Petty family announces 10-month celebration for 'The King's 80th birthday
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 3, 2016) - The Petty family and its brand of companies today announced a 10-month long campaign to celebrate NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and owner, "The King" Richard Petty turning 80. Petty may not be celebrating his 80th birthday until July 2, 2017, but the Petty brand of companies including, Richard Petty Motorsports , Petty's Garage, Petty Family Foundation, Petty Museum and Victory Junction, plan to celebrate for the next 10 months. The Petty family, who are well known for giving back to local communities and race fans, is now turning the table, allowing fans to give their thanks of 80 years with "The King." The Petty family introduced a celebration calendar this week, www.KINGs80th.com , where fans can follow the various activities planned leading to the Petty's birthday celebration in Daytona Beach, Fla.in 2017. To kick off the activities, Petty's children, Kyle, Lisa, Rebecca and Sharon, Petty's Garage and Ford Motor Company partnered to surprise the American Icon with the 43rd and last build of the 2017 Petty's Garage "King Edition" Ford Mustang GT. The car is colored silver and is one of now only 26 left available to the public through your local Ford dealer. The family presented the keys to the car today at the prestigious and popular Mustang Club Car Show in Indianapolis, Indiana. "We are so proud to celebrate Daddy's birthday with all his fans over the course of the next year," said Rebecca Petty -Moffitt. "There is no better way to kick it off than with Ford Motor Company and Petty's Garage allowing us to give Dad the 43rd build of the 'King Edition' Ford Mustang GT. Ford is a huge supporter of all of the Petty brands with strong partnerships with Richard Petty Motorsports , Petty's Garage, Victory Junction and more, and even provided support for Dad during his career. We have so much more planned for our fans; today is just the start." In addition to today's car giveaway, the Petty Museum announced its newest offering to fans. The Petty Museum is now offering shirts that replicate the first racing tee Petty wore. The shirt features the 1964 Plymouth that Petty raced. The shirt will be available at the Petty Museum and on their website until July 2017. All of the Petty brands will get in on the action. Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) will engage fans with special promotions, including special packages from its sponsors. Petty's Garage will continue their celebration during their mobile tour stops throughout the country. The Petty Museum will soon announce special apparel along with additional merchandise throughout the celebration. Petty Museum will culminate their celebration with the opening of the Petty -Toomes Homestead historical landmark in Level Cross, N.C., the birthplace for Petty . Petty Family Foundation, Victory Junction and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride will also join the celebration during various events throughout the year, including special donations to the charities throughout the year. Stay tuned to www.KINGs80th.com as all brands continue to expand the celebration through licensing partners and other special celebration promotions. Fans are welcome to join in the conversation through social media using the hashtag, #KINGs80th across all Petty entities.
Richard Petty Motorsports renumbers No. 9 to No. 44
One of Richard Petty Motorsports ' two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will not only have a new driver and crew chief combination for 2016, but it will also feature a change in car number. Officials with the two-team organization announced Monday that it will change its No. 9 team to the No. 44 for the 2016 season. The team features former XFINITY Series driver Brian Scott and crew chief Chris Heroy, both new to the organization. "After the 2015 season, we had an opportunity to make some changes and get the No. 44 back. We felt that it was good timing. We really wanted to get that number back in the Petty family where it really belongs," Richard Petty said Monday. "Brian (Scott) is coming on board, and he really hasn't had a number in the Sprint Cup Series. Everything has just come together to really bring back a Petty tradition. "For us, the numbers are more than just a number, you could say. They really represent our family history, our legacy and everyone who has worked for us or raced for us. We take a lot of pride in that and are glad to have the 44 back home." The RPM lineup also includes driver Aric Almirola in the group's iconic No. 43 Ford. The Petty organization first used the No. 44 in 1954 for a single race with driver Bob Welborn. It wasn't used in a full-time capacity by the organization until '93, following the retirement of seven-time series champion Richard Petty . Petty's No. 43 was renumbered 44 for a single season with driver Rick Wilson behind the wheel. That team returned to its original number, 43, the following year. The last full season a Petty entry featured the No. 44 was 2009 with driver AJ Allmendinger . The group began using the No. 9 as well after merging with Gillett Evernham Motorsports in '09. Entries bearing the No. 44 have won 13 times in NASCAR's premier series, most recently by Terry Labonte (1986) when the NASCAR Hall of Fame driver was competing for car owner Billy Hagan. Cars featuring the No. 9 have won 53 times, including the final four times by RPM drivers Kasey Kahne (2009) and Marcos Ambrose ('11, '12).
Richard Petty Motorsports
The history of Richard Petty Motorsports and full crews for Aric Almirola and Brian Scott.
Hot lap around Richard Petty Motorsports
With a new driver in Brian Scott and a new car number in the No. 44, take a quick look at Richard Petty Motorsports heading into the 2016 season.
Petty family prepares for Ride Across America
LEVEL CROSS, N.C. (April 21, 2016) -- For the first time in its history, Kyle Petty will be joined by his three sisters and legendary father during the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, one of the most successful and popular charity rides in the country, for its 22nd annual motorcycle trek. Petty will ride alongside his sisters, Sharon, Lisa, Rebecca and father, "The King" Richard during the ride presented by Manheim. The ride engages celebrities, motorcycle enthusiasts, fans, and local communities to raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction, a camp for kids with serious health care needs. Petty will lead his wife, father, sisters and his extended "charity ride family" of approximately 200 riders on a route starting in Palm Springs, California on April 30 and ending in Biloxi, Mississippi on May 6. "We've been doing this for over 20 years and I've never had all my sisters and father with me on the ride," said Petty . "So, that makes this ride even more special for our family. We've all been busy doing different things, but this year we were all able to get this on everyone's calendar. Family, friends, having a good time together and making memories is what this ride is all about and having all my sisters and father with us will make the experience that much better. I'm really looking forward to it." The ride will be supported through social media channels by Richard Petty Motorsports , Richard Petty Museum, Petty Family Foundation and Petty's Garage. Fans can visit these respective Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites for photos of the ride along its route. Twenty two years ago, Petty combined his passion for helping others with his love of motorcycles to create the Ride. Since 1995, more than 7,750 riders have logged 11.4 million cumulative motorcycle miles and raised $16.5 million for Victory Junction and other children's charities. "The Ride continues to be an overwhelming success thanks to the passion and commitment of our riders and sponsors, a majority of which join in the Ride and support the cause year over year," said Petty . "Thanks to their continued support, the Ride has been able to send more than 7,880 children to Victory Junction at no cost their families." Since its inception by Petty and his family in 2004, in honor of his son Adam Petty , Victory Junction has served as the Ride's primary beneficiary. Located on 84 acres in Randleman, North Carolina, Victory Junction exists to enrich the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses by creating camping experiences that are memorable, fun, empowering, physically safe and medically sound. Fans and spectators along the Ride's route may contribute to the "Small Change. Big Impact." program, which accepts donations at local stops. To keep up with Petty and the riders live, follow the Ride and Petty on social media: Facebook: www.facebook.com/kpcharityride and www.facebook.com/kylepetty45 Instagram: www.instagram.com/kpcharityride and www.instagram.com/kylepetty Twitter: www.twitter.com/kpcharityride and www.twitter.com/kylepetty For more information about the 22nd Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America or to make a contribution, please visit www.kylepettycharityride.com .
The Rundown: Darlington driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway : 1. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex’s two victories this season are the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and now the Southern 500 ... and he finished second in the Daytona 500 . Even with all the bad luck he has had, Truex is having a monster year. Grade: A+ 2. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . This is word-for-word -- except for the number of laps led Sunday night -- from the race at Dover in May when Harvick finished 15th: Harvick led a race-high 214 laps, and who knows how well he would have done if his pit crew had done its job. Harvick’s grade is an average of his A and his crew’s F. Grade: C 3. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson led 45 laps and was in contention to win for the second week in a row. Larson and his team are hitting their stride at the exact right time. Grade: A 4. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Breaking news: No pit-road penalties for Hamlin or his crew ... just their seventh consecutive top-10 finish (5.3 average finish in the streak). Grade: A 5. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano doesn’t have a streak to rival Hamlin's, but he now has top-10 finishes in 11 of his past 13 starts. Grade: A 6. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth was running 14th when he stayed out during the sixth caution and restarted with the lead. He was a fixture in the top 10 the rest of the night. Grade: A 7. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne’s first top-10 finish since Sonoma in June is too little too late. Unless he wins at Richmond, he likely won’t make the Chase. Grade: A 8. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Huge night for Newman. Despite having to start from the back of the field (unapproved adjustments), Newman scored a must-have top 10 and is sitting seven points behind Jamie McMurray for the final spot in the Chase. He came into the race 15 points back. Grade: A+ 9. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . An early vibration and two loose wheels couldn’t keep Keselowski from his 16th top 10 of the season, tying him with Kurt Busch for third most behind Kevin Harvick (20) and Joey Logano (17). Grade: A 10. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott did much better on restarts Sunday night, but he lost spots on pit road. Another good run at Richmond should net him a spot in the Chase. He is 24 points ahead of Ryan Newman and 17 ahead of Jamie McMurray . Grade: A- 11. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch missed a top-10 finish at Darlington for the first time since 2011 (also an 11th-place finish). Grade: B 12. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . An early pit-road speeding penalty had no bearing on his finish. He is nine points ahead of Jamie McMurray and 16 ahead of Ryan Newman . A good finish at Richmond should clinch a spot in the Chase. But ... in five starts at Richmond, Dillion has finished 27th three times and 20th twice. If he runs to form, that might not be good enough. Grade: B - 13. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney had multiple visits with the wall, had to pit under green for a flat and had a pit-road penalty (for a crew violation) ... and still finished 13th. Busy night. Grade: B- 14. Jeff Gordon , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon scored his fourth top-15 finish in five starts for Dale Earnhardt Jr . Grade: B- 15. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. If McMurray misses the Chase by a handful of points, an extra pit stop Sunday night might turn out to be the difference. McMurray had to pit for a second time under caution on Lap 354 for a loose lug nut. Instead of restarting 13th, 13 points to the good on Ryan Newman , McMurray restarted 18th, the last car on the lead lap. Newman finished seven spots better than McMurray and trails McMurray by seven points for the final Chase-eligible spot. Grade: B- 16. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard did a nice job of moving through the field after starting from the back for unapproved adjustments. But a tire rub late in the race resulted in a flat left rear and Menard losing control of the No. 27 and wiping out Kurt Busch on Lap 327. Still, Menard’s 16th-place finish was his second best in his past nine starts. Grade: B- 17. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Buescher is not out of the woods yet. He is 11 points ahead of David Ragan for 30th in the points standings and a spot in the Chase. His task at Richmond is simple: Stay ahead of Ragan or close to him all night. It didn’t happen in the April race at Richmond, however, when Ragan finished 23rd and Buescher 34th, an 11-point difference. How’s that for coincidence? Saturday night should be fun. Grade: B 18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was the final car on the lead lap. Grade: B 19. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards finished 19th in the JGR No. 19 Toyota for the third time, the first time this season. That’s three more times than Edwards finished 99th in No. 99 Ford in 11 seasons driving for Jack Roush. Grade: B- 20. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith scored his third-best finish of the season. The other two are top 10s (eighth in the Daytona 500 , third last month at Pocono). Grade: B 21. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Despite having to start from the rear of the field because of an engine change, Ragan equaled his third-best finish of the season. Grade: B 22. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Contact with Aric Almirola brought out the 10th and final caution. Fortunately for Bowyer, Almirola’s car got the worst of the encounter. Grade: C 23. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger’s run of top-15 finishes ended at four on a night when he completed no laps in the top 15 for the second time this season (Week 4 at Phoenix). Grade: C 24. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . For the third time this season, and second time in three weeks, Patrick had the second-best finish among the four Stewart-Haas Racing cars. Grade: C 25. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . GEICO's "It’s What You Do" fact of the night: RAF, as in "running at the finish." Did you know only two Sprint Cup drivers who have started all 25 races this season have been running at the finish of each race this season? One is Brad Keselowski . The other is GEICO’s very own Casey Mears . It's what he does. Grade: C 26. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto scored his fourth-best finish of the season, his best at a track more than a mile long. Grade: B+ 27. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . Despite an early pit-road speeding penalty on his first stop, McDowell posted his best finish at Darlington in five starts. Grade: C 28. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett equaled his fourth-best finish of the season. Grade: C 29. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. The theme of the backmarkers continues: Wise also equaled his fourth-best finish of the season. Grade: C 30. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill matched his lowest finish at Darlington in six starts. Grade: C 31. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports . Sorenson finished nine laps off the pace. Grade: C 32. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola was running 20th with 18 laps to go when he got into Clint Bowyer and then Bowyer hit Almirola, sending the No. 43 hard into the wall. Grade: C- 33. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . The lowlight of Johnson’s night came when he lost control off of Turn 4 on Lap 214 and went for a spin. He ultimately finished 39 laps off the pace and with his 77th finish of 30th of worse in his illustrious Sprint Cup career -- which also equals his Cup wins. Who knew? Well, you do now. Grade: F 34. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch called it a "tough, tough night." We call it being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Paul Menard was nursing a tire going down, and Busch was next to him when it finally did. The No. 41 suffered major damage, and Busch was left with his second DNF for crashes in three weeks. Grade: C 35. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Score one for karma in Stewart’s final race at "The Lady in Black". In a move few will dispute, Stewart wrecked Brian Scott to bring out the third caution. Then, after battling a cooling issue for a good chunk of the night, Stewart’s engine expired a shade more than 100 laps later. Grade: F 36. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle got loose in Turns 3 and 4 and hit the wall to bring out the sixth caution. The No. 16 returned to the track but was through after 295 laps run, giving Biffle his sixth DNF, tying a season high with 11 races remaining in 2016. Grade: F 37. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports . Electrical issues cut short Whitt’s night after 250 laps run. Grade: F 38. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Earnhardt hit the wall literally and figuratively on Lap 250. Grade: F 39. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott was running 24th on Lap 204 when Tony Stewart took exception to something Scott did or was doing and turned the No. 44, sending it crashing into the inside wall. Maybe Scott wasn’t handling his car as well as 'Smoke' thought he should. But no one will dispute how well Scott handled himself in his interview on NBC afterward. Grade: B 40. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne brought out the first caution when he went for a spin trying to get to pit road on Lap 95. But it was his engine that ended his night after 161 laps, leaving Bayne with his first DNF of the season. Grade: F
RPM announces competition restructure
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (August 31, 2016) -- Richard Petty Motorsports today announced competition changes to improve their on-track performance. Effectively immediately, Philippe Lopez and Scott McDougall will temporarily oversee all competition duties and roles previously held by Sammy Johns both at the track and at the race shop. The change comes as part of an immediate, aggressive strategy by RPM leadership to improve speed, performance and future growth of RPM. The goal is to improve on-track results from 2016 and to capitalize on the progress made in previous seasons. "The past several years, we have made significant investments in our organization with the goal of winning races and to compete at a high level on a weekly basis," said Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Officer, Richard Petty Motorsports . "We now have direction over our own chassis and bodies and work closely with Ford Performance on technology and engineering. With these investments, unfortunately, we have not seen the on-track results that we expected this season. "As we look ahead to 2017, we are taking steps forward to improve our on-track product to better serve our partners and fans. This means analyzing every part of our organization and making adjustments where needed. Sammy Johns has been a big part of our organization; he helped us succeed in many different ways and helped us become a winning race team. We wish him nothing but the best going forward." RPM has seen success on the track in recent seasons. Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Ford Fusion had their most consistent season together and highest average finish to date in 2015. They were also a race winning team in 2014 and competed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Off the track, the organization has continued to grow relationships with primary partners Smithfield Foods, Albertsons Companies, Shore Lodge, U.S. Air Force, Twisted Tea, STP, Fresh From Florida and Jacob Companies. "Our partners have seen success and believe in our mission," continued Moffitt. "They share in our commitment to see Aric and Brian competing at a higher level each weekend." Lopez and McDougall will begin their duties at the track in Darlington this weekend.
Hendrick Motorsports extends Kasey Kahne through 2018
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
Fire contained at Richard Petty Museum, Petty's Garage
A fire earlier Saturday at the longtime location of Petty Enterprises in Level Cross, North Carolina, did only minimal damage to the historical site, according to officials with the organization. The former race shop compound now houses the Richard Petty Museum and Petty's Garage, a high-performance speed and restoration shop. Richard Petty is NASCAR's all-time leader in premier series wins with 200 victories and is one of only two drivers to win seven championships. According to information from the team, the fire was contained to a portion of the building and was quickly under control by local fire responders. TV station WFMY reported on its web site that a call came in at approximately 12:40 p.m. ET. No injuries were reported at the facility, and no cause of the fire was provided. Three-time series champion Lee Petty started Petty Enterprises, originally Petty Engineering, as NASCAR, incorporated in 1948, was just appearing on the scene. As the family-owned Petty organization flourished, what was once nothing more than a single 800-square-foot structure grew as well. Before the organization stopped running its race teams out of the Level Cross location to move closer to Charlotte, North Carolina, the one-room shop had expanded to include 16 additions.
The Rundown: Chicagoland driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway : 1. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . This season’s most-dominant driver on 1.5-mile tracks overcomes a tire issue in the first half of the race and then roars to the victory in overtime after his team gets him off pit road one spot ahead of Chase Elliott on the final stop. Grade: A+ 2. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano lined up sixth on the final restart and did the next-best thing to winning the race. And in the Chase, that’s huge. Grade: A 3. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Sooo close. If not for the caution with four laps to go, we’d likely be toasting Elliott. And blaming his pit crew for not getting him out ahead of Martin Truex Jr . on the final stop? Not here. As Elliott said after the race, you don’t know how many drivers are going to stay out. If Carl Edwards pits, it’s Elliott on the outside of Row 2, not Truex. Grade: A 4. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . All the issues the No. 21 team had on pit road vanished when Michael McDowell ’s right-front tire exploded and littered the track with debris with four laps to go, setting up NASCAR overtime. Blaney stayed out and restarted first. He was no match for Truex and his four new tires -- but no one else was, either. Grade: A 5. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski’s average running position of 3.2 was second only to Chase Elliott ’s 3.1. Grade: A 6. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Another top-10 finish -- his ninth in a row -- also ties Hamlin with Geoff Bodine for 36th all time with 190 top 10s. Grade: A 7. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne stayed out for the final restart and lined up second, but his old tires were no match for the competition. Still the right call, and Kahne now has three consecutive top 10s for the first time since 2014. Grade: A 8. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch started from the pole, led the first 21 laps and was a mainstay in the top five until a pit-road speeding penalty Lap 172. Grade: A- 9. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth was running 10th when he was caught speeding on pit road during the second caution. Grade: A- 10. Alex Bowman , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . In his third start in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Bowman earned his first career top 10 (74th start). Grade: A 11. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray hung around the top 10 all day and moved up five spots in the Chase standings to 11th. That’s a good start and would put him in position to advance to the next round if he can maintain that spot. Grade: B 12. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson caught the break of the day when he pitted just before the first caution came out and exited the pits right before race leader Martin Truex Jr . crossed the start-finish line (enabling Johnson to not only stay on the lead lap, but also restart first). Then he squandered it all, including a race-high 118 laps led, when he was caught speeding on pit road during a green-flag pit stop on Lap 234. Grade: C- 13. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch’s average finish in the first 18 races was 9.1 (15 top 10s). In the next nine it’s double -- 18.2 (two top 10s). If Busch has any chance at a second Sprint Cup championship, he needs to turn things around. On the other hand, he did improve two spots in the standings to 10th. Grade: B 14. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon finished a respectable 14th Sunday. But in Chaseland, that’s not going to cut it. The No. 3 team needs to find more speed. Grade: B 15. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards stayed out on the final caution and restarted third … and in the two-lap sprint to the finish dropped 12 spots. Ouch. Grade: B 16. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart caught a break when he got the free pass back to the lead lap on the last caution. No one knows better than Stewart -- other than Carl Edwards , perhaps (see 2011 Chase) -- how important every point is in the Chase. Grade: B 17. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger scored his best finish at Chicagoland since finishing 14th in 2010. Grade: B 18. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson started in the rear of the field (transmission change) but had worked his way into the top 10 and was looking at a remarkable day when he had to make a green-flag pit stop on Lap 260 because of an issue with his right front tire. Tough break. But it was the right call. Had it gone flat and exploded (like Michael McDowell ’s), it would have been disastrous to his Chase chances. Instead, he’s only two points behind 12th-place Tony Stewart . Grade: B- 19. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman’s finish was his worst at Chicagoland since a 22nd-place effort in 2010. He’d had seven top 10s in his previous nine starts at the track. Grade: B- 20. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . About two feet separated Harvick from an awesome day and the mediocre one he experienced. Harvick was in the pits when the first caution came out, but unlike Jimmie Johnson , Harvick didn’t reach the end of pit road before leader Martin Truex Jr . crossed the start-finish line. Harvick was about two feet short. Instead of restarting second, he restarted 20th, the first car a lap down -- and he never made it back to the lead lap. And this was the driver who had started in the rear of the field (unapproved adjustments) and was putting on a show zipping his way into the top 10 in less than 40 laps. Tough, tough break. Grade: A 21. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Not a competitive day for Menard, who started 26th and ran only eight laps in the top 15, his fewest at Chicagoland since he had zero in his first race at the track in 2007. Grade: C 22. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . It’s OK to try this at home, kids: Bowyer finished 22nd for the third straight week. Grade: C 23. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne’s finish was in line with his three previous finishes at Chicagoland -- 23rd, 20th and 28th. Grade: C 24. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick turned only three laps in the top 15, but it was three more than last year at Chicagoland. In her five starts at Chicagoland, Patrick has raced in the top 15 in only 25 of her 1,332 laps. Grade: C- 25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse posted his worst finish at Chicagoland in four starts. Grade: C- 26. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Chicagoland was Biffle’s worst track when he arrived (one top 10 in 13 starts), and his 14th start didn’t change anything. Grade: C- 27. Ty Dillon , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Dillon was making his ninth start of the season and 16th of his career -- but first subbing for Regan Smith , who was home awaiting the birth of his second child. Good call by Smith. Regan and his wife, Megan, had a girl Sunday, Eliza Grace Smith. Congrats. Grade: B (as in baby) 28. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Lack of speed, including the inability to make the car faster as the race progressed, was the culprit in the rookie’s first Chase race. Grade: C- 29. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill finished three laps back, aided by a pit-road speeding penalty on Lap 53. Grade: C- 30. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto finished three laps off the pace. Grade: D 31. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott brought out the second caution when he lost control in Turn 4 and went for a spin. Grade: D- 32. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola had to start in the rear of the field (unapproved adjustments), and then his team caused the first caution when one of the car’s tires got loose during a pit stop and rolled across pit road and onto the grass. Grade: F 33. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett finished five laps off the pace. Grade D 34. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was penalized for speeding on pit road on Lap 103 and then penalized again for speeding while serving the pass-through penalty. Grade: D- 35. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan nailed his day in his tweet: “Had too many speeding penalties and not enough time to make up ground.” He had two. Grade: F 36. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports . Whitt finished seven laps back. Grade: F 37. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . McDowell changed the outcome of the race when his right-front tire exploded, spewing debris across the track and bringing out the fourth and final caution with four laps left in regulation. Grade: F 38. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise was already seven laps down when the No. 30 team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during the third caution on Lap 194. Grade: F 39. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports . One week after getting his second-best finish over the past two seasons (26th at Richmond), Sorenson finished 13 laps back. Grade: F 40. Joey Gase , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Gase finished 16 laps back in his fourth start of the season and 11th of his career. Grade: F