with my pal Hunter. He'll be coming to the race Saturday! pic.twitter.com/Nlbyho8dA4 — David Ragan (@DavidRagan) October 7, 2015
As a professional race car driver competing in NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series, Martin Truex Jr . gets to do a lot of interesting and innovative things as part of his job. But this Wednesday was special by any standards. Truex gave rides around Pikes Peak International Raceway to a paraplegic and quadriplegic in a specially designed "adaptive" stock car whose smart glass technology allows drivers a operate a car using head movement. Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser donated one of the team's No. 78 Chevys to the program and the race team volunteered many hours transforming it with the new technology. Truex flew out to Colorado from Charlotte -- where he'll be competing in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 -- just to participate in Wendesday's Falci Adaptive Motorsports NeuroGroove RaceDay. It was difficult to tell who was enjoying the experience more. "What an awesome day to be a firsthand witness to some incredible technology," said Truex. "Life is about giving back and Dr. (Scott) Falci and his partners are doing just that. To see the joy of the individuals I gave a ride to was very inspirational." One of Truex's passengers, Stewart Lundy, a paraplegic from Denver, Col., considered it a ride of a lifetime, joking, "And he (Truex) gets paid to do this!" "I need to reassess my life goals. That is probably one them now. I loved every minute of it -- I'm coming down from an adrenalin high." The technology used in the car can also be used in steering a wheelchair and has the potential of increasing mobilization and independence for many disabled. "I wanted to add another adapted sport for the spinal cord and disabled population," said Dr. Scott Falci, a neurosurgeon at Denver's Craig Hospital . "Motorsports is a real exciting sport and we're utilizing the No. 78 Furniture Row car as a platform to get involved in a new adaptive sporting event and also getting involved with the NASCAR community." "The emotional thrill of having Martin and his Furniture Row race car was an uplifting experience not only for the spinal cord injured individuals and their families but for all of our partners who have been passionately working on this new adaptive technology."
RELATED: Full starting lineup Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series was canceled by heavy Friday rain and a shifting weekend schedule at Dover International Speedway , placing Ryan Blaney on the pole for Saturday's race. Qualifying for the Hisense 200 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), the 28th of 33 races this season, was originally scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET. But a complete rainout of Friday's schedule at the 1-mile track forced NASCAR officials to scramble Saturday's slate, with qualifying for Sprint Cup and K&N Pro Series East cars also being nixed. The washout puts Blaney on the pole for Saturday's 200 -miler by virtue of his Team Penske No. 22 Ford ranking first in the XFINITY owners' points standings. He'll start alongside Kyle Busch , a four-time winner in the series this year, in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota. Chris Buescher , a two-time winner this season and the leader in the XFINITY drivers' standings, will start third in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 60 Ford. Brothers Ty and Austin Dillon will complete the top five on the starting grid. With 40 cars on site for 40 starting berths in a full field, no teams failed to qualify.
RELATED: Dillon celebrates amid fireworks at Charlotte CONCORD, N.C.—Pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway had a scary moment for Austin Dillon . A firework came down next to the pole sitter and his girlfriend, Whitney Ward. The firework landed on Dillon's backside and burnt the back of his fire suit, NBCSN reported before the race got underway. By the way the driver of No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet drove on this night, he seemed fine. He led 61 laps en route to completing a season sweep of the Charlotte XFINITY Series events in 2015, while also scoring his fourth XFINITY win of the year in just his 16th start. "I was praying with my girlfriend and I think it was a sign from God," Dillon said after the race. "He said, 'your getting ready to have a good night or something.' Get your butt in gear." Dillon said it hurt a little bit and showed off his burnt fire suit in the media center. Dillon's crew chief, Danny Stockman Jr. said that the whole thing didn't seem real. "To be honest with you, it was looking at a movie screen and seeing all the light crashing right in front of you," Stockman said. "I thought it was not real for a second. Then, it kind of went in between the door and Austin's butt. It burnt his fire suit up. It burnt the wrap on the car. They tell kids don't play with fireworks for a reason." Stockman admitted to also being concerned about possible damage to the car from the firework. "As it fell it hit the left front side skirt and went underneath the car. As hot as whatever is coming off that firework is, it could have burned something underneath there. We checked it out and it was good. Pretty wild."
RELATED: See the full Chase Grid Entering the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , something looms over the remaining 12 drivers in the sport's championship battle -- massive Talladega Superspeedway . Yes, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and from there the series moves to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 . Yet the 2.66-mile track, which hosts the CampingWorld.com 500 on Oct. 25, is firmly on the minds of all the competitors even though it's two weeks away. "I think this round is probably the most stressful because of Talladega," Martin Truex Jr . told reporters earlier this week at Contender Round Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I think everybody is really putting a lot of pressure on themselves to do good in these first two and try to get a win so you don't have to worry about Talladega." And Truex is not the only driver who feels that way. "Yeah, nobody wants to go to Talladega ‑‑ even if you're Dale Earnhardt Jr . and you feel like you're the most dominant car on those restrictor-plate tracks, and we've been, I think, as dominant as he has been just without the victories, I still don't want to go there and have to be in the top 10," four-time series champion Jeff Gordon said during media day. "You know, it's just one of those tracks where there's too many variables that can reach out and grab you." Carl Edwards simplified the approach even more, saying that he looked at the Contender Round as a "two-race series" instead of three races because of the uncertainty with Talladega. The two-time 2015 winner predicted drivers would be going even harder to try to get a win at Charlotte or Kansas to secure a spot in the Eliminator Round of eight drivers. "If you have a shot, if you can see the win at one of these next two races, you are going to see just some really tough racing for that win because nobody wants to go to Talladega with the uncertainty," Edwards said on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "There's going to be a lot of nerves at Talladega." Last year Kansas hosted the opening race of the Contender Round. That event saw Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr . find trouble they ultimately could not recover from, while Brad Keselowski had to score a walk-off win at 'Dega to overcome his Kansas trouble. But simply navigating the opening two races of the Contender Round doesn't make drivers immune to Talladega trouble, either. Kyle Busch scored top-five finishes at Kansas and Charlotte in 2014 before being caught up in a 10-car wreck at the Alabama track that sent him to a 40th-place finish and ultimately knocked him out of the Chase -- something that wasn't lost on the Joe Gibbs Racing driver this week. "Last year we played it right, we were the top point total scorer of the first two rounds and we were seeded the highest guy without a win and we went to Talladega and we sure learned how to throw that away," Busch said. "I think what we can do a better job of instead of being one of the only guys to race at the back of the pack and get ourselves caught up in something that none of the other Chasers were involved in, is race with all the rest of the Chasers and if they all get caught up in a wreck and we do too then hopefully our point total will all be lower, but all the same instead of me just being the only guy down at the bottom of the totem pole." The value of winning early in a round of the Chase is raised to an even higher level in the Contender Round with the uncertainty of Talladega on the horizon. "When you look at Charlotte and Kansas -- the first two races of this round -- they're super-important," Joey Logano said. "If you can win, you're going to be sleeping a lot better at night."
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The viewing and listening experience for fans attending events at Bristol Motor Speedway is about to get a lot clearer. And larger. A whole lot larger. Officials with the popular half-mile track unveiled plans for the world's largest outdoor suspended digital display Wednesday, a 700 ton marvel of engineering that has already been dubbed "Colossus." This isn't your father's scoreboard. Work on the new piece is scheduled to begin in November and be completed in time for next year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in April. Each custom-built screen adorning the four sides of the display is approximately 30 feet tall and 63 feet wide, or twice as high and nearly three times as wide as the video displays atop the scoring pylon currently in the BMS infield. And with nearly 54 million LEDs and 18 million pixels, the picture quality is expected to exceed that of large-scale outdoor displays seen in Times Square. A 540,000-watt audio system featuring 380 3-way loudspeakers and 48 stadium subwoofers will decrease the listening distance (from speakers to fans in the grandstands) from what had been between 200 -400 feet (depending on location) to no more than 90 feet. The new piece will be suspended by cables tethered to four towers located outside the race track. Sightlines for fans in the grandstands will not be impacted, according to track officials. The idea for Colossus came about as track management began working toward next year’s Battle at Bristol, the college football game featuring the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech that will be played inside BMS. Moving the current scoring pylon in the center of the infield was a must; coming up with suitable viewing screens became necessary. "We studied the football game (plans) for several months before we even went down that path," Jerry Caldwell, BMS general manager, said. "Some options were coming out of that -- we could do this with screens, we could put them in the turns, we could do other things. And then there was a " what if we did this." Then you bring in people like Panasonic and the other companies we met with … and it became more of a reality." It's the way Speedway Motorsports Inc., way, according to Caldwell. "We go after the 'why nots?' " he said. "It's an amazing addition and enhancement for race fans. Both the (video) and the sound are going to take us to a new level." The video display, which will include a circular truss underneath providing pertinent information (such as the running order during races) will be suspended by cables roughly 30 percent thicker than the vertical cables suspending the Golden Gate Bridge, weighing in at approximately 63 pounds per foot. "Suspending a screen like this is quite an engineering feat, challenge," Richard Ballard, a consultant for Panasonic, said. "I quite frankly don't know where one is of this size." Determining how large the screens needed to be for maximum results and optimum quality, he said, was similar to "picking the right size TV for your living room … is it the 50-inch, the 42, the 65-inch model? … You're going to fit that perfectly inside your room. "We did the same thing here -- we took the sizing of the venue, the sight lines, figured out what size would it take to give you that living room experience. What we're doing it trying to give you that experience that you would get at home." Marcus Smith, President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., said he expects Colossus to "totally transform the experience for Bristol Motor Speedway . "And what it does for us with other events is going to be great," he said. "The football game will have a bigger-than-life feel. We can host huge concerts. Any event that wants to have the biggest event ever, whether it's hockey like the Winter Classic or the world's biggest rodeo, you name it and we can host it." Caldwell agreed. "Really, the sky is the limit," he said. "Some of those things (such as concerts and racing-related events) were possible before; this just makes it a whole lot easier and more cost effective to pull off."
Driver leads 97 laps on way to third victory of season MORE: Full Martinsville results MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Driving a No. 34 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota painted and numbered as a tribute to NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Wendell Scott -- and with Scott's family in attendance at Martinsville Speedway -- polesitter Darrell Wallace Jr . held off Timothy Peters to win Saturday's Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Last year at Martinsville, driving the No. 54 KBM Tundra, Wallace became the first African-American driver to win a race in one of NASCAR's top three touring series since Scott accomplished the feat in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Dec. 1, 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Though his number was changed to 34 on Saturday, in honor of Scott’s traditional car number, the result was the same for Wallace, who grabbed the lead from Johnny Sauter in heavy traffic on Lap 188 of 200 , moments before the 11th caution slowed the race. Wallace pulled away after a restart with six laps left, beating Peters to the finish line by .495 seconds. Peters had bumped Sauter out of the way in the closing laps, also opening the door for reigning series champion Matt Crafton , who came home third and extended his series lead to 18 points over fifth-place finisher Ryan Blaney . "I wasn't worried about anybody, honestly," Wallace said. "They kept telling me where everybody was, and I said I didn't care. It's our weekend and we're going to come out and take this (grandfather) clock (trophy) home with us and we just did that. "That was so fun. Martinsville is my favorite place to come to. Without the support of NASCAR and Toyota… the whole Wendell Scott family is here and this is a special moment, just a perfect weekend for us. It's a true honor to have Wendell Scott on our Toyota Tundra and to be able to put it in Victory Lane. I know he (Scott) just said up there, 'Hell yeah.' This is cool." Wallace said Saturday's win surpassed his first victory in the series at Martinsville a year ago. "It means a lot -- I know I had a guardian angel looking over me this weekend," said Wallace, who took over third place in the series standings, 22 points behind Crafton. "To be able to put it in Victory Lane, you couldn't ask for a better weekend. You thought last year was special, but this definitely beats it." Upset with what he deemed roughhouse tactics from Peters, Sauter attempt to confront the runner-up on pit road after the race, but NASCAR officials and crew members kept the drivers apart. "It's Martinsville," Peters said. "If you're going to dish it out, you're going to need to be able to take it. Did I mean to run into him? Yeah. I'm not going to deny that -- maybe not as hard. "But it is what it is. I don't want to waste too much of my breath on that. We'll just focus on how well we ran today…" Wallace led 97 of the 200 laps. Second was the pace car, which was out front for a record 71 laps during a race that featured more rookies than veterans and six drivers competing in the series for the first time. Erik Jones ran fourth, followed by Blaney, Tyler Reddick , Sauter, Matt Tifft (a UNC-Charlotte freshman making his first start) Alex Guenette and German Quiroga, whose ill-fated attempt to take the lead in heavy traffic on Lap 188 caused his No. 77 Toyota to spin and brought out the 11th caution, solidifying Wallace in the lead. The series now heads to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend for Friday's Winstar World Casino and Resort 350 (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1). MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule