The history of Richard Petty Motorsports and full crews for Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose
Biagi-DenBeste Racing announced Wednesday that Ryan Truex will drive the team's No. 98 Ford in three NASCAR XFINITY Series races this season. Truex, 23, will compete in the No. 98 starting Sept. 11 at Richmond International Raceway . He is also scheduled to drive at 1.5-mile tracks, Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 26) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 9). The three-race deal was facilitated through Biagi-DenBeste's partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports . Truex last competed in the XFINITY Series in 2012, driving for three different car owners. His most recent NASCAR national series action was last season, participating in 23 races for BK Racing . "I've had some time away from racing, and it's given me a chance to refocus on my career," Truex said in a release provided by Richard Petty Motorsports . "I feel more driven than ever to perform well and prove that I can race with the best in the sport. I'd like to thank the fans as well. They've been really supportive of me on social media, asking when I'll be back racing again. I'm looking forward to putting on a great show for them." Biagi-DenBeste has competed in 11 XFINITY races this season, with RPM teammates Aric Almirola and Sam Hornish Jr . -- both Sprint Cup regulars -- splitting driving duties. The team's best finish in 2015 was Almirola's seventh-place effort in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway . "We're excited to join RPM in giving Ryan (Truex) this opportunity to get back to racing in the XFINITY Series," said Fred Biagi, team co-owner. "We've had fast cars this season and good results with both Aric and Sam; so hopefully, we can do the same with Ryan behind the wheel at Richmond."
RELATED: Darlington's throwback paint schemes Some people might call it sky blue or even Carolina blue, but in racing it's Petty Blue, and with Day-Glo Red and white it creates the iconic No. 43 paint scheme that will dress up Aric Almirola 's No. 43 STP Ford for the Sept. 6 Bojangles' Southern 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Almirola's throwback paint scheme honors Richard Petty's 1972 Plymouth Roadrunner, the first time The King's car featured sponsor STP with the Petty Blue and Day-Glo Red on the quarter panels. "STP has been a proud partner of Richard Petty for nearly 44 years now, and all of that started with this 1972 paint scheme," said Jamie Kistner, vice president of marketing for STP. "To be able to bring that first year back to the track through this paint scheme and with Aric Almirola has been a lot of fun and has brought back some great memories of STP's storied history in NASCAR for our fans. Darlington Raceway is hosting a great throwback event that's produced a lot of excitement and we're honored to be a part of it." STP Racing announced the throwback paint scheme on Twitter with a video honoring the No. 43's history and showing the painting of the Darlington car. Petty , a seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, raced with the STP logo on the hood of his No. 43 car for 21 years. The King has 200 career wins, and 60 of them came with STP aboard. "It will be neat to see the car that started our partnership with STP 43 years ago back on track at Darlington," said Petty . "It will be fun to see all the throwback schemes racing at Darlington and on Labor Day Weekend. It just feels right to have the Southern 500 back to Labor Day Weekend and is fitting that we celebrate tradition there with throwback paint schemes." Several members of the 1972 championship-winning team will be with Richard Petty Motorsports at Darlington: crew chief Dale Inman, as well as crew members Richie Barsz, fabricator; Tex Powell, mechanic and jackman; Les Barsz, mechanic and transporter driver; Billy Biscoe, mechanic and gas man; Jimmy "Zoomer" Kovalchik, fabricator and tire carrier; and Barry Dodson, painter. MORE: Hall of Fame driver Labonte to be grand marshal for race
Kahne also picks up new primary sponsor for three races in 2015 RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today MORE: Rodden to step in as No. 5 crew chief Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday morning that it has signed driver Kasey Kahne to a three-year contract extension, keeping him in the fold through 2018 . "I've found a home at Hendrick Motorsports ," said Kahne in a team release. "We have incredible people and partners supporting us, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction we're headed as a team and a company. It's the right place for me, and I'm looking forward to being here for a long time." The news comes one day after a major shakeup with Hendrick's No. 5 Chevrolet team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, with Keith Rodden accepting a crew chief role and Kenny Francis, atop Kahne's pit box since the 2005 season finale, shifting to the position of vehicle technical director. Kahne, an 11-year veteran and 17-time winner in NASCAR's premier series, and Francis joined the Hendrick organization in 2012. "It's extremely gratifying to work with a driver like Kasey," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports said in a team release. "I think the world of him both as a driver with championship-level talent and an overall terrific young man. Our whole organization has a great deal of respect for how hard he works, the professionalism he displays with our partners and the way he carries himself every day. We're committed to winning races and competing for titles with him for many years to come." In addition, Kahne will have LiftMaster on board as a primary sponsor for three races in the 2015 Sprint Cup season as well as an associate sponsor for the rest of the races. The agreement will be for the next three seasons (2015 to 2017). LiftMaster will be the primary sponsor for Kahne on May 24 (Charlotte), July 11 (Kentucky) and October 18 (Kansas). "It means a lot to have support from a great company like LiftMaster," Kahne said in a release. "The No. 5 team has high expectations for 2015, and they'll be with us as the primary sponsor at three tracks where we're traditionally very fast. All of us are looking forward to representing them throughout the season and developing a successful long-term relationship." We’re excited to join @KaseyKahne & @TeamHendrick starting in 2015! http://t.co/kZJdDPiroS pic.twitter.com/2aP8Oy7CJr — LiftMaster (@LiftMaster) November 20, 2014 The 34-year-old driver has won five times in Hendrick equipment and notched his best-ever finish in the season standings -- fourth -- in his first year with the team. Last season was a struggle, however, with Kahne posting just three top-five finishes and winding up 15th in the final standings. Kahne qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs with a Labor Day weekend victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the next-to-last race of the regular season. Kahne survived the first round of eliminations in the new-look Chase, but was ousted in the Contender Round, the second three-race leg of the postseason. Kahne agreed to join Hendrick in April 2010, replacing veteran driver Mark Martin . After signing the multiyear agreement, Kahne finished out most of the season in Richard Petty Motorsports' Fords, then spent the last five races of 2010 and all of 2011 driving Red Bull Racing's Toyotas before finally landing in the No. 5 Chevy. Re-signing Kahne, whose contract was set to expire after the 2015 season, helps solidify the Hendrick driver lineup. Team cornerstone Jeff Gordon , a four-time series champion, signed a lifetime contract with Hendrick in 1999. Six-time champion Jimmie Johnson is also under contract through 2015, and Dale Earnhardt Jr ., the sport's most popular driver, is signed through 2017. With Hendrick at the NASCAR-mandated maximum of four teams and the unlikelihood of Johnson departing after 2015, speculation will likely rise about the future of 18-year-old prodigy Chase Elliott , the reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champion who is under contract to Hendrick and drives for the affiliated JR Motorsports team with co-owner Earnhardt. Team owner Rick Hendrick said Nov. 8 after Elliott became the series' youngest champion that the young driver's career arc will likely include a handful of Sprint Cup races next season, but that there is no accelerated timetable to place him in NASCAR's premier series on a full-time basis. Elliott will return next year to defend his title in what will be known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series, driving JRM equipment. "Another year of seasoning here will be good for him, and we're not in any hurry," Hendrick said. "He's 18 years old." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Seven-time Cup champion discusses popularity, Richard Petty Motorsports
Take a behind the scenes look as the crew at Richard Petty Motorsports prepares Aric Almirola's throwback STP paint scheme for Darlington Raceway.
RELATED: Full series standings " Chase Grid BRISTOL, Tenn. -- In postseason terms, Aric Almirola is still an outsider, but not by much -- just 23 points behind Clint Bowyer , the final driver on the provisional Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff grid. It would be easy, if not exactly sporting, for Almirola to rejoice about Bowyer's short-term woes -- a 41st-place finish last week at Michigan -- and wider-scope issues -- the impending breakup of Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing team at season's end. While opportunities exist for Almirola to capitalize, he's not expecting his would-be Chase rivals to merely play out the string. "There are two ways to look at it," Almirola said after Friday's final Sprint Cup practice at Bristol Motor Speedway. "One is, yeah, they may be vulnerable and guys are kind of distracted and they're scrambling looking for jobs, but the other way to look at that is they don't have anything to lose, so they can push all the gray areas as hard as they can and be really aggressive and what's the worst that's going to happen? They're not going to lose their jobs because they're already looking for work. "There are a couple different ways to look at that and I think as hardcore racers as all those guys that he has on his team are, they're not gonna lay down; they're not gonna give up; they're gonna fight hard; they're gonna try and make the Chase. It's about pride. Everybody in this garage area has egos and we all want to beat our competitors and I doubt any of those guys, Clint included, are going to lay down." Almirola aims to gain more Chase ground, starting with Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM), the third-to-last race of the Sprint Cup regular season. Besides Bowyer in front of him, he also has Kasey Kahne just three points off his heels with three unpredictable races -- Bristol, Darlington, Richmond -- looming on the schedule. The fickle nature of all three tracks presents the opportunity for wild points swings, but Almirola would prefer to get to the Chase on the merits of performance. Richard Petty Motorsports ' season-long search for speed in Almirola's No. 43 and teammate Sam Hornish Jr .'s No. 9 has made that a more difficult prospect. "We've had a few setbacks that were costly to us, but all in all we've had 15th-place cars and we've been running top-15 with them," Almirola said. "That's really all we can do. The guys back at the shop are working extremely hard and so is everybody else in the garage area to bring better cars to the race track every weekend. We've just been playing catch-up all year long. I'm really proud of everybody at RPM, but the moral of the story is we just need more speed in our cars and as we work harder and harder and continue to get more speed in our cars, our results will reflect that." One factor that has made matters trickier -- opening-day pitfalls in back-to-back race weekends. This Friday, Almirola made contact with the outside retaining wall in opening practice, forcing his RPM crew into repair mode to keep his primary car intact. But it hardly compares with last weekend's adversity, which left him ailing and infirm in Michigan's infield care center. After missing portions of practice last weekend, Almirola rallied for a 14th-place finish in the Pure Michigan 400 . This weekend, he's happy to leave his ailment several states away. "I'm back to 100 percent but my goodness was that rough," Almirola said. "I never felt so bad in a long time. I had some sort of 24-hour stomach virus and it was maybe a little longer than 24 hours, maybe 36 hours, and I was down for the count. I was laying in the infield care center on Thursday night from 11 to maybe 2:30 in the morning getting IVs and went back to the bus and got a little bit of sleep, but woke up every half-hour with throwing up or whatever and you know what the other is, so it was a long night. "I got back up the next morning and went back to get some more IVs and I watched the first hour of practice laying on my couch in my motorhome and it was all I could do to gather myself up and get over to the garage and make a couple laps at practice."
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.
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase standings Below is a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared at Bristol Motor Speedway. 1. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano became just the third driver to lead approaching the halfway point on Saturday night, and he paced 176 laps en route to his second Bristol victory. " MORE: Logano victorious again in night race 2. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick rallied from two pit-road speeding penalties to run second with five laps to go when he unsuccessfully attempted a run for the lead. " MORE: Harvick scores 10th runner-up finish 3. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The polesitter held steady in the top 10 but struggled to find the answer when navigating the middle to exit of the turns at Bristol. " WATCH: Hamlin leads field to green flag 4. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . "These have been really good laps, man," crew chief Chad Knaus radioed Johnson as he scored his 10th top-five result at Bristol. " SIGN UP: RaceView Scanner 5. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer qualified ninth and was running second by Lap 232, but he struggled some after receiving contact late in the race. " MORE: Bowyer gives MWR a boost 6. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski was running second with teammate and eventual winner Joey Logano with 100 laps to go before being shuffled back on a restart. 7. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards gave up the lead on Lap 354 when he hit pit road for a flat tire. 8. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch recovered from an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 350 for a loose wheel and a subsequent pit-road speeding penalty with 68 laps to go. 9. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt fought to stay on the lead lap mid-race and recorded back-to-back beneficiary passes on the fourth and fifth caution periods. He then held on for his 15th Bristol top 10. 10. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Mostly quiet on the radio, Newman encouraged his team to leave the car alone as he also scored his 15th Bristol top 10. 11. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray completed a 50-lap run in practice that helped him get a feel for long green-flag stretches, of which there was one past halfway when he hovered in the top 10. 12. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Despite some early front-fender damage and a pit-road speeding penalty, Allgaier made the most of a promising run and earned his third top-15 finish of the year. 13. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon stopped late in the race for some repair to the left-rear of his car and finished as the last car on the lead lap. 14. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . "There's nothing I can really do to help you," crew chief Tony Gibson radioed Busch during the Lap 359 caution period, so Busch stayed out despite issues from an earlier mash-up with David Ragan . " SIGN UP: RaceView Scanner 15. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne restarted 18th at the tail end of the longest line with 67 laps to go after speeding on pit road. 16. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . "It took a lot longer to start vibrating this time," Kahne reported to his team on Lap 330 while running 18th. 17. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola qualified 31st in his repaired No. 43 Ford and was running 19th on Lap 358 when he told the team he feared they had lost the handle on it, prompting more adjustments. 18. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish experienced a tight-handling condition when running the bottom line and a loose-handling one when running the top, so his team worked on dialing the car in. 19. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart qualified 40th and cracked the top 15 by Lap 150 but later reported his car wouldn't cut in the middle of the corner any more. 20. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon was running fifth when he had to bring his throwback rainbow paint scheme to pit road on Lap 409 for a "bad vibration." 21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse had just taken the wave around and lined up 19th for the restart when he smacked the wall on Lap 384 to bring out the seventh caution flag. 22. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney spent most of the race trying to recover from a pit-road speeding penalty assessed on Lap 57. 23. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears, in his 26th Bristol outing, reported a vibration that his team addressed along with right-rear damage from earlier contact during the Lap 384 caution. 24. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard lost some track position early after a near-spin on Lap 43. He had another setback during the fifth caution period when his team lost control of a tire and he was penalized. 25. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Significant damage to the No. 16 prompted the team to make multiple stops for repairs during the sixth caution period. 26. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . On Lap 146, Allmendinger collided with Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and bounced off the inside wall. 27. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick radioed to her team that it felt like her right-front tire was going down, so she hit pit road on Lap 313 for four tires and fuel. 28. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Running a back-up car, Truex suffered left-front damage on Lap 384 and had to make two unscheduled pit stops, which put the team two laps down. 29. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Prior to the sixth caution flag, Whitt asked his team to check the right-side of his car after a competitor shoved him into the wall. 30. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The fastest qualifying rookie radioed early that he started off loose, but improved as the run continued. 31. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing . A big setup change during a mid-race pit stop slowed McDowell’s forward progress. 32. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman qualified 36th and picked up six spots but had trouble passing because his car developed a tight-handling condition in traffic. 33. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto was running 33rd when he radioed his team on Lap 308 that he needed to stop for flat right-rear tire. 34. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley caught a break on Lap 250 when the caution flag was waved. Just a few laps earlier, he had reported a right-front tire vibration. " MORE: Yeley's daughter steals the show 35. Josh Wise , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing. Early in the race, Wise's team got creative with adjustments when they handed him a paint stick so he could reach and adjust his in-car track bar. 36. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . In his 19th Bristol appearance, Gilliland was stalled early when he had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel. 37. Mike Bliss , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. Bliss suited up for his ninth race of the year, but his first behind the wheel of the No. 33. 38. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports . Cassill's team took a big swing at his setup early in the race, changing the bump stop setup, and chased the handling of the No. 40 throughout the race. 39. Timmy Hill , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Hill, making his second Bristol start on Saturday night, improved upon his first result at the half-mile track. 40. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan retreated behind the wall after receiving contact and spinning out of the top five to bring out the sixth caution flag on Lap 371. " MORE: Ragan, Bowyer show strength amid shake-up 41. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . An early two-tire call turned out to be a losing gamble as Larson cut his left-front on Lap 125 and hit the wall. He later brought out the fifth caution flag after hitting the wall. 42. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Around Lap 111, Kenseth limped from running in the top 10 to pit road for his team to assess his smoking car. An engine issue sent the No. 20 behind the wall. " MORE: Early exit for Kenseth 43. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett made an unscheduled pit stop after the first lap at Bristol for a transmission issue.
RELATED: Full practice results Carl Edwards rose to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leaderboard in Friday's opening practice at Michigan International Speedway. Edwards drove the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota to a fast lap of 196.046 mph on the 2-mile track. He set the time with a mock qualifying run in the last half-hour of practice. Defending Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick was second-fastest with a 194.858 mph lap in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Austin Dillon , Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin completed the top five in preparation for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). The 2-hour, 25-minute practice session marked the Michigan debut for the high-drag aerodynamic package, which was used last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The rules package, which features an extended rear spoiler among other aerodynamic tweaks, did not receive much of a trial run for race conditions as teams focused on single-car laps. Aric Almirola sat out the bulk of Friday's opening practice, battling what his Richard Petty Motorsports team hoped was a 24-hour virus. Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton filled in for the early portions of the practice in the RPM No. 43 Ford. The car wound up 29th-fastest on the leaderboard. RELATED: Sick Almirola will miss portions of practice Defending race winner Jeff Gordon , scheduled to make his last Michigan start Sunday, was 15th-fastest in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. Kurt Busch , the most recent Michigan winner in June, was 12th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet. Busch also had the best 10-lap average, running 188.212 mph on his 21st to 30th laps in the session. Joey Logano , last week's winner at Watkins Glen International, was 11th-fastest in the Team Penske No. 22, the fastest Ford on the leaderboard. The 44 cars that hit the track in the opening session participated with commemorative decals to honor NASCAR legend Buddy Baker, who died Monday at 74.