The history of Richard Petty Motorsports and full crews for Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose
Seven-time Cup champion discusses popularity, Richard Petty Motorsports
Kyle Busch fastest in Talladega final practice; Kennedy tops trucks Sprint Cup Series final practice " Results Kyle Busch claimed the top spot in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway as drivers conserved their equipment in the last tuning session before Sunday's main event. Busch, driving the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota, topped the 50-minute stretch with a fast lap of 195.205 mph. He ranks second in the standings, highest among Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff-eligible drivers without a win in the Contender Round. Rookie Kyle Larson was second-fastest at 195.118 mph in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. Kasey Kahne , Jeff Gordon and Casey Mears rounded out the top five in final practice. With teams opting to avoid potential damage with practicing in large packs, only 21 drivers took to the 2.66-mile track in the session. Matt Kenseth turned the most laps (21) with Kahne logging the second-most (20). Three title-eligible drivers did not participate in final practice -- Carl Edwards , Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman . Joey Logano did not complete a full lap at speed and was last among the 21 drivers on the leaderboard. Harvick and Logano both have free passes into the next round of the Chase, thanks to their victories in the other Contender Round races the last two weeks. The rest of the title hopefuls will need to lock into the Eliminator Round in Sunday's Geico 500 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), when the field of championship-eligible drivers is shaved from 12 to eight. Sprint Cup Series practice 1 " Results Clint Bowyer shot to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leaderboard Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway , using the aerodynamic draft to clock a lap at 200.385 mph in opening practice. Bowyer, driving the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Toyota, carries two Talladega fall race victories (2010, 2011) into Sunday's GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), the sixth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs and the elimination finale of the three-race Contender Round. After Sunday's event on the 2.66-mile track, the championship-eligible field will be whittled from 12 drivers to eight. Aric Almirola was second-fastest in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford at 200.268 mph. Defending race winner Jamie McMurray ended the session third-fastest with Michael McDowell and Travis Kvapil completing the top five. Brad Keselowski was the fastest among Chase drivers still alive in the title hunt, clocking the eighth-best lap. Joey Logano (31st-fastest) and Kevin Harvick (37th) are already clear to the next round of the playoffs with victories the last two weekends. Three heavy hitters below the cut-off line entering the Contender Round finale -- Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr ., and Jimmie Johnson -- essentially need to win Sunday's race to control their own postseason destiny. Earnhardt was 12th-fastest and Johnson, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, 32nd-fastest. The hourlong practice session marked the first on-track activity for the Sprint Cup drivers, and the large pack of cars fanned out to three-wide early on. Johnson was among those largely avoiding the risk of heavy traffic, but his lap times reflected the lack of aerodynamic help from other cars. Coors Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled Saturday (4:40 p.m. ET, ESPNews) with Sprint Cup teams tackling their first go-round with a new format for restrictor-plate tracks Talladega and Daytona, announced last month. Teams will have three five-minute rounds of eliminations, with 24 of the 46 drivers making the second session and 12 drivers competing for the pole in the final stint. Final Sprint Cup practice is scheduled later Friday from 4:30-5:20 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1). Camping World Truck Series practice 1 " Get results Rookie Ben Kennedy was fastest in Friday's first and only practice for Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway . Kennedy posted a speed of 188.902 mph on his 11th lap of the two-hour practice. Saturday will be Kennedy's first start at the Alabama track.Second-fastest was fellow rookie Mason Mingus at 188.872 mph. Tayler Malsam (188.857 mph), Ryan Sieg (188.835 mph) and Spencer Gallagher (188.824 mph) completed the top five fastest drivers. Points leader Matt Crafton posted a speed of 186.585 mph and was 14th-fastest of the run. Defending race winner Johnny Sauter was 17th-fastest (186.409 mph). Sauter is the only previous winner in the field for Saturday, and he trails teammate Crafton by 19 points in the standings. The practice had four caution flags. The first came out early for debris at the end of pit road. The second was for No. 74 Mike Harmon who spun in Turns 3 and 4. The third was for fluid on the track in Turn 4 and the fourth and final caution came out when No. 13 Jeb Burton stopped on the track after running out of fuel. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to the track for Keystone Light Pole Qualifying at 5:45 p.m. ET with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1. Sprint Cup Series practice 2, 4:30-5:20 p.m. ET " Follow live MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Through Operation Insipration, Richard Petty and Eckrich team up with Jewel-Osco to surprise a military family with one year's worth of free groceries and a new car.
See where each driver finished at Charlotte and why RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Editor's note: Drivers in italics are in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 1. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Harvick showed the "freaky fast" dominance that he's been notorious for throughout the 2014 season as he led for a total of 162 laps out of 334 to win the Bank of America 500 . Harvick started seventh in the field and maintained a top-10 presence. The No. 4 SHR driver won by pulling away on the final restart on Lap 333 to beat Jeff Gordon to the finish line by .571 seconds. Harvick enters the final race in the Contender Round with a win to guarantee a position in the Eliminator Round. Get more driver data with RaceView. 2. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Gordon wasted little time shooting from second place to stealing the lead from Kyle Busch on Lap 14. The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver led for a total of 74 laps before finishing .571 seconds away from first. Gordon currently sits sixth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with 18 points over Matt Kenseth , the first driver sitting in a position to be eliminated in ninth. 3. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing McMurray used an interesting pit strategy on a Lap 95 caution, only taking two tires. The pit move put the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing driver second in the field on the restart, alongside Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who also only took two tires. Unlike Dale Jr., McMurrary maintained his position. CGR teammates McMurray and Larson went on to bounce in and out of the top five, giving the Chase drivers a run for their money along the way. McMurray ultimately finished third at Charlotte, achieving his seventh top five of his Cup career at the track. Get more pit data with RaceView. 4. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske Logano played a low profile this week. Why make a scene when you're already guaranteed a spot in the Elimination Round of the Chase? "Sliced Bread" started 13th in the field, and besides his slight run-in with Danica Patrick on Lap 246 when he got into the back of the No. 10 coming out of Turn 2, causing Patrick to spin out, the Team Penske driver had a successful night. Logano remains on the top of the points standings heading into Talladega. See Logano's interaction with Patrick here . 5. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Pole-sitter Kyle Busch came out looking as strong as ever. Leading a total of 41 laps, the No. 18 Toyota driver had a lot of contenders gunning after his lead position and he just couldn't hold off the hard-charging Harvick. Despite losing the lead, Busch just added another top-five finish at Charlotte his new total of 10. Busch sits second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. 6. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing Larson found the high line early in the race and was able to fly into the top 10 on a restart after the competition caution on Lap 25. The No. 42 Chevrolet driver even saw the lead for five laps. The Chip Ganassi Racing rookie has been consistent for his first Sprint Cup Series season -- with eight top fives and now 16 top 10s, Larson's sixth-place finish proves he's a driver Chasers should be worried about now and in the future. 7. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Newman was running in the top 15 when a spin from Danica Patrick collected him and sent the No. 31 shooting across the track. Newman started the race fifth, and despite his incident managed to rally a top-10 finish. Newman now sits fourth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings as he heads to Talladega. See Newman's spin here . 8. Carl Edwards , No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing Starting 10th in the Bank of America 500 , Edwards didn't make any significant moves in the second race of the Contender Round of the Chase besides scoring his 13th top-10 finish at Charlotte. Looking ahead, Edwards is 12 points off of first in the standings. The No. 99 driver would need to finish 18th with no laps led, 19th with at least one lap led or 20th with most laps led at Talladega to advance in order to the clinch into the Eliminator Round of the Chase. 9. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Hamlin started the race third and surprisingly didn't see the lead until Lap 272 out of 334. Hamlin led 22 laps before falling short to eventual winner Kevin Harvick . The lead gave Hamlin enough momentum to remain in the top 10 from there on out. After the race on the cool down lap, Hamlin found himself tangled in post-race drama with Brad Keselowski . The No. 2 and No. 11 seemed to have a disagreement, causing Keselowski to try to wreck Hamlin. "He just tried to turn ya," Hamlin's crew chief explained to Hamlin. "Get out of there. Be smart. Don't do nothing stupid. Let Tony (Stewart) handle it." Get more in-race audio with RaceView . " View the video of the post-race drama here . 10. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Kahne escaped the craziness of what was the Bank of America 500 with a top-10 finish and even moved a position higher in the Chase standings. Currently sitting in the eighth position in the standings, in order for Kahne to clinch a spot in the Eliminator Round of the Chase he would have to win at Talladega. Kahne has three top-fives in 21 starts at the superspeedway with an average finish of 21.5. 11. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing The kind of run that Busch had at Charlotte was exactly the kind of run he needed earlier in the season to have remained in the Chase. Busch saw his way into the top five quickly after starting the race 11th in the field and even saw the lead for two laps. The No. 41 SHR driver finished 11th, more than 8 spots ahead of his average finishing position at the North Carolina track. 12. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing Although no longer in the Chase, Allmendinger is still running in the top 15. The 'Dinger started the race 26th and made significant positive movement in the race despite a pit road penalty on Lap 97 for equipment leaving his pit box. Allmendinger is also leading in the non-Chase driver standings. 13. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Improving his previous Charlotte showing, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitor started the Bank of America 500 20th in the field and eventually led for a total of six laps during a flurry of green-flag pits stops. Dillon has shown he's powerful on speedways, earning his first Coors Light Pole Award at the start of the year in the Daytona 500 . Dillon's previous trip to Talladega had him finishing 15th. Not bad for a rookie. 14. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing In one of Truex's better races this season, the Furniture Row Racing driver started 23rd and made huge gains by Lap 124 and was running as high as sixth. Truex's average finish at Charlotte is 18.5 in 19 starts, so his 14th-place finish is a move in a positive direction. Truex Jr. moved up one spot in the standings. 15. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports Still in his rookie season, Allgaier has only two Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte, his best run coming in the Bank of America 500 . Not only was this Allgaier's best run at Charlotte, it was also his best run of 2014. Could the HScott driver be catching on? 16. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske Unlike Keselowski's typical chamionship-worthy form, the No. 2 Team Penske driver fought to stay in the top 10 at Charlotte. It wasn't until after the race that Keselowski started to heat up. During the cool-down lap, the No. 2 and No. 11 seemed to have a disagreement, causing Keselowski to go after Denny Hamlin . Once heading onto pit road Keselowski then went after Matt Kenseth and also crashed into Tony Stewart along the way. Stewart had no tolerance for it and reversed himself into Keselowski. Back in the garage area, Hamlin and Kenseth went after Keselowski and physical altercations broke out between the No. 2 and No. 20 team. All in all, with a finish of 16th, Keselowski now must battle at Talladega next week to keep his position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Keselowski sits 19 points behind the eighth-place cut off for the Eliminator Round. View the video of the post-race drama here . 17. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Better than his finish last week at Kansas, Johnson could have still had a better night in the Bank of America 500 . In his 27 starts, Johnson had earned seven wins at the North Carolina track, his most recent coming in the spring race of this year. Unlike his typical calm and cool demeanor, Johnson let a bit of the pressure get to him, resulting in a heated exchange with crew chief Chad Knaus over the radio as Knaus was trying to adjust Johnson's car. Hanging on the edge of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings in 11th, the Hendrick Motorsports driver must win at Talladega in order to clinch a spot in the next round. Johnson only has two wins in 25 starts at the Alabama superspeedway where he finished 23rd earlier this year. To hear the heated discussion click here . 18. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing Even though Biffle is out of the Chase, he still found a way to make an impact. Biffle's 18th-place finish was not only better than his spring showing, but the non-Chaser took away a position that Kenseth and Dale Jr. were gunning for. 19. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing After starting the race in the rear for unapproved adjustments, winless Chase contender Kenseth worked his way through traffic and even saw the top five. It wasn't until Lap 272 that things started to shake up. During a restart on that lap, Kenseth and Keselowski made contact and Hamlin ran away with the lead. The contact dropped Kenseth from fourth back to 18th-place. Following Harvick's win, Kenseth was driving down pit road with his seat belt and HANS device off, and Keselowski charged from behind him to scrape the back side of the No. 20 Toyota Camry. Kenseth later found Keselowski on pit road and a fight broke out between the two teams. View the video of the post-race drama here . 20. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Earnhardt Jr. needed Charlotte to be a success story. He even went as far as declaring his win a day before the race. "We're gonna win this race," Earnhardt said in a televised interview after Friday's first practice at Charlote. "I've got a really good feeling about it." Earnhardt Jr. pitted before pit road was open on Lap 138 and got a penalty, forcing him to restart in the rear. The No. 88 crew also had to deal with a broken shifter in the Hendrick Chevrolet. Earnhardt was also penalized for speeding on pit road which ultimately set him back further in the field. After a second penalty for speeding and constantly battling to stay on the lead lap, Dale Jr. finished the race 20th and is currently 12th in the Chase standings with one race left in the Contender Round. Junior has the best record at Talladega of any of the Chasers on the bubble going into next round with five wins, 10 top-fives and 14 top-10s in 29 career starts. 21. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing It looked like a quiet night for Stewart. The SHR co-owner and driver started fourth in the field and by Lap 4 had stolen third from Hamlin. He eventually drifted back, occasionally making an appearance in the top 10. Stewart finished the race 21st and was heading down pit road when Keselowski made contact with the No. 14 as he was attempting to go after Kenseth. Stewart had zero tolerance for the No. 2's behavior and put his SHR Chevrolet into reverse, crunching the hood of Keselowski. View the video of the post-race drama here . 22. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports It's a good thing Almirola is no longer in the Chase running. His poor showings at both Kansas (31st) and Charlotte (22nd) would be a surefire way to eliminate himself. The No. 43 team couldn't seem to find their groove on Saturday night and caught themselves a lap down on Lap 85. After starting 15th, Almirola just dropped back. We know the RPM driver is capable of more because he finished 11th in the spring race this year. Perhaps, Almirola is experiencing more of a laid back attitude now that the Chase pressure is off his shoulders. 23. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing With three previous DNFs at Charlotte, just finishing the race is an accomplishment for the No. 40 team. Cassill's 23rd-place finish is his second best in nine starts at the track. His best was 18th in 2012. Although Cassill only finished 331 out of 334 laps, this is still a move in the right direction. 24. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing While this isn't Stenhouse's worst finish at Charlotte, it isn't his best either. The No. 17 RFR driver started 28th in the field and didn't see much movement. Perhaps he was distracted by his contact he made with Mears on Lap 109. From the looks of it, it seemed intentional and Mears headed to pit road. If Stenhouse gets his mind back on racing, he might find himself in the top five at Talladega, as he was in 2013. 25. Marcos Ambrose , No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports 2014 hasn't been Ambrose's year at Charlotte. This weekend earning 25th, and then previously finishing 29th in the spring, he doesn't seem like he's looking to leave his mark on the Cup Series before he leaves after the end of the season. Moving forward, although the No. 9 is a road course expert, he did once earn a top five on Talladega Superspeedway . 26. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Patrick celebrated a small victory early in the race as she moved up 11 positions to fourth in the race off pit road following the competition caution on Lap 25. After that, the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing driver quickly fell into the 20s. Patrick brought herself back up to 11th but spun in Turn 2 after trying to get around Logano. Patrick collected Ryan Newman with her. "It was such a bummer for the GoDaddy team," Patrick said. "We were having such a good night, and I really think we had a car that was capable of a top-10 finish tonight, and that got taken away from us for really no reason. It's just really frustrating. Charlotte has not been good to me." The No. 10 suffered damage to the right-rear and front end as she hit the wall but was able to continue with the race. Patrick ultimately finished 26th, her second-best finish at the track in five starts. See Patrick's spin here . 27. Reed Sorenson , No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing Sorenson started 30th in the field and finished just three positions better. The No. 36 driver finished 42nd in the spring race, ultimately improving his finish by 15 positions in the fall race. Looking ahead, Sorenson has four DNFs at Talladega, his most recent coming in the spring. The Tommy Baldwin Racing driver's best finish at the superspeedway is 10th in 2007. 28. Cole Whitt , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing Sunoco Rookie of the Year competitior Whitt made his fourth Sprint Cup Series start at Charlotte and scored his second-best finish. Whitt started 36th and finished 28th, raising him one spot in the Cup standings. 29. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing Scoring his best finish at Charlotte in 11 starts, McDowell might be on to something. Although he only improved two spots from his starting position, the No. 95 driver is chipping away at his high average finish of 36.3 30. Alex Bowman , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing In his second career start at Charlotte, rookie Bowman may have had a finish barely inside the top 30, but it's the better of his two appearances, so that has to be a step in the right direction. His pit crew, on the other hand, might be what's slowing him down. On Lap 330, nearing the end of the race, Bowman pitted and was penalized for a missing lugnut on his car. Without that, could the No. 23 rookie have pulled off a top-20 finish? 31. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing It's been about seven years, but Mears knows what it feels like to win at Charlotte. More often than that, though, he knows how it feels to get a DNF at the track. Thankfully, the No. 13 driver avoided the latter, but finished several positions off his average of 23.6. 32. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Finishing two spots behind his position a week prior at Kansas, it seems like Gilliland might only drop off the map from here on out, or we could see another top 10 performance at Talladega like he put on in 2013. Although the No. 38 driver gained five positions from his starting spot, he still finished a few places behind his average of 29.8. 33. Michael Annett , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing Annett got into the wall on Lap 266, bringing out a caution at Charlotte. The No. 7 driver also experienced leakage earlier in the race, but finished 33rd despite his shortcomings. Annett finished 28th in his first start at Charlotte in the spring. 34. David Ragan , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Ragan saw no movement at Charlotte after starting the race in the same position as he ended. Ragan's average finish at Charlotte is 23.7, but his last six efforts have all been worse than that. Looking ahead, the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports driver actually has a win at Talladega than came in the spring of 2013. 35. Corey LaJoie, No. 77 Ford, Randy Humphrey Racing Making his second career Cup start and his first at his hometrack, LaJoie didn't exactly make a grand entrance. The 23 year old started the race 42nd, so to say he didn't make any gains would be a lie, they were just few and far between. 36. Timmy Hill , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Spilled gasoline in Hill's pit box brought a small fire that was quickly extinguished on pit road. If only the No. 33 brought the same heat to the track. Hill finished 36th in his fourth start at Charlotte. This is the third time out of those four starts that Hill has finished 36th. 37. Brian Vickers , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Vickers was running in the top 15 when he spun in Turn 2, bringing out a caution on Lap 237. Vickers was then running 20th when his engine blew on Lap 328, bringing out another caution. Vickers finished 37th after starting the race eighth. This is Vickers' second time finishing 37th in 17 starts at Charlotte. 38. J.J. Yeley, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing Yeley's best performance at Charlotte came in 2007 when he finished second. Since then, the No. 83 driver has hardly seen finishes inside the top 30. Although this isn't Yeley's worst finish at Charlotte, he's seen better days. 39. Blake Koch , No. 32 Ford, FAS Lane Racing Koch's 39th-place finish in the Bank of America 500 was the worst position the driver has earned in his total of three starts at the track. The only other tracks Koch has raced s Cup car are Phoenix and Dover. Some experience on different styles of tracks could help out the 29-year-old. 40. Brett Moffitt , No. 66 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing In his first start at Charlotte Motor Speedway , the 22-year-old Sprint Cup part-timer was just getting his feet wet. Moffitt has made four other Cup starts this season, scoring his best finish of 22nd in his series debut at Dover. 41. Josh Wise , No. 98 Chevrolet, Phil Parsons Racing Wise had to head to the garage for vibrations on Lap 81, but returned on Lap 116. Not making any big moves, the No. 98 came down the apron, car smoking at Lap 221 bringing out a caution. Wise ultimately finished 41st and 156 laps behind. 42. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing On Lap 136, Menard brought out a caution as the No. 27 blew an engine and was forced to the garage. This was Menard's second career DNF at Charlotte, his first coming in 2008. Menard started sixth in the race and had showed potential of a top-10 finish. 43. Clint Bowyer , No 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Bowyer faced engine issues on Lap 96, which brought out a caution, and ultimately had to take the No. 15 Toyota to the garage. This is Bowyer's first DNF at Charlotte and his fourth of 2014, his first coming in the season-opening Daytona 500 . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceVie FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
A statistical look ahead to the opening race of the Eliminator Round RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at the eight Eliminators – and beyond – at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia going into the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 on October 26. MARTINSVILLE-SPECIFIC STATISTICS 1 - Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.6 2014 Rundown · Five wins, 15 top fives, 20 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.5 · Led 20 races for 916 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Two top fives, three top 10s · Average finish of 14.8 in 11 races · Average Running Position of 16.0, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 82.3, 14th-best 2 - Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.7 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; eight poles · Average finish of 13.4 · Led 24 races for 1,817 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One win, three top fives, 12 top 10s · Average finish of 15.8 in 26 races · Average Running Position of 13.7, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 93.2, eighth-best · 956 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.163 mph, eighth-fastest · 6,348 Laps in the Top 15 (66.6%), sixth-most · 578 Quality Passes, sixth-most 3 - Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.1 2014 Rundown · Three top fives, 14 top 10s · Average finish of 13.3 · Led 7 races for 41 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One win, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 15.5 in 25 races · Average Running Position of 15.1, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 86.9, 10th-best · 1,008 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · 5,419 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8%), ninth-most · 528 Quality Passes, ninth-most 4 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.1 · Led 14 races for 218 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 8.8 in 17 races · Average Running Position of 9.0, third-best · Driver Rating of 109.6, third-best · 580 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.467 mph, third-fastest · 7,007 Laps in the Top 15 (82.1%), fourth-most · 609 Quality Passes, fifth-most 5 - Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.6 2014 Rundown · 12 top fives, 19 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.6 · Led 18 races for 468 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Four top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 15.0 in 29 races · Average Running Position of 16.0, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 84.2, 12th-best · 173 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most · 1,023 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.042 mph, 11th-fastest 6 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford Ecoboost Fusion Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.7 2014 Rundown · Two wins, seven top fives, 13 top 10s · Average finish of 14.5 · Led 11 races for 135 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, five top 10s · Average finish of 15.7 in 20 races · Average Running Position of 15.9, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 81.4, 15th-best · 1,036 Green Flag Passes, third-most · 5,181 Laps in the Top 15 (54.3%), 11th-most · 555 Quality Passes, eighth-most 7 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.4 2014 Rundown · Four wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.3 · Led 23 races for 743 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight wins, 27 top fives, 34 top 10s; seven poles · Average finish of 7.0 in 43 races · Average Running Position of 6.7, second-best · Driver Rating of 119.0, second-best · Series-high 1,034 Fastest Laps Run · 933 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.684 mph, second-fastest · 8,375 Laps in the Top 15 (87.8%), second-most · Series-high 691 Quality Passes 8 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 104.3 2014 Rundown · Six wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; five poles · Average finish of 12.9 · Led 26 races for 1,518 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, five top 10s · Average finish of 13.4 in nine races · Average Running Position of 16.2, 14th-best · Driver Rating of 84.5, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.102 mph, 10th-fastest 9 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Halloween Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0 2014 Rundown · One win, eight top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 17.0 · Led 15 races for 453 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight top fives, nine top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.9 in 19 races · Average Running Position of 13.3, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 96.1, sixth-best · 409 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 952 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.342 mph, fifth-fastest · 6,587 Laps in the Top 15 (69.1%), fifth-most · 616 Quality Passes, fourth-most 10 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.2 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.7 · Led 16 races for 1,119 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight wins, 18 top fives, 22 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 5.2 in 25 races · Series-best Average Running Position of 5.6 · Series-best Driver Rating of 124.8 · 1,010 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 91.737 mph · Series-high 8,833 Laps in the Top 15 (92.6%) · 680 Quality Passes, second-most 11 - Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.1 2014 Rundown · One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 16.3 · Led 12 races for 218 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Three top fives, four top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 20.2 in 21 races · Average Running Position of 20.4, 20th-best · Driver Rating of 77.7, 19th-best · 255 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most 12 - AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Clorox Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.2 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 20.2 · Led 5 races for 68 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, two top 10s · Average finish of 20.6 in 12 races · Average Running Position of 21.3, 23rd-best · Driver Rating of 70.8, 22nd-best 13 - Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.6 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s · Average finish of 12.8 · Led 15 races for 300 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · 11 top fives, 16 top 10s · Average finish of 12.8 in 29 races · Average Running Position of 10.8, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 99.9, fourth-best · 471 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · Series-high 1,111 Green Flag Passes · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.374 mph, fourth-fastest · 7,393 Laps in the Top 15 (77.5%), third-most · 668 Quality Passes, third-most 14 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 78.6 2014 Rundown · Three top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 16.1 · Led 7 races for 110 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Five top 10s · Average finish of 20.1 in 23 races · Average Running Position of 20.6, 21st-best · Driver Rating of 70.5, 23rd-best · 1,068 Green Flag Passes, second-most 15 - Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.5 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 19.4 · Led 12 races for 183 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Two wins, three top fives, five top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 20.8 in 28 races · Average Running Position of 18.2, 18th-best · Driver Rating of 79.0, 18th-best · 987 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most 16 - Aric Almirola (No. 43 Smithfield Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 72.4 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 21.6 · Led 5 races for 23 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 24.0 in 11 races · Average Running Position of 23.9, 30th-best · Driver Rating of 64.8, 27th-best The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Eliminator Eight at Martinsville Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Joey Logano 11 0 0 2 3 0 14.8 82.3 2 Kevin Harvick 26 0 1 3 12 1 15.8 93.2 3 Ryan Newman 25 3 1 7 11 2 15.5 86.9 4 Denny Hamlin 17 3 4 9 13 1 8.8 109.6 5 Matt Kenseth 29 0 0 4 10 2 15.0 84.2 6 Carl Edwards 20 0 0 1 5 0 15.7 81.4 7 Jeff Gordon 43 7 8 27 34 0 7.0 119.0 8 Brad Keselowski 9 0 0 1 5 0 13.4 84.5 * – Based on last 19 races at Martinsville Speedway (2005 – 2014). Martinsville Speedway: History · Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles , Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States. · The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949. · The track was paved in 1955. · The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956. · Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976. Notebook · There have been 131 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway , one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950. · 599 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville; 376 in more than one. · NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty has the all-time most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville with 67 starts; Jeff Gordon has the most among active drivers with 43. · Curtis Turner won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Martinsville Speedway in 1949. · 58 drivers have Coors Light poles at Martinsville, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with eight; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven. · 12 drivers have won two or more consecutive Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway . Four of the 12 have won three consecutive poles at Martinsville: Glen Wood (Fall of 1959 and 1960 sweep); Darrell Waltrip (1979 sweep and spring 1980); Mark Martin (fall of 1990 and 1991 sweep); Jeff Gordon (2003 sweep and spring 2004). · Youngest Martinsville pole winner: Ricky Rudd (4/26/1981 – 24 years, 7 months, 14 days). · Oldest Martinsville pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (4/26/1987 – 45 years, 6 months, 14 days). · 47 different drivers have won at Martinsville Speedway , led by Richard Petty with 15; Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lead the series among active drivers with eight wins each. · 24 drivers have multiple wins at Martinsville Speedway only five active drivers have multiple wins: Jimmie Johnson (eight), Jeff Gordon (eight), Denny Hamlin (four), Tony Stewart (three) and Kurt Busch (two). · Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 21. · 21 of 131 races (16.0%) at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; seven of those 21 wins came from active drivers: Tony Stewart (2000), Jeff Gordon (2003 twice), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2012, spring 2013) and Denny Hamlin (2010). · The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting spot in the field at Martinsville producing more wins (21) than any other starting position. · 36 of the 131 (27.4 %) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the front row: 21 from the pole and 15 from second-place. · 95 of the 131 (72.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Six of the 131 (4.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 36th, by Kurt Busch in the fall of 2002. · Youngest Martinsville winner: Richard Petty (04/10/1960 – 22 years, 9 months, 8 days). · Oldest Martinsville winner: Harry Gant (09/22/1991 – 51 years, 8 months, 12 days). · NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in runner-up finishes at Martinsville Speedway with seven; Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson lead all active drivers with four each. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-five finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 30; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 27, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 18. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 37; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 34, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 22. · Jeff Gordon leads active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Martinsville Speedway with a 7.186. Ryan Newman (9.680) and Denny Hamlin (9.765) are the only two other active drivers with an average starting position at Martinsville inside the top-10. · Three active drivers have a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series average finish in the top-10 at Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson (5.200), Jeff Gordon (6.953) and Denny Hamlin (8.765). · There have been five NSCS green-white-checkered finishes at Martinsville Speedway : fall 2007 (500/506), fall 2008 (500/504), fall 2009 (500/501), spring 2010 (500/508), and spring 2012 (500/515). · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions eight times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway ; the most recent was the fall race of 2011. · Jeff Gordon has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway without a DNF (43). · Tony Stewart (4/18/1999) and Scott Riggs (4/10/2005) won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway . · Mike Bliss (09/27/1998), Travis Kvapil (10/24/2004), Michael McDowell (3/30/2008) and Scott Speed (10/19/2008) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Martinsville Speedway . · 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted consecutive wins at Martinsville Speedway . Fred Lorenzen won four NSCS races straight (the most) from the fall of 1963 through the spring of 1965. · All eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Martinsville Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart won at Martinsville with the fewest previous appearances (three). · Ryan Newman competed at Martinsville Speedway 20 times before winning in the spring of 2012; the longest span of any the eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Four drivers have made eight or more attempts before their first win at Martinsville Speedway : Kevin Harvick (19) and Ryan Newman (20). · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway is the 4/1/2007 race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.065 second. · Danica Patrick is the only female driver to compete at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 10 32 3/30/2014 Danica Patrick 41 17 10/27/2013 Danica Patrick 32 12 4/7/2013 · Seven car numbers have produced five or more Martinsville Speedway NSCS wins: Car Number – Drivers – (Years) o No. 43 – Richard Petty (1960, ’62, ’63, ’67 sweep, ’68, ’69 sweep, ’70, ’71, ’72 sweep, ’73, ’75 and ’79); John Andretti (1999) o No. 11 – Cale Yarborough (1974, ’76, ’77 sweep, ‘78); Darrell Waltrip (1981, ’82, ’83, ’84); Geoff Bodine (1990 sweep); Denny Hamlin (2008, ’09, ’10 sweep) o No . 28 – Fred Lorenzen (1961, ’63, ’64 sweep, ‘65 and ‘66); Buddy Baker (1979); Ernie Irvan (1993). o No . 2 – Dale Earnhardt (1980); Rusty Wallace (1993, ‘94 sweep, ’95, ’96 and ‘04) o No . 48 – Jimmie Johnson (2004, ’06, ’07 sweep, ’08, ’09, ’12, ‘13) o No . 24 – Jeff Gordon (1996, ’97, ’99, ’03 sweep and ’05 sweep, fall 2013) o No . 3 – Ricky Rudd (1983); Dale Earnhardt (1985, ’87, ’88, ’91, ’95) NASCAR in Virginia · There have been 285 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among nine tracks in Virginia. Track Name City NSCS Martinsville Speedway Martinsville 131 Richmond International Raceway Richmond 117 South Boston Speedway South Boston 10 Langley Field Speedway Hampton 9 Old Dominion Speedway Manassas 7 Southside Speedway Richmond 4 Starkey Speedway Roanoke 4 Norfolk Speedway Norfolk 2 Princess Anne Speedway Norfolk 1 · 172 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Virginia. · 19 drivers from Virginia have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series. 11 of the 19 Virginia native NASCAR winners have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Joe Weatherly 25 0 0 Denny Hamlin 24 11 2 Ricky Rudd 23 1 0 Jeff Burton 21 27 0 Curtis Turner 17 0 0 Ward Burton 5 4 0 Glen Wood 4 0 0 Elliott Sadler 3 10 1 Emanuel Zervakis 2 0 0 Lennie Pond 1 0 0 Wendell Scott 1 0 0 Tommy Ellis 0 22 0 Jimmy Hensley 0 9 2 Rick Mast 0 9 0 Hermie Sadler 0 2 0 Elton Sawyer 0 2 0 Stacy Compton 0 0 2 Jon Wood 0 0 2 Jeb Burton 0 0 1 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet is defending race winner at Virginia short track Jeff Gordon has been pretty strong in his career at Martinsville Speedway . The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has eight wins, 27 top-fives, 34 top-10s and seven Coors Light Pole Awards at the Virginia short track. Gordon's last win at Martinsville came last fall in the Chase race, where he led 78 laps, including the final 21 circuits to secure his victory. Earlier in his career, Gordon swept the Martinsville Sprint Cup Series races in 2003 and 2005. Gordon and his Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson have the most wins among active drivers at the track, but they are tied for third all-time behind Richard Petty (15 wins) and Darrell Waltrip (11 wins).
Driver-by-driver news and notes from the final race of the Challenger Round MORE: Full race results " Updated series standings " Best Dover photos " Gallery of winners RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Editor's note: Drivers in italics are in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 1. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon dominated the last quarter of the race, leading 94 of the final 96 laps for his fourth win of the season. Gordon was in good shape to advance heading into the final race of the Challenger Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but the victory was an exclamation point after a disappointing finish at Loudon. Gordon shared the celebration with his team over the radio, exclaiming, "Woo hoo we won at Dover boys!" See how Gordon won at Dover . 2. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski looks like a man on a mission in the Chase. He led 78 laps in the AAA 400 and his second-place finish gives him an average finish of 3.3 through the first three races of the Chase. As has been the case this season, speed was not an issue for the No. 2 team as Keselowski was the fastest on restarts (151.888 mph) and the fastest early in a run (151.662 mph). See Keselowski's race highlights here . 3. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . A steady but not spectacular run for the nine-time winner at Dover. For the first time since the spring race in 2007, Johnson did not lead a lap in a Dover race. If the No. 48 team wasn't so dominant at the Monster Mile that wouldn't be alarming. Still, the team did what it had to and more to advance. If the sleeping giant wakes up, look out. See Johnson's race highlights here. 4. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. Last weekend's winner at Loudon already had his Contender Round ticket punched and he spent close to half the race outside the top 10. But "Sliced Bread" turned it on late, scoring his third straight top-five finish and his sixth straight top-10 at Dover. Despite not leading a lap, Logano seemed pleased with the effort, telling his team on the radio, "Good job battling all day." For more in-car audio, subscribe to RaceView today. 5. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth scored his 11th top-five finish of the season. In his seven-win season last year, he had 12 top-five finishes. Last year's championship runner-up spent the entire race in the top 15, something that only Johnson and Keselowski did otherwise, and spent the second-lowest amount of time on pit road. Get pit road times and more with RaceView. 6. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. Larson has been on fire since the Chase began -- if only he were one of the 16 drivers in the field. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender had 37 quality passes, the second-most, according to loop data. In the three Chase races, Larson has an average finish of 3.7. Is there any doubt that his first Sprint Cup win is coming very soon? 7. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing. At what is practically the New Jersey-born driver's home track, Truex posted his best finish in 16 races, which was coincidently a sixth-place finish in the spring race at Dover. Truex had the most green-flag passes in the race with 62, according to loop data. 8. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Newman's steady hand helped him advance to the Contender Round of the Chase. He had the fourth-most green-flag passes (58), according to loop data. The eighth-place result was Newman's second such result at Dover in his past three races there. 9. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer earned his first top-10 finish since Richmond and extended his streak of top-10 finishes at the Monster Mile to eight straight races. 10. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Remember when everyone was worried that "Rowdy" wouldn't even make it out of the Challenger Round? Three top-10 finishes in the opening round of the Chase have proven that fear to be false. Busch was the third-fastest car early in a run and has looked solid in the Chase. 11. Carl Edwards , No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. For a brief time, it looked like "Concrete Carl" may not make it out of the Challenger Round as he was running as far back as 23rd on Lap 80. But the veteran stayed after it and worked his way up thanks to making 33 quality passes, the sixth-most in the race, according to loop data. 12. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin entered the race on the outside looking in of advancing to the Contender Round. But a strong starting spot, the least amount of time on pit road and a solid run at Dover moved him through. But one driver had some concerns about Hamlin's car as Gordon radioed to his team, "11 has his skirt flared out so much he's going to cut someone's tire." There were no post-race inspection issues with the No. 11 team. To hear more in-car audio, subscribe to RaceView today. 13. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. The polesitter led a race-high 223 laps and looked downright dominant. There were concerns about a broken left front shock, but it was a left front tire issue that derailed the No. 4 team's day. "Something had to cut that tire don't you think?" Harvick asked over the radio. Turned out to be a left front valve stem was knocked out. The team recovered well for a 13th-place finish, but this was the third time in five races that Harvick led triple-digit laps and had no win to show for it. See what happened to Harvick at Dover. 14. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. At a track where he has three career wins, "Smoke" scored his best finish since a seventh-place result at Loudon more than two months ago. He spent all but eight laps in the top 15. Perhaps this is the start of a strong 2014 finish to set up a solid 2015 campaign. 15. Brian Vickers , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. Vickers was eighth in the standings when engine trouble derailed his strong start to the season at Dover in the spring. He ran well here Sunday, scoring his fourth top-15 finish in the past five races. 16. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Menard has struggled to regain the form that saw him roll off four top-10 finishes in five races this spring into summer. The finish may look respectable but Menard ran just four laps in the top 15. 17. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . For the fifth time in six races, Junior finished outside the top 10. In fact, Dale Jr. spent only 40 laps in the top 10 and was never much of a threat to win. While the team moves on to the Contender Round, the results need to improve for a championship run. 18. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. "The Outlaw's" 500th career Sprint Cup Series start was supposed to be a joyous occasion but it was not as he did not advance to the Contender Round. Busch was battling a tight car most of the race and that affected his position as he went from 12th on Lap 300 to 18th at the finish. Busch took the blame, telling his team over the radio after the race, "It's all my fault. Put that all on the driver. It's all my fault." Hear what Busch had to say after the race. 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. This was a markedly better result for the second-year driver than the spring race when a crash ended his day early. Stenhouse recorded the second-most green-flag passes (59), according to loop data. 20. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne battled his butt off to advance to the Contender Round. An unscheduled pit stop for a loose left rear tire on Lap 162 put Kahne two laps down. A green-flag stop on Lap 241 put him four laps down. Yet, at the end of the day, Kahne managed to be just one lap down and advanced in the Chase. Perhaps it was the team's ability to navigate traffic as Kahne was the seventh-fastest car in traffic (145.619 mph). Watch as Kahne talks about making the next round. 21. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle and the No. 16 team's performance at Dover was eerily similar to the team's performance in the first two Chase races. The team struggled to find speed, had a bad starting spot and battled to stay on the lead lap. Those trends can lead to early exit in the Chase, like they did for Biffle this year. 22. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. McMurray carried plenty of momentum into the race with four top-10 finishes in his previous five starts. However, the veteran driver struggled, logging the least amount of laps in the top 15 (87) for a driver that started in the top 10. 23. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing. Allmendinger saw his Chase come to an end at a track that was considered to be one of his best in the Chase. The Watkins Glen winner was frustrated with his car all day long, telling his team over the radio on Lap 236, "if we're going to be competitive dude, you have to find me some grip. I'm getting sick in the car this thing is shaking so bad." He later added on Lap 352, "Evil man! I'm tired of driving evil cars!" He ultimately finished two points behind Kahne for the final Contender Round spot. For more in-car audio with drivers unplugged, subscribe to RaceView today . 24. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Dillon qualified well and started 10th, but couldn't transfer that success over to the race. Just like in the spring race, the driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet finished two laps down. 25. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Patrick's four-race streak of top-20 finishes came to an end Sunday. Her finish was right at her career average finish of 25.8 at the Monster Mile. 26. Marcos Ambrose , No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . The finish may not have been what he wanted, but Ambrose got a shoutout from Dover International Speedway president Denis McGlynn in the driver's meeting. The RPM driver recorded the fifth-most green flag passes (57), according to loop data. 27. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. For the third straight race, Mears gradually improved on his starting position. During that stretch, he has an average finish of 25th. 28. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola's first Chase run came to an end with a disappointing run at Dover. The No. 43 team struggled to find a rhythm at this 1-mile track and the result was Almirola's worst career finish at Dover in six starts. Hear what Almirola said after the race. 29. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . The rookie seems to be having an up-and-down second half of 2014. After earning three top-20 results in four races toward the end of the summer, he has since scored one top-20 finish in the five races since. 30. Cole Whitt , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing. The rookie sure loves the 30th position. This was his fifth such result in six races. 31. David Ragan , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . For the second time in three weeks, Ragan finished in 31st. This finish came a week after a 42nd-place result at Loudon. 32. Reed Sorenson , No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Sorenson had his worse finish in nine races in the AAA 400 . He ran better in the spring race at Dover, finishing 24th. 33. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . For the second time in three races, Gilliland finished outside the top 30. This comes on the heels of a stretch where he finished inside the top 30 in the six previous races. 34. Alex Bowman , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Bowman may have finished 34th, but the rookie showed improvement the second time around at the Monster Mile. He finished 40th at Dover in the spring. 35. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing. On the bright side, Cassill improve on his starting position to the finish for the seventh time in eight races. The downside: this was his worst finish in that stretch. 36. Mike Bliss , No. 37 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Bliss' finish at Dover was the second-best finish he has had in six Sprint Cup starts this season and marked the second time this season he was running at the finish. 37. David Stremme , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing. Stremme's 37th-place finish at Dover was right on par with his average finish for the season, 36.5. 38. Travis Kvapil , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing. Kvapil was hit a speeding penalty entering pit road on Lap 65. His 38th-place finish was his second finish in that spot in three races. 39. J.J. Yeley , No. 32 Ford, GO Fas Racing. Yeley started exactly where he finished at Dover, 39th. He was 13 laps down at the finish. 40. Mike Wallace , No. 66 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing. Making a Sprint Cup Series start for the second straight week, Wallace finished 16 laps down for the No. 66 team's eighth finish of 40th or worse this season. 41. Michael Annett , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. For the fifth time in seven races, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender finished 37th or worse. An accident left Annett 39 laps down. 42. Josh Wise , No. 98 Chevrolet, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise finished 203 laps down due to an issue with his suspension for his worst finish since the Las Vegas race in March. 43. Timmy Hill , No. 44 Chevrolet, Xxxtreme Motorsport. Making his seventh Sprint Cup start of the season, Hill retired from the race just 11 laps in with a vibration issue. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Bruce: Driver readies for second chance with team on upswing Sam Hornish Jr. will return to full-time competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2015 as driver of the No. 9 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports . Can Hornish, a former open-wheel champion with 131 starts in the series, contend for wins? Can he follow in teammate Aric Almirola 's footsteps and earn a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup? Does RPM have the tools and personnel to provide Hornish with the opportunity to accomplish either of those goals? Hornish, 35, obviously believes that's the case. Although he hasn't competed in a full-time capacity in the Sprint Cup Series since 2010, when he finished 29th in points with Team Penske, Hornish hasn't exactly been sitting at home on the couch. He finished out the year for Penske in 2012, running 20 races in the No. 22 entry after AJ Allmendinger was suspended. That same year, he finished fourth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings. The following season, he finished second in the Nationwide Series, falling just three points short of the title won by Austin Dillon . He's made nine NASCAR starts this season, eight for Joe Gibbs Racing in Nationwide, winning at Iowa in the team's No. 54 Toyota. His lone Sprint Cup start came at Auto Club Speedway , a last-minute call putting him in the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin after Hamlin was sidelined for medical reasons. Age isn't an issue -- six of this year's 13 race winners are 35 or older, and they have combined for 15 wins in 30 races. Experience shouldn't be a problem, although rule changes, the lack of testing opportunities and getting settled in with a new team will affect how quickly the team is able to get up to speed. Why return to the series in a full-time capacity? Hornish said he's yet to complete what he originally hoped to accomplish when he made the transition from IndyCar, where he won championships in 2001, 2002 and 2006. "A lot of people want to ask me 'why don't you go back to IndyCar?' " Hornish said Wednesday. "I never came over here because I wanted to have a little bit more fame or I felt like I was going to make any more money doing it. I came over here because I was intrigued by the competition side of it. "I felt like I had accomplished what I wanted to in the IndyCar Series. Now I put myself back in position where I could continue to build on what I originally came over here for." And RPM, he said, can help him accomplish that. It won't be easy. While the organization clearly has made gains in the past few seasons, its drivers have won only sporadically. Almirola's victory this season, in July at Daytona, earned the driver a spot in this year's Chase, but both he and Marcos Ambrose struggled to find the consistency necessary to be a factor on a weekly basis. It's been a year of slow improvement for the group. Although Almirola failed to advance out of the first round of the Chase, he earned his first career win, and his two top-five and seven top-10 finishes are career bests. Ambrose, who will return to Australia after the 2014 season, failed to earn the victory that could have put his No. 9 team in the Chase. His three top-five and five top-10 finishes through 30 races this year are on par with previous years' results. While he says the organization is "not where we want to be yet," Sammy Johns, director of competition for RPM, said the gains the group has made this year helped attract a driver with the potential and talent of Hornish. RPM could have gone the other way with its choice, opting for a young driver with less experience. But by choosing Hornish, the team clearly expects to continue to move forward without taking a step back. Both driver and team have something to prove. "It's kind of like a small ship," Hornish said of the organization. "It's a lot easier to turn, and they've got a lot of things heading in a really good direction." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
See where each driver finished at Kansas and why RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Editor's note: Drivers in italics are in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 1. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske Under the first caution flag, Logano lost seven positions on pit road. But he took four tires instead of two, and the strategy worked out for the No. 22. Logano's pit crew remained one of the best in the series, topping the charts for fastest pit stop on both the first green-flag stop and the stops that cycled through under caution on Laps 160-163. Their speed, combined with the speed of the No. 22 Ford they put together, puts Logano firmly into the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Get more pit data with RaceView. 2. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing As his Target Chevrolet pulled in to pit road following the race, Larson held up his thumb and index finger an inch apart. The rookie was that close to his first NASCAR premier series win, and with each race seems to be getting closer. But he was just short of Logano in the Hollywood Casino 400 -- in speed, on pit road, and when crossing the checkered flag. Get more pit data with RaceView. 3. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing If you asked, based on statistics, which Chase drivers would be least likely to perform well at Kansas, Kyle Busch may have been the top answer. But after winning the Nationwide Series race, the No. 18 driver came ready for a Chase race at one of his least favorite tracks knowing he could conquer it. With several contenders wrecking early in the race, Busch's third-place finish puts him in a great position to advance in the Chase. See what he had to say after the race. 4. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing Are things finally turning around for the Furniture Row Racing team that has seen so much bad luck this year? Truex crossed the start/finish line at the end of the race to earn his first top-five of the year. The turnaround comes much too late in the season to have a big impact on this year, but finishing out the year with a proven strategy can help 2015 look more promising for the one-car team. 5. Carl Edwards , No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing Edwards finished just where he should have in the Hollywood Casino 400 . Both his average lap time and average speed were fifth-fastest among the competitors, precisely where he wound up. He'll head to Charlotte in third place in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. Get more driver data with RaceView. 6. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Newman's six laps led at Kansas Speedway tied his second-most this season. He's only had more laps out front once, at Michigan in August, when he led 14 laps. His last two finishes have been top-10s, and if he extends that stretch next week, he'll have his best streak of top-10s this season. 7. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Hamlin reported over the radio just after the race was halfway completed that there was fire underneath his dashboard. His team advised him to turn off the switches to see if that would help the problem. It must have, because Hamlin continued to pilot the No. 11 into the top 10, putting him 11 points behind round leader Joey Logano heading into Charlotte. Get more in-race audio with RaceView. 8. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Dillon's accomplishments seem often overshadowed by those of fellow rookie Kyle Larson . But Dillon's top-10 is also impressive, given that the rookie was competing for positions against drivers competing for a title. Dillon started 16th, and drove a nearly flawless race to bring the No. 3 home with its fourth top-10 of the season. 9. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Rounding out a strong day for RCR, Menard followed the team's rookie past the checkered flag to put all three cars in the top 10. After brushing the wall, Menard needed some repair to the right side, but was able to get the work done in 38.2 seconds, only losing two positions. The top-10 is Menard's 12th of the season, and a significant improvement over his 17th-place finish at Kansas earlier in the year. Get more pit data with RaceView. 10. Brian Vickers , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing Vickers started the Hollywood Casino 400 on the front row, but couldn't make the inside line work and fell back quickly. He moved all the way back to 21st by Lap 105, and continued his onward march forward until the checkered flag fell on his ninth top-10 of the season. 11. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing It was hard for Allmendinger to miss the first cut of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by only a couple of points in last week's elimination at Dover. It must be even harder to know that now, as Allemendinger finished ahead of most of the drivers still in contention for the Chase this week at Kansas. 12. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Once again, a good day went bad for Harvick. He had led 47 laps when he thought he lost a right front tire. Turns out his tires were OK, but the unscheduled trip to pit road was followed by a caution, and the driver apologizing to his team after learning they would be three laps short of fuel. Thanks to several other drivers seeing tire issues, Harvick's 12th-place run puts him in sixth place in the Chase standings, 15 points behind leader Joey Logano . Get in-race driver audio with RaceView. 13. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing After seeing several other drivers suffer tire issues, Kenseth and his team decided to bring the No. 20 down to pit road under green as a reaction to a vibration. Unfortunately for the Joe Gibbs Racing crew, a caution flag came out not much later. The No. 20 took the wave-around, restarting 22nd. "A lot of adversity today, way to fight through it," crew chief Jason Ratcliff said as Kenseth passed the start/finish line. Get in-race driver audio with RaceView. 14. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports "It's just not our day, is it?" Gordon asked over the radio during the Hollywood Casino 400 . A loose tire that rolled off of pit road and into the infield brought Gordon back to pit road as a penalty. But as his Hendrick Motorsports teammates know, it could have been much worse. "Well we're going to have to do better than that guys," Gordon said to his team after the race. He's currently in the final position to make the next round of the Chase. Get in-race driver audio with RaceView. 15. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing After a bottleneck caused by Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray , Biffle got into the back of Jimmie Johnson and sent the pair of them spinning on Lap 85. Biffle was able to keep the No. 16 out of the wall, preventing any serious damage, and his team was able to get him back on track and keep him on the lead lap. That is, until a Lap 229 caution sent Biffle sliding along the wall. Get more pit data with RaceView. 16. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing It must feel like a successful day if you beat your boss, but Patrick's finish at Kansas was something of a disappointment when considering her top-10 finish at the track earlier this year. Patrick is yet to score a top-five finish, and with her seventh-place run in the books, Kansas would've been a natural place to earn it. Compared to her qualifying effort of 29th, however, 16th place is a big improvement. 17. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing Despite starting in the top 10, Stewart was a lap down when the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 hit the wall. The team's boss would get the free pass, getting Stewart's No. 14 back on the lead lap. Stewart hasn't had a top-10 finish since stepping away from racing in the wake of Kevin Ward Jr.'s death. Perhaps as the season's end nears and as the healing process continues, Stewart will return to championship form. 18. Clint Bowyer , No 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing It wasn't very long into the Hollywood Casino 400 when the No. 15 went down a lap. Not long after, on Lap 70, a caution put Bowyer right back at the end of the lead lap. He'd do his best to move forward, especially on restarts, but couldn't get much done. A bit of damage in the wreck on Lap 85 didn't help, and Bowyer would end his first race as a dad mired in the middle of the pack. 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing It's been two weeks in a row where Stenhouse has finished in 19th. However, the driver took the blame for an early mistake that put the No. 17 team two laps down, making the lead-lap finish something they had to work for. Stenhouse's takeaway was that the team is gaining every week, so we'll see how the Roush Fenway Racing team fares in the coming weeks. 20. Marcos Ambrose , No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports Now that Ambrose knows his time in NASCAR is limited, it seems a burden has been lifted off of him. He spent several laps in the top 10 at Kansas, earning his 15th top-20 finish of the season and improving on his earlier Kansas finish of 24th. He may have ruffled some feathers, however, making contact with Greg Biffle before the driver hit the wall. 21. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing Cassill's 21st-place finish at Kansas was his third-best of the season, and best finish since May at Talladega. Cassill started in 35th, making his way up as high as 18th in the Hollywood Casino 400 . He finished 42nd at Kansas earlier this year. 22. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports The Hendrick Motorsports driver held the lead on the Lap 166 restart, but couldn't hold off the speed of Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano , barely keeping the front position as the pack passed the green flag. He'd bang the wall several times on Lap 235, spending over a minute and a half on pit road for damages, finishing the race two laps down and falling 25 points behind Joey Logano in the Chase standings. Get more pit data with RaceView. 23. Cole Whitt , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing Despite finishing the race three laps down, Whitt earned his best finish since visiting Pocono in August, where he ended the race in 21st. He improved 16 positions on his starting spot of 39th, making him the third biggest mover of the Hollywood Casino 400 . Get more in-race driver stats with RaceView. 24. Michael Annett , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing With 3 DNFs in the past eight races, Annett has seen some difficult competitions. Yet when he has a good car, he shows he can do a lot with it -- he has 10 top-25 finishes this season, yet an average finish of 29.3, showing the inconsistency of the team. They should see potential, however, in the fact that their driver had the seventh-most positions gained with 12. Get more in-race driver stats with RaceView. 25. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing After starting 14th, Jamie McMurray took the lead from Kevin Harvick on Lap 44. "I have a weird noise in here, like a tire's coming apart," McMurray reported on Lap 50. A caution on Lap 70 would give the No. 1 team a chance to reinforce a side panel and still get their driver back out in first, but he couldn't hold on to the front spot. Continuous troubles left the McDriver finishing laps down after 27 laps led. Get in-race driver audio with RaceView. 26. Reed Sorenson , No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing With an average finish of 30.4, Sorenson should be more than satisfied with a finish of 26th. His earlier outing at Kansas resulted in a 32nd-place finish, though some of the positions gained can be attributed to bad luck by some of the series' top drivers. 27. David Ragan , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports His best finish since visiting Atlanta Motor Speedway five races earlier, Ragan's 27th-place effort is more impressive when considering his starting position of 37th. He also started in 37th last week at Dover, but was only able to earn a 31st-place finish. 28. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing Mears' outing at Kansas was mediocre at best. Despite several drivers ahead of him spending time in the garage and giving up positions, Mears finished two places behind where he started, five laps down. 29. J.J. Yeley, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing With his first effort in the 20s, Yeley earned his best finish of the season at Kansas. He qualified in 38th, giving him nine positions gained in the race -- 11th-best in the race. Get more in-race driver stats with RaceView. 30. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports Improving seven positions from his earlier trip to Kansas Speedway , Gilliland put down a performance perfectly in line with his average finish of 30.8. 31. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports Almirola's trip to the Chase was short lived, but even if he had made it to the second round, his performance at Kansas certainly would have made it difficult to go any farther. He qualified third, but by Lap 120 fell to 35th and would spend the rest of the race battling to get back up the pack. Unfortunately, he wouldn't get far. 32. Alex Bowman , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing After an initial fall from 33rd to 40th, Bowman would lead a steady charge for track position, making his way up to 32nd. His finish is right on par with his average for the season, which is 32.1. 33. Timmy Hill , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport In his eight starts, Hill has four DNFs, making even just a finish an achievement for the team. It was even better this weekend at Kansas, however; his 33rd-place effort is his best of the season. 34. Mike Wallace , No. 66 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing In his third start of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Wallace tied his season-best finish, a 34th-place finish at Loudon. However, he did so this time with his worst starting position of the season, 43rd. 35. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing What goes around, comes around didn't seem to work for McDowell at Kansas Sunday. Despite working to help get debris off both the No. 22 and No. 41 grilles, McDowell was showered in unfortunate incidents, including contact with the wall and a pit road speeding penalty. He wasn't able to come back from it, finishing several positions off of his average of 30.7. 36. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske Keselowski also fell victim to a right-front tire issue. "Damn, my steering wheel's almost straight," Keselowski commented to his team over the radio. The No. 2 team brought the car down pit road on Lap 149 hoping to fix the Miller Lite Ford, but the damage was too much, and they became the third Chase contender to head to the garage in the first race of the second round. He sits in 10th in the Chase standings, 39 points behind teammate Joey Logano . Get more in-race driver audio with RaceView. 37. Joey Gase , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing Gase was able to say he beat drivers like Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr . in only his second Sprint Cup Series start. It could have been even better had he not spun out between Turns 3 and 4, sending him several laps off the leader's pace. 38. Josh Wise , No. 98 Chevrolet, Phil Parsons Racing Though he saw the least damage, Wise got caught up in the Lap 85 wreck as Justin Allgaier got turned into his path. The incident follows a disappointing week at Dover International Speedway , where Wise suffered a DNF due to a suspension issue. Before these last two weeks, Wise had a 12-race stretch of finishing better than he had started. Let's hope that these two bad races were an anomaly and not the new trend. 39. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports After leading 45 laps, Earnhardt Jr. lost a right front tire and took a hard hit into the wall. The driver was fine -- "I'm happy about that," he said over the radio, noting the significant force with which he hit the wall -- but the No. 88 headed to the garage. If there's a silver lining in the incident, it was the way Junior handled the damage, complimenting his team for the solid race car they provided instead of lamenting the damage. He'd make it back to the track on Lap 181, but is second-to-last in the Chase standings. Get more in-race driver audio with RaceView. 40. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports Johnson's starting position of 32nd tied his worst of the season in the season-opener at Daytona. He finished fifth in that race and was moving up in the field this time when contact from Greg Biffle sent the six-time champion into the path of Justin Allgaier , and later the wall. As the worst finisher in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup's Contender Round, Johnson will have to do some serious work in the next two races to keep himself in title contention. "We've got to be on our game at Charlotte and Talladega," Johnson said as members of his and other Hendrick crews worked on the No. 48 in the garage. He's in last place among Chase contenders. Get more in-race driver audio with RaceView. 41. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports Allgaier's involvement in the Lap 85 wreck sent the No. 51 to the garage after what looked to be a solid run by the team. He was running 24th when the incident happened, but couldn't make it any higher than 40th while dealing with the aftermath -- a damaged car. 42. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing In the opening laps of the race, Kurt Busch couldn't find a car to help him get debris off the grille of his No. 41 Chevrolet. After several laps of monitoring the water temperature and pressure, the team gave it one more shot. "Let me know if it drops," crew chief Daniel Knost said. "If it doesn't, we need to pit." Things went from bad to worse when Busch was issued a speeding violation and had to serve a pass-through penalty. He'd restart in 42nd, and later hit the wall on Lap 78 due to a tire rub, sending him to the garage and ending his day. Get more in-race driver audio with RaceView. 43. Mike Bliss , No. 37 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing Out of Bliss' seven starts in the Sprint Cup Series this season, five have been DNFs. He only completed 17 laps of the Hollywood Casino 400 , which, unfortunately, is not a low -- he only completed six laps in July at Loudon. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceVie FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation