A look at the inspiration for Kyle Larson's Darlington paint scheme.
RELATED: Ragan's Darlington look will honor his father Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is pulling out all the stops for the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) with a throwback paint scheme right out of the hit racing movie "Days of Thunder." BUY: Darlington tickets The Mello Yello ride of Cole Trickle will fly around a track again, this time carrying the No. 42 on the Chevrolet. Kyle Petty drove the Mello Yello scheme as his primary paint scheme from 1991-93 on the No. 42. Mello Yello was born to bond with racing, announced as the "World's Fastest Soft Drink" when it launched in 1979 and sponsored Frank Oblesby's dragster. "This paint scheme has such a cool history between the movie and Kyle Petty having run it for Felix, so I'm really excited to drive it," Larson said Wenesday. " 'Days of Thunder' is definitely one of my favorite racing movies, and I know it's a favorite for a lot of fans, too. The connection with Felix is pretty cool. Even though I was too young to watch Kyle Petty driving the Mello Yello car, I know people will remember the scheme from those days, as well as his crazy hair from back then. There's just a lot of fun stuff surrounding this car, so I'm really glad that the Target team is able to run it for Darlington's throwback race. I think the fans are really going to like it." Larson tweeted a tease about the scheme to fans on Tuesday, asking "Can you tell we're excited for @TooToughToTame?!" FYI, Larson was born two years after the movie's 1990 premiere, but shows he appreciates the 25th anniversary of the film. BUY: Darlington throwback gear
Kyle Larson has a rough night as he catches a flat tire on Lap 125, then on Lap 359 gets major damage from a hard hit to the outside wall coming out of Turn 4 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Practice 2 " Complete final practice results After coming in third in opening practice, Kyle Busch 's No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota rocketed around Bristol Motor Speedway and to the top of the leaderboard in Friday's second practice session. "Rowdy" recorded a fast lap of 131.146 mph, a speed that rivals the previous qualifying track record Kevin Harvick set in 2014 (131.362 mph). David Ragan made a late run to earn the second spot on the leaderboard, maneuvering his No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota at 130.646 mph around the short track. Having led the opening practice, Kyle Larson 's fast lap of 130.018 mph allowed him to spend some time at the top of the leaderboard before setting for third on the board in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet. Team Penske 's Joey Logano came up next, wheeling a fast lap of 129.587 mph for the fourth position, while Joe Gibbs Racing 's Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five (129.404 mph). Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick posted the sixth-fastest speed, recording a high speed of 129.334 mph in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr ., Aric Almirola and Jeb Burton all experienced trouble in the opening session, but were back on track in the final session. Johnson led the corral, posting the ninth-fastest speed (129.073 mph) in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, while Martin Truex Jr .'s No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet was 21st (127.724 mph). Several drivers attempted qualifying runs during the second session, bringing several drivers' speeds up from the previous session. The Sprint Cup Series is back on track tonight at Bristol at 5:45 p.m. for Coors Light Pole Qualifying (NBCSN). Practice 1: Complete opening practice results Kyle Larson surged to the top of the leaderboard in the final minute of Friday's Sprint Cup practice at Bristol Motor Speedway, propelling his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet around the short track at 129.833 mph to lead the session. Matt Kenseth also made a late run, briefly topping the leaderboard before settling into second with a fast lap of 128.597 mph from his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The leader for the majority of the hour-and-a-half session, Kyle Busch came up third after Kenseth's late run. "Rowdy" wheeled his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota around the short track at 128.580 mph. Michael Waltrip Racing 's Clint Bowyer (128.099 mph) and Joe Gibbs Racing 's Carl Edwards (127.707 mph) rounded out the top five. Wheeling the iconic No. 24 rainbow paint scheme at 126.637 mph, Jeff Gordon posted the 14th-fastest speed in the field. Chase Elliott , who will take Gordon's place in the No. 24 ride next season, watched Gordon from the top of the No. 24 hauler following his own XFINITY practice. Jimmie Johnson missed 38 minutes of the practice after his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet got up high on the track and made contact with the wall nine minutes into the session. He returned to the track and posted the 18th-fastest speed. Jeb Burton and Aric Almirola also hit the wall during the session. Martin Truex Jr . slammed into the wall in the final 10 minutes of practice, forcing the No. 78 team to bring out the backup car.
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings BRISTOL, Tenn. -- When Chris Buescher 's Ford faltered on a green-white-checkered restart on Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch took full advantage, as is his custom. In a Food City 300 that went to two laps of overtime at the .533-mile short track, Busch finished .427 seconds ahead of Kyle Larson , as Buescher faded to 11th after his car failed to pick up fuel off Turn 2 of the next-to-last lap. The victory was Busch's third of the season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, his eighth at Bristol and the 73rd of his career, extending his own series record. "This is home -- this is where I'm supposed to be," Busch said, standing outside the car in Victory Lane. "I wish I was here Wednesday night (after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race), so we could continue the sweep lookout for (Saturday), but that was a second place. Oh, well." Polesitter Denny Hamlin ran third, followed by Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez , who got a bonus for his top-five run. As the highest finishing eligible driver in the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash program, Suarez picked up an extra $100,000. Pit strategy put Buescher at the front of the field under the fourth caution of the race, caused by Cale Conley 's spin in Turn 4. Staying out on older tires while most of the lead-lap cars came to pit road for fresh rubber and fuel, Buescher nevertheless pulled away from Busch during a succession of restarts, as Busch saved his equipment for what he thought would be the inevitable late-race caution. "I let the 60 (Buescher) go," Busch said. "He ran out there to about a straightaway on us, and I was just trying to save and do what I could to keep my tires underneath me. I knew we were going to get some cautions at the end to bunch us back up, and fortunately we did. "I wasn't sure they were going to make it on fuel (having pitted on lap 131 of 302), and obviously they cut it close -- a little too close." Busch got the yellow he needed, just in time. Brad Teague 's wreck on the frontstretch with five laps left set up the green-white-checkered and gave Busch the chance he needed. Buescher, who saw his series lead shrink to 19 points over Ty Dillon , knew he could have made it to the end on fuel, had the race not gone to overtime.
RELATED: Practice 3 results " Practice 2 results Martin Truex Jr . shuffled to the top of the leaderboard in Saturday's final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, a 55-minute session marked by an early crash by Kyle Busch . Truex drove the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevrolet to a best lap of 191.729 mph on the 2-mile track. In Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying, he managed to secure just the 22nd starting spot for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). Joey Logano claimed the second-fastest spot on the leaderboard at 191.215 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Carl Edwards backed up his third starting spot with the third-fastest lap in final practice, clocking 191.189 mph on the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota. Kyle Larson was fourth-fastest with fellow Chevrolet driver Austin Dillon completing the top five. Dillon, who made a strong showing Friday by qualifying fourth, lost power on his Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet with six minutes left in final practice. Busch, tied for the series lead with four victories this season, lost control of his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota off Turn 4 just five minutes into final practice. The car slid sideways toward the infield, digging its nose into the grass and causing significant damage as it skidded to a halt. "You're leaking. Shut it down," crew chief Adam Stevens told Busch, who was evaluated and released at the infield care center. The JGR team unloaded the backup No. 18 car, which made two runs toward the end of practice. "I was just running along, everything was fine and I was actually feeling pretty good about it," Busch said. "Just started to get a little free up off of (turn) four. It started stepping out like it did here in the spring. I over-corrected and hit the wall so this time around I just kind of made it keep rotating and head down towards the infield. I think we need more grass at these race tracks, I think the apron should be full of grass." Those comments echoed the sarcastic remarks he gave to NBC Sports Network: "I think we should have more grass and it should be taller." Matt Kenseth , winner of the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying, was 16th-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. Kurt Busch , the most recent Michigan winner in June's rain-shortened Quicken Loans 400 , was 15th-fastest in Stewart-Haas Racing 's No. 41 Chevrolet. Jeff Gordon , the defending race winner, was 21st-fastest in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet in preparation for his final Michigan race as a full-time Sprint Cup competitor. Harvick tops Saturday's early practice Kevin Harvick was up and at 'em early Saturday morning, leading the day's early-morning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Michigan International Speedway. His speed of 194.784 mph in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet was enough to top the speed charts, including pole-starter Matt Kenseth . Kenseth, the Coors Light Pole winner for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), was the top Toyota on the board Saturday, coming in second at 194.411 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20. Kyle Larson (194.013 mph), Kyle Busch (193.976 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (193.934 mph) rounded out the top five at the 2-mile track. In an effort to further test the high-drag rules package and simulate race conditions, teams communicated via radio about working together for a few laps of pack racing -- and at 9:10 a.m. ET, with 15 minutes remaining, a large contingent of cars left pit road together. Kurt Busch , the series' most recent Michigan winner in June, was 14th-fastest. Jeff Gordon , the defending race winner prepping for what's expected to be his final Michigan start, was 17th-fastest. Saturday's final practice is slated for 11:30 a.m. ET, with TV coverage on CNBC and live online streaming via Live Extra .
RELATED: See how Smith won at Mid-Ohio ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Regan Smith used a bit of bumper two weeks ago to become NASCAR's most recent road-course winner, shoving road-racing veteran Alex Tagliani in the last lap at Mid-Ohio to take his first XFINITY Series victory of the year. With the final road-course race of the season looming at Road America , Smith said he doesn't have regrets about the late-race contact, which left Tagliani steaming with cross post-race words. "I think if you're in that same situation, you've got to do what you can do to go for wins," Smith said before opening XFINITY practice Friday at the 4.048-mile circuit. "I guess in that circumstance in that situation, I didn't wreck him, just had a little bumper tag there and we came out as the beneficiary of it. I have not spoken to Alex and didn't really figure he'd be in the mood right after the race to talk at all, so I think possibly down the road, we will. He's somebody that I've raced with a few times now and enjoy racing with him. I think he would understand the scenario of going for wins and doing what we've got to do there. "It's a fine line. There's wrecking a guy and there's moving him and getting the position. We see the moving all the time. It's not anything new. It's been done in our sport for a thousand times and a thousand more times in the future, I'm sure. The feedback I got from drivers, crew members, you name it, they thought it was a good move and they thought it was fine. I didn't really hear too much negative about it." Smith's victory helped bolster the JR Motorsports driver's case for a series championship. Though he ranks fourth -- 51 points behind series leader Chris Buescher -- he noted that plenty can change with 11 races remaining on the calendar. "I think we're still in it," Smith said. "We're racing like we're still in it, and the mindset is to go out and do everything we can to lead laps and win races. And if you're doing that, you close up on points even quicker than you can imagine." While the title fight for this season has ramped up, Smith has also kept a focus on making his 2016 plans final. His recent remarks about his potential free-agent status have sparked interest into what next season might hold, plus in which series he'll be competing. Smith reiterated his goal of returning to the Sprint Cup Series, where he's performed admirably in fill-in roles the last two seasons -- including three races this year in place of the suspended Kurt Busch and one race after Kyle Larson 's fainting spell on the eve of the first Martinsville race of 2015. "Working hard every day to figure out 2016," Smith said. "I think I've been clear for the better part of two and a half years now that I want to get back to Sprint Cup and do that at some point, so I'm fortunate to be in fast race race cars at JR Motorsports right now and have an amazing opportunity here and definitely don't take that for granted. At the same time, I want to give myself that opportunity to get back to the other series. As soon as all that stuff plays out and I have answers, then I'll given them as soon as I can."
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
RELATED: Practice 1 results " Final practice results Kyle Larson led the way in final NASCAR XFINITY Series practice Friday afternoon, putting the HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet atop the leaderboard at Watkins Glen International. Larson , a Sprint Cup regular with two XFINITY wins in his career, turned a lap of 123.623 mph late in the 57-minute session, which was extended two minutes past its scheduled window by NASCAR officials. His lap was slightly more than eight-tenths of a second better than second-fastest Joey Logano , who clocked a 122.223-mph lap in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford and was fastest in opening practice. Paul Menard was third-fastest 122.201 mph in the Richard Childress Racing No. 33 Chevrolet in a 1-2-3 sweep by Sprint Cup regulars. Ty Dillon was fourth-fastest in another Childress Chevy, just ahead of fifth-best Brad Keselowski in the other Penske entry, the No. 22 Ford. Defending series champion Chase Elliott managed just the 18th-fastest lap at 119.444 mph, but dealt with mechanical trouble when his JR Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet slowed on the frontstretch midway through practice. "I think the rear end locked up on it," Elliott told his crew. "May have been a fluid issue with it. I don't think I missed any shifts." Series points leader Chris Buescher was sixth-fastest in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 60 Ford. Daniel Suarez , who severely damaged his primary Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota during a crash in opening practice, was 11th-fastest. His lap was just one spot better than JGR teammate Boris Said , a veteran road racing making his third XFINITY start of the season. NASCAR officials added two minutes to final practice because of two late-session instances of stalled cars -- one for Eric McClure 's No. 24 and another for Tomy Drissi 's No. 26. Coors Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled Saturday at 11:15 a.m. ET (CNBC) . Logano sets early pace; heavy crash early hits Suarez Joey Logano sailed to the top of the leaderboard Friday afternoon in opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice at Watkins Glen International. Logano drove the Team Penske No. 12 Ford to a fast lap of 122.452 mph on the 2.45-mile road course in preparation for Saturday's Zippo 200 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), the 20th of 33 races this season. His lap was just slightly better than second-fastest Brad Keselowski , his Penske teammate who registered an 122.286 mph lap in the No. 22 Ford. Brendan Gaughan was third-fastest and Paul Menard fourth-best in a pair of Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets. Kyle Larson completed the top five. The 85-minute first session was marked by a severe crash for rookie Daniel Suarez in the early going. Suarez lost control of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota at the exit of the bus-stop chicane, sliding off course and hard into the Turn 5 barrier. The 23-year-old Suarez was uninjured, but the force of the impact lifted the No. 18 entry off the ground. His crew prepared his backup car in time for him to return to the track at the tail end of the practice. "When I got to that part of the race track, I was a little bit too loose on entry," Suarez said. "Like I say, it was my first lap with speed and it looks like it was a pretty hard hit. I just wasn't able to handle that little loop because it was getting worse and worse and worse, and I wasn't able to put the car back straight. I'm just disappointed with myself because it was very, very early. Hopefully we can get back to the race track to make up some ground." Aside from Suarez's wreck, the session was marked by a handful of harmless solo spins. John Wes Townley and Todd Bodine both looped their cars in Turn 7, near the track's pit entrance. Keselowski overshot the chicane, putting all four wheels in the grass before Turn 5. XFINITY Series points leader Chris Buescher was sixth-fastest in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 60 Ford. Boris Said , the 52-year-old road racing expert, was ninth-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota as he readies for his third XFINITY Series start of the year. Final XFINITY practice is scheduled from 3:30-4:25 p.m. ET (NBCSN), with Coors Light Pole Qualifying set for Saturday at 11:15 a.m. ET (CNBC).
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."