RELATED: Chase Grid " Chase bubble watch " Chase Fest details A year ago, it was Kasey Kahne . Only two races remained before the start of the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , and the Hendrick Motorsports driver was 13th in points. Unfortunately, he was outside the top 16 in the Chase standings. Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin , AJ Allmendinger , Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola trailed Kahne in points. But they were among those that had wins. They had invitations to the dance. At the time, Kahne had managed only two top-five finishes. His average finishing position was 16.8. He hadn't been to the victory lane since midway through the previous season. So he and his team went out and won at Atlanta Motor Speedway . It earned Kahne one of the final Chase spots and the No. 5 team a second chance. It wasn't quite as easy as it sounds. Kevin Harvick , as was often the case, was dominant at AMS. Kahne fell a lap down early. The team battled back. He didn't take the lead for the first time until Lap 303 of the scheduled 325-lap race. Suddenly, he seemed to be on his way to the win. Then cautions appeared, forcing two late restarts. Green, white, checkered late. Kahne's lead was lost on pit road. Yet somehow he muscled his way past Matt Kenseth coming to the white flag, holding on for the win and a spot in the Chase. It's a similar position for the 35-year-old this year. Two races remain -- stops at Darlington Raceway and Richmond International Raceway -- before the field is finalized for this year's 10-race run to determine the Sprint Cup champion. Kahne is once again winless. He is not alone. Teammate Jeff Gordon has finished inside the top five only three times this year. The four-time champion is ahead of Clint Bowyer in the playoff picture, with a wider margin back to folks such as Aric Almirola and Greg Biffle . A year ago Gordon had three wins and a vise-like grip on first place in the points. Bowyer's got a pair of top-fives, but much of the attention around the No. 15 team of Michael Waltrip Racing centers on where Bowyer will call home next season. Paul Menard has a razor-thin lead on Gordon in points, but taking nothing for granted. Can anyone? Matt Kenseth 's blown engine at Bristol last week, leaving the Joe Gibbs driver 42nd in the final rundown, didn't go unnoticed. Things not only can happen, they often do. With 10 drivers already secure -- 11 if you go ahead and give Kyle Busch one of the spots although he's close enough to the fault line that a misstep could make things interesting -- and two races remaining, at least three of this year's Chase spots will be filled based on the points standings after Richmond. It could be five, if no new winner emerges in the next two weeks. Few on the fringes, though, have shown signs of contending for wins. Almirola? One top five and only three laps led this season. Biffle? It's shaping up to be the wrong type of career year for the Roush Fenway Racing driver, with just two top-fives and an average finish of 20th. Austin Dillon ? Kyle Larson ? Both have shown potential. Both are winless. Kahne? Well, who knows? The question isn't can it be done. Kahne's already proven that it's possible. The question is who among those can pull it off?
@nascarcasm uncovers a "foolproof" way to identify the true No. 27 driver RELATED: All content from @nascarcasm " Follow @nascarcasm
Greg Biffle will start on front row for Friday's night event RELATED: Learn more about the Sprint All-Star Race MORE: Full qualifying results Paul Menard took the pole for Friday night's Sprint Showdown (7 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Menard used a fast lap of 189.673 mph in the second of two round of group qualifying to take the top spot. Joining Menard on the front row will be Greg Biffle (189.660 mph). The Roush Fenway Racing driver topped the opening round at 189.960 mph. The second row will be made up of Michael Waltrip Racing teammates David Ragan (189.049 mph) and Clint Bowyer (188.298 mph). Bowyer won last year's Sprint Showdown. Second-year drivers Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson will make up the second row. Starting in the first three rows has been a theme of success in recent Sprint Showdowns. Eight of the past 11 winners of this event have started in the top six. The lone exceptions being Martin Truex Jr . (started 11th in 2007 win and started 20th in 2010 win) and Sam Hornish Jr . (started 8th in 2009 win). Truex will start seventh while Hornish will be starting 13th on Friday night. Danica Patrick will start 8th as she looks to race her way into the Sprint All-Star Race. Chase Elliott will start 11th as he attempts to get a fifth Hendrick Motorsports car into the field for the Sprint All-Star Race. Should he make the race, it will be a busy weekend for the defending XFINITY Series champion as that series competes at Iowa Speedway with practice and qualifying on Saturday and the 3M 250 on Sunday (2 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). The Sprint Showdown will be on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). The two winners of each 20-lap segment will advance to Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). The winner of the first segment will report directly to the garage at the conclusion of the first segment. The Sprint Fan Vote winner will round out the field for the Sprint All-Star Race.
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings BRISTOL, Tenn. -- It's a familiar scenario facing Ryan Newman as the Richard Childress Racing driver prepares for a two-race journey to lock in one of the 16 spots in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. At this same point in the season last year, Newman sat ninth in points and was winless with two top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He eventually earned a Chase bid based on his points position, then parlayed the consistency that got him a berth into a ticket into the Championship Round, where he nearly became the series' first winless champion. Following his 10th-place finish in Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Newman finds himself 11th in points, with four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes thus far this season. He's also still searching for that first win, which would guarantee his status as a Chase participant. At Bristol, Newman and his No. 31 team, led by crew chief Luke Lambert, once again did what they have become nearly the best in the series at doing -- taking a car that wasn't particularly fast and earning a top-10 finish with it. "We weren't the best car all day," Newman said while standing beside the No. 31 Chevrolet on pit road after the race. "We kind of finished where we ran, if not just a little bit better. "It was a good run for the team. We took a 20th-place car in practice and qualifying and turned it into a top-10 (in the race). We were not the best car and we didn't win the race, but the guys did a good job in the pits and we made the race car better." Newman and the team hadn't shown speed on Friday, working their way to 26th- and 18th-place positions during the first and second practice sessions, respectively. At the end of the day, Newman logged the 18th-fastest time in qualifying for the series' 24th race of the season. Saturday night, Newman slowly made his way through the field, eventually cracking the top 10 well into the second half of the 500-lap race. Not having that initial speed when arriving at the track has been a problem, Newman admitted, but added that it's kept the team close as they battle to secure a Chase spot. "Yeah it's better when you start off the weekend better," he said, "but that's what makes us pull together as a team, find speed and … fight strong at the end." Newman, RCR teammate Paul Menard , Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Jeff Gordon ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ) currently hold the five final Chase positions with two races remaining -- at Darlington Raceway and Richmond International Raceway -- before the postseason starts. Newman, 37, is a six-time qualifier for the Chase, with last season's runner-up finish to Kevin Harvick a career-best points finish.
Before the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM), the NASCAR Sprint Cup pilots came out during driver introductions to songs they chose. Check out the list below in the order they were introduced, starting with last-place qualifier Mike Bliss and ending with Coors Light Pole Award winner Denny Hamlin . 43rd place) Mike Bliss - "Hells Bells" by AC/DC 42nd place) Matt DiBenedetto - "I Love Rock 'n Roll" by Joan Jett 41st place) Timmy Hill - "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" by Silento 40th place) Tony Stewart - "Smoke On The Water" by Deep Purple 39th place) Landon Cassill - "Smooth" by Santana 38th place) J.J. Yeley - "Devil in Disguise" by Elvis Presley 37th place) David Gilliland - Kickstart My Heart" by Motley Crue 36th place) Alex Bowman - "Bring Me The Horizon" by Throne 35th place) Michael Annett - "Bernie Lean" by Bernie Dance 34th place) Josh Wise - "Dixieland Delight" by Alabama 33rd place) Cole Whitt - "Armor For The Lord" by Blake Whiteley 32nd place) Danica Patrick - "Hot Blooded" by Foreigner 31st place) Aric Almirola - "I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar 30th place Michael McDowell "Nothing I Can't Do" by Tedashii 29th place) Paul Menard - "Symphony of Destruction" by Megadeth 28th place Casey Mears "Fuel" by Metallica 27th place) Brett Moffitt - "Cowboy" by Kid Rock 26th place) Sam Hornish Jr . - "Touch of Grey" by Grateful Dead 25th place) AJ Allmendinger - "Tainted Love" by Marilyn Manson 24th place) Jeff Gordon - "E.I." by Nelly 23rd place) Martin Truex Jr . - "La Grange" by ZZ Top 22nd place) Trevor Bayne - "Back Where I Come From" by Kenny Chesney 21st place) Jamie McMurray - "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith 20th place) Dale Earnhardt Jr . - "Eminence Front" by The Who 19th place) Kasey Kahne - "Cherry Bomb" by John Mellencamp 18th place) Ryan Newman - "Good Ol' Boys" by Waylon Jennings 17th place) Greg Biffle - "Wild Side" by Motley Crue 16th place) Austin Dillon - "Move" by Ludacris 15th place) Ryan Blaney - "Even Flow" by Pearl Jam 14th place) Justin Allgaier - "Ready Set Roll" by Chase Rice 13th place) Matt Kenseth - "Stife" by Trivium 12th place) Kyle Larson - "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" by Elton John 11th place) Kurt Busch - "Party Up (Up In Here)" by DMX 10th place) Jimmie Johnson - "Renegades" by X Ambassadors 9th place) Clint Bowyer - "Going Through the Big D" by Mark Chesnutt 8th place) Ricky Stenhouse Jr . - "The Stroke" by Billy Squier 7th place) Kevin Harvick - "Real Life" by Jake Owen 6th place) Brad Keselowski - "Drop It Like It's Hot" by Snoop Dogg 5th place) Joey Logano - "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" by Dropkick Murphys 4th place) David Ragan - "Only In America" by Brooks and Dunn 3rd place) Carl Edwards - "Juke Box Hero" by Foreigner 2nd place) Kyle Busch - DJ Barry 1st place) Denny Hamlin - "Heart Upon My Sleeve" by Avicii
Paul Menard looks at Jeff Gordon’s determination and fairness behind the wheel, as he gets ready to end his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.
RELATED: Chase Grid post-Bristol No drivers clinched a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berth in the IRWIN Tools Night Race on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway. That means 10 drivers are locked into a postseason spot, provided they attempt to qualify for the two remaining regular-season races. Here's a look at the bubble for the six available Chase spots. 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Already clinched: Jimmie Johnson , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Joey Logano , Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Kurt Busch , Martin Truex Jr ., Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Carl Edwards Note: Kyle Busch has four wins and is currently second in the Chase Grid, but has not clinched a spot in the top 30 of the points standings. On the bubble Note: Positions below are for the Chase Grid, not Sprint Cup standings 12. Jamie McMurray +41 (points ahead of 16th-place) 13 . Ryan Newman +28 14 . Paul Menard +19 15. Jeff Gordon +17 16 . Clint Bowyer -- ----------------------- 17. Aric Almirola -35 (points behind 16th-place) 18. Kasey Kahne -37 19. Greg Biffle -83 20. Austin Dillon -91 Rest of top 30 21. Kyle Larson -104 22. Danica Patrick -130 23. Casey Mears -139 24. AJ Allmendinger -140 25. David Ragan -164 26. Sam Hornish Jr . -179 27. Tony Stewart -189 28. Trevor Bayne -212 29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr . -221 30. Justin Allgaier -246
Paul Menard spins after bumping Joey Logano, causing contact with Greg Biffle, Aric Almirola and Jimmie Johnson.
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
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Chase standings Below is a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared at Michigan International Speedway. 1. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth followed up his first Michigan pole with his third win in the Irish Hills. " WATCH: Two out of three for Kenseth 2. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick led 15 laps before running out of fuel on Lap 114 and rallied to earn his 16th top-five finish, a series best. 3. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . A loose wheel initially cost Truex track position, and he spent the day fighting for his seventh top-five finish of the season. 4. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon took the lead after not pitting during the competition caution and continually battled for the lead before earning his career best finish. " WATCH: Dillon: 'It was a fun day for us' 5. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin lined up from outside pole -- his best Michigan start -- and employed the high line en route to his sixth top-five at the two-mile oval. 6. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards had a strong day overall but did have a little trouble. He had to drop from second to 11th for not maintaining car speed under caution, but he rallied from that. 7. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . After running as high as second, Logano quietly steered his ride to his 17th top-10 finish of the season. 8. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman honored mentor Buddy Baker by putting the late NASCAR legend’s name above his passenger side door for the race weekend. " MORE: See Newman's tribute to the late Buddy Baker 9. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . The Rochester Hills, Michigan, native improved eight spots on pit road after just taking fuel during the competition caution and held steady in the top 15 for the remainder of the race. 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt restarted 15th on Lap 188 and picked up five spots in the closing laps to earn his 14th top-10 of the year. " MORE: Dale Jr. moved by gift from fan 11. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kyle Busch qualified sixth but started from the rear of the field after wrecking his fast primary in the final practice. The team struggled to put the same setup in his backup. " WATCH: Busch: 'It wasn't what we wanted' 12. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard and his team chased a tight-handling condition that was predominant exiting the turns around Michigan's two-mile oval. 13. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felx Sabates. Larson made the most of his day despite getting into the wall to achieve his fourth straight top-15 result. 14. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola led Laps 173-175 before hitting pit road for fuel with 25 laps to go. " MORE: Almirola misses some practice due to illness 15. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne salvaged his day, which at first seemed dampened thanks to a pit road speeding penalty during the competition caution. 16. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates . Around Lap 160, McMurray reported that his engine sounded funny, but he managed to finish the race. 17. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . " When I come in, I need ice water, ice bags, everything," Gordon radioed his team, hinting at the extreme in-car temperatures; which escalated to over 150 degrees. " For more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 18. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan lined up 13th, but experienced an aero issue getting into Turn 2 and spun to bring out the first caution flag. 19. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish picked up five spots on pit road when he stopped for right-side scuffed tires and lined up 13th for the Lap 188 restart. 20. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The spring Michigan winner cut a tire with less than 60 laps to go and had to make an unscheduled pit stop. 21. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart told his team early that he was having trouble keeping the car under him, and that became a reality on Lap 136 when he spun in Turn 4 to bring out the seventh caution flag. 22. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne used the wave around to improve upon his 25th starting spot. 23. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle's day could be summed up in seven words: No side bite and no rear grip. 24. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . When Tony Stewart spun on Lap 136, Blaney got into the wall trying to avoid him and sustained a flat tire and fender damage. 25. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . While running 23rd, Patrick radioed to her team with 54 laps to go that her loose-handling car was a handful in traffic. " MORE: Danica press conference set for Tuesday 26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . At the outset of the race, Stenhouse reported that his car was plowing tight and that made forward progress difficult. 27. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt made his best Michigan start on Sunday and encountered rising temps thanks to debris on his grille late in the race. 28. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger was running 29th with 25 laps to go and was thankful the caution flag waved on Lap 183 so he could get fuel and make it to the end. 29. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier was running 21st when he hit pit road under the competition caution. A hung lugnut cost him time and he resumed running 30th. 30. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . After making his best Michigan start, DiBenedetto snagged his best Michigan result. 31. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman worked to find a comfortable line during his fourth Michigan outing. 32. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . "I've never been this loose in all my life," Gilliland radioed his team, who continually made adjustments throughout Sunday's 200-lap event. " For more in-car audio, sign up for Scanner today 33. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . Burton didn’t have high hopes after opening the race with a loose-handling condition, but he still managed to score his best Michigan finish. 34. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Midway through the race, Moffitt decided to make an unscheduled pit stop due to a loose wheel. 35. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett's forward progress was halted when he had to serve a penalty after his crew went over the wall too soon during Lap 60 green-flag stops. 36. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill pitted on Lap 73 so his team could get a fan blowing on the power steering pump to cool down the boiling fluids. During the stop, his team learned the pulley came off the front of the pump. 37. Josh Wise , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. Wise's team tinkered on the handling of the No. 32 and added a round of wedge in the final pit stop; he went on to pick up six spots. 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley was quiet on the radio during his 15th outing at Michigan. 39. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . It was a day to forget for Johnson, who experienced a litany of issues on Sunday -- everything from cutting a tire to overshooting his pit box to spinning on track. " WATCH: Johnson's troubles 40. Travis Kvapil , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Kvapil mostly stayed off the radar Sunday until he overshot his stall during Lap 60 green-flag stops and made it difficult for neighbor Dale Earnhardt Jr . to pit. 41. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer's promising day was cut short when he was spun on the Lap 126 restart and made contact with the infield wall. " WATCH: Bowyer's bad day 42. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Overheating issues sidelined Mears just past Lap 50 when his water pressure gauge read zero. 43. Timmy Hill , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. A cracked oil cooler made for a frustrating start for Hill, but an errant oil pan and subsequent smoke prompted NASCAR to park the No. 98.