Preview Show: Pocono
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman and Chris Rice recap Kyle Busch's dominance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and tell you what to expect from NASCAR's return to Pocono Raceway for the Pennsylvania 400 .
No. 41 team assessed P2 penalty after Pocono
The No. 41 team of Kurt Busch has been assessed a P2-level penalty after NASCAR officials found the right rear quarter panel was modified after race inspection last weekend at Pocono Raceway . Tony Gibson, crew chief for the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 team, was fined $10,000 and will continue to be on NASCAR Probation through Dec. 31. The infraction was found in sections 12.1; 20.4, 20.4.16 and 20.4.2 of the NASCAR Rule Book, all pertaining to body specifications and including, "All braces used to support fenders and quarter panels must be straight." Busch was sent to the rear of the field to start the race for the unapproved body modification. Busch finished 10th at Pocono and officially clinched a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Through 21 races this year, he has completed every lap. Other penalties announced Thursday morning: • The gas man for the No. 34 team of race winner Chris Buescher , Josh Patch, was fined $1,000 and the team was assessed a P1 penalty for safety violations at Pocono . NASCAR pit-road officiating found Patch was "on the service side of the pit wall with face shield up." Sections 12.1 and 184.108.40.206.1 of the NASCAR Rule Book apply. • The Nos. 7 ( Regan Smith ) and 23 ( David Ragan ) cars failed pre-race laser inspection twice on Sunday. The Nos. 13 ( Casey Mears ) and 95 ( Michael McDowell ) failed pre-qualifying laser inspection twice on Saturday. And the Nos. 7, 23, and 42 ( Kyle Larson ) cars failed pre-qualifying template inspection twice. All received written warnings. • Three teams received written warnings and a loss of 15 minutes of practice time after having inspection trouble. The No. 18 of Kyle Busch , No. 20 of Matt Kenseth and No. 78 of Martin Truex Jr . all failed pre-qualifying template inspection three times on Saturday.
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."
Rain at Pocono Raceway postpones Sprint Cup race
RELATED: Live radar, weather updates Intermittent fits of rain postponed the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway to an 11 a.m. ET Monday start. Wet weather moved into the area Saturday evening, and it was raining hard Sunday morning as teams went through pre-race inspection. A fleet of Air Titan 2.0 trucks were on hand to get the track ready as the clouds broke near the scheduled 1:30 p.m. ET start time, but rain began to fall again at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET to halt the track-drying process. The rescheduled 400 -mile event will be broadcast on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM. Martin Truex Jr. is the polesitter for the 21st of 36 points-paying races of the Sprint Cup season. Truex, who prevailed in Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying, is one of five drivers who can clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with a victory at Pocono . MORE: Full starting lineup The series' first stop at the 2.5-mile triangular track was delayed until Monday due to rain, and Kurt Busch went on to find Victory Lane. This is the first time in a single year that both Pocono races have been postponed to the next day. Rain also affected on-track activities early Saturday, canceling qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. William Byron went on to win the Pocono Mountains 150 later Saturday. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Polesitter Truex Jr. has rough day at Pocono
Martin Truex Jr. had a tough day from the pole position and was involved in three incidents that led to a 38th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. Truex was running third when he hit the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 19 of a scheduled 160 of Monday's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. He came in for repairs and fell a lap down. On Lap 40, Truex's right-front tire went down, and he came down pit road for more repairs. The four-time career winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series went to the garage for repairs shortly thereafter and returned on Lap 59. Truex would find trouble for a third time on Lap 98, smacking the wall in Turn 1 to bring out a caution. The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota would bring his car around to the garage and call it a day after the last incident. "Just blew a right front (tire)," Truex said of the first incident. "A lug nut bounced off the ground, fell in behind the wheel behind a pit stop. It's just bad luck honestly. I knew something wasn't right in (Turn) one and two and I got real tight off of (Turn) two on that restart and went down the back and was like, 'Ah, it feels OK.' And, as I got closer to the tunnel turn I felt it start to go down and by the time I let off and tried to slow down it was just going straight for the fence." Truex came in as the polesitter and was one of the favorites after leading final practice. He was also running the same car that dominated to the tune of leading 392 of 400 laps in the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Truex was hoping that the team could get this particular car fixed up since it has been such a great car for the him and the organization "That was my initial thought after it happened is like, 'Alright, let's go to the garage and make sure we don't blow another tire and destroy the thing,' " Truex said. "The car was so good. I was literally on cruise control and driving away. I don't know -- frustrating but it's racing I guess." The Furniture Row Racing driver led the first 16 laps of Monday's race at Pocono before a scheduled competition caution. Brad Keselowski and Greg Biffle, who stayed out, were the lead cars on a Lap 18 restart. During that restart, Paul Menard lost power and fell back in the field, causing cars to maneuver around him. Menard went to the garage and returned 16 laps down. Goodyear tweeted out the official diagnosis on both of Truex's incidents. Inner valve stem knocked out on RF wheel of 78 of @MartinTruex_Jr . Tire went down and brought out that caution. #GYRLive — Goodyear Racing (@GoodyearRacing) August 1, 2016 Rub from previous damage cut down RF tire on 78 of @MartinTruex_Jr . Pitted for RS tires and will now take car to garage. #GYRLive — Goodyear Racing (@GoodyearRacing) August 1, 2016
Full schedule for Pocono and Iowa
RELATED: Find NBCSN in your area " Watch live online at NBCSports.com The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will gather for a doubleheader weekend at Pocono Raceway while the NASCAR XFINITY Series is at Iowa Speedway this week. Check out the full weekend schedule below. Note: All times are ET MONDAY, AUG. 1: ON TRACK: POCONO -- 12:07:00 p.m. ET : NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 (160 laps, 400 miles), NBCSN ( Results ) -- Called on Lap 138 due to weather PRE-RACE SCHEDULE --11:50:00 a.m.: Intro Presentation of Colors: 55th Armored Brigade Combat Team Color Guard PA National Guard --11:50:20 a.m.: Invocation by: Monty Self, MRO --11:51:00 a.m.: National Anthem by: Meghan Wotring (Signed by Amanda Pascoe representing the Western PA School for the Deaf & the Scranton School for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing) -- 11:57:30 a.m. "Drivers, Start Your Engines" by: Major General Roger Teague, Director, Space Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition --11:07:00 a.m.: Green Flag – Pennsylvania 400 (160 laps, 400 miles) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 3 p.m.: (approx.) Post-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race SUNDAY, JULY 31: ON TRACK: POCONO -- RACE POSTPONED UNTIL 11 a.m. MONDAY: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 (160 laps, 400 miles), NBCSN ( Follow live ) FRIDAY, JULY 29: ON TRACK: POCONO -- 11 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series first practice, NBCSN ( Results ) -- 12:30-1:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series first practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 3-3:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 4:15 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN ( Results ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 10:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- noon: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 9:45 a.m.: Brad Keselowski -- 10 a.m.: Matt Kenseth -- 10:15 a.m.: Daniel Hemric -- 1:30 p.m: Jeff Gordon -- 2 p.m.: Danny Stockman (Crew chief for the No. 27 Sprint Cup team) and Richard Childress Racing Competition Director Dr. Eric Warren -- 2:30 p.m.: Kyle Busch -- 2:45 p.m.: Joey Logano -- 3 p.m.: Kyle Larson -- 5 p.m.: (approx.) Post-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying ON TRACK: IOWA -- 5-5:50 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series first practice, NBCSN will start coverage at 5:30 p.m. on a delay ( Results ) -- 7-8:20 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN ( Results ) DAILY ROUNDUP -- Keselowski talks safety after Watkins Glen wreck -- Newman plans to stick with RCR in 2017 -- Gordon set for longer sub stint if needed -- At-track photos from Pocono , Iowa -- Truex wins third pole of '16 at Pocono -- Starting lineup for Sunday's main event -- Byron, Nemechek top Friday's Truck Series practices -- Berry ready to make most of Iowa weekend -- Hornish Jr., Koch top XFINITY Series practices at Iowa -- Dillon: I plan 'on being in the Sprint Cup Series next year' SATURDAY, JULY 30: ON TRACK: POCONO -- 9:05 a.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, canceled due to rain ( Starting lineup ) -- 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, NBCSN ( Results ) -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 (60 laps, 150 miles), FS1 ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 10 a.m.: Aric Almirola -- 3 p.m.: (approx.) Post-NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race ON TRACK: IOWA -- 4:15 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN ( Results ) -- 8 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series US Cellular 250 (250 laps, 218.75 miles), NBCSN ( Results ) DAILY ROUNDUP -- Dale Jr. provides latest update on concussion-like symptoms -- Truex Jr. seeks more magic with dominant 600 car -- Top stories to watch for Sunday's Sprint Cup race -- See the scenes from a busy NASCAR Saturday -- Remembering Neil Bonnett -- Byron wins at Pocono for fifth win of 2016 -- Suarez scores pole for Iowa XFINITY race -- E. Jones takes Iowa race in fuel-mileage duel
Buescher wins weather-shortened race at Pocono
RELATED: Results " Standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Buescher gear LONG POND, Pa. -- Chris Buescher sat in his car on pit road, dreaming of the possibilities. NASCAR had just red-flagged Monday's rain-delayed Pennsylvania 400 when a heavy fog settled over Pocono Raceway after 138 of a scheduled 160 laps, and Buescher was the unlikely race leader. "I'm thinking of every kind of rain dance I can," Buescher said on his radio. The mental rain dance worked. When NASCAR ended the stoppage by calling the race because of weather, Buescher had his first victory as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, and Front Row Motorsports had its first win since David Ragan took the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway 118 races ago. Buescher took the top spot by staying out on the track, outlasting faster cars that had pitted behind him. Brad Keselowski finished second, followed by Regan Smith, whose team made the same strategic call that propelled Buescher to the unlikely victory. Kevin Harvick ran fourth, followed by Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Tony Stewart. Even though the early call of the race deprived Stewart of a chance to win, he wished the best for Buescher during the red-flag period. "He's a good kid and an XFINITY champion (2015)," Stewart said during the red-flag period. "It doesn't matter how you get your first win. You just want to get your first win. I hope it works out for him right now." For Buescher, the long, tense wait for NASCAR to call the event was well worth it. "It was stressful," said Buescher, who lost a lap because of a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 94 and regained it as the highest-scored lapped car under caution on Lap 109. “I tried not to get my hopes up because I know how these things can play out. Mother Nature can be really nice sometimes and really mean. "If that sun would have come out, it would have changed our whole day." With rain in the area, Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon were among six drivers who stayed on the track under caution on Lap 67, and when the race went green on Lap 73, Larson streaked into the lead with Dillon in pursuit. With a strong run off Turn 3, Dillon inched ahead at the start/finish line on Lap 78, but Larson regained the top spot into Turn 1. Three laps later, Dillon moved to the inside of Larson in Turn 3, and their Chevrolets collided side-to-side. Logano, who had given the two frontrunners a wide berth, slipped to the inside and into the lead, passing both cars as they slid wide through the corner. RELATED: Logano goes around Larson, Dillon When NASCAR called the fourth caution of the day on Lap 85, Logano stayed out under the yellow and brought the field to green on Lap 92. Logano held the top spot until pole winner Martin Truex Jr. pounded the outside wall for the third time on Lap 100 to bring out the fifth caution. At that point, the field inverted, with Logano and Kevin Harvick pitting from the first and second positions, respectively. That handed the lead back to Larson, who had pitted under yellow on Lap 86, along with Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Dillon. On Lap 106, Logano's winning chances evaporated when Chase Eliott's Chevrolet broke loose in the Tunnel Turn (turn 2) and knocked Logano’s No. 22 Ford into the outside wall. Elliott’s car also took extensive damage when it nosed into the inside wall. WATCH: Logano, Elliott collect and spin But Buescher inherited the lead during a cycle of green-flag pit stops that started on Lap 124 and was running up front when NASCAR called the seventh caution on Lap 133 because of lack of visibility. Buescher can earn a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup if he finishes the 26-race regular season in 30th place or higher in the series standings. Buescher currently is six points behind 30th-place Ragan, who now drives for BK Racing. Buescher is the first Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate to win a Sprint Cup race since Logano accomplished the feat in 2009. Coincidentally, Logano’s victory came in a rain-shortened race at New Hampshire. &lt;/p&gt;
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.
Menard charges atop opening Pocono practice
RELATED: Practice 1 results Paul Menard, potentially benefiting in his first race weekend with a new crew chief, topped the opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday at Pocono Raceway. Menard, driving the Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevrolet, clocked a best lap of 177.438 mph on the 2.5-mile track. It's the first weekend that Menard will be paired with crew chief Danny Stockman, who replaced Justin Alexander midweek. Denny Hamlin, a four-time Pocono winner, was second-fastest at 177.406 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota. He was just ahead of defending Sprint Cup champ Kyle Busch, his teammate and last weekend's winner at Indianapolis, in the JGR No. 18 Toyota. Carl Edwards was fourth, keeping the line of Coach Joe Gibbs' entries going. He was fourth-best at 176.977 mph in the No. 19 Toyota. Kevin Harvick, still seeking to end an 0-for-31 drought at the Tricky Triangle with his first Pocono win, completed the top five at 176.620 mph in preparation for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Danica Patrick had the best 10 consecutive lap average (171.094) with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. behind her at 167.161 mph. The two were the only drivers to run 10 consecutive practice laps. Jeff Gordon turned the 22nd-fastest lap in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet, making his second straight appearance this weekend as an interim fill-in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms. The session, originally scheduled for 85 minutes, was abbreviated to 63 minutes by water seeping up through seams in the 2.5-mile track's surface.
Chase Bubble: Analyzing the playoff picture post-Pocono
RELATED: See the full Chase Grid Here's a breakdown of the Chase Grid and bubble picture following Monday's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. BUESCHER'S STANDING Chris Buescher's win at Pocono Raceway puts him on the cusp of Chase eligibility as he finds himself just outside the top 30 in points. If a driver has a win, the top-30 points position is a requirement to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Buescher, the reigning XFINITY Series champion, has five races to get into the top 30 and lock in his playoff spot. He is 31st in the standings, just six points behind 30th-place David Ragan. LOCKED IN According to numbers crunched Monday, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin have clinched Chase spots. Those drivers, all of whom have one victory this year, join Brad Keselowski , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson , who all have multiple wins, in the Chase field. WIN, BASICALLY IN With one win, Tony Stewart has all but claimed one of the remaining six spots. That accounts for 11 drivers in the 16-driver postseason field, leaving five spots up for grabs via points, with Buescher being outside the top 30 in the standings. Here's how that picture looks post- Pocono . BUBBLE WATCH Editor's note: The standings below are the Chase Grid standings, not the Sprint Cup Series drivers standings.