Sights and Sounds from The NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Miss Coors Light, Amanda Mertz, catches up with Matt Kenseth, the Coors Light Pole Award winner for the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Watch as Kyle Busch and Martin Truex battle each other and the field for the victory deep in the heart of Texas.
Martin Truex Jr. and others comment on a tough race on and off the track in Texas.
RELATED: See the full Chase Grid Entering the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , something looms over the remaining 12 drivers in the sport's championship battle -- massive Talladega Superspeedway . Yes, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and from there the series moves to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 . Yet the 2.66-mile track, which hosts the CampingWorld.com 500 on Oct. 25, is firmly on the minds of all the competitors even though it's two weeks away. "I think this round is probably the most stressful because of Talladega," Martin Truex Jr . told reporters earlier this week at Contender Round Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I think everybody is really putting a lot of pressure on themselves to do good in these first two and try to get a win so you don't have to worry about Talladega." And Truex is not the only driver who feels that way. "Yeah, nobody wants to go to Talladega ‑‑ even if you're Dale Earnhardt Jr . and you feel like you're the most dominant car on those restrictor-plate tracks, and we've been, I think, as dominant as he has been just without the victories, I still don't want to go there and have to be in the top 10," four-time series champion Jeff Gordon said during media day. "You know, it's just one of those tracks where there's too many variables that can reach out and grab you." Carl Edwards simplified the approach even more, saying that he looked at the Contender Round as a "two-race series" instead of three races because of the uncertainty with Talladega. The two-time 2015 winner predicted drivers would be going even harder to try to get a win at Charlotte or Kansas to secure a spot in the Eliminator Round of eight drivers. "If you have a shot, if you can see the win at one of these next two races, you are going to see just some really tough racing for that win because nobody wants to go to Talladega with the uncertainty," Edwards said on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "There's going to be a lot of nerves at Talladega." Last year Kansas hosted the opening race of the Contender Round. That event saw Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr . find trouble they ultimately could not recover from, while Brad Keselowski had to score a walk-off win at 'Dega to overcome his Kansas trouble. But simply navigating the opening two races of the Contender Round doesn't make drivers immune to Talladega trouble, either. Kyle Busch scored top-five finishes at Kansas and Charlotte in 2014 before being caught up in a 10-car wreck at the Alabama track that sent him to a 40th-place finish and ultimately knocked him out of the Chase -- something that wasn't lost on the Joe Gibbs Racing driver this week. "Last year we played it right, we were the top point total scorer of the first two rounds and we were seeded the highest guy without a win and we went to Talladega and we sure learned how to throw that away," Busch said. "I think what we can do a better job of instead of being one of the only guys to race at the back of the pack and get ourselves caught up in something that none of the other Chasers were involved in, is race with all the rest of the Chasers and if they all get caught up in a wreck and we do too then hopefully our point total will all be lower, but all the same instead of me just being the only guy down at the bottom of the totem pole." The value of winning early in a round of the Chase is raised to an even higher level in the Contender Round with the uncertainty of Talladega on the horizon. "When you look at Charlotte and Kansas -- the first two races of this round -- they're super-important," Joey Logano said. "If you can win, you're going to be sleeping a lot better at night."
RELATED: Practice 2 results " Final practice results Kyle Busch led the way in a brotherly 1-2 punch atop final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Busch landed a fast lap of 189.354 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota in the 50-minute session, the final tune-up for Saturday night's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM). He'll start second to JGR teammate Matt Kenseth , the Coors Light Pole Award winner, in the fourth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. Brother Kurt Busch was second-fastest at 188.996 mph in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet, backing up his fast time from second practice. The elder Busch was also fastest in the 10-lap average category, edging Jimmie Johnson over the longer run. Joey Logano wound up third-fastest, turning a lap at 188.508 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Chevrolet drivers Ryan Newman (188.488 mph) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (188.311) completed the top five. Much like Friday's earlier practice, the leaderboard was dominated by Chase-eligible drivers, who swept the top six spots. Kenseth was the furthest down the speed chart in 25th, battling through a tire rub after a slight scrape of the outside retaining wall. Defending series champ and defending race winner Kevin Harvick managed the 12th-fastest lap, improving upon his 25th-best lap in the Friday's earlier session. Kurt Busch shows way in Friday's first practice Kurt Busch rocketed to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leaderboard Friday, topping second practice Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Busch, driving the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet, clocked a fast lap of 188.772 mph on the 1.5-mile track. He also logged the third-most laps (45) of any driver in the 55-minute session in preparation for Saturday night's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM), the fourth event in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. Only teammate Tony Stewart (49) and Kyle Busch (48) turned more laps. Carl Edwards , the winner of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May, was second-fastest at 18.620 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota. Ryan Newman claimed the third-best lap (187.630 mph) in the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet. Martin Truex Jr . and Joey Logano completed the top five as Chase drivers swept the first eight spots on the practice leaderboard. Jimmie Johnson , eliminated from title contention in last weekend's Challenger Round finale at Dover, was fastest of the non-Chasers at ninth overall on the speed charts. His Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet was fastest in the five-lap average and 10-lap average categories, offering optimism for Johnson & Co. in terms of long-term speed. Kevin Harvick , defending Sprint Cup Series champion and defending race winner, was 26th-fastest overall with the second-slowest lap among the remaining 12 Chase-eligible drivers. Jeff Gordon , prepping for what likely will be his final Charlotte Motor Speedway start, was slowest of the Chase drivers, 32nd overall. Matt Kenseth , the Coors Light Pole Award winner in Thursday qualifying, was also well down the leaderboard in 22nd overall.
Ticked off Tony sends brazen tweet after poor qualifying performance Tony Stewart 's No. 14 Chevrolet was nearly 5 mph slower than Stewart-Haas Racing 's No. 4 car in Thursday's qualifying, and the boss was highly displeased. Kevin Harvick posted a speed of 191.415 mph in the third and final round of qualifying Friday, winding up with an 11th-place starting position in Saturday's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . But the No. 4 Chevrolet had been even quicker in practice, topping the leaderboard with a fast lap over 193 mph. Stewart's top qualifying speed was 186.754 mph, dropping him to 36th place for the start of the Sprint Cup Series race. Stewart's qualifying has been a sore spot this season. He has cracked the top 10 of the starting grid only eight times. A four-race stretch from Indianapolis to Michigan seemed to indicate the problem was fixed, with consecutive top-five qualifying runs. The three-time champ announced that 2016 will be his final full-time Sprint Cup season and during his announcement said he intended to be competitive next season. Job 1 will be getting his first Daytona 500 win. It appears 'Smoke' wants to light a fire under his team immediately.
Kasey Kahne ready to race strong at Charlotte for Braylon Beam CONCORD, N.C. -- Braylon Beam showed off his dance moves as did Kasey Kahne 's crew chief Keith Rodden and several crew members of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at the media center at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday. Beam, Rodden and the No. 5 crew did the dance to "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)." Braylon and the http://t.co/Tm9crYUboG team #JustKeepDancing ! pic.twitter.com/plyty2sVXO — Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) October 8, 2015 Beam, the six-year-old behind the "Just Keep Dancing" campaign that raises awareness for pediatric cancer through fan-submitted video, is fighting a brain tumor and uses dancing as a way to feel better during his chemotherapy treatments. At Charlotte, Beam is serving as an honorary crew chief and Rodden has a personal connection to the Beam family from his childhood. Rodden, in his first season as Kahne’s crew chief, was visibly choked up talking about the impact the Beam family has had on him. "Coach Beam and Mrs. Beam, they were teachers at East Lincoln High School in Denver, North Carolina (where Rodden went to school). I tell you what, they were just excellent people and they have touched so many people in our community for so many years. They went above and beyond what any educator needed to do. "As soon as I found out about Braylon ... I had never met Braylon until today or his father Jesse or his mother Meredith ... when I saw his story I said, man, we got to do something for Braylon. We got to do something for their family. They've just done so much for Denver, North Carolina and I wanted to try to give back. "Good grief, this kid has given back so much more to us than we could ever provide for him. We get so caught up in stuff that we do ... racing and winning, tight and loose, restarts and all that stuff. This really puts that into perspective. "I'm just so honored that he decided to come and hang out with us today. I think Kasey's done a great job and I think Braylon got on him a little bit." When asked what he expected out of Kahne at the 1.5-mile track, Beam responded, " Kasey Kahne ’s going to step up his game." And he is cooking up a dance for Kahne should he win Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) Before the start of the NFL season, Beam was also an honorary coach for the Carolina Panthers and he has also appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Last month, he led the "Keep Pounding" drum ceremony at a Panthers game. For the record, Beam says the Panthers are better dancers than the No. 5 crew members. Later this weekend, Beam will serve as the honorary starter for Five Kahne 5K charity run on Sunday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Check out a longer version of Thursday's dance party.
RELATED: Kahne says Busch 'Starts beating on me' CONCORD, N.C.—It looked like Kyle Busch would drive away to a victory in Friday's NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . But after leading 102 laps, Busch lost a top-two position on Lap 147 to race winner Austin Dillon and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones . Busch dropped back to third and was racing JR Motorsports and fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne for the position. Then on Lap 151, Busch and Kahne made contact in Turn 4 that sent "Rowdy" into the wall and brought out the third and final caution of the race. Kahne appeared to make contact with Busch's back bumper, which sent him up the track and into the wall. There had been more contact before that while the two were racing side-by-side over several laps. The Lap 151 contact was costly for both drivers, hurting either of their chances at a win, but the damage was worse for Busch, who suffered heavy damage to the right side of his No. 54 Toyota. That led Busch to say over the radio, "The most obvious dump I've ever seen." Busch brought his wounded machine to the garage, where he ended the night 47 laps down and with a 31st-place finish. Kahne, who finished 12th, was not quite sure why Busch was beating on his car before the accident, but he did offer up his perspective. "Kyle got mad because he got into it with his teammate on Turn 2 on the start and it shuffled him back to where I was," Kahne said after the race. "I'm racing to try and get by where he was. He's down on me in the corners and I'm against him on the straightaways just doing normal stuff and then he starts beating on me down the back and in the front. "I overdrove Turn 3, got into him. I don't know why he started beating on me other than I think he was frustrated because his teammate kind of used him up a little bit and then got away from him in Turn 2." With both drivers regulars in the sport's top series, does Kahne expect there to be payback Saturday night? "I would hope not," Kahne said. "I don't know why he would want to have that battle. What, he wrecked me five times a couple years ago? Put me in a bad position for those two years when he was doing that. I don't think he wants that battle on Sundays." And while both drivers will be back on track Saturday night in the Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM), the two will likely not be on track in the XFINITY Series until next month at Phoenix International Raceway . Kahne is slated to be in the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports that weekend, while Busch has been making regular starts in the No. 54 Toyota over the past several months. Over the years, Kahne and Busch have been involved in several wrecks with each other, notably and most recently at Pocono in June of 2014 as well as at Darlington in May of 2013. The duo even made a bet on Super Bowl XLVIII; after Kahne's beloved Seattle Seahawks beat Busch's favorite team, the Denver Broncos, Busch had to wear Seahawks gear en route to 2014 Daytona Speedweeks. Busch was not available for comment after the race, but his wife Samantha tweeted the following. Gonna keep it classy n just say 54 car was great tonight, crew did awesome and proud to support breast cancer awareness month w a pink car — Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) October 10, 2015