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Matt Kenseth wins Kansas pole; JGR sweeps front row
RELATED: Starting lineup " See Sunday's full roster " Chase Grid KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- To learn how to master the track that continued to jinx him, Kyle Busch paid close attention to the way Matt Kenseth drove Kansas Speedway . Though Kenseth was helpful, he apparently kept a thousandth of a second in his pocket. That was the margin by which Kenseth edged Busch in Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series knockout qualifying session at the 1.5-mile track. Touring Kansas in 28.112 seconds (192.089 mph) to Busch's 28.113 seconds (192.082 mph), Kenseth earned the top starting spot for Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (at 2:15 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the fifth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the second race in the Chase’s Round of 12. "Smoked him!" chortled Kenseth, as Busch emerged from the radio room after an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "Smoked him!" The Coors Light Pole Award was Kenseth's first of the season, his third at Kansas and the 18th of his career. With Busch claiming the second spot on the grid and teammate Carl Edwards (191.015 mph) qualifying third, JGR cars will start 1-2-3 for the first time since August at Bristol. "It's nice to get a pole," Kenseth said. "I feel like our qualifying hasn't been nearly as good this year as it has been in the rest of the years I've been at JGR. We barely got it -- it was by a thousandth, or something like that. "Obviously, our Camrys have been fast … Round one we were pretty decent -- it was off a little bit -- and then round three it was just right. We almost got beat, but it was as good of a lap as we were going to run. They did a good job today." Kenseth joined Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013. Busch didn't get his first top five at Kansas until the spring race of 2015, which started a run of third, fifth and first in consecutive events at a track where his average finish is 19.2. Busch's second-place qualifying run on Friday was his best so far at the 1.5-mile track, and he freely acknowledged learning from Kenseth. "We've talked a little bit, and I've certainly used some of the things that we've talked about with all of my teammates in order to get better here," Busch told the NASCAR Wire Service . " Just looking and studying about technique and things that he does and being able to work on how Matt carries his car around the track and where he makes his speed and me trying to be able to do the same thing. "A lot of it has just come through technique and just being able to mimic the things that he does, and we've gotten a lot better at that. Certainly, our balance could have been a tick better in order to give me a little more security and feeling in order to go out there and run two thousandths faster." Chase driver Martin Truex Jr . made it a quartet of Toyotas on the front two rows with a fourth-place qualifying effort at 190.786 mph. Alex Bowman was the only non-Chase driver to crack the top five, turning in a lap at 190.315 mph. Of the five drivers who finished 30th or worse last Sunday at Charlotte and put their advancement to the Chase's Round of 8 in jeopardy, Joey Logano had the best recovery, qualifying sixth. "That's better than where we have been," Logano said. "We qualified 14th here the last two times we've come here. We made a serious effort at changing some things here with the way we qualified to start closer to the front which is important. "That's kind of where we were. We were about a sixth-place car today, and we need to find a little more, but we made progress." Denny Hamlin , 30th at Charlotte and the eighth-place Chase driver entering Sunday's race, will start seventh. Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon , both currently below the Round of 8 cutoff, qualified 11th and 12th, respectively. Chase Elliott , victim of a late wreck and resulting 33rd-place finish last Sunday, failed to make the final round on Friday and will start 13th. Two other Chase drivers qualified outside the top 12: Kurt Busch (15th) and Charlotte winner Jimmie Johnson (19th). "From Round 1 to Round 2, the car was much tighter," said Johnson, who was 10th in the first round. " We attempted to free it up, but I'm not sure some of those adjustments didn't change the ride height of the car and affected the splitter orientation with the ground. So, maybe we were on the splitter a little bit. "But a ton tighter than what we had in the opening round. But, other than that, our car was repeating very well earlier in the day so kind of leaning that way. I don't know if it is good or bad, but I'm not accustomed to qualifying well all the time. I'm used to racing through traffic. I'm not worried about this; we'll just get that Lowe's Chevy up there." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Weather cancels final Sprint Cup practice, postpones XFINITY race
RELATED: Live weather updates " Weekend schedule After spotty rain affected events all day Saturday at Dover, NASCAR postponed the XFINITY Series' Drive Sober 200 until 10 a.m. ET Sunday (CNBC, MRN, SIRIUS XM). The second race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase was set to be the capstone to a day of action at Dover International Speedway . Fans with tickets to either race will be admitted for both. Tickets are available here . Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Kyle Busch , Joey Logano and Austin Dillon all were entered in both races and faced the prospect of 600 high-speed laps at the Monster Mile in a single day Sunday with the schedule change. Thus, Ryan Blaney now is scheduled to wheel the Team Penske entry for Logano, Regan Smith will replace Dillon and Drew Herring will drive for Busch. Saturday's on-track action started well for the second Sprint Cup practice at Dover . But sprinkles turned to heavier rain with 15 minutes left in that practice, bringing out the red flag after 45 minutes of the 55-minute session. XFINITY Series qualifying was also off to a good start, but was scrapped after just one round, handing Erik Jones the pole position. Final Sprint Cup practice was set for 1:30 p.m. ET, but ultimately was canceled due to inclement weather. Friday's Sprint Cup Coors Light qualifying also was canceled due to persistent rain. The field was set by owner standings, allowing Brad Keselowski to start P1 for the second time this year. The Sprint Cup Series will return to the track tomorrow for the Citizen Soldier 400 at 2 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). * Contributing: Reid Spencer from the NASCAR Wire Service &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
NASCAR VP: 'A little infraction is an infraction'
NASCAR Senior VP of Competition, Scott Miller, explains why NASCAR took action on several infractions during Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway.
NASCAR unveils huge social media effort surrounding Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- At heart, we're all racers. That's the crux of NASCAR's massive marketing and social media platform surrounding Sunday’s Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), one that includes activation on Twitter and Snapchat and gives fans a chance to win prized race-used memorabilia by "racing" each other in the Hashtag 500. In an integrated marketing campaign titled Ready.Set.Race, combining television creative and social engagement, NASCAR seeks to highlight the racers in all of us. "When you're a kid riding a bike and racing the other kids in the neighborhood," says Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president, marketing and industry services. "Or when you're at the gym on the treadmill, and you're trying to secretly race the person next to you. "To us, all that just reinforces that love of racing, and what better way to get your racing fix than watching or attending a NASCAR race. We're absolutely focused on that in our television creative, but this digital and social component, where we're encouraging fans to race each other during one of our events, is a new and innovative way to make that love of racing come to life." MORE: Race-day experience elevated with Snapchat partnership During the Daytona 500 , fans wishing to compete for race-used memorabilia must watch the FOX broadcast (pre-race coverage starts at noon ET) and follow @ NASCAR on Twitter to receive a custom hashtag for each of 10 memorabilia items. Once each hashtag is unveiled, the 500th person to tweet that hashtag in concert with #DAYTONA500 will win that race and the prize that goes with it. That's not the only aspect of Twitter's expanded support around the Great American Race. Other activations will include the use of Vine and Periscope; Twitter Moments; @ NASCAR tweets featuring such celebrities as John Cena, Florida Georgia Line and Ken Griffey Jr.; Twitter Mirror, a tablet based application where celebrities pose for their own photos; and infield branding in Daytona International Speedway . RELATED: Exclusive Daytona content via Twitter To help tell the story of what it's like to attend a NASCAR race, Snapchat will at least double its Live Story coverage of NASCAR events in 2016, beginning with Sunday’s Daytona 500 . "(There will be) a curated stream of photos and videos submitted by fans at the race, and Snapchat will provide people outside the race track and outside the sport an inside look at what NASCAR's all about." The thousands of submitted Snaps from each event will be curated and packaged by Snapchat into a video stream that is shared globally with Snapchat's more than 100 million daily active users right on their mobile devices. Each NASCAR Live Story will be available to view on Snapchat for 24 hours. Facilitating the social media engagement is the recently completed $400-million Daytona Rising project, which transformed the Birthplace of Speed into the first true motorsports stadium. One of the many benefits of Daytona Rising includes enhanced WiFi capability designed to heighten social media engagement of fans at the races. In addition, broadcast partner FOX is asking fans to submit video content from Daytona 500 week for inclusion in a crowd-sourced documentary titled "100,000 Cameras," to air on FS1 in late February. NASCAR also offers a full range of digital and mobile products offering fans everything from in-car cameras to driver audio to social feeds and fantasy scoring. RaceView , for example, provides a 3-D representation of every car and track, real-time driver stats and multiple viewing angles for each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in real-time. Last year, NASCAR set a record with 1.1 billion page views across its NASCAR .com website and digital platforms, a 20-percent increase over 2014. "We know that our core fans are engaged quite a bit with these (social and digital) platforms, and we know younger, more diverse fans are users of these platforms," Gregory says. "So for us it's a win/win, because fans across all our segments have a way to engage with NASCAR ."
NASCAR TV schedule: October 24-30
NASCAR may get 'the Boot' at Watkins Glen
RELATED: Learn more about Watkins Glen " Course breakdown by turn WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Now that Watkins Glen has started repaving its racing surface, running "the Boot" may be back on the table for NASCAR races. The current configuration of the Glen for NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races eliminates the Boot, which contains Turns 6 through 9, and shortens the course from 3.40 miles to 2.45 miles. But with repaving already having taken place in the Boot, smoothing the bumps in that portion of the track, NASCAR is considering running the full Grand Prix Course, which currently is used for the Tudor United Sports Car Championship. "We could," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell told the NASCAR Wire Service before Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen. "We're discussing it with the track. It's something we're looking at down the road." Even with the addition of the Boot, Watkins Glen wouldn't be the longest road course on the NASCAR rotation. Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, which hosts the XFINITY Series, measures 4.048 miles.
Harvick earns first pole award of year at Charlotte
RELATED: Full lineup " Every car " Chase Grid CONCORD, N.C. – Kevin Harvick may have won the pole for Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (12 p.m. ET NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), but Alex Bowman continued to open eyes as a substitute driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Touring the 1.5-mile speedway in 27.547 seconds (196.029 mph), Harvick knocked Bowman (196.000 mph) off the pole by a scant .004 seconds in the final round of Thursday evening’s knockout qualifying. The pole was Harvick's first at Charlotte, his first of the 2016 season and the 16th of his career. "It was good in (Turns) 1 and 2, but I felt like I gave up a little something in (Turns) 3 and 4 coming to the checkered," Harvick said of his lap in the money round. "This has just been a fun car to drive today. Hopefully we can get it dialed in race trim." Where Harvick gave up speed in the final two corners, Bowman likely lost the pole in the first two turns, where he drifted up the track slightly and scrubbed off just enough speed to fall short of Harvick by the minute fraction of a second. Nevertheless, driving in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr . in six of the last seven races of the season while Earnhardt recovers from a concussion, Bowman stole the show. "The Showman Bowman was fast tonight," Earnhardt tweeted after the final round. "Great job @AlexBRacing and @AxaltaRacing gang. P2 @CLTMotorSpdwy." Bowman, the fastest of the non-Chase drivers in time trials, recently posted his career-best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish, a 10th at Chicagoland Speedway . Though Bowman continues to show excellent speed as a substitute, he has no definite plans for next year. But he came tantalizingly close to a monumental achievement on Thursday night. "Honestly, we didn't put the greatest lap together," said Bowman, who ran the fastest lap of the day in the second round (196.200 mph). "In (Turns) 1 and 2, we were a little free in (into the corner) and didn't really keep it on the bottom like I needed to. "Turns 3 and 4 were really good. It means so much for Hendrick Motorsports to take a chance on me for these races. I'm really thankful to be here. I hate that we didn’t get the pole. We were so close. It's definitely my best starting spot by a bunch, but you'd always like that pole." Chase drivers claimed eight of the top-12 starting positions, with Chase Elliott qualifying third, Kyle Busch fourth, Martin Truex Jr ., seventh, Carl Edwards eighth, Denny Hamlin ninth, Joey Logano 10th and Jimmie Johnson 11th. Chase drivers Matt Kenseth (17th), Austin Dillon (19th), Brad Keselowski (20th) and Kurt Busch (23rd) failed to advance to the final round. "I don't think anybody knew that we could go as fast as Bowman went in that second round," Edwards said. "That kind of raised the stakes for everyone." Notes: Danica Patrick will start 13th, her second-best effort this year after qualifying 11th at Sonoma in June. Patrick just missed advancing to the final round; Johnson edged her for the 12th and final position by .012 seconds… Hendrick Motorsports continued to show improved speed, putting all four of its cars in the top 12 (with Kasey Kahne in 12th joining Bowman, Elliott and Johnson). Hendrick-powered cars claimed four of the top five spots on the grid, with Harvick on the pole and Tony Stewart fifth. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bobby Isaac joins NASCAR Hall of Fame Class 2016
RELATED: Learn more about the NASCAR Hall of Fame In a different era, in which stock cars driven to and past their limits didn't break with frequency, there's no telling how many races or championships Bobby Isaac might have won. Isaac, the 1970 NASCAR premier series champion, won 37 of his 309 starts. But he was a DNF -- did not finish -- 129 times. His 49 poles rank 10th all-time, with 19 -- a still-standing, single-season mark -- coming in 1969. Only 38 drivers have won 19 or more poles in a career. Nobody ever had to tell Isaac to "stand on it." "Bobby was a never-give-up kind of guy," said Buddy Parrott, a member of Isaac's No. 71 K&K Insurance Dodge crew and a 49-time winner as a premier series crew chief for NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip among others. "Bobby had no fear." Isaac's accomplishments are such that he'll join the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2016 along with Jerry Cook, Terry Labonte , O. Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner. Their induction will take place Jan. 22 in Charlotte, N.C. The ceremonies will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET by NBCSN. Isaac, born on a farm near Catawba, North Carolina in 1932, saw his first stock car race at nearby Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and at age 17 bought a 1937 Ford and put roll bars in it. He flipped the car on the race's second lap but that didn’t dampen his desire. Working at a variety of low-paying jobs, Isaac began racing the NASCAR late model sportsman circuit. He survived but sometimes just barely. "One time I drove 200 miles to drive a fellow's modified car with $4 in my pocket," he once said. "I figured that I'd have enough to buy gas and get down there and eat a hot dog before the race. The gas was $3 but I had to put two quarts of oil in my car so I was broke when I left town. When the feature started my stomach was not only growling but I didn’t have enough gas to get back home. "I drove that car as hard as I could and won. I had to win." Isaac, described by some as "mercurial," went sportsman racing fulltime in 1958, driving for Ralph Earnhardt. He won 28 feature events, competing against the likes of NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and David Pearson. Isaac, at age 28, competed in his first premier series event in 1961. Driving a Dodge for Ray Nichels, he won his first race in 1964 -- a 50-lap Daytona 500 qualifier in which he edged Jimmy Pardue in a photo finish after Richard Petty ran out of fuel. With factory-supported teams jumping in and out of the sport in the mid-1960s, Isaac went from top ride to no seat at all. His fortunes changed in 1968 when he was hired by Indiana insurance magnate Nord Krauskopf and paired with legendary crew chief Harry Hyde, whose larger than life persona was captured as Harry Hogg in the film "Days of Thunder." Over the course of five seasons, 1968 to 1972, the trio's "Poppy Red" Dodges won 36 times -- 17 alone in 1969 when Isaac won 17 times in 50 starts. Bedeviled by 19 failures to finish, Isaac wound up sixth in the championship standings. Isaac "only" won 11 times in his championship season, but the DNFs were reduced to just nine. The K&K team is remembered best for its winged Dodge Charger Daytona, the needle-nosed, high rear-wing version of the standard Charger. Remarkably, Isaac visited Victory Lane only once in that model, at Texas World Speedway in 1969, his 20th career win and first on a superspeedway. "We won a lot of short-races, but we couldn't pull it all together on the big tracks until the last race of the season," said Isaac in Greg Fielden's book " NASCAR : The Complete History." "Winning the championship gave me personal satisfaction, but I'd rank it second to the Texas win. "The way I look at it, it took me seven years to win a superspeedway race and only three years to win the championship." In September 1971 the team took its winged car to the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah where Isaac set 28 speed records, including a 217.368 mph "flying kilometer" mark. "That car weighed 3,900 pounds and it had 650 horses in the motor," Hyde told Car and Driver's Bob Zeller in May 2002. "And when Bobby set it sideways, it looked like a hydroplane on water. He came by at 200 mph broadside with a big rooster tail of salt comin' out the back." Driving part-time schedules for a number of owners, Isaac ran his last premier series race in 1976. He returned to Hickory Motor Speedway the following year where, on Aug. 14, he pulled out of a sportsman race feeling ill and was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to heart failure at age 45. Isaac was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1979 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996. In 1998, NASCAR honored him as one of its 50 Greatest Drivers of all time. Tickets are available for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony (limited quantities available). Individual ticket and ticket packages are available at ticketmaster.com, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Box Office or by calling 800.745.3000.
Modified great Jerry Cook to go in NASCAR Hall of Fame
RELATED: Learn more about the NASCAR Hall of Fame Jerry Cook never intended to support his family driving a modified stock car. It kind of snuck up on the young resident of Rome, New York. Cook, who built his first modified at the age of 13, took the wheel by happenstance, when his hired driver wrecked two of the race cars he owned. That was in 1963, well before Cook won his first of six NASCAR modified championships. But Cook soon discovered he had a knack for winning races – and finishing well enough to cash a decent check when he didn't. "Every time I reached into my pocket, it had money in it," Cook would say later. "So I kept racing." And indeed Cook did – all the way into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, into which he’ll be inducted Jan. 22 as part of the Class of 2016 that also includes Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte , O. Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner. Induction ceremonies will be live on NBCSN, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Cook won modified championships in 1971-72 and 1974-77. Before retiring at the conclusion of the 1982 season, Cook also posted six championship points finishes of second and two of third. He won 342 NASCAR modified races in 1,474 career starts – and countless other non-sanctioned events. Cook finished among the top 10 an amazing 85% of the time. Cook joins fellow Roman and career-long modified racing rival Richie Evans in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The late Evans, a nine-time NASCAR modified champion, was inducted in 2012 as the first Hall member whose career wasn't connected to NASCAR's premier series. Cook is the second. "We've now finished off the battle of Rome," said Cook. "For me and Ritchie to both be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it kind of tops it off." Cook and Evans made upstate New York the epicenter of NASCAR modified racing in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Each driver had his legion of fans – vociferous on behalf of the merits of their favorite charioteer. Cook and Evans were respectful of each other and friends off the track, yet as different as night and day. Evans was the flamboyant one, famous for living life to its fullest with rock and roll music as the race shop's background noise. A writer calling Cook’s home, however, would find the telephone answered by the driver’s wife, Sue, who would refer him to the backyard garage where preparing or repairing Cook's red cars was quietly taking place. Ray Evernham, a former modified driver, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship crew chief and television analyst had this to say about Cook: "Jerry was not a guy who raced on the edge. Jerry won his share no doubt. But if he didn't win, he was still going to be in the top five." In some years, Cook's team would run nearly 100 races, at up to 19 tracks of all sizes, shapes and surfaces from New England to Virginia. Some of Cook's signature wins took place outside New York and New England. Cook’s first major victory was the 1969 Dogwood 500 at Martinsville Speedway . He won a trio of 200-lap races at the tough, Bowman-Gray Stadium (in North Carolina) quarter mile between 1977 and 1980. The closest Cook came to the NASCAR premier series was a Daytona 500 qualifying race in 1973. His car's engine blew seven laps from the end. Cook, with a wife and two children, took a look at what non-factory-supported drivers were winning and decided to stay in the modifieds. "So that's why I stuck with what I did best," he said. Cook retired after winning the Spencer Speedway championship in 1982. For more than 30 years he was a key member of NASCAR's competition department and was instrumental in the formation of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Cook, 72, was named one of NASCAR ’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998. He is a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame and New York Stock Car Hall of Fame.
Brent Dewar sums up successful NASCAR season
The 2015 NASCAR season wasn't just about hitting important metrics, though the sport did precisely that. As NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar noted on Wednesday at the SportsBusiness Journal's Daytona Rising/ NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, the 2015 season has been one of change, both in terms of business models and the sanctioning body's quest for a new entitlement sponsor for its foremost series. Dewar said he talks almost daily with Race Team Alliance leader Rob Kauffman, and those discussions have far-ranging implications for the ownership model in the sport, including a possible charter system for team ownership. "Like Rob, I'm cautiously optimistic that we can get something that really helps provide a foundation for the future," Dewar said, stressing the importance of building stability in the sport. In that same vein, Dewar expressed pride in the recently completed and unprecedented five-year sanctioning agreements with race tracks that host NASCAR events. Asserting that NASCAR racing is more popular today than ever before, Dewar noted that the sanctioning body is in an excellent position to broaden its base of potential replacements for Sprint, which will leave its role as title sponsor for the Sprint Cup Series after 2016. Fundamental changes in the sport, such as an elimination-based Chase format, give NASCAR executives the opportunity to re-introduce the sport to a wider audience. "If you haven't been around NASCAR in the last two or three years, you really haven't been around NASCAR ," Dewar said. "It's really allowing us an opportunity to talk to a wide group, whether it's blue-chip domestic companies, to internationals, to regional companies -- and we have a great story to tell. "It's casting a wide net. We're in a nice place, and we've been to some really cool companies, talking about our sport. We hope to find a partner that will deliver equally the strength that we've gotten from Sprint." Dewar said there's no specific timetable for finding a new partner but added that, "I'm as excited today as I've ever been in the sport."