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Kenseth holds off Larson, wins at chaotic Dover
RELATED: Race results " Updated series standings " SHOP: Kenseth gear Matt Kenseth roared to victory Sunday afternoon at Dover International Speedway , holding off a hard-charging Kyle Larson to score his first win of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Kenseth led 48 of 400 laps in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. His triumph in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism was his third at the 1-mile track and the 37th of his Sprint Cup career. But the victory also helped stem a rough start to the 2016 season as he virtually clinched a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. "It all worked out for us, kind of the opposite as I feel like it's been going the last couple months," said Kenseth, who has just one other top-five run this year -- a fourth place last weekend at Kansas. "We've had really fast race cars. We've been in position to win a lot. This wasn't our fastest car by any means. But we were able to be there at the end of the race and pull it off." RELATED: See all of Kenseth's wins in the sport's top series Larson, seeking his first premier series win, held on for second in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. He led 85 laps and wound up just .188 seconds behind at the checkered flag after a stirring challenge for the lead down the stretch. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Chase Elliott surged within striking distance of the front-running pair, but settled for a career-best third-place finish. Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch completed the top five in a topsy-turvy day. A massive, 18-car crash brought out an extended red flag on Lap 354, thinning the field of contenders. After a stoppage of 11 minutes, 22 seconds, the race restarted on Lap 360, with Kenseth leading. But on the restart lap, contact from Larson's No. 42 Chevrolet sent Carl Edwards ' No. 19 Toyota spinning hard against the inside wall. That set up the final restart on Lap 366, with Kenseth and Larson coming to the line side-by-side. On Lap 381, Elliott passed Larson for second but surrendered the position in traffic three laps later. During the final five laps, Larson pulled alongside Kenseth but couldn't complete the pass from the inside lane. "I had gotten close to his bumper a couple times. I may have even got into him once," Larson said of his close-quarters battle with Kenseth. "I didn't want to do anything dirty. I respect Matt Kenseth a lot. He's definitely in my eyes the cleanest racer out there. He always races me with respect. I try to do the same with him." Two pre-race favorites -- Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick -- had rallied from their share of issues at the Monster Mile, including their involvement in the event's sixth yellow flag before the fateful 11th caution period and ensuing red flag. RELATED: Botched restart sets off 18-car wreck Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet suffered a mechanical failure trying to get up to speed on a restart, with Martin Truex Jr ., Harvick and others piling in behind him. The chain reaction blocked the frontstretch, collecting several other cars in the melee. Harvick had started from the pole position and led three times for a race-high 117 laps, but lost ground on a series of early pit stops. "We just keep getting further and further back," Harvick radioed his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet crew on Lap 172, during the fourth caution period. Johnson, a 10-time Dover winner, started 21st in the 40-car field, but gradually moved up in the running order. But Johnson spun during the sixth caution, looping his Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevy after Reed Sorenson 's spinning car dropped fluid through the first and second turns on Lap 212. Johnson avoided contact, catching a fortunate break when Harvick slowed his car to a halt just shy of a collision. Those strokes of luck for the two favorites went for naught after the large pileup nearly 140 laps later. Brad Keselowski , a winner two weeks ago at Talladega, led once for 49 laps Sunday, but dropped from contention after crunching into Austin Dillon 's slower car, damaged from an earlier wreck. Keselowski made multiple pit stops for repairs and rallied for a sixth-place finish. Tony Stewart finished 34th in just his fourth start of the season since missing the first eight Sprint Cup races with a back injury. His hopes were dimmed by a mechanical failure -- a broken track bar that punctured the oil tank -- that caused his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet to slow in the 341st lap. The result kept him 37th in the driver standings. He needs to finish the regular season 30th or better in the rankings and post a victory to qualify for the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. The series returns Saturday night for its traditional mid-spring invitational, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (9 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Note: Kahne's No. 5 Chevrolet failed post-race laser inspection station and will be taken to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, for further evaluation. If penalties are warranted, they will be announced later this week. Contributing: Reid Spencer , NASCAR Wire Service
NASCAR partners with Steven Soderbergh on heist-themed film project
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 26, 2016) -- NASCAR ® is collaborating with Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh on a feature film entitled Logan Lucky , starring Channing Tatum alongside Katherine Heigl, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Adam Driver and Seth MacFarlane. Depicting a theoretical heist at Charlotte Motor Speedway , the project will mark Soderbergh's first feature film since announcing his retirement from the film industry in 2013. Soderbergh, who also directed heist film Ocean's Eleven , is best known for his work on the critically acclaimed Traffic and Erin Brockovich , which garnered him two Oscar nominations and the accolade of Best Director. This will not be Tatum's first experience working with NASCAR or Soderbergh. He and 22 Jump Street co-star Jonah Hill served as grand marshals for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ Pocono 400 in 2014, while Tatum and Soderbergh previously teamed up for the Magic Mike films, Haywire and the 2013 thriller Side Effects , which was the most recent film project led by the acclaimed director. "We are excited to work with Steven, Channing and all of Logan Lucky's incredible cast and producers," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "It's a big-hearted, fun story that showcases NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway as the world-class sports entertainment property and venue that they are, much like the Bellagio in Steven's Ocean's Eleven ." Logan Lucky is tentatively scheduled for release in Fall 2017. Mark Johnson, Gregory Jacobs and Reid Carolin are producing. Zane Stoddard is executive producing for NASCAR. Pre-production filming will begin this weekend at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 , which airs live on FOX at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 29.
Dave Blaney released from hospital after Eldora wreck
Sprint car superstar Dave Blaney , father of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney , was injured during Friday's qualifying for a World of Outlaws event at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Blaney's car flipped multiple times, and after he was extracted from the vehicle, Blaney was transported to a local hospital where CT scans proved negative. He was released shortly after 12 midnight ET. Ryan Blaney , along with sister Emma, provided updates via Twitter. Dad is alright, got his bell rung pretty good but is up and being himself. Thanks for all the support. — Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) May 7, 2016 Thank you for all the prayers. My dad is one tough guy. He is a little sore but going to be okay probably already watching dirtvision — Emma Blaney (@EmmaBlaney) May 7, 2016 Though Dave Blaney is best known for a phenomenal career in the open-wheel ranks, he also has a combined 597 NASCAR national series starts to his credit, including 473 in Sprint Cup . His lone national series win came in the fall 2006 XFINITY Series race at Charlotte.
Erik Jones wins at Dover, takes Dash 4 Cash
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated standings DOVER, Del. – NASCAR’s new Dash 4 Cash format agrees with Erik Jones – even when his No. 20 Toyota is running on older tires. Despite staying out on used rubber for a restart with five laps left in Saturday's Ollie's Bargain Outlet 200 at Dover International Speedway , Jones pulled away to beat runner-up Darrell Wallace Jr . to the finish line by 1.434 seconds. The victory was Jones' second of the year, both on concrete tracks (Bristol and Dover). He has now won two of the three NASCAR XFINITY Series races held under the new Dash 4 Cash format, which features two Heat races and a main event. Since his car was blessed with short-run speed, Jones and crew chief Chris Gabehart liked their chances at the front of the field on older tires, even though others came to the pits for fresh rubber before a restart on Lap 116 of 120. Driving a stock car for the first time in seven months, Alex Bowman came home third after leading 33 laps, a run that was broken by a debris caution on Lap 71. The top three finishers – Jones, Wallace and Bowman – are all alumni of NASCAR Next, an industry initiative that spotlights the sport's rising stars. Justin Allgaier ran fourth, followed by Ty Dillon and series leader Elliott Sadler , who holds a three-point edge in the standings over ninth-place finisher Daniel Suárez. "I couldn't see how many came to pit road, so I wasn't too sure," Jones said of the decision to stay out under the final caution. "I was a little anxious to see how many came and how many stayed out. Fortunately enough stayed out to make it viable for us to still get the win here." After seven months away from racing, except for an appearance at the Chili Bowl in January in a midget car, Bowman made steady progress throughout the weekend in the first of nine scheduled rides with JR Motorsports, the next of which will come at Pocono in early June. "I was a little worried, being so rusty," Bowman said. "Obviously, you can't just take a car to the race track and go test anymore (because of NASCAR rules). I think Friday morning (before practice), I was probably the most nervous I've been in years, as far as getting in the race car. "This is one of the toughest places we come. 'Can I still do this? Am I going to mess up, make stupid mistakes?'… I haven't given feedback on a race car in seven months either. I didn't really do a good job of that throughout practice, but I think (crew chief) Dave (Elenz) overcame it and gave me a really good piece for the race." Wallace posted the highest XFINITY Series finish ever for an African-American driver, improving on his own record of third (twice), and he did it in a backup car, necessitated by a crash in Friday's practice. "I keep saying it, we never give up," Wallace said. "It's really a credit to my guys right here for really thrashing this thing. It's unfortunate when you do have to bring the backup car out, (but) we never give up and we work really hard to get some speed in this baby." But the day – and the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus – belonged to Jones, who thought the tracks that stage the Dash 4 Cash races had more to do with his success than the format itself. "The tracks that they're at are tracks that I've had historically good runs at," Jones said. "It just kind of worked out that way. The Heat race format gives us a chance to go out and adjust on our stuff. I think our ability to adjust and maintain and get better throughout the race is one of the best in the garage, and having the opportunity to do that in the Heat race gives us that little bit of an edge." MORE: Relive the day in photos
Matt Crafton wins Truck race at Charlotte
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings CONCORD, N.C. -- Matt Crafton had a lot to overcome on Saturday -- a 17th-place starting position and a difficult pit stall that cost him dearly in the early stages of Saturday's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . But after 134 laps, Crafton was 5.748 seconds ahead of second-place Kyle Busch , winning the race and extending his series lead to 12 points over seventh-place finisher Timothy Peters . In fact, the two-time champion won consecutive races for the first time in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career, going back-to-back in successive weeks at Dover and Charlotte. Even though it took Crafton more than half the race to get to the front, he sensed the quality of his ride from the drop of the green flag. "I literally did," Crafton said. "I was like, 'Wow!' This thing was unbelievable from the time we dropped the green. This thing went through (Turns) 1 and 2 -- well, the first original start, everybody got jumbled up and went through (Turns) 1 and 2 and then 3 and 4, and I'm like, 'This thing feels really good right here.' "Then we fell back to the 20s (after pit road issues) at that point and we started driving back through them and I was like, 'Oh, my goodness, these boys are in trouble today.' " The victory was the 13th of Crafton's career, but despite the wide margin of victory, his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota didn't take the lead for the first time until Lap 80, when Crafton tracked down Peters and passed him for the top spot. After starting mid-pack, Crafton worked his way forward during the first run but had major issues on pit road, first sliding through his pit box and later getting blocked in his stall. The miscues forced Crafton to pass a gaggle of cars, but by Lap 78 he was fourth for a restart after Christopher Bell 's spin off Turn 4, and two laps later, Crafton had the lead. The advantage grew to more than 8.5 seconds before a cycle of green-flag pit stops for fuel trimmed Crafton's winning margin in the closing laps. Johnny Sauter did an extraordinary job of saving fuel and rolled home third behind Crafton and Busch. Tyler Reddick and Matt Tifft , the latter recently named to the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class, were fourth and fifth, respectively, both on fuel strategy. Spencer Gallagher , Peters, Bell, Daniel Hemric and polesitter William Byron completed the top 10. Busch led 27 laps in the early going but suffered a suspension part failure that caused the handling of his No. 18 Tundra to tighten up. Nor did it help that Busch's team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop on Lap 68, forcing the driver to restart at the rear of the field on Lap 71. "Once we got back in traffic, it just got super, super tight," said Busch, whose Kyle Busch Motorsports organization also owns the trucks driven by Bell, Byron and Daniel Suarez . "Something broke, and after that, it was just laying on the splitter."
Science of a crew chief: Randolph takes unusual path to racing
Doug Randolph graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. So it was only natural that the Morristown, Tennessee, native eventually found employment in racing. "I use it every day," Randolph said, grinning. If you think he's kidding, think again. "The definition of wildlife biology is it's a science and it's an art, manipulating habitat for animals. To me, racing is the same way," said Randolph, crew chief for driver Tyler Reddick and the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series. "If you go into it 100 percent engineering driven, and you forget the art of it, the pumping your driver up, assessing where his head is, you might not be able to pull off the success you want. For sure, that definition plays a huge role in racing I think." Reddick is eighth in points following two straight top 10s -- a seventh-place finish at Dover and a fourth-place showing at Charlotte. Teammate Daniel Hemric is third in the standings. Randolph didn't set out to become a crew chief, but he did hope to be involved in racing in some capacity. And not just videotaping local races from the top of a press box in an effort to lure fans to the local pizza join for viewing and a meal later. Yeah, he really did that. "One of my best friends worked for Mr. Gatti's Pizza and we went around to softball games, local races and videotaped them," Randolph said. "Then we'd try to convince people at the games or races to eat at Mr. Gatti's and watch the replays. "He and I would get on top of the press box. He would video and I would sit there and drink beer, to be honest. But those were good times." Randolph has served as crew chief in all three of NASCAR's national series, winning in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with drivers Scott Riggs and Clint Bowyer , as well as the Camping World Truck Series with Ryan Blaney , Keselowski and Reddick. There were near-wins in Sprint Cup , second-place finishes at Bristol (with Jimmy Spencer ) and Talladega (with Paul Menard ). But his start came with a local standout, L.D. Ottinger, a Newport, Tennessee-based driver. Randolph was on the crew in 1990 when Ottinger won an event in what is now known as the XFINITY Series at Bristol Motor Speedway . It was in that race that Michael Waltrip survived one of the most devastating crashes in NASCAR, his car exploding after striking the exposed corner of the outside wall. "Nobody will ever remember who won the race; they'll always remember the wreck," Randolph said. "L.D. wasn't the first one by the wreck, but he took everyone down pit road. And when he did, he said 'He's dead.' He said it three times. "They red-flagged the race … it was hard." Incredibly, Waltrip was not injured. The time spent working for Ottinger helped lay the foundation for what was to come. "Probably one of the best people for somebody that didn't know anything about racing to learn from," Randolph said, "because his attention to detail. I'd be putting the fender decals on and one might be just a little crooked. He'd say, 'You've got to fix that' and I'd say, 'They can't see it from the stands.' He'd say, 'Yeah but I'll be driving around the race track worried that that thing's crooked.' " Understanding professors helped Randolph complete his college education while still heading to the race tracks each weekend. Eventually, he made the decision to "do this racing gig for a year or two. "L.D.'s led into going to Junior Johnson's and, man, once you're there, how do you leave racing?," Randolph said. Johnson, an inaugural member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and one of the sport's legendary figures, won 50 times as a driver, and nearly three times that often as an owner (132 all told). Randolph's first job as crew chief came in 2001, at Bill Davis Racing with driver Dave Blaney . Eleven years later, he helped guide Blaney's son, Ryan, to the win in a Truck Series race at Iowa. He's found a home in the series, and a home at Brad Keselowski Racing. "When you're Cup racing, that is your life," Randolph said. "You have no (other) life. I've got a wonderful wife, wonderful kids. Truck racing came for me at a point in my life when my daughter was in high school playing every sport imaginable. I missed a lot of that with my son. It was great to experience it with my daughter. … "We're very lucky here that Brad has given us an organization with a definite vision that's different. He wants to give back to the sport and he's given us the freedom to go and do it. We have a great group of guys that support each other. It's a lot of fun. If you're Cup racing and you're not one of those first five guys, you're not having any fun." But there's stress at every level of racing, and that's "what you hope for," he admitted. "You hope there is a stressful situation and you and your driver and your team can get through it better than the next guy."
Future stars unveiled in NASCAR Next 2016-17 class
RELATED: Get to know the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 17, 2016) – Two are following in the footsteps of their former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driving fathers. One is a long-time racer who competed on the reality television show "Survivor," and later added a degree from Stanford University. Another is one of the fastest rising stock car drivers in the Midwest. There is even a pair of international phenoms. From Charlotte to New York City, and from Quebec to Israel, the 11 drivers who were announced as the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class today are primed for a successful and impactful future in NASCAR. This is the sixth edition of NASCAR Next, an industry-wide initiative designed to spotlight to best and brightest rising young stars in racing. "The NASCAR Next program has introduced current stars such as Kyle Larson , Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney to the NASCAR fan, and we believe this year’s class has the same potential," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president of marketing and industry services. "These drivers have shown the talent and intangibles to climb the NASCAR ladder, and we look forward to watching their careers grow." This year's NASCAR Next class was selected through an evaluation process that included input from industry executives, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers Council and media. Drivers must be between the ages of 15-25, have tangible and expressed goals in eventual competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and demonstrate the potential to realize that goal. MORE: Full NASCAR Next coverage The following drivers have been selected to the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class: Harrison Burton ( @HBurtonRacing ) - The 15-year-old from Huntersville, North Carolina, is the son of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton . He has climbed to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series after setting the record last year as the youngest Division I race winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history. Collin Cabre ( @CollinCabre12 ) – In his second season driving for Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, the 22-year-old from Tampa, Florida, captured his first career win last October after making the successful move from racing sprint cars. Spencer Davis ( @SpencerDavis_29 ) – The 17-year-old Dawsonville, Georgia, driver has shown a proficiency in nearly everything he’s raced. After winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award last season in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Davis has transitioned to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, where he has established himself as a championship contender with top six finishes in his first seven series starts dating back to last season. Alon Day ( @Alon_Day ) – One of two international drivers on the list, Day is the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver to earn a NASCAR Next recognition. Day, 24, from Ashdod, Israel, completed his first full season in the Whelen Euro Series as championship runner-up. Including the final two rounds of 2015, Day has won four of the last eight Elite 1 races and is again a threat win the title. Tyler Dippel ( @Tyler_Dippel ) – An accomplished dirt racer, the 16-year-old from Wallkill, New York, has already scored his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory in March. Dippel previously competed in the DIRTcar Racing Series in the northeast, earning the rookie of the year title and becoming the youngest race winner in that series. Todd Gilliland ( @ToddGilliland_ ) – The son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran David Gilliland , the 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, made NASCAR history by winning his first four career NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts. He became the youngest winner in series history with his victory last fall, and has followed it up with wins in both the K&N Pro Series East and West season openers this year. Noah Gragson ( @NoahGragson ) – The 17-year-old from Las Vegas finished second in the championship standings last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, collecting the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the process. Gragson followed the path set by Kyle and Kurt Busch , learning his trade in the Legends and Bandolero Divisions at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . He earned a pair of K&N Pro Series West wins in 2015 and is again a championship contender. Gary Klutt ( @Garyklutt ) – The second Canadian to be named to the program and the first full-time driver from the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Klutt represents a crop of young drivers making an impact on Canada’s championship stock car series. The 23-year-old from Halton Hills, Ontario, earned his first career pole and win last year en route to being named the Jostens Rookie of the Year. He finished fifth in series points and will be among the title contenders when the series opens later this month. Julia Landauer ( @julialandauer ) – Landauer, 24, from New York City, got her start racing a variety of cars – from Formula BMW to Ford Focus Midgets to stock cars. The versatile Landauer was a contestant on the hit reality show 'Survivor' before graduating from Stanford in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Science, Technology, and Society. She became the first female to win a Limited Late Model division championship at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia, last year before graduating to the K&N Pro Series West this season. Ty Majeski ( @TyMajeski ) – The 21-year-old from Seymour, Wisconsin, showcased his ability with a dominating display at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February, collecting three wins and earning the 2016 Super Late Model championship in the 50th Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing. Majeski added a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model track record and victory in the FrostBuster at Wisconsin’s LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in April. Matt Tifft ( @Matt_Tifft ) – A development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing , the 19-year-old from Hinckley, Ohio, is driving part-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JGL Racing as well as JGR, and racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Red Horse Racing. He earned his first career pole in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Talladega earlier this month. Since its inception in 2011, 27 of the 35 drivers who have been selected as part of the program have gone on to compete in one of NASCAR’s three national series. Nearly a third of the drivers have made a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, with nine drivers winning a NASCAR national series race. The last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookies of the Year have been NASCAR Next alum, as are the top two contenders for this year’s award: Blaney and Elliott. The last three Sunoco Rookie of the Year winners in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series were also part of the NASCAR Next program. For more information, visit NASCARNext.com and make sure to follow the drivers on Twitter and on the track. About NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, NASCAR XFINITY Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit http://www.NASCAR.com and http://www.IMSA.com , and follow NASCAR on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and Snapchat ('NASCAR').
John Hunter Nemechek wins wild Atlanta Truck race
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings HAMPTON, Ga. – In a wild race that saw some of the best trucks in the field destroyed before the finish, John Hunter Nemechek held off Cameron Hayley in a two-lap dash to the checkers to win Saturday's Great Clips 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway . But it was a skull session with 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick the night before that was instrumental in guiding Nemechek to victory in his unsponsored No. 8 Chevrolet. "I've got to give a shout-out," said Nemechek, who was racing at AMS for the first time. "I can't thank Kevin Harvick enough. I went and sat with him for about 30 minutes to an hour last night, trying to learn everything I could." Obviously, the lesson paid off. After extensive cleanup from Christopher Bell 's hard crash into the Turn 4 wall, Nemechek chose the inside line for a restart on Lap 199 of 200. When John Wes Townley spun his tires in the outside lane, Nemechek pulled away to beat Hayley to the stripe by .305 seconds. The victory was Nemechek's second in 32 Truck Series starts and his second on a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway, the first coming last year at Chicagoland Speedway . At 18 years, 8 months and 16 days, Nemechek is the youngest NASCAR national series winner at Atlanta. Before the family-owned team with a shoestring budget could get to Victory Lane, however, attrition took care of the drivers who led the majority of laps leading up to the finish. Two corners after a restart on Lap 112 — following the race's second expiration of the 20-minute caution clock — Bell lost the nose of his No. 4 Toyota, hooked Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Daniel Suarez 's No. 51 Tundra and turned Suarez into race leader Matt Crafton , who had spent 76 circuits at the front of the field. MORE: Caution Clock expires for first time in CWTS " Bell triggers big wreck The trucks of Crafton and Suarez were damaged beyond repair, leaving Bell, who lead 42 of the 130 laps, to grab the top spot after the subsequent restart on Lap 116. Bell pulled away, but on Lap 123, a tire rub resulting from the earlier contact finally popped the right front, and Bell’s Toyota swerved straight into the outside wall in Turn 4. Behind Nemechek and Hayley, Timothy Peters came home third, followed by Daniel Hemric and Grant Enfinger, respectively. Nemechek was circumspect about the circumstances surrounding his conversation with Harvick, but the information he received was clearly valuable. "That's kind of a secret," said Nemechek, who got pit crew help from Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Sprint Cup team. "But Kevin's one of the best racers here in Atlanta, so I had to ask him. He's very good at conserving tires, very good at winning races here, so to go and talk to him was very special." Nemechek also got advice from his father and team owner Joe Nemechek , who won a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta in 2001. Eighth-place finisher Parker Kligerman took the lead in the series standings by one point over Hemric and three over Nemechek. The afternoon proved expensive for Kyle Busch , who as a driver won the first leg of the Saturday doubleheader in the XFINITY Series race, only to lose three trucks as an owner in the nightcap. In addition to the wrecked trucks of Bell and Suarez, Busch also had to write off the engine of William Byron, which blew on lap 59, with Byron running second.
Logano earns Coors Light Pole at Martinsville
RELATED: Full starting lineup MARTINSVILLE, Va. – The third time was the charm for Joey Logano . Then again, so were the first and second. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford dominated qualifying for Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET on FS1), topping the speed chart in all three sessions of Friday's knockout qualifying at Martinsville Speedway . The Coors Light Pole Award was the third straight for Logano at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped short track, marking the first time a driver has won three consecutive poles at Martinsville since Jeff Gordon accomplished the feat in 2003-2004. Navigating the speedway in 19.513 seconds (97.043 mph), Logano claimed the top starting in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for the 15th time in his career. Logano, who was taken out of last year's Chase race when Matt Kenseth drove him into the Turn 1 wall, also is the third driver to sweep all three rounds in time trials since the group qualifying format was instituted at the start of the 2014 season. "I couldn't be more proud of these guys," Logano said of his team. "I say all the time that Martinsville is the most important track to start up front, and that's when you've got to come here and really show what you've got. "This is a nice little fire for us to get going. We've had a good season so far, but you want to break through and get some wins, and this pole is definitely going to help with some momentum." Logano edged outside front-row starter Kasey Kahne (97.033 mph) by .002 seconds. The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet hadn't enjoyed a top-five position on the grid since last October's Chase race at Talladega. "It feels good," Kahne said. "The car was really fast, this Great Clips Chevrolet. The guys did a nice job in practice and in qualifying. I just kept getting better with my laps. We didn't make any adjustments. The car is fine. Just let me get my laps a little better. So we did that, and it was close. "Joey just barely got us. But it is definitely a good starting spot. That was one of my goals today was to help out on pit road (by earning second pit selection). Pit road is huge here. We have the best pit crew for stops, than anyone, in my opinion. And if I can help them on pit road, myself, and get a better spot, I think all that will be beneficial on Sunday." Brian Vickers , who led Friday's opening practice at Martinsville, qualified third at 96.864 mph. Paul Menard (96.854 mph) was fourth, followed by Ryan Newman (96.736 mph) and AJ Allmendinger (96.676 mph). Vickers was the only Stewart-Haas Racing driver to advance past the first round. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch , both former winners at the track, will start 19th and 23rd, respectively. Denny Hamlin -- reigning race winner and one of the pre-race favorites -- earned the eighth starting spot, but eight-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson wasn't as fortunate. The six-time Sprint Cup champion squeaked into the second round by .007 seconds over Carl Edwards but couldn't improve beyond the 24th-place starting position. The two leading drivers in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle, however, both made the top 12. Chase Elliott will take the green flag from in 10th, with Ryan Blaney right behind him in 12th, as the Wood Brothers Racing team returns to Martinsville for the first time since 2011. Dale Earnhardt Jr . experienced brake issues and qualified 21st.
Johnson: Hendrick will adjust to SHR loss
Stewart-Haas Racing 's blockbuster announcement of its impending move from Chevrolet to Ford in 2017 affects another NASCAR powerhouse -- Hendrick Motorsports . Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is confident team owner Rick Hendrick will make the adjustment in the 10 months between Tuesday's announcement and SHR’s departure from the engine and chassis deal that has been in place since Tony Stewart partnered with Gene Haas in 2009. "It was certainly a shock," Johnson said on Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway . "We have contracts in place with Stewart-Haas Racing that Hendrick has to honor and will honor and honor with integrity the way we always do. We have a lot of employees whose jobs count on that and rely on that. "Nothing is different this year. Fortunately, we have a year to figure out if we service some other teams and provide engines and chassis or how we handle it. I know Rick's goal is to keep the staff where it is. That gets me excited, because, if we maintain the staff, I think we'll be able to develop much more cool stuff for our race cars."