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Kyle Busch in good shape to advance; Kenseth and Hamlin will battle at Dover RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota One week after all three of its teams came out of Chicagoland Speedway with top-10 finishes, Joe Gibbs Racing heads into the final race of the Challenger Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with two teams suddenly looking very vulnerable. Only a Herculean effort by driver Kyle Busch and his crew kept the No. 18 team from finding itself in a similar position. "Completely the opposite," JGR’s Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing operations, said following Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when asked to compare the results of the first two Chase races. Busch, seventh the previous week, somehow managed to salvage an eighth-place finish at NHMS in spite of severe damage to the front of his Toyota. Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin weren't as fortunate. Fueling issues kept Hamlin on pit road for an extended period during the race, which in turn left him deep in the field and in the middle of trouble when a four-car accident unfolded on Lap 180 of the scheduled 300-lap race. Kenseth had run in the top 10 for much of the day, eventually climbing as high as third, before contact with Paul Menard sent the No. 20 entry into the wall with less than 30 laps remaining. Kenseth wound up 21st on the day, Hamlin finished 37th. With four drivers trimmed from the field of 16 after this week’s race at Dover International Speedway, Kenseth will be looking to, at the very least, hold his ground. The 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion enters Sunday’s AAA 400 (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET), eighth in points and only eight ahead of Hamlin in the No. 13 spot. Kenseth's record at Dover is solid, with a pair of victories (2006, ‘11) and 20 top-10 finishes in 31 career starts at the fast, high-banked one-mile track. He finished third there earlier this year. Hamlin and his No. 11 team sit six points out of the 12th spot, held for now by Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman . But Hamlin's far from alone -- only 12 points separate those between Kenseth (2,057) and 16th-place Aric Almirola (2,045). A week ago, the gap was a far more imposing 34 points between the two positions. He has yet to win at the Monster Mile, but Hamlin has finished inside the top 10 on six occasions, including a fifth-place result this past June. "Kyle was able to get up on the wheel and do what he could, fought hard for all his positions and they ended up with a respectable finish out of it," Makar said. "Matt didn't have time to get back; it was just a bad situation with just a few laps to go. He … didn't have time to actually race back with a couple of laps to go. It was just a tough situation for him." "Denny, I tell you, just snake bit there. We still don't know what happened to the fuel system. It was some freak thing, something we’ll have to look at when we get back (to the shop). But right now … it's nothing really obvious." Hamlin's issues put the driver "in a bad spot, a bad place on the race track" Makar said. And with everything else that happened after Hamlin's fuel issues, there were no guarantees he would have escaped those unscathed. "But he had a good, fast race car. It's a shame they weren’t able to race all day like that," Makar said. The strange turn of events for the three teams certainly weren't expected, given their solid start a week earlier. Now, they regroup and head to Dover , hoping to remain relevant. "I was really surprised," said Makar. "But I think it's going to be interesting next week. We've got to go race hard and get a good finish with everybody and hopefully we can move on." Four more drivers will be trimmed from the field following the Contender Round (Kansas, Charlotte and Talladega), leaving eight to battle through the Eliminator Round (Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix ). The final four will advance into the Championship Round, scheduled for Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Odd incident draws out second yellow RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Opposing teams and drivers had a chance to see the fabled "notebook" of a fellow competitor during Friday's second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Bristol Motor Speedway . Yes, a literal notebook. Crew chief Slugger Labbe apparently left his pad on top of driver Paul Menard's No. 27 Chevrolet SS while the team prepped in between practice sessions. That much became apparent when sheets of paper were swept off the hood and onto the concrete as Menard hit the high banks at the 0.533-mile track. The incident brought out a caution flag less than five minutes into the final practice session. NASCAR officials helped clean the paper off the oval as Menard came in for a quick sweep of the hood -- as did Matt Kenseth, who had full-sized sheets of notebook paper stuck on his grille. It was the second odd caution Friday. Earlier, on-track time was halted briefly to retrieve a wayward tape measure. @nascarcasm took the opportunity to give Labbe a starring role in one of Hollywood's new classics. #nascar #bristol pic.twitter.com/oeL0XaQj8W — nascarcasm (@nascarcasm) August 22, 2014 MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See which drivers will make up the field for the return trip to Dover RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 1 Jamie McMurray Felix Sabates Keith Rodden 14 Chevrolet McDonald's 2 2 Brad Keselowski Roger Penske Paul Wolfe 14 Ford Wurth 3 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Gil Martin 14 Chevrolet Dow 4 4 Kevin Harvick Tony Stewart Rodney Childers 14 Chevrolet Budweiser 5 5 Kasey Kahne Linda Hendrick Kenny Francis 14 Chevrolet Farmer's Insurance 6 7 Michael Annett Tommy Baldwin Kevin Manion 14 Chevrolet Cypress HQ No. 7 Chevrolet 7 9 Marcos Ambrose Richard Petty Drew Blickensderfer 14 Ford Twisted Tea 8 10 Danica Patrick Tony Stewart Tony Gibson 14 Chevrolet GoDaddy 9 11 Denny Hamlin J D Gibbs Darian Grubb 14 Toyota FedEx Freight 10 13 Casey Mears Bob Germain Bootie Barker III 14 Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 11 14 Tony Stewart Margaret Haas Chad Johnston 14 Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops 12 15 Clint Bowyer Rob Kauffman Brian Pattie 14 Toyota 5-Hour Energy 13 16 Greg Biffle Jack Roush Matt Puccia 14 Ford Post-it 14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr John Henry Michael Kelley 14 Ford Zest 15 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Dave Rogers 14 Toyota Interstate Batteries 16 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Jason Ratcliff 14 Toyota Home Depot Husky 17 22 Joey Logano Walter Czarnecki Todd Gordon 14 Ford Shell Pennzoil 18 23 Alex Bowman Ron Devine Dave Winston 14 Toyota Dr. Pepper Toyota 19 24 Jeff Gordon Rick Hendrick Alan Gustafson 14 Chevrolet Drive To End Hunger 20 26 Cole Whitt Anthony Marlowe Randy Cox 14 Toyota Uponor Toyota 21 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Slugger Labbe 14 Chevrolet CertainTeed / Menards 22 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Luke Lambert 14 Chevrolet Quicken Loans "Design A Scheme" 23 32 J J Yeley(i) Frank Stoddard Jr Ben Leslie 14 Ford CorvetteParts.net 24 33 David Stremme Joe Falk Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos 25 34 David Ragan Bob Jenkins Jay Guy 14 Ford PLIMPTON & HILLS 26 36 Reed Sorenson Allan Heinke Todd Parrott 14 Chevrolet American Muscle Driving Experience Chevrolet 27 37 Mike Bliss(i) Tommy Baldwin Tommy Baldwin 14 Chevrolet Accell Construction Inc. 28 38 David Gilliland Brad Jenkins Frank Kerr 14 Ford LONG JOHN SILVER'S 29 40 Landon Cassill(i) Michael Hillman Mark Hillman 14 Chevrolet Newtown Building Supplies 30 41 Kurt Busch Gene Haas Daniel Knost 14 Chevrolet Haas Automation 31 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Chris Heroy 14 Chevrolet Target 32 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Trent Owens 14 Ford Nathan's Famous 33 44 Timmy Hill John Cohen Peter Sospenzo 14 Chevrolet Phoenix Warehouse 34 47 A J Allmendinger Tad Geschickter Brian Burns 14 Chevrolet Hungry Jack / ACME 35 48 Jimmie Johnson Jeff Gordon Chad Knaus 14 Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 36 51 Justin Allgaier Harry Scott Jr Steve Addington 14 Chevrolet BRANDT Professional Agriculture 37 55 Brian Vickers Michael Waltrip Billy Scott 14 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 38 66 Joe Nemechek(i) Jay Robinson Scott Eggleston 14 Toyota Land Castle Title 39 78 Martin Truex Jr Barney Visser Todd Berrier 14 Chevrolet Furniture Row 40 83 Ryan Truex Ron Devine Joe Williams 14 Toyota Burger King Toyota 41 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Rick Hendrick Steve Letarte 14 Chevrolet National Guard 42 98 Josh Wise Mike Curb Gene Nead 14 Chevrolet Phil Parsons Racing 43 99 Carl Edwards Jack Roush James Fennig 14 Ford Fastenal MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Matt Kenseth ends up in the wall with Paul Menard after contact entering Turn 3.
No. 22 joins Team Penske teammate in Contender Round MORE: Full race results " Updated series standings RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota LOUDON, N.H. -- Out of the maelstrom that was New Hampshire Motor Speedway sped Joey Logano , who took control of Sunday's Sylvania 300 on a restart with 27 laps left and held on to win the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. But the crux of Sunday's race wasn't about Logano's fourth victory of the season and the second straight for Team Penske in the Chase. It wasn't about Logano winning for the seventh time in his career and punching his ticket into the second elimination round under NASCAR's new playoff format. It wasn't about Sunoco rookie Kyle Larson posting his second straight top-three finish. Yes, Larson ran second, passing third-place finisher Kevin Harvick on a green-white-checkered flag restart that took the race three laps past its scheduled distance, but Larson was almost an afterthought amid the chaos that scrambled the Chase standings. It wasn't about another strong run for Jamie McMurray , who finished fourth, or about a top-five for six-time champion Jimmie Johnson , who came home fifth. It wasn't about the crazy afternoon of polesitter Brad Keselowski , who ran back and forth through the field like a yo-yo, spun on Lap 194 of a scheduled 300 and nevertheless had a chance to win the race at the end before falling back to seventh on the restart that took the race to overtime. No, the crux of the race wasn't about the winner. It was about those who survived the crucible of pressure the Chase creates -- and those who didn't. It was about uncharacteristic mistakes on pit road. It was about the aggression and desperation on the track that left the cars of six of 16 Chase drivers in relative states of damage and disrepair. It was about Aric Almirola 's heroic drive to a sixth-place finish after the heartbreak of a late engine failure last week at Chicagoland Speedway . It was about a 13th-place finish for AJ Allmendinger , who re-entered the Chase conversation, as did Almirola, by avoiding the calamities that placed some of their more potent peers on the cusp of elimination. But first, credit to Logano, who survived a succession of restarts in a race littered with cautions -- 13 of a total 15 in the last 134 laps -- and prevailed on tires that, thanks to crew chief Todd Gordon's astute call with 53 laps left in regulation, were superior to those of the drivers in contention on the final restart. Logano won Sunday’s race at a track that gave him his first victory in NASCAR’s premier series -- but a win that will always have an asterisk in Logano's mind because it resulted from a fortunate pit call in a rain-shortened race. The call for four tires on Lap 247 helped Logano on Sunday, but he had to earn the win, and he did so with a bold charge past Harvick and Keselowski on the Lap 274 restart. "I thought we gave it away at that point," said Logano, who traded track position for the new rubber and restarted 16th on Lap 251. "But four tires were good, and we had some good restarts and were able to get ourselves back up there. We worked hard. This is my home race track, the coolest place to win for me. I could never pick a better race track to win. I watched my first Cup race here when I was 5, and I won that other Cup race here, but I just felt like I had to win one the right way here, and this means so much. "I've got to thank all the boys at Team Penske. We're doing what we've got to do to win this thing right now -- both teams are -- and I'm proud of that. This is my home track, so it means so much to me." If Logano was elated with the victory, other Chase drivers experienced a gamut of emotions that ranged from relief to abject misery. Kyle Busch crumpled the hood of his car in a wreck that started when Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth got loose in traffic on the backstretch. Busch's team did yeoman work to keep him on the lead lap, setting up an eighth-place finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought his No. 88 Chevrolet to pit road for an unscheduled stop on Lap 123 to tighten a loose wheel -- the result of a hurried-but-unsuccessful attempt to tighten the lugs -- and lost a lap in the process. But Earnhardt regained his lap under caution and salvaged a ninth-place finish, so no harm done to his hopes of advancing after next Sunday's race at Dover . Kenseth survived the melee with Busch on Lap 188 but was gobbled up in a wreck with Paul Menard on Lap 270 and finished 21st. When Busch slowed after contact with Kenseth, he was rear-ended by the No. 5 Chevy of Kasey Kahne , who obliterated the nose of his car. Kahne finished 23rd. Ryan Newman also got a piece of that same accident and came home 18th. But the real casualties of the afternoon were Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin , who finished 36th and 37th, respectively and saw their hopes of advancing to the next round take a serious turn for the worse. Hamlin led early but a problem with the fuel probe in his No. 11 Toyota prevented his crew from filling the fuel cell. All told, Hamlin lost four laps as his team tried to rectify the issue. But Hamlin's woes were far from over. On Lap 180, he slid into a Turn 2 wreck involving Martin Truex Jr . and David Ragan , knocked his right front wheel out of kilter and took the car to the garage. He lost another 34 laps before returning to the track. Kurt Busch had to return to pit road on Lap 109 to tighten a loose wheel. Busch fell one lap down after Harvick passed him on Lap 162, but got the lap back as the beneficiary under a debris caution called on Lap 170. But that was a brief reprieve. Busch was running 15th when he clobbered the Turn 3 wall on Lap 221. He lost 35 laps in the garage before returning on Lap 255. After Sunday's race, only 12 points separate Kenseth in eighth from Almirola in 16th, with Carl Edwards , Allmendinger, Kahne, Newman, Hamlin, Biffle and Kurt Busch in between. The tightness of the standings sets up a free-for-all next Sunday at the Monster Mile for the remaining spots in the Chase's second round. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Richard Labbe's notebook blew away from Paul Menard's car while on the track at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Paul Menard gets into the wall after trying to get to the back bumper of Chase Eliott.
Michael Waltrip Racing driver is on baby watch at Loudon MORE: Bowyers to welcome son: 'It's got a dingy' RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Clint Bowyer is on baby watch as his wife Lorra is expecting the couple's first child. Bowyer is at New Hampshire for this weekend's Sprint Cup Series race, the Sylvania 300 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN) and was pra cticing in the his No. 15 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in Friday's opening practice. Defending Camping World Truck Series champion and current series points leader Matt Crafton is on standby for Bowyer. @MRNRadio @ClintBowyer @dustinlong Crafton is technically on standby in case needed — K.C. (@KristineC15) September 19, 2014 Bowyer has a favorable history at the Magic Mile. He has two of his eight Sprint Cup wins at the track. It's a duty familiar to Crafton, as he was held on standby for Paul Menard as he and his wife were expecting the birth of a child at Las Vegas earlier this year. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Paul Menard explains his circuitous route to Victory Lane after winning the Ollie's Bargain Outlet 250 at Michigan International Speedway.