Larson sweeps all three Sprint Cup practices at New Hampshire
RELATED: Full results for final practice " Fastest 10-lap averages Kyle Larson made it a perfect sweep of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices, as his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet flew to the top of the leaderboard at 132.577 mph in Saturday's final practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Larson paced the field in Friday's lone session and tied Martin Truex Jr . for the fastest speed/time in Saturday's morning practice. Joe Gibbs Racing 's Denny Hamlin made a late surge to nab the second spot on the speed charts, wheeling his No. 11 Toyota at 132.549 mph. Hendrick Motorsports ' Kasey Kahne laid down the third-fastest speed, his No. 5 Chevrolet peaking at 132.489 mph. Kahne and teammate Alex Bowman (10th), who is driving the No. 88 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr . this weekend, were the only non-Chase drivers to record top-15 speeds in the final session. Pole sitter Carl Edwards came up fourth in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (132.420 mph), while Hendrick Motorsports ' Jimmie Johnson completed the top five with a fast speed of 132.255 mph from his No. 48 Chevrolet. Points leader Truex Jr. -- who tied Larson for the fastest speed in practice earlier today -- ranked sixth in the field this session, propelling his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota at 132.250 mph. Reigning race winner Matt Kenseth was seventh-fastest, his No. 20 JGR Toyota topping out at 132.222 mph. Jamie McMurray (18th), Austin Dillon (22nd) and Chris Buescher (28th) were the only Chase drivers to record practice speeds outside the top 15. The Sprint Cup Series returns to the track Sunday for the Bad Boy Off Road 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Full results for Practice 2 Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr . both reached 132.186 mph early in the second Sprint Cup Series practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday morning. The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver also paced the field during Friday's lone Sprint Cup practice session in his No. 42 Chevrolet. Last weekend's Chicagoland winner, Truex Jr. in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota laid down the exact same speed (132.186 mph) and lap time (28.814 seconds) as Larson in the 55-minute session. Reigning race winner Matt Kenseth was third-fastest, his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota reaching a top speed of 132.085 mph, while his JGR teammate Denny Hamlin came up fourth in the field (132.030 mph). Hendrick Motorsports ' Chase Elliott rounded out the top five with a top speed of 131.980 mph in his No. 24 Chevrolet. Coors Light Pole winner Carl Edwards was sixth-fastest in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The top-nine performers in the second session were all Chase drivers and Chasers made up 11 of the top-15; Brad Keselowski (18th), Tony Stewart (19th), Austin Dillon (23rd) and Chris Buescher (33rd) were the outlying Chase competitors.
Kyle Larson gets first Sprint Cup win at Michigan
RELATED: Results " Standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Larson gear BROOKLYN, Mich. -- In the last few laps of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway , tears began to well up in Kyle Larson 's eyes. When Larson subsequently took the checkered flag to win the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of his career, the emotion was all but overwhelming -- and for good reason. The victory came in Larson's 99th start in the series, long after most observers expected Larson to record his first win. It also broke a 99-race drought for Chip Ganassi Racing , dating to Jamie McMurray 's victory at Talladega in October 2013. With the triumph, Larson earned a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the first time in his career, moving winless Ryan Newman 15 points out of the last Chase-eligible position with two races left in the regular season. With Brett Moffitt winning in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Michigan and Michael McDowell prevailing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. -- both on Saturday -- Larson's triumph capped the first weekend in NASCAR history that produced first-time winners in all three national series. It also marked the first time a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs has reached Victory Lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The emotions of the moment, however, were magnified by the recent death at age 27 of Bryan Clauson, who was fatally injured in a midget car accident on Aug. 6 in Belleville, Kan. Larson came to NASCAR from open-wheel racing, and he and Clauson were close friends. "Parked it!" yelled Larson after he took the checkered flag, echoing Clauson's signature victory cry. The driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet followed with a celebratory burnout that left a trail of rubber across Victory Lane. Larson then exited his car, took the checkered flag from the flag man and leapt into the arms of his fueler, who had run out into the infield to congratulate his driver. "I was teared-up that whole last few laps, because I could just feel it," Larson said. "It was finally going to be it. This one is for the Clauson family. We really miss Bryan. We're going to miss him. We parked it for him, so that's really cool. "We had a lot of work to do for that first third of the race, and got it done. Thanks to (sponsor) Target. Thanks to everyone on this team. (Crew chief) Chad (Johnston) and the pit crew and everybody. We messed up that last stop but we made it back." In fact, Larson lost the lead to race runner-up Chase Elliott when both drivers made their final pit stops under green on Lap 156 of 200. Elliott beat Larson out of the pits by a half car-length and began to pull away. But a caution on Lap 187 because of Michael Annett 's blown right front tire gave Larson the chance he needed. With a hard push from third-place finisher Brad Keselowski , Larson took the lead on the final restart on Lap 192, as Elliott spun his tires and lost momentum in the outside lane. Larson crossed the finish line with a 1.478-second advantage over Elliott, who passed Keselowski for the second spot on Lap 193. Still seeking his first victory in his rookie season, Elliott had an opportunity to win at Michigan in June but likewise fell victim to a late restart. "Bummer again here," said Elliott, making no attempt to hide his disappointment. "I hate to let my guys down is the biggest thing. For the second time, this has happened. I made a mistake early on in the race. I asked my guys to bail me out (on the final pit stop), and they did. Unfortunately, I didn't do my part again. "That's a couple races in a row in just a few short months here at this place we had a really good car, had an opportunity. That's one thing I try really hard to do is make the most of opportunities when they're presented. Obviously I didn't do a very good job of that here both trips. Need to do my restarts a little better. That's obviously not a strong point, at least here at Michigan." The second-place finish, however, solidified Elliott's position relative to the Chase. He's currently 11th in the standings, highest among drivers without a victory and 27 points ahead of Newman, who finished 17th on Sunday. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Ryan Blaney finished fourth, holding off fifth-place Kevin Harvick and sixth-place Jimmie Johnson over the final nine-lap run.
Dillon wrecks in Larson-led first Sprint Cup practice
Related: Practice 1 results " Top 10 consecutive lap averages Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Austin Dillon crashed into the outside wall of New Hampshire Motor Speedway 's Turn 1 late in Friday's first Sprint Cup Series practice session, and suffered significant damage to the right rear of the No. 3 Chevrolet that will require a move to a backup car. He finished the session 32nd (132.813 mph). WATCH: Dillon hit the wall The session was led by Kyle Larson , who topped the leaderboard at 135.941 mph in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Right behind him was Chase Elliott in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at 135.893 mph. Rounding out the top five were Kevin Harvick in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet at 135.757 mph, Carl Edwards in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 135.738 mph and series points leader Martin Truex Jr . in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota 135.709 mph. Sprint Cup drivers return to the track at 4:45 p.m. ET for Coors Light Qualifying (NBCSN, NBC Sports App). The next practice session is Saturday at 9 a.m. ET (CNBC, NBC Sports App).
Vickers fondly remembers time with 'great guy' Palmer
RELATED: Arnold Palmer's day at the track Brian Vickers was in Beijing, China on business when the phone messages started piling up with condolences and the news that his friend, golfing legend Arnold Palmer, 87, had died Sunday. Vickers, a former XFINITY Series champion and a three-time Sprint Cup Series race winner, appeared in multiple television commercials with Palmer to promote a medicine to help with blood clots -- a condition they both suffered from. But it was the time off-camera with Palmer that Vickers said he would remember most fondly. "He was so easy to work with, such a nice guy," Vickers told NASCAR.com late Monday from China. "The thing I enjoyed most was sitting around when we weren't shooting (the commercial) -- at lunch, dinner or on the golf course just listening to some of his stories. "I wish only that I had more time to spend with him. I've gotten to know him over the past five years and he was so nice, just fantastic. He is great to work with. We had a lot of fun throughout the entire campaign and off of it as well. He even helped me fix my grip for golf." Vickers got the chance to interact with Palmer during their playful but educational television commercials for the Janssen Pharmaceuticals drug Xarelto. And he was still amazed at the four-time Masters champion's skill on the golf course even though he was well into his 80s. "When we shot that commercial -- the last one with Janssen just a couple years ago -- he was still smoking every single guy out there in putting," Vickers recalled. "He wasn't out-driving anybody anymore, but on the green he was literally draining putts one after another, 30-foot putts no one else could hit. "It was unbelievable, just amazing to see this guy just dropping putt after putt, 30-footers on oscillating greens. I can tell you, that's the way I want to go out." For Vickers, the opportunity to work with Palmer was a life-impacting turn of events. And he was extremely proud to carry the champion's "Arnie's Army" charitable foundation on his race cars at both Martinsville and Auto Club Speedway earlier this season while filling in for an injured Tony Stewart . "I'm obviously going to miss him, he was a great guy," Vickers said. "It's a sad day, but I look at the end of life as more of a celebration of what you accomplish in life. And he accomplished a lot. "I would say people should celebrate his life. He did a lot for the American people and the American dream throughout his career, he was an inspiration and in that regard he should be celebrated." And he will be.
Sprint Cup Series GarageCam takes over NHMS
GarageCam host, Matthew Dillner, takes you on an exclusive and interactive tour of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage before teams hit the track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
NASCAR's inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend kicks off at Richmond
Editor's note: NASCAR.com will celebrate Fan Appreciation Weekend by making all premium features free in the NASCAR Mobile App. Those features include driver audio, in-car cameras and live, real-time telemetry. The driver who finishes first in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 race won't be the only winner this weekend at Richmond International Raceway . As part of NASCAR's inaugural Fan Appreciation weekend, more than one lucky fan will have the opportunity to go home with prizes like an iPad Mini, or even a fire suit worn by Miss Sprint Cup . "I'm really excited about everything we have this weekend to recognize the fans. They are the heart-and-soul of this sport and the reason we're so passionate about what we do," Richmond International Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier said. "This goes far beyond Richmond International Raceway , as the entire industry has jumped on board to say 'Thank You, Fans'." The prizes have been donated from companies and teams like XFINITY , Monster, Roush Fenway Racing , Sprint , and MARS. The prizes will be awarded to both fans at the track and watching at home through the RIR mobile app, @RIRinsider on social media and www.rir.com . The prize giveaways are in addition to the fan experiences already in place, such as Gridside Live! and premium fan upgrades in the Midway at displays like Chevy, Coca-Cola and Sprint . While the bulk of fan appreciation-related activities will take place on Saturday, kids will be the ones getting the recognition on Friday, before the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. The first 50 kids 12-and-under who stop by the RIR Kids Club Tent on the Midway will have the chance to take part in the Kids' High-Five Tunnel with their favorite NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers during driver introductions for the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. In addition, one lucky kid will present the NBC12 pole award to the driver with the fastest time in qualifying. "Providing a fun and entertaining experience for all fans is a priority," Bickmeier said. "Opportunities to put young fans in the center of the sport, like we are doing with some of the kids-related activities during Fan Appreciation Weekend, provides a strong connection to NASCAR in a fun and educational environment." Kids can also visit the Virginia529 Kids Zone, where children and their parents can enjoy games, crafts and science experiments. As in years past, all children 12-and-under are admitted free to the Virginia529 College Savings 250 with a paying adult. For the latest news, weekend schedules, and behind-the-scenes exclusive content, follow @RIRInsider on social media. Searching #ThanksFans is the fastest way to stay up-to-date with latest Fan Appreciation Race news from around the sport including NASCAR, partners, media, and other fans. Tickets for the Who's Your Driver NASCAR race weekend at Richmond International Raceway are still available for purchase. The action starts Friday with US Department of Veteran Affairs Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and continues with the Virgina529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. On Saturday night, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes to the track for the Federated Auto Parts 400 at 7:30 p.m. The race marks the last chance for drivers to clinch a spot in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup . To purchase tickets call 866-455-RACE or visit www.rir.com .
Ryan Reed to attempt Sprint Cup debut at Talladega
XFINITY Series regular Ryan Reed will attempt to make his Sprint Cup Series debut at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 23 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the team announced Wednesday afternoon. BREAKING: @driverRyanReed will attempt his Sprint Cup debut at @TalladegaSuperS in the @LillyDiabetes No. 99 Fusion https://t.co/vM2ogVNYsH pic.twitter.com/ETls7WJeFt — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) September 28, 2016 Reed, who pilots the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the XFINITY Series, will drive the No. 99 Lilly Diabetes Ford in his debut. Pretty unbelievable. 5 years ago thought I was done racing. Now getting ready to run my first Cup race. Thanks all for the support. — Ryan Reed (@driverRyanReed) September 28, 2016 The 2015 XFINITY Daytona winner has been racing in the XFINITY Series for three full seasons and has yet to attempt a Sprint Cup start in his racing career. He is currently one of the eight XFINITY drivers vying for the series championship in the inaugural Chase.
Ready. Set. Chase! NASCAR launches Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup campaign
RELATED: Breaking down the Chase field DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 13, 2016) -- NASCAR is bringing to life the drama and excitement of The Chase ® for fans online and on their mobile devices with Ready. Set. Chase, a new, integrated marketing campaign leading with digital and social media to promote the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ™. This year, to complement a robust, multi-platform social media push, NASCAR will engage and entertain fans with a heart-pounding action film series, starring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ drivers re-enacting the action and intensity of The Chase. The first digital video in the five-part series debuted today and can be viewed on NASCAR.com/TheChase . Inspired by the iconic chase scenes in classic Hollywood action films, the creative features reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch , on foot and being pursued by his Chase competitors. An original television spot, titled "The Chase is On," officially launched Ready. Set. Chase on Saturday during the regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway . "All season long NASCAR fans have been treated to some incredible racing on the track, but even still there’s nothing quite like The Chase," said NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jill Gregory. "Ready. Set. Chase plays off the passion, drama and tension that underscores these next 10 weeks, while creating multiple ways for fans to engage and be part of the fun." For the first time, all three NASCAR OEMs are inviting fans to get in on the action by participating in Chase sweepstakes on NASCAR.com . Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota will each award one grand prize winner a new vehicle and VIP trip for two to NASCAR Champion's Week in Las Vegas in December. Fans can register for a chance to win a Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion Sport and Toyota Camry XSE by visiting the Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota sweepstake sites, or after making their weekly picks in the Chase Grid Game on NASCAR.com . "We're thrilled to have all three manufacturers activating around Ready. Set. Chase and creating unique content that elevates the overall Chase experience for our loyal and dedicated fans," said Gregory. In the Chase Grid Game, fans that correctly pick drivers to advance to each Chase round will be entered for a chance to win real gear from the drivers and race tracks, including firesuits, helmets and sheet metal from the race cars. NASCAR will promote #TheChase heavily across all platforms during the sport’s most social postseason ever, leveraging Twitter, Vine, Periscope, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to engage fans throughout the 10-week Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . For each round leading up to Championship Weekend, NASCAR will execute unique activations on specific platforms in an effort to highlight its broad and extensive reach across the social media landscape. Beginning with the Round of 16, NASCAR fans will have access to a custom emoji for anytime they use #TheChase on Twitter. In addition, NASCAR will highlight its presence on Twitter, Vine and Periscope via a continued focus on compelling content and behind-the-scenes experiences. The Round of 12 will feature a Snapchat Live Story from the October 8 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway , and as The Chase field gets narrowed down to eight, NASCAR will go all in with social storytelling across all platforms, highlighted by innovations on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, freelance designers and original production will tell the story of the most epic championship battle in sports. The Ready. Set. Chase digital films, developed with Ogilvy & Mather New York, will be shot after each Chase round and recreate the on-track highlights as part of dramatic chases. Last month, Chase drivers began hitting the road for social and traditional media blitzes to promote the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Kyle Busch kicked off Chase Across America in Boston and each week different drivers will crisscross the nation to make special appearances and build excitement for The Chase. NASCAR will crown its 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion at the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the fourth and final round of The Chase on Nov. 20 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tickets for all Chase events in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are available at NASCAR.com/tickets . The 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup kicks off with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, with additional coverage on NASCAR.com.
Chris Gayle already preparing for move to Sprint Cup
RELATED: Expansion vital for FRR, Jones " FRR adds Jones to growing team RICHMOND, Va. -- The official announcement came this past week, but that doesn't mean Chris Gayle hasn't been working behind the scenes in the Toyota camp. Gayle, who called the action from the pit box in Kyle Busch 's NASCAR XFINITY Series victory on Friday night at Richmond International Raceway , will move to Furniture Row Racing next season to guide the efforts of Sprint Cup rookie Erik Jones . MORE: Busch dominates for XFINITY win at Richmond " Full race results Though Jones won't get a head start on his transition from XFINITY to Sprint Cup by running races at NASCAR's highest level this year, Gayle already has been spending Sunday afternoons at the track, observing and learning. And though Gayle has won eight XFINITY events with Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing this season, his is not exactly a household name. In fact, the only "Chris Gayle" with a current Wikipedia entry is a Jamaican cricketer. But Furniture Row, which enjoys factory support from Toyota Racing Development and a technical partnership with JGR, expects Gayle to make a name for himself in short order as the crew chief for one of the sport's rising stars. And Gayle, 40, is using the rest of the season to get ready for the step up to Sprint Cup . "On staying on Sundays and working, that's kind of already started to happen," Gayle said Friday night after the win at Richmond, site of Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "You guys probably didn't know, but I've been around for the last couple weeks if you've been watching a little bit, so I've kind of been doing that for a little bit and we'll continue to do that for the rest of the year. "Maybe not Furniture Row per se, but it gives me kind of a unique perspective for all the Toyota teams to kind of see how everybody's doing things different and kind of mold my team how I want to, based on the goods and the bads of what I learn over the next 10, 11 races."
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup timeline: 2016
With the Sprint Cup Series postseason in full swing, stay on top of all news concerning the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup .