Clint Bowyer gets into the back of Denny Hamlin and sends him for a wild ride, collecting Kurt Busch along the way.
Stewart-Haas Racing driver paces both sessions at Charlotte RELATED: Final practice results " See all 43 cars at Charlotte Kurt Busch topped final practice for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Busch led the 50-minute session with a fast lap of 188.653 mph. The driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet also topped Saturday's earlier practice session. Kasey Kahne placed second in the session at a speed of 187.052 mph. The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has four wins at Charlotte with three coming in the Coca-Cola 600 . Paul Menard (186.987 mph) was third, followed by Greg Biffle (186.942 mph) and polesitter Matt Kenseth (186.780 mph) rounded out the top five. MORE: Kenseth starts on pole Erik Jones spent the latter half of final practice logging laps in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Jones will be on standby for Kyle Busch on Sunday night in case he can't go the full distance. Busch is making his first points-paying start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since suffering a compound fracture of the right leg and a broken left foot in a crash in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway in February. Jones made his Sprint Cup debut at Kansas Speedway two weeks ago; he also logged laps in relief of Denny Hamlin at Bristol Motor Speedway in April. The No. 18 Toyota was 17th in final practice. The standby plan was mentioned on Jones' Twitter feed. Erik will be on standby duty this weekend for @KyleBusch . As a precaution Erik will finish out happy hour on the 18 cup car. — Erik Jones (@erik_jones) May 23, 2015 Sunday's 600-miler is the longest race of the season in the Sprint Cup Series. Second practice " RELATED: Practice 2 results Kurt Busch topped the first of Saturday's two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice sessions at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). Busch paced the 55-minute practice session with a fast lap of 192.644 mph. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has just one win at Charlotte, a Coca-Cola 600 victory in 2010. Polesitter Matt Kenseth placed second in the session with a fast lap of 191.680 mph. Kenseth's first premier series win came in this race in 2000. Jimmie Johnson (190.813 mph) came in third, followed by David Ragan (190.550 mph) with Brad Keselowski (190.496 mph) rounding out the top five. Johnson is the defending race winner and has seven career wins at Charlotte, the most all-time. All three of Johnson's wins this season have come on intermediate tracks. Ragan went for a spin off Turn 4 late in practice, making no contact with the wall but going through the grass. The driver of the No. 55 Toyota suffered no real damage to the car and is set to start seventh in Sunday's race. Kyle Busch , who will be making his first points-paying Sprint Cup Series start of the season, finished the session sixth. Points leader Kevin Harvick , who has finished in the top two in all four races at intermediate tracks, placed 30th on the chart. AJ Allmendinger had his share of issues during the practice. The driver of the No. 47 appeared to scrape the wall and was fighting a loose car during the session in which he placed 33rd. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kurt Busch talks about being frustrated with himself during the final restart and Brad Keselowski discusses his thought process during the final pit stop that caused him a speeding penalty in the Sprint All-Star Race.
Crash that broke his leg and foot, journey back to racing RELATED: Busch to return for All-Star event " GALLERY: What the Busches have been up to May 12: Kyle Busch announces return After missing 11 events to open the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season following his injury at Daytona, Kyle Busch has set his return for the Sprint All-Star Race on May 16. " Read the full story " Drivers react to news of Busch's return May 9: Jones' promising run crashes at Kansas Making his first Sprint Cup start filling in for the injured Kyle Busch , Erik Jones was working on a great run at Kansas until he found the wall late in the race. " Read the full story April 16: Accident leads Busch to become unexpected safety advocate NASCAR.com's Holly Cain tells the story of how Kyle Busch 's wreck at Daytona has changed the Joe Gibbs Racing driver into a saftey advocate for the sport. Busch talks about how impressed he was of the breadth and depth of detailed information that has been gathered from his accident. " Read the full story April 16: Busch family bonds, finds strength in recovery With a baby on the way, the Busch family discuss how they've worked as a team to recover from Kyle's injury while prepping to expand their family. The parents-to-be explain that it hasn't been easy, but they're counting their blessings. " Read the full story April 15: Kyle Busch analyzes tape of his wreck Kyle Busch holds his first press conference after his crash at Daytona and uses video to break down his thought process as the wreck unfolded. His doctors are pleased with his progress, but he has no timeline for returning to driving. " Read the full story " Herman Unplugged: Busch should sit out 2015 April 15: Kyle Busch responds to Keselowski blog During his first press conference after his Daytona crash, Kyle Busch also addressed his long-running feud with fellow Sprint Cup driver Brad Keselowski . " Watch the video " More on Keselowski's blog April 15: Kyle Busch , wife discuss crash, impending parenthood In an interview with Charlotte NBC affiliate WCNC, Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha discussed the driver's accident at Daytona in February " Read the full story March 20: Kyle Busch takes next step in recovery Kyle Busch posts a video on Facebook of himself moving around a bit with the aid of a walker, along with encouragement from his wife, Samantha, and their dog. " Read the full story March 17: KBM drivers keep in touch Daniel Suarez says his team owner's advice is invaluable. And Justin Boston reports Busch is 'recovering quickly.' " Read the full story March 14: Kurt Busch hopes brother doesn't rush return Kurt Busch says, 'You can't rush the healing of bones and surgeries.' And teammate Denny Hamlin says Kyle Busch is staying engaged with the No. 18 team despite being sidelined. " Read the full story March 11: Kyle Busch , Samantha, visit KBM Kyle Busch and his wife, Samantha, take a field trip to Kyle Busch Motorsports and tell the team, 'Progress is going well.' " Read the full story March 10: Busch gets walking boots Kyle Busch gets soft casts removed from both legs and moves up to walking boots, which Samantha Busch dubs 'Terminator boots' in a Twitter photo. " Read the full story March 2: Subs announced for No. 54 XFINITY Toyota Denny Hamlin , Erik Jones and Boris Said are tapped as substitute drivers for Kyle Busch in the No. 54 NASCAR XFINITY Series Toyota. "Get Well Kyle" stickers adorn the No. 54. " Read the full story Feb. 27: Kyle Busch heads home after second surgery After a second surgery to treat his injuries, Kyle Busch was in a Charlotte hospital for observation for two days before being cleared to go home. The No. 18 racing team put a "Get well Kyle" on the rear bumper of the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for the Atlanta race. " Read the full story Feb. 25: Kyle Busch has successful surgery on left foot Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Kyle Busch underwent a successful surgery on his left foot at a Charlotte hospital. " Read the full story Feb. 24: Kyle Busch leaves Florida hospital Kyle Busch was released from Halifax Health Medical Center. He boarded a plane on a stretcher and was transferred to a North Carolina hospital for further treatment of multiple leg injuries. " Read the full story Feb. 24: David Ragan to sub for Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing announces that David Ragan will sub for the injured Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for several weeks, starting at Atlanta Motor Speedway . " Read the full story Feb. 24: ISC working on 'significant plan' for safer barriers In the wake of Kyle Busch 's severe crash and resulting injuries during the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway , International Speedway Corporation announces a plan to expand its use of impact-diffusing barriers at its 12 tracks. " Read the full story Feb. 22: Joe Gibbs says Busch's surgery went well Team owner Joe Gibbs gives an update on Kyle Busch 's status after surgery and says he is 'resting comfortably.' Doctors reported that things went well with surgery on Busch's lower right leg. " Read the full story Feb. 22: Samantha Busch gives update from hospital Samantha Busch posts a selfie with Kyle Busch from his hospital bed on Twitter with a tweet saying, "Getting ready to watch the Daytona 500 ! Cheering on our 18 boys!" " Read the full story Feb. 21: Drivers wish Kyle Busch well after hard hit Kyle Busch is taken to the hospital by ambulance after a big wreck during the XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway . Fellow drivers sent well-wishes via Twitter. " Read the full story Feb. 21: Hard hit sidelines Kyle Busch for Daytona 500 A crash in the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race caused NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch to miss the Daytona 500 after suffering injuries to his right leg and left foot a day before the Great American Race at Daytona International Speedway . " Read the full story
In first Cup seat time since Daytona practices, 'Rowdy' tops the chart RELATED: Learn more about the Sprint All-Star Race MORE: Full practice results SHOP: Rowdy Returns T-Shirt In his first practice back behind the wheel of his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Kyle Busch topped the lone practice for Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Busch led the 90-minute session with a fast lap of 188.884 mph to top the speed charts. Friday's practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway was his first Sprint Cup Series action since suffering a compound fracture in his right leg and a broken left foot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona. Busch missed 11 points-paying races in the sport's top series and is making his return to action this weekend for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night. All told, Busch logged 45 laps in the session. Defending Sprint All-Star Race winner Jamie McMurray (188.396 mph) was second in practice, followed by defending series champion Kevin Harvick (188.258 mph). Harvick's Stewart-Haas Racing teammate and Kyle's brother Kurt Busch came in fourth (188.121 mph), while Kyle's JGR teammate Denny Hamlin (187.696 mph) rounded out the top five. Qualifying for the Sprint All-Star Race will take place Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Qualifying will consist of three timed laps and include one four-tire pit stop. The aggregate total time will set the starting lineup for the race. The Sprint All-Star Race will take place at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday. The race will consist of 110 laps and five segments. The first four segments will be 25 laps each and the fifth and final segment will be 10 laps. The winner will take home $1 million dollars. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
'Rowdy' tops his first practice back in the Sprint Cup Series RELATED: Busch tops Sprint All-Star Race practice " SHOP: Busch gear CONCORD, N.C. – Kyle Busch made his return to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series here Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway , and the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota wasted no time in letting folks know he was back. Busch , sidelined for 11 races after breaking his right leg and left foot in a crash during the season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway in February, was fastest in practice for tomorrow night's Sprint All-Star Race (9 p.m., FOX Sports 1, MRN, Sirius XM). MORE: Timeline of Busch's injury, recovery His No. 18 Chevrolet toured the 1.5-mile track at 188.884 mph, edging Jamie McMurray , who wound up second in his Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet (188.396 mph). Defending series champion Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kurt Busch (SHR) and Denny Hamlin (JGR) completed the top five. His first words on the radio after hitting the track were brief and to the point. "Little bit loose throttling up," he informed crew chief Adam Stevens. Friday's 90-minute session was the first time back behind the wheel for Busch in a Sprint Cup car. He tested his own Late Model entry on two occasions prior to this weekend's return. "I was excited to get back in and see my guys and just kind of get the taste of all of that again," Busch said after the practice had ended. "Just trying to get a feel for the seat, the car and being back behind the wheel – it's been a while." EIGHT TWEETS: Busch tests in a minivan? It was a typical day for the 30-year-old, who said he had breakfast at home with his wife, Samantha, before departing for the track. They are expecting their first child early next week. Upon arriving at the track, he eased back into the familiar routine. "I told her to make sure she did everything the best she could to keep her legs crossed today and tomorrow," Busch said. "We keep baby Busch inside for at least 48 more hours." Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race is a non-points event, meaning his quest to begin the long climb inside the top 30 won't begin until next weekend's Coca-Cola 600 (May 24, 6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM), also at Charlotte Motor Speedway . MORE: NASCAR grants Busch Chase waiver " CAIN: Chase berth will cap Busch's comeback Earlier this week, NASCAR officials announced Busch remains eligible for one of the 16 spots in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup despite missing 11 races. The top-30 points requirement, however, was not waived. Therefore, to qualify for the 10-race, championship-determining playoff, Busch will need at least one points win and will need to be in the top 30 in points by the end of the season's 26th race at Richmond International Raceway . Tony Stewart currently sits 30th with 179 points. "Obviously, you have to win one (race), but past that you have to average like a 15.8 or 16.1 average finish or something," Busch said. "How many points is that? I don't know. I think it's 430 or 440-something that you have to get by the time you get to Richmond. "Certainly, I've seen plenty of people that have done the numbers for me and they all come out relatively the same." Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton stepped into the No. 18 at Daytona in place of Busch while David Ragan handled the driving duties for the next nine events. Last weekend at Kansas Speedway , 18-year-old Erik Jones made his Sprint Cup debut in place of the injured JGR driver. Busch said he was pleased with the speed in the car on Friday, although the new carbon seat took a little getting used to. His biggest concern is that over which he has no control. Hitting a wall at 90 mph will raise such anxiety. "That definitely is in the back of your mind," he said. "How hard of a hit can you withstand and not get hurt again? That's obviously there. "Every man is breakable. There's obviously a risk factor that we take, but you pray to the good Lord that he keeps you safe and you go do your job." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Complete news and notes on every driver that competed at the Monster Mile RELATED: F ull race results " Updated series standings " Latest Chase Grid 1. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson chose the outside lane for the first and only attempt at a green-white-checkered flag and held on to win a record 10th Sprint Cup race at the Monster Mile. He joins NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip who also have won 10 times at a single track. " WATCH: Johnson on adding to his 'Monster' collection 2. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick overcame a broken track bar to earn his ninth top-five finish this year and match his best Dover result. 3. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. "Good job boys," Larson radioed his team after sealing his best Dover performance. "First podium of the year." " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 4. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne, who qualified 25th, was in position to contend for the win when he lined up next to teammate Jimmie Johnson for the green-white-checkered flag restart. " WATCH: Kahne on final restart 5. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola picked up four spots on the final restart to earn his best career Dover finish. 6. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . The outside pole sitter led a race-high 131 laps, but was frustrated during the green-white-checkered flag when he lined up third and was slowed on the restart. Irritated, he radioed, "Should have wrecked them all." " WATCH: Truex discusses frustrating final restart 7. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray constantly worked the track bar adjuster to help make his Chevrolet turn better. 8. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard narrowly avoided being involved in a wreck with 24 laps to go and held on to claim his third top-10 Dover result. 9. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer led a lap during late-race green-flag stops, but later made contact with Denny Hamlin to bring out the sixth caution of the race. " WATCH: See the incident between Bowyer and Hamlin 10. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon let out a "Woooo" over the radio when the caution flag was waved on Lap 376, which enabled him to get back on the lead lap as the beneficiary of the free pass. " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 11. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano chased the handling of his car and early on, he radioed his team, "as soon as I hit dirty air, it takes about 10 laps for (the tires) to come back." 12. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski inherited the lead during green-flag stops on Lap 330 and stretched his fuel window to 96 laps before making his stop. " For more in-race stats, sign up for RaceView Premium today 13. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan steadily used pit stops to improve his track position, although he did have to avoid cement cracks in Tony Stewart 's nearby stall. 14. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt overcame several frustrations to lead three laps on Sunday, but he couldn't rally back from a pit road penalty with just over 150 laps to go. His thoughts? "Nothing would make me enjoy racing on this concrete." 15. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick was running inside the top 15 when she was caught speeding on pit road during her Lap 331 green-flag pit stop. 16. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart spent most of the race looking for front grip, while his crew members monitored the 12-by-12-inch area of crumbled concrete in his pit stall. 17. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . "Why are they letting these cars on track," Biffle asked his team after smashing into Casey Mears on Lap 399. "He broke, and I couldn't avoid him." " To hear more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 18. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman attempted pit strategy, but fought a tight-handling condition all race long. 19. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards might have caught a lucky break on his first pit road penalty, but his second one, which occurred with around 150 laps remaining, was more damaging. " WATCH: Carl's crew member takes a ride 20. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . It was a solid day for Bowman, who made his best start and went on to claim his best Dover result. 21. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The pole winner didn't get a chance to see what four fresh tires could do late as he was hit by Clint Bowyer on Lap 386 derailing his bid for a second win in 2015. " RELATED: Hamlin discusses late trouble 22. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish and his team chased the handling on his No. 9 Ford until the final 50 laps when something clicked and he started posting his best lap times of the day. 23. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill nabbed his best Dover finish on Sunday after starting 43rd. 24. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Rear grip was an initial issue for Allmendinger, who was hit by a spinning Casey Mears in the closing laps. 25. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The No. 38 team resolved a tight-handling condition as Gilliland collected his best Dover finish since the 2011 spring race. 26. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt's team had a scary moment on pit road when his crew members had to maneuver around neighbor Brad Keselowski to pit the No. 35 Ford. 27. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears slowed up after cutting his left-front tire and was hit from behind by Greg Biffle to bring out the final caution flag. 28. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Moffitt earned his best finish with Front Row Motorsports after improving several positions in the latter part of the race. 29. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley climbed through the field after starting 40th to post his third-best Dover finish. 30. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . With 40 laps to go, Burton attempted to move down the track and made slight contact with Martin Truex Jr ., who was running fourth at the time. 31. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch sustained right-front damage and required a pit stop after being involved in the Clint Bowyer / Denny Hamlin dust-up on Lap 386. He then blew another tire right before the restart. " WATCH: See what happened to Busch 32. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto, in his first Dover appearance, managed to stay out of trouble while navigating the Monster Mile. 33. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon turned in a solid run before knocking out his radiator on the last caution of the day. 34. Brendan Gaughan , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Making his first Dover start since 2004, Gaughan lined up 41st and earned the team’s best finish since Atlanta. 35. Mike Bliss , No. 32 Ford, Go FASRacing. Bliss lined up 42nd and had trouble navigating his way through the tight quarters of Dover's concrete mile. 36. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch led seven laps Sunday before being collected in a late-race accident with Brian Scott that brought out the fifth caution flag. Busch , who appeared to walk without issue to the ambulance, was cleared by the on-site medics. " RELATED: Busch involved in wreck for first time since Daytona 37. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse's team had to go under the hood after he lost his gauges coming to pit road during the first caution period. 38. Brian Scott , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. A later apologetic Scott came down on the track and right into the path of lead-lap car Kyle Busch with 24 laps to go. " RELATED: Scott apologizes to Busch via Twitter 39. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Suspension issues in the final 100 laps prompted Kenseth to make an unscheduled pit stop and ultimately retreat to the garage for a broken track bar mount. 40. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise ran as high as 25th before encountering an electrical issue. 41. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett, who made his best Dover start Sunday, was involved in a Lap 175 accident after making contact with Trevor Bayne . 42. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier, who qualified 24th, smashed into teammate Michael Annett after Annett was hit by Trevor Bayne on Lap 175. " WATCH: See what happened to the two HScott cars 43. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne attempted to move up the track on Lap 175 when he made contact with Michael Annett and slid down to crash off the inside Dover wall. " RELATED: Bayne called to NASCAR hauler FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
After Richmond triumph, Stewart-Haas Racing driver eyes more wins RELATED: Busch wins at Richmond " Where does he rank in NASCAR.com's Driver Draft? With the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage getting a three-race head-start on the season, Kurt Busch suspects he may have been pressing. There's a certain method to driving all-out in an effort to catch up, but there's also a necessary balance. However delicate that tightrope walk might be, Busch found it last weekend at Richmond International Raceway , assuring his spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. A change in approach behind the wheel of his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet helped him settle in for a relatively smooth march to his first victory of the year. Now with his Chase future virtually secure, his approach may be even less burdensome, beginning in Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX) at Talladega Superspeedway . "My thought was you've got to go slower to go faster. I think that I might have been driving too hard, too much of a chip on my shoulder, so to speak, to start the year," Busch said Sunday after posting his 26th win in NASCAR's premier series. "But it was playing out well. I mean, we came out of the box at Phoenix with a fifth‑place finish and a chance to win, backed it up with a chance to win Fontana, brought it home third, and then a few weeks of missing it a little bit, and why were we missing it? Well, maybe because I was just overdriving the car. "I think last week at Bristol, that track, if you drove it aggressively, it would pay off, but if you stepped over the line just a little bit, you ended up spun out or wrecked or brushing against the fence, and after the race last week, I felt like, you know, just settle down, get into the groove where you let the race come to you and let the talent of the crew members come into play, and that way we all carry the same weight. I think I was just trying to carry too much weight." Tony Gibson -- Busch's old-school SHR crew chief who prefers tape measures and string to laptops and computer data -- wasn't willing to let the team's quarterback take all the blame for the void in the win column. As well as the No. 41 camp has performed this season, it's easy to forget that the driver-crew chief pairing is only nine races old. The team's first three races of the season were with super-sub Regan Smith behind the wheel while Busch served out a suspension for a behavioral infraction. Since his return, Busch has been a near-continual challenger, seemingly on the cusp of finding Victory Lane most weeks. Gibson says part of the responsibility for getting him there falls on him. "I don't think he drives too hard," Gibson said. "... I think the thing that we missed early is we didn't execute as far as our practice stuff. Should have had a little bit better practice plan of making longer runs and making sure we had long run speed. I know he goes out and he gives you 150 percent every lap, every practice, and I force some of that on him. I said, man, let's just go out there and while we got 'em down, just kick 'em while they're down, try to win every -- set fast time and win every practice. I don't think he overdrove at all. I know he takes a lot of blame on himself and puts a lot of pressure on himself, but as a team we didn't execute on those races. … "He needs to drive as hard as he needs to drive. It's our job to put a car underneath of him that he can run that hard with. Today was proof of that." With the pressure of Chase uncertainty pretty much off his shoulders, Busch's job should become easier -- or will it? The taste of one victory remains sweet, but Busch indicated that team owner Gene Haas' hunger may only be satisfied by wins in bunches. Haas took a chance on the 36-year-old driver by expanding to a four-car operation for 2014, an opportunity Busch almost always expresses his gratitude for in media sessions. But Haas, ever the savvy businessman, clearly expects return on his investment. Busch hopes to deliver. "To win early in the year is special, but you can't hang your hat on it," Busch said. "And last year what I can learn from that situation is developing a new team such as (former crew chief) Daniel Knost and a newer group of guys, I felt the responsibility of being a mentor. This year I feel the responsibility of being the driver and doing my duty because I know I've got the best guy on the box with Tony Gibson, the best lead engineer with Johnny Klausmeier, the best car chief, best front‑end guy, rear‑end guy, tire guy. "Everybody on our team is at a top level so I don't have to do anything other than drive, and that's what Gene Haas wants me to do, and he's not happy with one win. He wants multiple wins. Hopefully we'll be off and running." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
A stats-based look ahead to the 14th race of the Sprint Cup Series season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 1, 2015) – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Pocono Raceway in Pocono, Pennsylvania going into the Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400 on June 7. POCONO-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two wins, 11 top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.7 · Average Running Position of 10.2, second-best · Driver Rating of 105.9, third-best · 332 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.733 mph, second-fastest · 2,659 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0%), fourth-most · 774 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), seventh-most Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet) · Two wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.3 · Average Running Position of 14.0, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 92.6, ninth-best · 102 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.237 mph, eighth-fastest · 2,286 Laps in the Top 15 (63.3%), eighth-most · 727 Quality Passes, 10th-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 ARRIS Toyota) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 15.5 · Driver Rating of 94.2, eighth-best · 176 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.224 mph, ninth-fastest · 2,262 Laps in the Top 15 (62.6%), 10th-most · 712 Quality Passes, 11th-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AXALTA – PENN STATE Chevrolet) · Six wins, 19 top fives, 31 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 9.9 · Series-best Average Running Position of 9.9 · Driver Rating of 103.5, fourth-best · 169 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · 1,573 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.625 mph, fifth-fastest · Series-high 2,777 Laps in the Top 15 (76.9%) · Series-high 885 Quality Passes Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota) · Four wins, nine top fives, 12 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 11.9 · Average Running Position of 10.8, fourth-best · Series-best Driver Rating of 108.3 · Series-high 437 Fastest Laps Run · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 162.806 mph · 2,543 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3%), sixth-most · 685 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser / Jimmy John’s Chevrolet) · Six top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 13.6 · Average Running Position of 13.7, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.9, 11th-best · 1,777 Green Flag Passes, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.159 mph, 10th-fastest · 2,277 Laps in the Top 15 (63.0%), ninth-most · 789 Quality Passes, sixth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's / Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet) · Three wins, 10 top fives, 17 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 9.9 · Average Running Position of 10.5, third-best · Driver Rating of 106.9, second-best · 273 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · 1,507 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.708 mph, third-fastest · 2,774 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8%), second-most · 861 Quality Passes, fourth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 17.8 · Driver Rating of 92.1, 10th-best · 306 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · 1,643 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.436 mph, sixth-fastest · 2,199 Laps in the Top 15 (60.9%), 11th-most · 804 Quality Passes, fifth-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · One win, three top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 13.4 · Driver Rating of 90.8, 12th-best · 96 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most Kyle Larson (No. 42 Target Chevrolet) · One top five, one top 10; one pole · Average finish of 8.0 · Average Running Position of 12.7, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 95.7, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.690 mph, fourth-fastest Ryan Newman (No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet) · One win, nine top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 11.4 · Average Running Position of 11.4, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 95.4, seventh-best · 1,634 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.135 mph, 11th-fastest · 2,689 Laps in the Top 15 (74.4%), third-most · 883 Quality Passes, second-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 11.8 · Average Running Position of 12.2, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 97.6, fifth-best · 99 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 1,728 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.319 mph, seventh-fastest · 2,619 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5%), fifth-most · 880 Quality Passes, third-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Pocono Raceway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 28 0 0 6 10 2 13.6 91.9 2 Martin Truex Jr . 18 0 0 2 6 0 15.9 80.4 3 Jimmie Johnson 26 3 3 10 17 1 9.9 106.9 4 Joey Logano 12 2 1 2 4 1 16.6 88.9 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 30 1 2 9 13 1 15.3 92.6 6 Brad Keselowski 10 0 1 3 4 0 13.4 90.8 7 Jamie McMurray 24 1 0 0 6 3 19.8 73.1 8 Kasey Kahne 22 2 2 5 8 3 17.8 92.1 9 Jeff Gordon 44 2 6 19 31 5 9.9 103.5 10 Aric Almirola 6 0 0 0 0 1 24.0 67.6 11 Matt Kenseth 30 0 0 3 10 1 16.0 86.7 12 Paul Menard 16 0 0 0 2 1 23.1 64.6 13 Ryan Newman 26 2 1 9 14 2 11.4 95.4 14 Denny Hamlin 18 3 4 9 12 2 11.9 108.3 15 Kurt Busch 27 1 2 11 15 5 14.7 105.9 16 Carl Edwards 20 0 2 5 8 1 15.5 94.2 * – Based on last 20 races at Pocono Raceway . Pocono Raceway Data Season Race #: 14 of 36 (06-07-15) Track Size : 2.5-miles Banking/Turn 1 : 14 degrees Banking/Turn 2 : 8 degrees Banking/Turn 3 : 6 degrees Frontstretch Length : 3,740 feet Backstretch Length : 3,055 feet Shortstretch Length : 1,780 feet Race Length : 160 laps / 400 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Pocono Denny Hamlin ............................ 108.3 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 106.9 Kurt Busch ................................ 105.9 Jeff Gordon .............................. 103.5 Tony Stewart ............................... 97.6 Kyle Larson ................................ 95.7 Ryan Newman ............................. 95.4 Carl Edwards .............................. 94.2 Dale Earnhardt Jr ........................ 92.6 Kasey Kahne .............................. 92.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at Pocono Raceway . Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Denny Hamlin , Toyota 181.415 mph, 49.610 secs., 06-06-14 2014 race winner : Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Chevrolet 139.440 mph, (02:52:07), 06-08-14 Track qualifying record: Kyle Larson , Chevrolet 183.438 mph, 49.610 secs., 08-03-14 Track race record: Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 145.384 mph, (03:26:21), 06-12-11 At Pocono Raceway : History · Opened in 1968 as a three-quarter-mile track, Pocono Raceway held the first race on the 2.5-mile track in 1971. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was in 1974 – won by Richard Petty , Dodge, 115.593 mph, 08/04/1974. · The 2.5-mile track was repaved during the fall of 2011. Notebook · There have been 74 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono Raceway , one race from 1974 through 1981, and two per year since. · 2012 marked the first season the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono were scheduled for 400 miles. Prior to 2012 all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races were 500 miles at Pocono Raceway . · 322 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway ; 229 in more than one. · Ricky Rudd leads the series in starts at Pocono with 55. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 44 starts. · Buddy Baker won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Pocono in 1974 with a speed of 144.122 mph. · 40 drivers have posted Coors Light poles at Pocono, led by Bill Elliott and Ken Schrader with five each; Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin lead all active drivers with three each. · Five drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono. Bill Elliott holds the record for most consecutive poles at Pocono with three; fall 1984 and both races in 1985. · Two active drivers have posted consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono: Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep) and Joey Logano (fall 2011 and spring 2012). · Youngest Pocono pole winner: Joey Logano (08/07/2011 – 21 years, 2 months, 14 days). · Oldest Pocono pole winner: David Pearson (06/10/1984 – 49 years, 5 months, 19 days). · 32 different drivers have won at Pocono Raceway , led by Jeff Gordon with six wins. · Seven drivers have posted consecutive wins at Pocono Raceway , including three consecutive by Bobby Allison (1982 sweep and spring 1983) and Tim Richmond (1986 sweep and spring 1987). · Three of the seven drivers to win consecutive races at Pocono are active: Jimmie Johnson (2004 sweep); Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep and 2009 fall and 2010 spring races); Dale Earnhardt Jr . (2014 sweep). · Youngest Pocono winner: Joey Logano (06/10/2012 – 22 years, 0 months, 17 days). · Oldest Pocono winner: Harry Gant (06/17/1990 – 50 years, 5 months, 7 days). · Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at Pocono in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 17: Jeff Gordon (six), Tim Richmond (three), Jimmie Johnson (three), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (two), Kasey Kahne (one), Geoff Bodine (one) and Terry Labonte (one) – including the last four consecutively. · Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Pocono; led by Chevrolet with 30 victories; followed by Ford with 21 and Toyota has three. · 15 of the 74 (20.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Jimmie Johnson (June, 2013). · The Coors Light pole position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Pocono Raceway . · 24 of the 74 (32.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the front row: 15 from the pole and nine from second-place. · 52 of the 74 (70.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Five of the 73 (6.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Pocono is 29th, by Carl Edwards in the spring of 2005. · Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Pocono with seven; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-five finishes at Pocono with 20; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Pocono with 34; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 31. · Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Pocono with a 6.556. · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Pocono with a 9.864. · Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards are the only two active drivers to win at Pocono in their first appearances. · Matt Kenseth leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono without visiting Victory Lane at 30; followed by Kevin Harvick with 28. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono Raceway was the July 23, 2000 race won by Rusty Wallace over Jeff Burton with a MOV of 0.126 second. · There have been three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Pocono Raceway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): spring of 2005 (200/201); fall of 2005 (200/203); spring of 2010 (200/204). · Six of the 74 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono Raceway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the event on 8/5/2012. · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono Raceway five times; most recently the spring of 2013. · Kyle Larson (8/03/2014) and Casey Mears (8/1/2004) posted their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Pocono Raceway . · One active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has posted his first career win at Pocono Raceway : Denny Hamlin (06/11/06). · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Pocono with 1,037 laps led in 44 starts. · Two female drivers have competed at Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick . Patrick’s average finish in four starts at Pocono is 32.750. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 10 30 8/3/2014 Danica Patrick 16 37 6/8/2014 Danica Patrick 34 35 8/4/2013 Danica Patrick 30 29 6/9/2013 Janet Guthrie 21 28 7/27/1980 Janet Guthrie 22 31 7/30/1978 Janet Guthrie 10 11 7/31/1977 NASCAR in Pennsylvania · There have been 108 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among nine tracks in Pennsylvania. Track Name City NSCS Pocono Raceway Long Pond 74 Langhorne Speedway Langhorne 17 Lincoln Speedway New Oxford 7 Heidelberg Raceway Pittsburgh 4 Reading Fairgrounds Reading 2 Bloomsburg Fairgrounds Bloomsburg 1 New Bradford Speedway Bradford 1 Pine Grove Speedway Shippenville 1 Williams Grove Speedway Mechanicsburg 1 · 141 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Pennsylvania. · Three of the 141 have won in NASCAR’s premiere series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Dick Linder 3 0 0 Jimmy Spencer 2 12 1 Mark Donohue 1 0 0 MILESTONES – Pocono Raceway DRIVER HAS NEEDS MILESTONE Jeff Gordon 774 1 775th Consecutive NSCS Start - Gordon is first on the
Stewart-Haas Racing driver still on indefinite probation NASCAR announced today that, effectively immediately, the indefinite suspension of Kurt Busch has been lifted. He is eligible to return to NASCAR racing under indefinite probation subject to additional mandatory requirements that include but are not limited to participation in a treatment program and full compliance with any judicial requirements placed upon him. On Feb. 20, Kurt Busch , driver of the No. 41 car, was found to be in violation of: • Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing • Section 12.8: Behavioral Penalty The decision to lift the suspension was made by NASCAR after Kurt Busch : • Complied with all requirements in its reinstatement program; • Completed the mandatory behavioral assessment sessions; and • The behavioral health care expert who conducted the sessions recommended to NASCAR that Kurt Busch be allowed to return to competition. Kurt Busch now will undergo additional steps to address the behavior for which he was penalized. The requirement that a driver must compete in all Championship Events of the current season to be eligible for The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has been waived for the period of Kurt Busch's suspension. Assuming he returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup competition, Kurt Busch would have zero Championship points to date after missing the Daytona 500 and the two most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "As we stated last week, the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges removed a significant impediment to Kurt Busch's return to full status as a NASCAR member," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. "We therefore have decided to move him to indefinite probation and waive the Chase requirement. He has fully complied with our reinstatement program during his suspension and the health care expert who conducted his evaluation recommended his immediate return. "We have made it very clear to Kurt Busch our expectations for him moving forward, which includes participation in a treatment program and full compliance with all judicial requirements as a result of his off-track behavior." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule