- Did you mean:
Alfalla retakes points lead on last-lap pass at Michigan
Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) captured his second victory of the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series by passing Brad Davies off Turn 4 on the final lap at Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday evening. The finish marked the second-straight race that has been decided by a last-lap pass for the lead, although unlike one race earlier at Watkins Glen, there was no contact or controversy after the Michigan thriller. Davies played a good strategy to take the lead during the last round of pit stops and held the top spot for 20 laps due to repeated crashes and yellow flags. Alfalla had the better car and was on fresher tires, but never got a long enough run to challenge for the lead. His chance finally came on the final restart with two laps to the flag. When the green flew, Davies got a good jump on Alfalla, but the two-time series champion had closed up to the leader's bumper as the pair took the white flag. Alfalla was not close enough entering Turn One so instead of charging in over his head he was patient, backed up the corner, and got a great run on exit. Alfalla closed quickly down the backstretch and dove to the bottom entering Turn 3 as Davies protected the top. His fresh tires were too much for Davies as Alfalla passed uncontested off Turn 4 and took the checkered flag .05 of a second in the clear. Logan Clampitt ( High Performance Motorsports ) came home third, combining a solid pit strategy with a fast car and steady driving. Justin Bolton ( The TEAM ) was fourth, ahead of Andrew Fayash in his first top-five result. Alfalla started on pole and had the fastest car for much of the race but only led 46 of 125 laps, largely due to pit strategy. Instead of changing two tires and losing position on a subsequent long run, Alfalla opted for four fresh tires each time down pit road. This decision meant he had to fight through traffic on several occasions, but Alfalla used his experience to cleanly and effectively move through the field. During the middle segment of the race the field strung out and allowed some differing strategies to develop. Some sim racers chose a three-stop strategy in hopes fresh tires would make up for the extra trip down pit road, while others opted for a two-stop strategy. Alfalla chose the two-stop strategy and was helped out by a timely yellow flag on Lap 81 just before he was going to make his final pit stop. All but one car on the three-stop strategy also chose to pit, allowing Alfalla to keep nearly all of his track position, which put himself in prime position to win the race. From there, the race turned into a series of short sprints broken up by frequent caution flags. Seven of the nine cautions flew in the last 45 laps, making track position more important than a typical Michigan race. The win vaulted Alfalla back into the championship lead with three races remaining in the season. He now enjoys a 15-point advantage over PJ Stergios ( ineX Racing Team ) after Stergios struggled to a 14th-place finish at MIS. PJ's brother, Jake, is still hanging onto third, but his margin over Chris Overland shrunk to just four points after a Tuesday's disappointing 31st-place result. Dylan Duval is fifth, but is only seven points clear of Kenny Humpe after finishing 35th at Michigan. Only three weeks remain in the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze season, and Darlington Raceway looms large as the next race on the schedule. Widely considered to be the toughest oval on the circuit, Darlington requires impeccable car control and patience to succeed. For Alfalla and Stergios, the goal is simple: get out front and stay there, away from potential carnage that can be common farther back in the field. Can Stergios close the gap on Alfalla, or is Alfalla primed to edge closer to his third world championship? Tune-in to iRacing Live in three weeks to catch the sim racing action from The Track Too Tough to Tame!
Best in-car audio from the Pennsylvania 400
From weather delays to fierce on-track action check out the best in-car audio from the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Dillon shows durability, skill in fourth-place finish
RELATED: Full race results " Driver standings " Chase Grid BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Austin Dillon didn't think his team had a winning car this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway . His performance on the track begged to differ, as Dillon powered his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the front, battling eventual race winner Kevin Harvick for the lead before earning a solid fourth-place result in Sunday's rain-delayed event at the short track. Coupled with his victory in the XFINITY Series race at Bristol Friday night, Dillon's weekend in the Appalachian Mountains turned into his best combined series effort he's seen all season. But he and his team had to fight for it. "We had a car that we had to really work on all day," a red-faced and worn-out-looking Dillon said on pit road after the race. "I tell you what, my butt's kicked right now. We just had to really fight hard early in the race, we about went a lap down and they made good adjustments to put us back in the race. "Proud of (crew chief) Slugger (Labbe), proud of my pit crew – they really stepped up and that means a lot getting ready to what we're going into." After restarting third at Lap 450, the 26-year-old driver moved into the second position behind Harvick three quick laps later, putting Dillon in position to challenge the No. 4 driver for the lead. The No. 3 wheelman fought to overtake Harvick for eight laps, looking for momentum in the inside lane. He made it look effortless, but Dillon assures it was anything but. "I was really proud of that little short run we had on the bottom," Dillon said. "Harvick was pretty loose and I got to his door. Just didn't have enough to really do much on the top. (I was) holding on for my dear life there at the end." Sitting 13th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, Dillon finds himself in a relatively comfortable points position with three races remaining until the playoffs begin. But Dillon & Co. aren't just looking for "good points days"-- they're looking for a win. That long-waited victory could very well come next weekend at Michigan International Speedway . "I'm racing like I'm in the playoffs right now, for sure," Dillon said. "We've still got a lot of work to do. Really looking forward to Michigan, probably my best track, so hopefully we can go win one and not have to worry about it for two weeks." Crew chief Slugger Labbe also has his sights set on the Irish Hills, having circled it following the team's 13th-place run at Pocono in August. "Last time at Michigan we ran extremely well with the low downforce package," Labbe told NASCAR.com on pit road. "We're taking the same car back that we had at Pocono that ran extremely well at Pocono battling for the lead against Kyle Larson … so we're just hoping for big things. "After Pocono, he was kind of mad that we didn't finish at good as we wanted so I told everyone on this team to make sure we circle Michigan and that's the one we're going to win. So, we're going to shoot really hard for it, prepare, do the best we can and give it our best shot at Michigan."
Snapshot: Pennsylvania 400
All the top storylines heading into Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 -- the 21st race of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season and second event at Pocono.
Post-Race Reactions: Pocono Mountains 125
Listen to what all the top finishers ahd to say about today's Pocono Mountains 125 .
Pocono Raceway adds XFINITY race for '16
Pocono Raceway officials announced Tuesday the addition of a NASCAR XFINITY Series event to the track's 2016 racing schedule. The 250-mile race is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, and will be part of a three-race weekend at the 2.5-mile track. The Sprint Cup Series' Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 is slated for Sunday, June 5 while the Pocono 200 ARCA Racing Series event will kick off the weekend's racing activities. It will be the first appearance for the XFINITY Series at Pocono, which has hosted NASCAR-sanctioned events since 1974. Track president and CEO Brandon Igdalsky said race fans "have been asking for this to happen for several years." Comcast, parent company of series sponsor XFINITY , is based in Philadelphia. "From Day 1 we've been focused on enhancing the way fans experience NASCAR and highlighting the competition and youth in the XFINITY Series," Matt Lederer, director of sports brand marketing for Comcast, said. "The addition of an event at Pocono Raceway in our home state ... will help carry the momentum built in the first year of our partnership into 2016." In addition to the June race weekend, the Pennsylvania 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is scheduled for July 31 at Pocono, along with the Pocono Mountains 150 Camping World Truck Series race and Modspace 125 ARCA event. Camping World Truck Series teams have been competing at Pocono since 2010 while the ARCA Series began competing at the track in 1987. "Pocono is a very unique track," current XFINITY Series points leader Chris Buescher said. "I'm excited that we are adding a new track to the XFINITY Series schedule. I've raced there a considerable amount in the ARCA Series and have always enjoyed it. It will be a good challenge for the XFINITY teams."
Top 10 consecutive lap averages at Bristol
Opening practice 10-lap averages Position Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 11 Denny Hamlin 61 70 126.740 2 21 * Ryan Blaney # 26 35 126.485 3 2 Brad Keselowski 19 28 126.219 4 47 AJ Allmendinger 15 24 126.207 5 4 Kevin Harvick 47 56 126.191 6 43 Aric Almirola 40 49 126.128 7 19 Carl Edwards 34 43 126.016 8 3 Austin Dillon 14 23 125 .907 9 24 Chase Elliott # 26 35 125 .692 10 1 Jamie McMurray 30 39 125 .665 11 18 Kyle Busch 43 52 125 .476 12 20 Matt Kenseth 49 58 125 .457 13 27 Paul Menard 38 47 125 .326 14 83 Matt DiBenedetto 3 12 125 .295 15 13 Casey Mears 2 11 124.799 16 15 Clint Bowyer 28 37 124.470 17 14 Tony Stewart 3 12 124.252 18 95 Michael McDowell 20 29 124.240 19 10 Danica Patrick 58 67 124.231 20 5 Kasey Kahne 51 60 124.134 21 41 Kurt Busch 4 13 124.089 22 22 Joey Logano 40 49 123.951 23 30 * Josh Wise 13 22 123.902 24 38 Landon Cassill 19 28 123.526 25 31 Ryan Newman 38 47 123.498 26 34 Chris Buescher # 48 57 123.189 27 23 David Ragan 12 21 123.091 28 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . 35 44 123.043 29 48 Jimmie Johnson 39 48 123.032 30 88 Jeff Gordon 50 59 122.389 31 16 Greg Biffle 51 60 122.260 32 44 Brian Scott # 29 38 122.232 33 6 Trevor Bayne 36 45 122.182 Final practice best 10-lap averages Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 11 Denny Hamlin 2 11 127.193 2 18 Kyle Busch 1 10 127.015 3 24 Chase Elliott # 1 10 126.865 4 31 Ryan Newman 5 14 126.811 5 20 Matt Kenseth 26 35 126.669 6 2 Brad Keselowski 33 42 126.660 7 19 Carl Edwards 62 71 126.273 8 4 Kevin Harvick 67 76 126.086 9 14 Tony Stewart 4 13 126.038 10 21 * Ryan Blaney # 4 13 125 .966 11 5 Kasey Kahne 7 16 125 .906 12 41 Kurt Busch 1 10 125 .826 13 48 Jimmie Johnson 54 63 125 .789 14 47 AJ Allmendinger 10 19 125 .473 15 3 Austin Dillon 6 15 125 .441 16 16 Greg Biffle 38 47 125 .431 17 88 Jeff Gordon 6 15 125 .231 18 42 Kyle Larson 48 57 124.631 19 34 Chris Buescher # 50 59 124.585 20 1 Jamie McMurray 2 11 124.538 21 13 Casey Mears 4 13 124.432 22 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . 5 14 124.285 23 95 Michael McDowell 41 50 124.260 24 15 Clint Bowyer 4 13 123.988 25 27 Paul Menard 25 34 123.696 26 6 Trevor Bayne 13 22 123.611 27 22 Joey Logano 50 59 123.400 28 44 Brian Scott # 39 48 123.245 29 83 Matt DiBenedetto 15 24 122.606 30 23 David Ragan 1 10 120.742 31 30 * Josh Wise 11 20 120.246
Suarez tops lone Bristol practice, rain cancels final session
RELATED: Get full results Joe Gibbs Racing 's Daniel Suarez was first on the speed charts Thursday for a shortened XFINITY Series opening practice at Bristol Motor Speedway . Suarez, who enters the weekend second in points, posted a quickest lap of 126.046 mph in his No. 19 Toyota. NASCAR called practice a few minutes early due to threats of rain at the Tennessee short track. After Suarez was Regan Smith in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, earning a fast lap of 125 .782 mph. The No. 18 JGR Toyota of Kyle Busch ( 125 .716 mph), the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Austin Dillon ( 125 .330 mph) and the No. 20 JGR Toyota of Erik Jones ( 125 .036 mph) completed the top five. RCR's Ty Dillon -- making his 100th series start this weekend -- was eighth-fastest in his No. 3 Chevy (124.768 mph). Series points leader Elliott Sadler finished the session 15th (124.018 mph) in the No. 1 JR Motorsports entry. On-track action for the series was scheduled to pick back up at 3:30 p.m. ET for final practice, but was canceled due to persistent rains hitting the track and surrounding areas. The field returns Friday for Coors Light Pole Qualifying (NBC Sports App) at 3:15 p.m. ET ahead of the Food City 300 (7:30 p.m. ET, USA, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Jim Giaccone honors brother, other 9/11 victims by aiding others
RELATED: All the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 took so much from Jim Giaccone. But it led him to this: honoring the memory of the brother he lost by helping others affected by that dark day. Giaccone's older brother, Joseph, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. Joseph was among the 658 employees of the Cantor Fitzgerald financial services firm who were killed. Devastated by grief, Giaccone somehow found the drive to carry on and honor his brother by giving back to others -- especially children -- who likewise were carrying on in the aftermath of 9/11. During his personal aftermath, Giaccone found his future in the form of Tuesday's Children, an organization dedicated to providing long-term support to those directly impacted by the events of 9/11 and other communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss. Giaccone's involvement in Tuesday's Children is multi-faceted, as a fundraiser, through service on the organization's Mentoring Advisory Board and Family Advisory Board and through what is arguably his most significant contribution: serving as a mentor. His works have not gone unnoticed. Giaccone, from Bayville, New York, is one of four finalists for The NASCAR Foundation's 2016 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide. The award will be presented by France -- The NASCAR Foundation's Chairwoman Emeritus and founder -- on Sept. 27 during the inaugural Honors Gala at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. The foundation will donate $100,000 to the charity represented by the award winner and $25,000 to each of the other three finalists' charities. The award winner will be determined via an online vote now underway and running through Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. (ET) at NASCAR.com/Award . Giaccone, 55, mentors teenage brothers Nicholas and Matthew Reda, who lost their father on 9/11. Suffice to say this is a reciprocal relationship. Giaccone and the boys find healing and comfort in one another. But their time spent together involves more than words. The healing is helped by sharing real-life tasks involving practical skills, such as building rockets and fishing, both activities the boys enjoyed with their father. Said Giaccone: "I am not a man of great wealth where I can personally make a difference financially. My most valuable asset is my time. "It's a delicate balance when I try to explain what I get out of this. But obviously, anything that I've gained over the last 15 years I would trade in a second for my brother's life. But … that's not reality. Through the programs that Tuesday's Children is running and seeing the works that they do … it's almost become a therapy for me, to be honest. When I leave Nicholas and Matthew, it's almost as if I have a 'runner's high.' I feel calmer. If those boys get half of what I get out of this, it's a win-win." More than 10 years and hundreds of hours of service to Tuesday's Children have given Giaccone many rewarding experiences. He wants more, because there is so much more work to do. He has expanded his volunteer efforts to include helping others both domestically and abroad, truly living his life to reflect the organization's motto to "Let Our Past Change the Future." Giaccone is a longtime NASCAR fan, dating to his childhood when enjoying racing was a family tradition. One of his most cherished memories of NASCAR -- and of his life, overall -- is from August 2001 when he and his brother went to Nazareth ( Pennsylvania ) Speedway to take part in a fan driving experience. "I had gone to Las Vegas and done the Richard Petty Driving Experience twice, so I organized the trip (to Nazareth)." Giaccone said. "It was pretty special ..." As is being a Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalist, and representing Tuesday's Children -- in New York City on Sept. 27. "It's very humbling to be considered," Giaccone said. To learn more about this year’s finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide, and to cast your vote today, go to www.NASCAR.com/Award . Voting is open now until September 26 at 5 p.m. ET.
Following Pocono 'big moment,' Buescher steadies Chase focus
RELATED: Standings post-Pocono WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Chris Buescher has seemingly embraced the spoiler role of his upset victory last weekend at Pocono Raceway , saying he's "throwing a wrench at a lot of people's brackets" in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. In the five remaining races that will determine the 16-driver postseason field, though, the 23-year-old rookie has work to do -- namely making up the six-point deficit to reach the required top-30 threshold in the series standings. Before Friday's on-track activity at Watkins Glen International , Buescher said he was confident that he and his Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford team could cross the points portion off the checklist. "They are hustling and working extremely hard to make sure we make this Chase," Buescher said about his team's efforts to make the tight turn from weather-delayed Pocono to Watkins Glen ahead of Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at the Glen (2:30 p.m. ET, USA, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "We are going to get there. I have a ton of confidence in these guys. I love where our program was heading previous to Pocono. We have been on the right path and we will make up those points." Buescher, last year's XFINITY Series champion, said he hasn't had much chance to celebrate last Monday's surprise win in the Pennsylvania 400, saying that the short week between Pocono and Watkins Glen was consumed by road-racing practice in Utah on Tuesday and making the media rounds with a full schedule of phone interviews the last two days. "It is a really good problem to have," Buescher said. "I killed my phone battery twice in one day, which is a new record for me. It has been wild how everything has played out and I haven't had time for it to settle in and feel like we won a race. It has been so crazy." Though Buescher's performance has lagged behind fellow first-year drivers Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney this season, his Pocono breakthrough has given him a feather in his cap that his fellow rookies can't claim on their portfolios. His first victory came in his 27th Sprint Cup start, making him the first rookie winner since Joey Logano converted the feat in 2009. Buescher's first full season in NASCAR's premier series coincides with the first year of a technical alliance between Roush Fenway Racing and the Bob Jenkins-owned Front Row organization, a partnership that he hopes pays dividends in the push to the playoffs. In the meantime, the momentum from a maiden trip to Victory Lane can't hurt. "It is just a matter of getting the team jacked up and everybody on the same idea going forward that this is for real, a big moment," Buescher said. "This win with the Chase being the way it is and the point system different from last year in XFINITY , a win basically turns our whole season around. It changes everything. It is no longer one win and you move up a spot or two in points. It is one win and you potentially have a spot in the playoffs of our sport. "We are not there yet because we have to get into that top 30, but with that win it gets everybody excited to get to that point."