Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett cancer-free after treatment for melanoma
Ned Jarrett , a two-time champion in NASCAR's premier series, said Thursday that he is cancer-free after surgery and four weeks of recent treatment for melanoma, a form of skin cancer. Jarrett , 82, said he was diagnosed with the disease this winter but that his health prognosis was encouraging. The NASCAR Hall of Famer said he was able to participate in last weekend's festivities at Darlington Raceway without restriction, joining the NBC Sports booth to broadcast a portion of Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500. "It is very positive and I feel good," Jarrett told NASCAR.com. "In fact, I feel the best I've felt in a couple of years at least. Getting my immune system built up and getting toxins out of my body and the cancer, I'm really feeling good and feeling good about the whole situation. I know now how to better take care of my body, so hopefully, it won't come back." Jarrett said that a biopsy was performed in January after dermatologists discovered a spot on his left arm during a check-up. After the diagnosis, he had successful surgery Feb. 20 to remove the cancerous areas. After further consultation and tests at the Center for Advanced Medicine and Clinical Research in Cornelius, North Carolina, Dr. Rashid Buttar discovered additional melanoma and prescribed a four-week course of treatment in July. Jarrett was declared cancer-free after completion of the program. "There are no limitations," Jarrett said. "I'll be a little bit more careful about what I eat and the sun exposure that I get, although I'm not going to stop playing golf or going to the races or wherever I need to go. I'll just be a little bit more careful about exposure for my skin to the sun." Jarrett said that skin cancer wasn't even an afterthought growing up in the rural North Carolina foothills, but that cancer was part of his genealogy. He lost seven family members, including his father, to the disease during a six-month stretch in 1983. "Of course, I grew up on a farm and worked in a sawmill," Jarrett said. "We didn't know anything about cancer or how it worked or that sun could do damage, and we went without shirts most of the time working on the farm. Then all of the years that I raced, I was outside and didn't even know about sunscreen. I feel very fortunate, especially since there has been a lot of cancer in my family, back in '83 in particular. So I was fortunate that it went as long as it did without showing up." Jarrett said the purpose of making his story public was to raise awareness for cancer treatment, but the revelation is part of a much longer-running mission. Jarrett has helped raise more than $1 million for the American Cancer Society as host of a charity golf tournament in his home state for more than 25 years. "I want to encourage people at the first sign of cancer, get something done about it," Jarrett said. "We were very proactive on this situation as far as I'm concerned and I feel like that helped us to treat it and get rid of it quick and I would encourage others to do the same. If there are suspicions, check it out, get a handle on it and get it taken care of." Jarrett -- nicknamed "Gentleman Ned " for his kind, calm disposition -- scored 50 Grand National (now Sprint Cup) victories in his brief career, becoming one of the sport's earliest stars in a period of substantial growth for stock-car racing. He was crowned premier-series champion in 1961 and 1965, and also won titles in 1957 and '58 in the fore-runner to the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Jarrett was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011, the second group of five chosen for enshrinement. He was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. After his retirement at age 34, Jarrett moved on to business ventures, a role as track promoter at Hickory Speedway and a seamless transition to broadcasting, where his voice became a familiar sound on MRN Radio and television networks CBS and ESPN. Jarrett's two sons -- Dale and Glenn -- followed his career arc from the track to the world of broadcasting. Dale Jarrett , premier-series champion in 1999, won the Daytona 500 three times with his father watching and making an emotional call of his first triumph in the Great American Race alongside the legendary Ken Squier in 1993. Dale Jarrett is currently part of NBC Sports' broadcast team. Glenn Jarrett , Dale's older brother, made 77 NASCAR national series starts and currently serves as a reporter for MRN Radio. Ned Jarrett and Squier were reunited in the broadcast suite Sunday night at Darlington, with Dale Jarrett joining in as part of NBC Sports' participation in NASCAR's throwback weekend. Their vintage call of the 500-mile classic drew rave reviews across social media, but ranked as a special personal moment for the 82-year-old Hall of Famer. "We've truly been blessed in a number of different ways over the years through the sport," Jarrett said, recalling his career highlights on the track and in the booth. "This last weekend ranks up there in the top five of highlights of my life, whether it was professional or just things that happened along the way. I'm very thankful for that."
Hall of Fame: Ned Jarrett
A family man, driver and broadcaster, Ned Jarrett participated in many careers, but now he is forever a hall of famer.
NASCAR Hall of Fame: Ned Jarrett NASCAR Hall of Fame: Ned Jarrett
NASCAR Hall of Fame: Ned Jarrett
Hall of Fame Induction: Ned Jarrett
An emotional Ned Jarrett comments on his many racing and broadcast accolades.
Throwback Thursday: Jarrett's first win
Ned and Dale Jarrett remember Dale's first NASCAR Cup Series win for the Wood Brothers in the 1991 Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Young drivers prepare to step up as Dale Jr. readies for goodbye
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond RICHMOND, Va. -- The cyclical churn of talent in the NASCAR garage took another turn this week with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s announcement that 2017 will be his final year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. His impending departure follows those of household names Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards -- all in short order since the end of the 2015 season. In outlining his decision to leave the cockpit, Earnhardt was asked about NASCAR's ability to reload with a new generational thrust in driver star power. He named Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott among the sport's several young aces in waiting, offering assurance that the NASCAR roster remained vibrant and strong. As for those young stars? Asked upon their Friday arrival at Richmond International Raceway about their readiness to assume the mantle, the newest and brightest of those newer drivers might not be waiting much longer. "Although it's sad that we have all our veterans and heroes retiring, I think NASCAR is in a great position with all the young talent that they have in the (Monster Energy) Series currently, and really in every feeder series below them, there's a lot of young guys with great equipment and good backing," said 24-year-old Kyle Larson, the series' current points leader. "So, I think the competition will be good. And, there's a lot of personalities, too, with people getting themselves out there on social media and stuff like that, showing their personalities. So, I feel like we're in a good spot to have some new stars step up." Larson and Elliott -- both 20-somethings -- have already begun to make that push on the track, sitting 1-2 in the series standings. They've been joined by 23-year-old Ryan Blaney, plus rookies Erik Jones, 20, and Daniel Suarez, 25, as just some of the newest faces in the garage. The current transition of the sport's paradigm isn't a new phenomenon. If the genealogy of NASCAR stardom read like the Book of Chronicles, it would include a traditional biblical list of "begats." The career of Lee Petty begat Richard Petty's, Fireball Roberts' and Ned Jarrett's careers begat David Pearson's, which begat Cale Yarborough's, Bobby Allison's and Darrell Waltrip's. Then came Earnhardt and Elliott and Wallace, then Gordon, then Stewart and then Jimmie Johnson -- all with a host of other dynamic personalities in between. Mere mention as a part of that incoming next wave, with the potential to join a list of stars with Hall of Fame clout ranks as heady territory. Being singled out by the series' 14-time Most Popular Driver as one of those candidates is too, something that Blaney -- Earnhardt's neighbor and friend -- accepts with a degree of pride and reverence. "He has a very big impact of what people think, whether it is fans or in the garage area," Blaney said. "Him talking up younger drivers or the sport in general is going to get his fans excited about the future of going forward even though he won't be driving next year. What he says will be very important. I know he has always said great things about the sport and drivers in it and been very positive, which makes him a great person and great ambassador for the sport. It means a lot to hear him say those things. "Like I said, I know he says that about a lot of young drivers and try to set everything up for the future, but it is nice to be a part of that conversation when he speaks." Gracefully making the transition to stardom is a multi-pronged challenge, requiring both on-track performance and a proficiency in engaging with fans new and old. The former requires both raw talent and a full team effort. As for the latter, Suarez said there's no secret code to making that connection. "I think it's very simple -- it's just being yourself," said Suarez, in his first year of replacing Edwards at Joe Gibbs Racing. "I think every single driver out there in the garage has different personalities: Dale has his personality; Kyle has his personality; Jimmie Johnson has his personality; I have my personality; and everyone is different. When every single driver can go out there to be himself, I think that's very cool, and the fans like that. "You know, so far it's what I've been doing and I think it's the right thing to do. But like I said, overall, Dale has been more than a role model for the sport and it's great what he has done." </p>
Darlington Raceway now hosts 'Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR'
RELATED: See all of last year's paint schemes DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (Jan. 10, 2017) -- It's now official! Darlington Raceway and its Labor Day race weekend are now being recognized as “The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR." The designation ensures that the official historical celebration of the sport will continue to take place at the famed 1.366-mile superspeedway in Darlington, South Carolina. "We have worked closely with NASCAR to ensure that Darlington Raceway now has the exclusive rights to the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR for promotions and advertising of our event," said Kerry Tharp, Darlington Raceway president. "Our return to Labor Day weekend, coupled with the Throwback theme has elevated our event across the entire sport and this move only solidifies that among our fans, race teams, sponsors, broadcast partners and media, among others." The track's award-winning throwback campaign has earned rave reviews throughout the industry since its inception in 2015. The campaign has aligned all key stakeholders in the sport and provided a historical celebration that has earned much praise from fans and corporate partners. It was because of this collaboration over the past two seasons that NASCAR recognized the importance of the track's throwback weekend and in turn will now celebrate The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR at the sport's original paved superspeedway, which opened and began hosting NASCAR events in 1950. The track's 2016 throwback campaign last season featured a celebration of 1975-84 including the following highlights: • Over 35 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race teams competed with throwback paint schemes for the Bojangles' Southern 500 , the most in any single NASCAR event in the sport's history. • Over 18 NASCAR XFINITY Series teams competed with throwback paint schemes. • Use of NASCAR's famed "NASCAR International" logo for the second consecutive year. • For the second straight year, Goodyear put the original white lettering on its race tires specifically for the Bojangles' Southern 500 . • NBC did another throwback broadcast of the race featuring old station logos and graphics. NASCAR legends Ken Squier, Ned Jarrett and Dale Jarrett did a special throwback broadcast during the race for the second straight year. • Honored 14 NASCAR Hall of Fame members at the Bojangles' Legends Breakfast. • 2017 NHOF inductees Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Mark Martin served as the Bojangles' Southern 500 grand marshals. • Unique food offerings from the 1975-84 time period, including the pimento cheese sandwich. • Pre-race concert by rock legends KANSAS and national anthem performance by Barry Williams (of Brady Bunch fame). The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 ® is set for Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com , on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame . &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
RELATED: NASCAR 101 NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Known for its passionate fan base, one-of-a-kind playoff format, development of the modern sports sponsorship and commitment to enhancing auto racing through technology, NASCAR produces many of the most highly attended sporting events in the world. NASCAR did not gain the success or popularity it has today overnight. The sport has evolved to entertain its fans and continuously prosper. Early stock car racing In the years immediately following World War II, stock car racing was experiencing the greatest popularity it had ever seen. Tracks throughout the country were drawing more drivers and bigger crowds. Nonetheless, there was a serious lack of organization. From track to track, rules were different. Some tracks were makeshift facilities, producing one big show at a county fair or something similar to capitalize on the crowds flocking to the events. Other tracks were more suited to handle the cars, but not the crowds. Some could manage both, but did little to adhere to rules set by other tracks. Bill France Sr. organizes NASCAR In December of 1947, Bill France Sr., of Daytona Beach, Florida, organized a meeting at the Streamline Hotel, across the street from the Atlantic Ocean, to discuss the problems facing stock car racing. France had come to Florida from Washington, D.C., in 1935. He operated a local service station and also promoted races on the city's famed beach-road courses, often racing himself. He was a man of strong will -- and ambition. Thus, by the time that meeting at the Streamline Hotel was completed, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was born. Few knew when the meeting adjourned if the organization would be successful. In fact, there were skeptics who believed it never would work. Not even France, who believed a sanctioning body was exactly what stock car racing needed, could have envisioned what NASCAR has become today. Things came together quickly. The first NASCAR-sanctioned race was held on Daytona's beach-road course Feb. 15, 1948, just two months after the organizational meeting. Red Byron, a stock car legend from Atlanta, won the event in a Ford Modified. Six days later on Feb. 21, 1948, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was incorporated. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is born It was 1949, however, when what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , the premier racing division in America, was born. Jim Roper of Great Bend, Kansas, was the winner of the first ever NASCAR Grand National event, held at the Charlotte Fairgrounds on June 19, 1949. A tremendous crowd attended the event to see race cars that looked like passenger cars compete door-to-door. The new racing series was off-and-running. And it was an immediate success. Plans were made to bring bigger, faster races to bigger, hungrier crowds and less than a year later (1950), the country's first asphalt superspeedway, Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, opened its doors for the new division. The first decade for the premier series was one of tremendous growth. Characters became heroes and fans hung on every turn of the wheel, watching drivers manhandle cars at speeds fans wished they could legally run themselves. Names like Lee Petty, Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker, Herb Thomas, the Flock brothers, Bill Rexford, Paul Goldsmith and others became as well-known to race fans as Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider were to baseball fans. Daytona International Speedway ushers in a new age of speed Looking to the future, and invigorated by the success of Darlington, Bill France Sr. began construction of a 2.5-mile, high-banked superspeedway four miles off the beach in Daytona Beach. France had helped lead the fight to keep racing affiliated with the city. When those looking to set land speed records began opting for the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah so the incoming and outgoing tides at Daytona Beach would not be a factor, the city wanted to maintain one of its main attractions -- fast cars and the beach. By the end of NASCAR's first decade, the city not only had held on to its racing roots, but had outgrown the beach and, in 1959, moved events to Daytona International Speedway . With its long back straightaway and sweeping high-banked turns of more than 30 degrees, the 2.5-mile tri-oval was one of the largest speedways in the world. The first Daytona 500 In the first race, fans were treated to something that each year still brings millions of fans to NASCAR races -- close competition. The first Daytona 500 didn't end, technically, for three days. It took that long for NASCAR officials to study a photograph of the finish between Petty and Johnny Beauchamp before declaring Petty the winner. The hook had been set. The following year (1960), superspeedways were opened just outside Atlanta and Charlotte. ABC televised the 1961 Firecracker 250 from Daytona Beach as part of its "Wide World of Sports." As the sport expanded, new heroes emerged. Lee Petty's son Richard, who would eventually be referred to as "The King" of stock car racing, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett , David Pearson and Bobby Allison led NASCAR racing through an era that featured a schedule of more than 60 races a year on tracks from Florida to California to Maine. Fan interest grew and the demand for bigger, faster tracks was heard. In 1969, France opened the 2.66-mile Alabama International Motor Speedway (now known as Talladega Superspeedway ), the largest and fastest motorsports oval in the world. New tracks sprang up in Brooklyn, Michigan, (70 miles Southwest of Detroit), Dover, Delaware, (between Philadelphia and Baltimore) and Pocono, Pennsylvania, two hours from New York City). Bill France Jr. becomes NASCAR President The decade of the 1970s brought further change, including one at the top when Bill France Sr. passed the torch of leadership of NASCAR to his son Bill Jr. on Jan. 10, 1972. Corporate sponsorship of the series by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company through its Winston brand began in 1971 and NASCAR's premier division became known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Reynolds' involvement later led to the NASCAR Winston West Series and the NASCAR Winston Racing Series (now NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series) -- weekly events held at tracks nationwide with drivers vying for 10 regional titles and a national championship. In 1976, NASCAR's premier division took the lead in worldwide motorsports attendance for the first time with more than 1.4 million spectators making their way to events, according to figures from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. That lead never has been relinquished. Television exposure grew as well. The 1979 Daytona 500 became the first 500-mile race in history to be telecast live in its entirety. In 1981, NASCAR moved its annual awards ceremony to New York City from Daytona Beach for the first time. By the mid 1980s, Fortune 500 companies not only were involved in sponsoring NASCAR, but individual races and teams as well. Drivers such as Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott and others were rising to challenge Petty and Allison and Yarborough, displaying the colors of detergents and coffees and cereals on the hoods of their cars while doing it. Major consumer packaging companies like Kellogg's, General Foods, and Procter & Gamble were realizing what Bill France knew in the late 1940s -- stock car racing had a fervently loyal fan following. The XFINITY Series debuts In 1982, NASCAR consolidated the Late Model Sportsman Division into a new series. Since rising costs had made weekly racing for the Late Model stock cars difficult, the idea behind the creation of the series was to build big races, and to bring all of the regional-stars of the series together for all of the races. Anheuser-Busch, Inc. of St. Louis, Missouri, became the sponsor of the new NASCAR Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series. In 1984, the Busch brand took over the sponsorship in what would become the NASCAR Busch Series. Starting in 2007, the series became known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series, via a new sponsorship deal with one the world's largest insurance providers. At the start of 2015, the series changed to the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Expansion continues through the 1990s, includes Indianapolis By 1989, just 10 years after the first 500-mile race to be broadcast live flag-to-flag, every race on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule was televised, nearly all of them live. As the decade of the 1990s began, perhaps no one but the sports visionaries could have imagined the growth NASCAR would undertake. Without question it was an exciting time. NASCAR began its meteoric rise by expansion in 1993 to New Hampshire International Speedway -- 70 miles north of Boston -- and in 1994, to the famed "Brickyard," Indianapolis Motor Speedway . The Camping World Truck Series starts up In May of 1994, NASCAR introduced a new series, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, involving full-sized, full-bodied pickup trucks. After several exhibition events, the first points event in the new series was held in February of 1995 in what would become the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The NASCAR Lifestyle becomes a national phenomenon At the same time, NASCAR's at-track attendance was growing monumentally. The NASCAR Lifestyle was becoming a national phenomenon with cover stories in Forbes and Sports Illustrated. To help feed the tremendous growth, NASCAR launched its official website in 1995 ( www.nascar.com ) and in 1997, NASCAR branched out again, adding races in top 10 markets like Los Angeles, Dallas/Ft. Worth and a second date in New Hampshire. The 1998 season marked the celebration of NASCAR's 50th anniversary, honoring NASCAR's past, present and future. NASCAR's top division expanded once again, this time to Las Vegas. From 1993 to 1998, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ' at-track attendance alone grew 57 percent (by 2.2 million) to over 6.3 million and its top three divisions combined grew a staggering 80 percent (by 4.1 million), to over 9.3 million. Topping off NASCAR's explosion in the '90s was the announcement in November 1999 of a consolidated television package with FOX Sports/FX and NBC Sports/TNT for NASCAR's top two series beginning in 2001. At the same time, DaimlerChrysler announced intentions to return its Dodge nameplate to NASCAR's top division for 2001, after a 15-year hiatus. In 2007, a new TV package was introduced, with ABC and ESPN returning to the NASCAR fold. As the sport's fan base grew, NASCAR grew internally as well. In November of 2000, Mike Helton became the third president in NASCAR history as the torch of leadership passed to a non-France family member for the first time. Bill France became Chairman and CEO, leading the newly created NASCAR Board of Directors. By the turn of the century, new stars emerged such as Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte and second-generation driver Dale Jarrett . NASCAR's drivers, teams and tracks once again saw unprecedented exposure, this time with the aid of an expanded 36-race schedule and its new television package in 2001. The TV story was proving a remarkable success as viewership for the Daytona 500 grew 48 percent (over 6 million) to 18.7 million viewers between 1993 and 2002. When FOX Sports aired its first Daytona 500 in 2001, viewership increased 32 percent (4.1 million) to over 17 million from the 2000 broadcast. Brian France becomes NASCAR Chairman and CEO In 2003, NASCAR made two major announcements to help the dawn of the new era become even clearer. NASCAR announced in June that Nextel would become the new series sponsor in 2004, replacing R.J. Reynolds' Winston brand after 33 years. Three months later in September, Brian Z. France was named as NASCAR's CEO and Chairman of the Board replacing his father, Bill France. A steady parade of changes has followed. The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup was announced at the start of 2004, ushering in a new format to determine the champion of NASCAR's premier series. In 2006, Toyota announced a move into all three of NASCAR's national series. In 2007 it was announced that the premier series' name would be changed to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2008. In addition, Nationwide Insurance was announced as the replacement for Anheuser-Busch as main sponsor of NASCAR's series born from Late Models in 1982. The 2007 season also marked the beginning of NASCAR's new car in premier series competition, a car designed to be safer than ever while also reducing costs to compete -- all the while enhancing the racing itself. The new car could not slow down Jimmie Johnson who captured a record five consecutive championships from 2006-2010, becoming only the second driver to win three consecutive titles (Cale Yarborough 1976-1978). During the late 2000s, NASCAR began further expanding by creating series internationally. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the NASCAR Toyota Series (Mexico) launched their inaugural seasons in 2007. The sanctioning body extended its reach across the Atlantic when it founded the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2012. Today, NASCAR runs three national series, four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. Winning formula: Gen-6 car, new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format, new series sponsorship In 2013, NASCAR continued enhance its racing, debuting its Gen-6 car that enhanced body designs to better resemble the cars found in showrooms across the United States and improve on-track performance. NASCAR also secured its television rights through 2024 by agreeing to a 10-year rights deal with NBC Universal and an eight-year rights extension with FOX. To emphasize winning races, NASCAR created a new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff format for 2014 and unveiled its new grid format for advancing drivers. In 2015, XFINITY replaced Nationwide as the title sponsor for the series "Where Names are Made." Late in 2016, France would introduce Monster Energy as only the third premier series entitlement sponsor in league history. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series would help usher in a new era of NASCAR, which included an enhanced-race format that saw each race run in three stages. Resources NASCAR on Facebook NASCAR on Twitter NASCAR on YouTube
The Rundown: New Hampshire driver grades
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: 1. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Not even a hiccup on pit road during the second caution could derail the No. 20 team. Remember this for when the Sprint Cup Series returns to Loudon for the second Chase race: Kenseth has won two in a row at New Hampshire and three of the past six. Grade: A 2. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Smoke's third top five in the past four races gives him 185 for his career, tying Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett for 16th all time. And to think that just a few weeks ago the discussion was whether Stewart would crack the top 30. Grade: A+ 3. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. The No. 22 team used the race as a test for the September race at Loudon and still finished in the top five for the fifth time in the past six weeks. Grade: A 4. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Great finish, but the continued woes on pit road are troubling -- especially this late into the season. Grade: A- 5. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Fact 1: Taking a wave around followed by another caution enabled Biffle (and others, as you will see) to post a great finish, despite running only 20 laps in the top 15. Fact 2: In racing, you're ultimately judged by where you finish. And Biffle has his first top five since last September at Loudon. Grade: B+ 6. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. McMurray said his goal was to minimize mistakes to keep alive his Chase chances, yet he found himself jousting side-by-side with Denny Hamlin with 21 laps to go. Fortunately for McMurray, they traded only paint, and McMurray was able to post his second-consecutive top 10 and take advantage of Dale Earnhardt Jr. 's absence to move up a spot to 14th in the standings. Grade: A 7. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Newman was part of the wave-around gang and left Loudon a solid 12th in the standings. Sometimes, timing is everything: Newman's average running position for the day, 21.0, was the worst among top-10 finishers, just below Greg Biffle's 20.4. Grade: B 8. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch led a race-high 133 laps, the first time since last September at Chicagoland he has led the most laps and not won. Grade: A 9. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin ran with the leaders all afternoon. He stayed out on the fourth caution and restarted with the lead on Lap 269. He held it one more lap before Matt Kenseth passed him. But his dust-up with Jamie McMurray caused a tire rub on the No. 11 and a pit stop on the sixth caution. Grade: A 10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Stenhouse spent all of 30 laps in the top 15 but was one of the drivers who parlayed the wave around on the fifth caution into a good finish. Grade: B 11. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing. Blaney fell from 11th to 25th after serving a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 184. He was able to avoid a points calamity with a wave around on the fifth caution. He's 17th in the standings, two points behind Trevor Bayne and 16 behind 15th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. Grade: B- 12. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The polesitter led the first lap, and that was it. He did, however, post his best finish since coming home third at Charlotte in May. Grade: B 13. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. A solid finish enabled Dillon to take advantage of Dale Earnhardt Jr. 's absence and move up a spot to 13th in the standings. Grade: B 14. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Danica also was a wave-around winner Sunday, finishing well ahead of her 23.7 average running position. It was her second-best finish of the season. Grade: B- 15. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski was having a great day until he found himself sandwiched between teammate Joey Logano low and Kurt Busch high with fewer than 20 laps to go. Keselowski made contact with both and cut a tire, ending any chances for a better finish. Grade: B 16. Martin Truex Jr. , No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing. Truex had a great car and led 123 laps until ... his gear shift broke with fewer than 50 laps to go and then his clutch went, meaning he had trouble leaving pit road and trouble on restarts. Pit road was Truex's problem, restarts was everyone else's. Grade: C 17. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. Running seventh, Larson's fate was sealed with 15 laps to go when Ryan Newman got into the back of Carl Edwards , who hit Larson and sent him spinning. It could have been a lot worse. Grade: B 18. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Menard finished 18th for the second week in a row and fifth time this season. If you think I'm counting, you're right. Grade: C 19. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Almirola's streak without a top-10 finish hit 20 races. Grade: C 20. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. It was unintentional, but Ryan Newman got into the back of Edwards with 15 laps to go, touching off the final caution. Edwards had a top-10 car and was running eighth when it happened. Grade: B 21. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing. Allmendinger rolled off the grid 10th but couldn't convert his best start at Loudon since September 2010 into a quality finish. A penalty for his crew over the wall too soon on Lap 222 didn't help. Grade: C 22. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Running in the top 10, Busch was up top on a three-wide with Joey Logano low and Brad Keselowski in the middle. Contact with Keselowski resulted in a tire rub and a couple of laps later a blown left-rear tire. It is only the fourth time this season Busch has finished outside the top 10. Even with the blowout, he still had an average running position of 7.0. Grade: B 23. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. 'Twas not Bayne's day. He completed zero laps in the top 15, and if it weren't for the lucky dog on Lap 277, his finish would have been worse. He also benefitted from Dale Earnhardt Jr. absence. Bayne is 16th in points, 14 behind Junior. Grade: C- 24. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. This was not the same Clint Bowyer who has two wins and seven top 10s at New Hampshire. Maybe next year. Grade: C 25. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne was one of the bigger losers Sunday. He had a solid top-15 car and was vying for a top-10 finish when he was collected in the Ryan Newman - Carl Edwards - Kyle Larson wreck and his promising day went south with 15 laps to go. He dropped a spot to 18th in the standings. Grade: B- 26. Alex Bowman , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Bowman was the story of the day, subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. , who missed the race because of concussion-like symptoms. He was staring at the best finish of his young Sprint Cup career when a tire went down and he hit the wall on Lap 273 while running eighth. Grade: B 27. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. Mears improved his finish a handful of spots thanks to the lucky dog on the final caution. Grade: C- 28. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Cassill posted his second-best finish at New Hampshire in his past seven starts at the track. Grade: C 29. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Buescher brought out the second caution when he spun on Lap 100 trying to avoid Josh Wise , who had slowed just ahead of him. He finished two laps down. Grade: C 30. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. An unscheduled pit stop under green on Lap 130 for a vibration costs Ragan a better finish. He was running in the top 25 at the time. Grade: C 31. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing. DiBenedetto's finish tied for his best since a 30th-place run at Kansas in May. Grade: D 32. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Smith was making his first start at New Hampshire since September 2012 when he finished 16th. Grade: D 33. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Annett's run of top-30 finishes ended at two (20th at Daytona, 26th at Kentucky). Grade: D 34. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott sustained a tire rub as cars made contact behind the hobbled car of Martin Truex Jr. on the restart on Lap 269. Four laps later, while running in the top 10, the tire blew. Even with the poor finish, Elliott still had an average running position of 10.2. Grade: C 35. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Just like Michael Annett , Sorenson's run of top-30 finishes ended at two (22nd at Daytona, 27th at Kentucky). Grade: D 36. Eddie MacDonald , No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing. MacDonald, a K&N Pro Series East veteran from Massachusetts, made his third Sprint Cup Series start, all in the No. 32 Ford at New Hampshire. Last July he finished 37th and the year before 35th. Grade: C- 37. Ryan Ellis , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Ellis also made his third Sprint Cup Series start but first at New Hampshire. He finished nine laps back Sunday. Grade C- 38. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. A fluid leak caused Scott's brakes to fail. He finished 23 laps back. Grade: F 39. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family. Electrical issues doomed McDowell to his second DNF of the season, all in his past three starts. Grade: F 40. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. One week after his best finish of the season (24th at Kentucky), Wise got his fifth DNF (accident). Grade: F &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
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