Kyle Larson gets caught napping in his car before NXS practice begins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Qualifying rained out; field set by practice results RELATED: Complete lineup " Practice results " Live Kentucky weather updates SPARTA, Ky. -- Kyle Larson got good news Friday afternoon when NASCAR canceled Sprint Cup Series qualifying for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 race at Kentucky Speedway. With the field set by rainout rules, Larson will start on the pole for the 18th Cup race of the season because he posted the fastest time in the only practice the elements have allowed so far this week. Larson ran a lap at 182.537 mph in a truncated 50-minute practice session that was halted by rain at 11:20 a.m. on Friday. Defending race winner Brad Keselowski will start beside Larson on the front row after posting a practice lap at 181.641 mph. Taking the green flag from the third position will be Jeff Gordon , who has won a Sprint Cup race at every active track with the exception of Kentucky. Joey Logano will start fourth, followed by Martin Truex Jr ., Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray and Denny Hamlin . Kyle Busch is ninth, with last week’s Daytona race winner, Dale Earnhardt Jr ., starting 10th. NASCAR opted to cancel qualifying in favor of giving Cup teams additional practice time with the low-downforce aerodynamic package introduced for the Kentucky race. NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying also was canceled, putting JJ Yeley on the pole for Friday night’s scheduled Kentucky 300. "Looking at all the factors and variables involved, including the fact that we are running a new rules package for the Sprint Cup Series here at Kentucky Speedway, we have determined that this schedule is in the best interests of safety and in the best interests of putting on the most competitive events that we possibly can Friday and Saturday evenings," NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp said. Larson was happy that teams got a chance to practice with the new package, even though the session was abbreviated. "I was glad we got a little bit of track time there," Larson said. "We were quick off the truck, which I was really proud of my team for, just because we haven’t had any laps on this new package, unlike some other teams that have gotten to do some testing. "So I was happy with that. We were quick in race trim off the truck, and then we went to mock qualifying trim, and we were really fast. I was able to lay down a really fast lap." If the rainout was good news for Larson , it was another blow for Wood Brothers Racing and driver Ryan Blaney , who was one of three competitors (along with Michael McDowell and Travis Kvapil ) who failed to make the field based on a lower number of qualifying attempts this year. Blaney was knocked out of the race by rain for the second straight week. "The rules are the rules," said team co-owner Eddie Wood. "In the event of a rainout, they set the field by attempts, which means how many races you’ve attempted to race this year. So us and the 95 (McDowell) have attempted less races than 43 other guys, so we’re the ones that are out, but that’s not a new rule. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember, and then they set the field by the practice speeds. "A lot of times people get it confused with how it works, but we’ve gone a long time and not missed a race with weather. Missing races, if you’re slow and you miss a race because you’re not fast enough, is a bad deal. That just kills your soul, but you can’t do anything about the weather. We’ve been really lucky for the past seven years and haven’t missed one, but now the numbers seem to be leveling out. I’ve always heard that numbers always level out, and that’s kind of what’s going on. "We’re going to run next week at Loudon, so we’ll head up that way and hope we don’t get rained out. I’m going to stop looking at weather apps, I tell you that. I’m done as far as that is concerned."
Chip Ganassi Racing driver off to good start at 1.5-mile speedway RELATED: Practice results " Live Kentucky weather updates Sprint Cup Series cars were able to get back on the track at Kentucky Speedway in a revised second practice on Friday, but the results were largely the same as the first session, as Kyle Larson topped the charts and Brad Keselowski followed. Larson paced the second session with a best speed of 178.412 mph, with defending race-winner Keselowski just off his pace at 178.124 mph. Keselowski's Team Penske teammate Joey Logano nearly matched the 2012 champ at 178.042 mph, good for third. Denny Hamlin (177.626 mph) and Kurt Busch (177.357 mph) rounded out the top five. Austin Dillon doesn't appear to be suffering any ill effects from the hard wreck he endured at Daytona early Monday morning, as he placed sixth in the session at 177.352 mph. Matt Kenseth landed his No. 20 Toyota in the grass after spinning with five minutes remaining in the session. Qualifying was canceled, so Larson will start Saturday’s Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, PRN, SiriusXM) on the pole position alongside Keselowski. Larson tops rain-shortened opening session " Results In the first on-track session testing a new track-specific aero package, Kyle Larson topped the leaderboard for Sprint Cup Series practice at Kentucky Speedway on Friday morning. The series was originally supposed to run two sessions, but the two were combined with the threat of rain in the area. That threat proved to be true, as rain halted the on-track activity shortly before 11:30 a.m. ET. Larson ’s best speed of 182.537 mph paced the field, followed by defending race-winner Brad Keselowski (181.641 mph). Jeff Gordon , looking for his first win at the Sparta, Kentucky, track, was third on the charts at 180.373 mph. Joey Logano (180.102 mph) and Martin Truex Jr . (179.958 mph) closed out the top five. With time on track at a premium, Kyle Busch (179.551 mph) and Alex Kennedy (168.052 mph) ran the most laps, with 26 circuits each. There was a small incident between the No. 35 of Cole Whitt and No. 9 of Sam Hornish Jr . in the garage area. Whitt rear-ended Hornish, who'd slammed on the brakes at the garage exit to avoid the No. 10 of Danica Patrick . Sprint Cup Series qualifying is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. ET, with coverage on NBC Sports Network. Tune in Saturday night for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network (PRN, SiriusXM) and Live Extra. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Busch leads the most laps, wins from pole at Indianapolis RELATED: Complete race results INDIANAPOLIS -- With a relentless charge that forced Ryan Blaney into a mistake on the final lap, Kyle Busch grabbed the lead with a half-lap left at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and took the checkered flag in Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. Blaney missed his mark in Turn 2 as Busch closed in, and with his momentum broken, the driver of the No. 22 Ford couldn’t stave off Busch’s winning pass on the backstretch. The No. 54 pulled away to win by .421 seconds, as Busch continued his white-hot run with his second XFINITY victory of the season, his second at The Brickyard and the record 72nd of his career. Since returning to competition in May after an injury absence, Busch has won three times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and twice on the XFINITY circuit. Blaney led by more than .6 seconds when he crossed the stripe to complete Lap 97 of 100. But the lapped car of Derrike Cope slowed his progress on the following circuit, and Busch cut the advantage in half. Busch had closed the gap to .279 seconds when he took the white flag, and constant pressure from the No. 54 Toyota finally forced Blaney into a mistake. "I just got close enough to make him mess up and made him get tight off (Turn) 2, and then I was able to capitalize underneath him with him losing his momentum off of 2 and being able to get under him," Busch said. "It was the class of the field. We should have won this thing going away, but I guess we had to make it exciting." With the XFINITY Series running a higher-drag package this weekend, Busch tried in vain -- until the final circuit-to get around Blaney in the closing laps. "I was trying to back up so I could get some clean air and keep my tires as fresh as possible, but I got too far back and got out of the draft and then I couldn’t make up any ground anymore, so I was kind of stuck back there about eight or 10 car lengths and not really going anywhere," he explained. "Fortunately, a couple of lapped cars messed up his momentum and didn’t mess up mine as much, and I was able to get through there. Once I got back close enough to him, I pushed him into a mistake and that was all that it took." A despondent Blaney took the blame for the loss. "It’s my fault, obviously," Blaney said. "You saw it. I screwed up. This team doesn’t deserve that. I dropped the ball for them today, and I take full responsibility. It’s all my fault…I got tight and I got too deep and didn’t get off the long corner. "It’s a pretty bad feeling to throw one away here at the Brickyard. There was no pressure for 24 laps, and the last one I just made a mistake." Blaney had taken the lead from Busch on a restart on Lap 76, after Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Erik Jones , hit the wall on lap 70, and NASCAR called a caution because of fluid on the track. Rookie Daniel Suarez ran third in his first visit to The Brickyard, collecting his third straight top-five of the season. Paul Menard finished fourth, followed by Elliott Sadler , Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson . Regan Smith came home eighth and claimed his second straight $100,000 bonus in the XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash program, keeping his hopes alive for a $1-million payday. If Smith is the highest-finishing eligible driver at Bristol (Aug. 21) and Darlington (Sept. 5), he’ll earn a total of $1 million. Blaney, Suarez, Sadler and Smith are the eligible Dash 4 Cash drivers at Bristol, having secured their spots as the top four finishing series regulars at Indianapolis. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Chip Ganassi Racing driver edges Kyle Busch in early session RELATED: Full practice results Kyle Larson zipped to the top of the leaderboard in opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Larson , driving the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet, logged a fast lap of 133.708 mph on the 1.058-mile track. The lap came as teams made mock qualifying runs late in the 85-minute session in preparation for Sunday's 5-hour ENERGY 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). Kyle Busch , last week's winner at Kentucky Speedway, was second-fastest at 133.666 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. Jamie McMurray , Larson's teammate in the Ganassi No. 1 Chevrolet, clocked the third-best lap at 133.469 mph. Carl Edwards , a teammate to Busch at JGR, was fourth-fastest, with Brad Keselowski , who swept the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races at New Hampshire last July, completing the top five in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford. Martin Truex Jr . encountered trouble just five minutes into opening practice with a flat left-rear tire that slowed him to a stop on the backstretch. His Furniture Row Racing crew, hoping to avoid any further damage from Truex driving around to the garage, changed the No. 78 Chevrolet's tire on the backstretch apron. With the car repaired, he landed the 11th-best lap at 133.007 mph. RELATED: Watch the Truex Jr. incident Defending series champion Kevin Harvick drove the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet to the ninth-fastest lap of the 44 cars to participate in the opening session. Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Sprint Cup Series is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. ET and is on NBCSN. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 18 driver gives Toyota its first victory at the Brickyard RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " SHOP: Busch gear "I guess Kyle's back," a disappointed Logano said after the race, uttering perhaps the biggest understatement in the modern era of stock car racing. Harvick finished third, followed by Martin Truex Jr . and Denny Hamlin . Clint Bowyer , Matt Kenseth , Kurt Busch , Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10. To the suggestion that the accident may have provided additional impetus to his comeback, Kyle Busch replied, "I just think that maybe I've found my happy place. "Happy Gilmore (a movie character) – he found his happy place and he just dominated at the end, so maybe I've found that, too. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane for one of the biggest wins of my career. "I just want to celebrate with my team, my wife and my family." A quick inventory of Busch's accomplishments shows that the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota: -- He is the first to sweep both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races at Indianapolis. Busch won the Lilly Diabetes 250 XFINITY race on Saturday with a last-lap pass of Ryan Blaney . -- He gave Toyota its first victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, breaking a string of 12 straight wins by Chevrolet at the 2.5-mile track. -- He won the 33rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of his career. -- He continued his relentless advance toward the top 30 in the standings and consequent eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. In what now seems a foregone conclusion, Busch has six races to overcome a 23-point deficit to 30th-place Justin Allgaier . "We're a championship contending team," Busch asserted. "We just have to be championship eligible. Thank the good Lord for bringing me back when he did. Obviously, thanking him for all the success I've had in my life, where I'm at and all my blessings. "To get me back as quick as he did, to persevere through that and that deficit. We're still continuing on. We can't have bad days. I don't know that any of that matters—we're going to bask in this moment here." Perhaps most astounding is Busch's ability to win three straight races at three different race tracks using three different competition packages: low-downforce at Kentucky with a 3.5-inch spoiler; standard 2015 rules at New Hampshire with a six-inch spoiler; and high-drag at Indianapolis with a nine-inch spoiler and one-inch wicker. Logano fell just short of giving team owner Roger Penske, a 16-time Indianapolis 500 winner, his first Sprint Cup victory at The Brickyard. RELATED: Logano says, 'I'm glad he's back, but geez' "You come to Indy, and it's all about the win," said Logano, who took the checkered flag in the season-opening Daytona 500 this year. "You either win or finish last. It doesn't really matter anywhere in-between. At least that's the way I race when I come to a track like this. I feel like, at Daytona and Indy, it's all about getting trophies and rings and making out with bricks. "Overall, it was a good day, but second hurts. It always does." Jeff Gordon 's last race at The Brickyard as a full-time Cup driver—and his hopes for an unprecedented sixth victory at the 2.5-mile track—suffered an irreparable blow on Lap 50. Racing to the inside of Harvick, Bowyer's Toyota got loose and spun. Gordon checked up, trying to avoid Bowyer's car, but the No. 24 Chevrolet swerved out of control into the outside wall in Turn 3. The resulting damage ended any hope of another Brickyard trophy for the four-time Sprint Cup champion. "I was underneath Kasey Kahne and we were just racing for position," Gordon said as his crew worked feverishly in the garage to repair the car. "I saw Bowyer get sideways. I don't know what caused it. Me and Kasey were trying to check up to avoid it. I don't know if he got loose or we just both got loose together. Then I just lost control and got in the wall." Gordon finished 42nd and lost one spot to 11th in the series standings. Without a win this season, Gordon is in jeopardy of missing the Chase and can ill-afford another day like Sunday. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kyle Larson will lead the field to green at Kentucky Speedway as he won the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying was cancelled due to inclement weather.
A statistical look ahead to the 21st race of the Sprint Cup season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Pocono Raceway in Pocono, Pennsylvania going into the WINDOWS 10 400 on August 2 (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). POCONO-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 16 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 12.421, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 10.246, second-best · Driver Rating of 105.9, third-best · 332 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.733, second-fastest · 2659 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0), second-most · 774 Quality Passes, seventh-most Dale Earnhardt Jr (No. 88 MICROSOFT Chevrolet) · Two wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.900, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 14.002, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 92.6, ninth-best · 102 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.237, eighth-fastest · 2286 Laps in the Top 15 (63.3), eighth-most · 727 Quality Passes, eighth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 STANLEY Toyota) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 15.500, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 14.826, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 94.2, eighth-best · 176 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.224, ninth-fastest · 2262 Laps in the Top 15 (62.6), 10th-most · 712 Quality Passes, ninth-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet) · Six wins, 19 top fives, 31 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 9.650, second-best · Average Running Position of 9.916, series-best · Driver Rating of 103.5, fourth-best · 169 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.625, fifth-fastest · 2777 Laps in the Top 15 (76.9), third-most · 885 Quality Passes, series-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota) · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 11.889, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 10.844, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 108.3, series-best · 437 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.806, series-fastest · 2543 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3), series-most · 685 Quality Passes, 10th-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/Budweiser Chevrolet) · Seven top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 10.600, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 13.743, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.9, 11th-best · 63 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.159, 10th-fastest · 2277 Laps in the Top 15 (63.0), ninth-most · 789 Quality Passes, sixth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet) · Three wins, 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 10.500, third-best · Average Running Position of 10.487, third-best · Driver Rating of 106.9, second-best · 273 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.708, third-fastest · 2774 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8), fourth-most · 861 Quality Passes, fourth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Aquafina Chevrolet) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 18.750, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 14.622, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 92.1, 10th-best · 306 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.436, sixth-fastest · 2199 Laps in the Top 15 (60.9), 11th-most · 804 Quality Passes, fifth-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford) · One win, three top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 13.400, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 14.786, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 90.8, 12th-best · 96 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 161.894, 13th-fastest · 852 Laps in the Top 15 (50.1), 13th-most · 306 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kyle Larson (No. 42 Suave Men Chevrolet) · One top five, two top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 8.000, series-best · Average Running Position of 12.672, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 95.7, sixth-best · 2 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.690, fourth-fastest · 230 Laps in the Top 15 (71.9), seventh-most · 87 Quality Passes, 13th-most Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · One win, three top fives, five top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 16.583, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 13.811, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 88.9, 13th-best · 61 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.097, 12th-fastest · 1190 Laps in the Top 15 (56.6), 12th-most · 456 Quality Passes, 11th-most Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) · One win, nine top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.500, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 11.426, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 95.3, seventh-best · 36 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.135, 11th-fastest · 2689 Laps in the Top 15 (74.4), fifth-most · 883 Quality Passes, second-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.600, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 12.223, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 97.6, fifth-best · 99 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.319, seventh-fastest · 2619 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5), sixth-most · 880 Quality Passes, third-most Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 29 0 0 7 11 2 13.2 91.9 2 Joey Logano 13 2 1 3 5 1 15.6 88.9 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr 31 1 2 9 13 1 15.2 92.6 4 Jimmie Johnson 27 3 3 11 18 1 9.6 106.9 5 Martin Truex Jr 19 0 1 3 7 0 15.1 80.4 6 Brad Keselowski 11 0 1 3 4 0 13.7 90.8 7 Matt Kenseth 31 0 0 3 11 1 15.7 86.7 8 Kurt Busch 28 2 2 12 16 5 14.4 105.9 9 Jamie McMurray 25 1 0 0 7 3 19.3 73.1 10 Denny Hamlin 19 3 4 9 13 2 11.8 108.3 11 Jeff Gordon 45 2 6 19 31 5 10 103.5 12 Ryan Newman 27 2 1 9 14 3 12.4 95.3 13 Paul Menard 17 0 0 0 2 1 23.6 64.6 14 Kasey Kahne 23 2 2 5 8 3 17.6 92.1 15 Clint Bowyer 19 0 0 2 8 0 14.6 82.8 16 Carl Edwards 21 0 2 5 8 1 15.5 94.2 * – Based on last 21 races at Pocono Raceway (2005 – 2015). Kyle Busch ’s Chase Eligibility 30th Justin Allgaier 317 Rank Driver Wins Points Points From 30th 31 Cole Whitt 0 314 -3 32 Kyle Busch 4 294 -23 33 Brett Moffitt # 0 266 -51 34 Alex Bowman 0 245 -72 35 Michael Annett 0 230 -87 36 Matt DiBenedetto # 0 205 -112 37 Josh Wise 0 186 -131 38 Michael McDowell 0 124 -193 39 Jeb Burton 0 111 -206 40 Alex Kennedy 0 71 -246 * To be eligible for the Chase, the driver must be in the top 30 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following race number 26. Pocono Raceway Data Season Race #: 21 of 36 (08-02-15) 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 ............................. 95.3 Carl Edwards .............................. 94.2 Dale Earnhardt Jr ........................ 92.6 Kasey Kahne .............................. 92.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (21 total) among active drivers at Pocono Raceway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kyle Larson , Chevrolet 183.438 mph, 49.063 secs, 08-01-14 2014 race winner : Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Chevrolet 127.411 mph, (03:08:22), 08-03-14 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. · 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. Starts · There have been 75 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono Raceway, one race from 1974 through 1981, and two per year since. · 327 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway; 229 in more than one. · Ricky Rudd leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in starts at Pocono with 55. · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 45 starts (eighth most all-time) at Pocono; followed by Tony Stewart with 33 starts. · Denny Hamlin (19 starts) leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Pocono with a 6.632. Poles · 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. · Buddy Baker won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Pocono in 1974 with a speed of 144.122 mph. · 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). · Kyle Larson (8/03/2014) and Casey Mears (8/1/2004) posted their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Pocono Raceway. Wins · 33 different drivers have won at Pocono Raceway, led by Jeff Gordon with six wins. · Seven active drivers have multiple wins at Pocono: Jeff Gordon (6), Denny Hamlin (4), Jimmie Johnson (3), Carl Edwards , Kasey Kahne , Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart (each have 2). · Seven drivers have posted consecutive wins at Pocono Raceway all-time, 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) and 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). · Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Pocono; led by Chevrolet with 31 victories; followed by Ford with 21 and Toyota has three. · 13 of the 75 (17.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Joey Logano (June, 2012). · 15 of the 74 (20%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the first starting position; the most recent was Jimmie Johnson (June, 2013). · The first starting 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 75 (32%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the front row: 15 from the first starting position and nine from second-place. · 53 of the 75 (70.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Five of the 75 (6.7%) 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. · One active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has posted his first career win at Pocono Raceway: Denny Hamlin (06/11/06). · 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 31; followed by Kevin Harvick with 29. Additional Finishing Position Stats · Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Pocono with seven; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six; followed by Kurt Busch with five. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-five finishes at Pocono with 20; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19; followed by Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart with 12 each. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Pocono with 34; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 31; followed by Tony Stewart with 22. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Pocono with a 9.630. Track Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in
Both drivers docked 15 minutes of on-track practice time The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams of Germain Racing with Casey Mears and Richard Childress Racing with Ryan Newman will serve 15-minute penalties during this weekend’s opening practice at Pocono (Pennsylvania) Raceway, according to NASCAR officials. The two teams received written warnings during this past weekend’s race activities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of the Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard. The warning for the No. 13 team of Mears was a result of qualifying inspection issues while Newman’s group required additional trips through the inspection line during pre-race inspection. Opening practice at Pocono is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. ET. NASCAR began the process of issuing written warnings earlier this year to teams that failed to pass pre-qualifying or pre-race technical inspection twice during an event. Such warnings are part of the sanctioning body’s Deterrence Policy, which categorizes individual infractions (Level 1 through Level 6) for penalty purposes. Two written warnings during one event or a single warning during two consecutive events is considered a P1 level infraction. Penalties may include a deduction in track time for practice or qualifying, delay in the order of inspection or last choice in the pit selection process. Officials also said that post-race technical inspection at the NASCAR Research and Development Center for the cars of race winner Kyle Busch , runner-up Joey Logano and Kyle Larson (random) had been completed with no issues. Pocono is hosting the Windows 10 400 on Sunday (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
2014 Rookie of the Year finally gets a top-three finish DOVER, Del. -- By the end of last season 2014 Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson had grown accustomed to and quite fond of reeling off top-five finishes. He had eight -- including three runner-up efforts. But it took 12 races to score his first in 2015, that coming with a season best third place run in Sunday's FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway . Larson also qualified a season-best third and ran among the top 10 all afternoon, but it wasn’t until the waning laps that his No. 42 Target Chevy made a real push for the front in a quest for his first career Sprint Cup Series win – a victory people predict could happen at any time and any place. Yet for all the expectations, until Sunday, the 22-year-old Larson hadn't scored a top 10 since early April at Bristol, Tenn. Six times in 11 starts this season (he missed the Martinsville, Va., race because of severe dehydration) Larson finished 20 th or worse. "Our first good run of the year,'' Larson acknowledged. "Hopefully this will kind of transition into some momentum for us, for our team, and we can start getting some more top-five and top-10 finishes." He certainly had to work for this one. Although he lingered near the front, Larson truly put himself in the trophy mix -- improving positions on each of the race's final three restarts -- with less than 20 laps remaining. "We were good for most of the race; we got off kind of midpoint of the race and got really tight,'' Larson said. "Then we freed up a lot and got better. Still weren't as good as we were in the beginning of the race there at the end, but I was able to line up in the right lines, it seemed like, those last three restarts and gain a couple spots each time. "The inside row on that last one [restart] spun their tires really bad and got a bad start, so we were all able to roll around them and kind of cruise to a third place finish.'' The effort moved Larson up two positions in the championship standings to 20 th . He is 72 points behind 16 th- place Ryan Newman on the Chase grid. It's the second time in three races that both Chip Ganassi Racing drivers – including his teammate Jamie McMurray – finished in the top-15. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule