Brian Scott leads Sprint Cup practice at Daytona
RELATED: Full practice results Brian Scott topped the charts with a speed of 199.349 mph in his No. 44 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford in Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, which also saw speeds for two cars in the top 10 disallowed. The session at Daytona International Speedway was rescheduled for Friday after rain washed out most of Thursday's action, and it represented the only Sprint Cup practice before Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:45 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). David Gilliland initially finished fifth in the session, and Josh Wise initially finished ninth. Both cars were too heavy in the rear on the post-practice scales, so their times were disallowed. Wise was scored 40th in the session, Gilliland 41st. During the 45-minute practice Kyle Busch cut a tire in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and made hard contact with the wall. Busch was released from the infield care center and will go to a backup car. Right behind Scott was Austin Dillon in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at 199.344 mph. Rounding out the top five were Brad Keselowski , Ryan Blaney and David Gilliland . Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET on Friday (NBCSN, Live Extra).
The Rundown: Michigan driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway : 1. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Twice, Larson had to overcome problems on pit road. Twice, Larson beat Chase Elliott on restarts from the front row. The second one, with 10 laps to go, was the difference. Larson gets his first Sprint Cup win in his 99th start and his ticket punched to the Chase. Well done. Grade: A 2. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Restarts, restarts, restarts. Elliott lost the first race at Michigan because of poor restarts and it happened again Sunday. And just like in June, Elliott finished second. Grade : A- 3. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . The native of Michigan posted his sixth straight top 10 at his home track but to his chagrin remained winless in the Irish Hills. Grade: A 4. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney needs a win to make the Chase, and he drove like it Sunday, posting his first top 10 in 10 races. Grade: A 5. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick led 33 laps, and his 3.56 averaging running position topped the field. Grade: A 6. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson was a factor -- and the leader -- until his green-flag pit stop on Lap 109. But his gas man had trouble refueling the No. 48, and from that point forward Johnson was playing catchup. His 37 laps led were second to Kyle Larson ’s 41. Grade: A- 7. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards now has two wins, seven top fives and 15 top 10s in 2016. That’s what he had all of last season. Grade: A 8. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray finished eighth for the third consecutive week. He holds the last spot in the Chase standings by 15 points over Ryan Newman with two races to go before the field is set. Grade: A 9. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin’s sixth straight top-10 finish is the longest active streak. Grade: A 10. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . All of the polesitter’s strength came at the start of the race. A slow final pit stop left him 17th on the last restart. Grade: A- 11. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle had a nice finish, but he was never a factor. Only Kyle Busch ’s 26 laps in the top 15 were fewer than Biffle’s 44 among drivers who finished in the top 20. Grade: B 12. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Borrowing a page from Greg Biffle … Busch was not a factor, either, and only his brother’s 24.84 average running position was worse than his 17.34 among drivers who finished in the top 20. Grade: B 13. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . In the first 12 races of the season, Kenseth led 398 laps. In the next 12, 79 laps, including eight Sunday, his first laps led since his victory last month at New Hampshire. Grade: B 14. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne is going to need a win -- or a miracle -- to make the Chase field. He trails Jamie McMurray by 52 points for the final Chase-eligible spot after finishing outside the top 10 for the eighth straight race. Grade: B 15. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger finished in the top 15 in four consecutive races for the first time since the end of the 2011 season. Grade: B 16. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon is 15th in the Chase standings with a 21-point cushion over Ryan Newman in 17th. Grade: B 17. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman should consider himself fortunate to be only 15 points out of 16th with two races to go for the Chase field is set -- he hasn’t had a top-10 finish in his past five races. Grade: B- 18. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Regular readers of The Rundown know we have been enthralled by Menard’s propensity to finish 18th. He racked up his sixth of the season Sunday. Grade: C 19. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch's troubles at Michigan continued when he got loose in Turn 4 on the 26th lap and went for a spin. His average finish in his past seven starts at Michigan is 32.0 with one finish on the lead lap -- and it wasn't Sunday. Grade: C 20. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex's shot at winning or having a top finish ended on Lap 66 when the jack man lowered the car before the left rear tire was changed. The damaged left-rear quarter panel was an issue the rest of the day. Grade: C- 21. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The driver with a win and five top fives in a seven-race stretch has finished 30th and 21st in his past two races. Is the mojo gone? Grade: C 22. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears finished outside the top 10 at Michigan for the 13th consecutive race. Grade: C 23. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . This marks the first time in Patrick's four full-time Sprint Cup seasons she has not finished in the top 20 in at least one of the two Michigan races. She finished 21st in June. Grade: C 24. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne went into last week's race at Bristol eight points out of the final Chase spot. He leaves Michigan 58 points back. Grade: C 25. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Michigan is one of two tracks on which Almirola has made at least 10 starts and has yet to post a top 10. (The other is Pocono.) Grade: C- 26. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith posted his best finish at Michigan since a career-best 13th in August of 2011. Grade: C 27. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Since scoring a career-best 15th at Michigan in August 2014, Stenhouse's finishes at the 2-mile track are 25th, 26th, 29th and 27th. Grade: C- 28. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Sunday’s race was something to build on: In his first race at Michigan in June, Scott left with a 36th-place finish and a DNF (crash). Grade: C 29. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Because of Ragan's proximity to Chris Buescher in the standings, he will continue to be one of the most-watched drivers through Richmond. On Sunday, Ragan took a nibble out of Buescher's points lead and is now seven points behind Buescher for 30th in the standings. Grade: C 30. Alex Bowman , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Bowman started sixth and was running in the top five when the car’s ignition failed. A day of promise ended right there, and Dale Earnhardt Jr .’s replacement finished five laps back. Grade: D 31. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . McDowell won Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Road America , but his string of top-20 Sprint Cup finishes ended at a season-best two. Grade: D 32. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto battled brake issues all day. Grade: D 33. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . A blown tire brought out the fourth and final caution, and Annett finished five laps back. Grade: D 34. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Whitt produced his worst finish in six starts at Michigan. Grade: D 35. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . With so much at stake, the No. 34 team could not afford the engine woes that dumped Buescher to 35th -- he finished 20th at Michigan in June -- but at least he didn’t finish last. Those extra five points might make the difference between making the Chase and major disappointment. Another positive takeaway: David Ragan could muster only a 29th-place finish. Grade: F 36. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson finished seven laps off the pace. Grade: D 37. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Earnhardt had an accident in practice and was in a backup car. He finished eight laps back. Grade: D 38. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise's finish was his worst at Michigan since a 39th-place run in August 2013. Grade: F 39. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Suspension woes limited Cassill to 174 laps and left him with his first DNF of the season. Grade: F 40. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer said before the race he had his best car of the year. Yikes! Vibrations sent the No. 15 behind the wall, but Bowyer avoided a DNF, although he did finish 40 laps off the pace. Grade: F
NASCAR TV schedule: August 29 - September 4
RELATED: Find NBCSN in your area All times ET Monday, August 29 1:30 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane (re-air), FS1 9 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane (re-air), FS1 9:30 a.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Careers for Veterans 200 presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation (re-air), FS1 2 p.m., NASCAR: The List - Texas Motor Speedway (re-air), NBCSN 2:30 p.m., NASCAR: The List - Daytona Memories (re-air), NBCSN 3 p.m., NASCAR 120, NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 6 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN Tuesday, August 30 6:30 a.m., WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Virginia International Raceway (re-air), FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR Scan All Special: Charlotte, Pocono, Michigan, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN Wednesday, August 31 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 8 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 9 p.m., NASCAR Southern Speed : Legend of Darlington, NBCSN 9:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Careers for Veterans 200 presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation (re-air), FS2 Thursday, Sept. 1 6 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 7 p.m., NASCAR Whelen Modified Series: Riverhead Raceway (taped), NBCSN Friday, Sept. 2 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 10 a.m., NASCAR Southern Speed : Legend of Darlington (re-air), NBCSN Noon, NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, NBCSN 1:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, NBCSN 2:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN 3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 7 p.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race: Douglas County Speedway (taped), NBCSN 8 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice (re-air), NBCSN 9 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice (re-air), NBCSN Saturday, Sept. 3 Midnight, NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race: Douglas County Speedway (re-air), NBCSN 11:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN 1:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN 3 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Countdown to Green, NBC 3:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 , NBC 5:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS2 11 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), NBCSN Sunday, Sept. 4 12:30 a.m., NASCAR Southern Speed : Legend of Darlington (re-air), NBCSN 2 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series SetUp, FS1 2:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 , FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR America Sunday, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 , NBC 11 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Post-Race Show, NBCSN Midnight, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1 Midnight, NASCAR Southern Speed : Legend of Darlington (re-air), NBCSN &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;
Michigan rules package adds speed , opportunity
RELATED: Drivers held up in pre-qualifying inspection BROOKLYN, Mich. -- NASCAR officials and Sprint Cup Series drivers will go racing off into the unknown Sunday here at Michigan International Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), equipped with an adjusted aerodynamic rules package and a lot of questions. Few were answered on Friday, the first day teams rolled onto the 2-mile track with a package featuring a smaller rear spoiler as well as changes to the front splitter. Single-car runs dominated the lone practice session, no different than qualifying, which ended the first day's action. Instances of cars running side-by-side and/or nose to tail weren't rare. They were non-existent. With two practices on tap for Saturday, some brave souls may yet emerge. Speed was the topic of conversation on Friday as teams adapted to the changes. "I am really excited about the fact that not only is it really cool to go 220 mph at the end of the straightaway, but then we have to slow down to 180 mph in the corner," Aric Almirola , driver of the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports , said. "For a race car driver, 220 mph is fast and it is fun and honestly not that scary because you have to let off the gas to go in the corner. "What is scary is running 200 mph at the end of the straightaway and 198 at the end of the corner and it really hurts when the right front tire blows out and you hit the wall." The discrepancy in straightaway speed vs. cornering speed is expected to open up passing zones. It creates "opportunity," Almirola said. "You can drive in the corner a little deeper," he said. "You can lift a little sooner. It really opens up the driver's tool box if you will." "It's a nice change of pace," said Brad Keselowski , a Michigan native who is winless in 13 career starts at the speedway. "We are all kind of learning together how that will affect the racing. I don't think anyone will have an answer until they drop the green on Sunday. "That seems to normally be the case here where races are different than practice and qualifying. … It is fun to drive. You enter the corner almost 220 mph and you turn left and the front goes and the back doesn’t always go with it. That is quite a feeling for sure. It is a unique challenge that I think will bring out some of the best racing we have seen in quite some time." NASCAR began tweaking this year's lower downforce aerodynamic package at Kansas, requiring teams to weld rear trailing arms and brackets to limit offset and movement in the rear of the vehicles, decreasing sideforce. Further changes were put into play for this year's non-points Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The number of fans used for cooling purposes, which teams had begun using to move air from underneath the car and create downforce, was decreased and the rear toe alignment was reset in a move to limit sideforce. The fan and trailing arm changes will remain in place but the rear toe alignment was only for the non-points event. The latest moves, for this weekend's race Michigan as well as next month's event at Kentucky Speedway (July 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), consist of the spoiler, deck fin and front splitter changes in addition to those previously announced. RELATED: Tire test to show Kentucky changes, tweaked rules package Two years ago, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars created approximately 3,000 pounds of downforce. Rule changes for '15 reduced that to 2,700 pounds, according to Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Innovation & Racing Development, said Friday. "They're running the '16 rules package at 2,000 (pounds), and the package we're running here in Michigan will be 1,500," Stefanyshyn said of the downforce numbers. "So it's been a journey over three or four years." Those changes have also reduced sideforce by approximately 110 pounds, he said. "Obviously we take the aerodynamic forces off the car, it makes the car a bit more difficult to drive for the drivers, but in taking those aerodynamic devices off, we do clean up the amount of air or turbulence around the cars so the cars should be able to move around each other better and pass. So that's kind of the theory." Combined with a Goodyear tire matched more closely to the lower downforce package, the changes have resulted in closer competition on the track this season. Friday's activities were more about getting acquainted with the new package; how it will impact competition when cars are three- and four-wide, several rows deep, has yet to be answered. "I think it's difficult to visually see the difference, but when you look at the data from the cars, the speed trace is significantly different, the mid‑corner speeds are down a lot, the entry speeds are up a little," Scott Miller, NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Competition, said. "And from some of the driver comments, having to use the brakes pretty hard and maybe even thinking about needing brake cooling and everything at a big track like this is a departure from where we've been before, and we're really hoping that those things actually produce a really, really good race on Sunday."
Ride along for Harvick's wild ride with Brian Scott at Daytona
Check out Kevin Harvick's in-car camera as nearly half of the field wrecks at Daytona and Brian Scott ends up on the hood of the No. 4.
Scott improves in tandem with RPM chassis program
RELATED: Complete lineup for Martinsville " Sunoco Rookie of the Year race MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- It's a process, said Brian Scott , both for himself and the Richard Petty Motorsports organization. One of five Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates, Scott pilots the No. 44 Ford for RPM. He is 25th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings after five races, and third in the rookie standings, trailing Chase Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing ). "Right now, our motto is we're stacking pennies," Scott , 28, said Saturday morning at Martinsville Speedway , site of Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "It's a motto that (crew chief) Chris Heroy shared with me. He's like, 'You've just got to keep stacking pennies until you make a dollar.' And that's what we're doing. We're taking small steps in the right direction." Scott and the team arrived at Martinsville this weekend on the heels of a season-best 12th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway . The result was especially pleasing given that it was the first "new" car rolled off the line for the No. 44 team. RPM previously purchased vehicles from Roush Fenway Racing ; last year the organization began building its own bodies; in '16 a new in-house chassis-building program was put into place. "We just didn't start the season that way and we knew that we weren't going to," Scott said. "We got a late start with the deal coming together in December, we have a new crew chief ... and it's just taking some time to get all the parts and pieces and the cars and everything where we want them. "But California was a huge step in the right direction with the people at Richard Petty Motorsports building some of their own chassis and doing a lot more of the stuff, and that was the first new car that we had run." The increased speed on the track is a reflection of that work. But again, it's a process. "Unfortunately, these new cars are extremely valuable possessions right now and we have limited numbers," he said. "It's important for us not to tear them up and to continue to not tear up the old cars when we have to run them because the rotation won't allow ... just give the shop opportunities to create more new cars and to start phasing out our old cars instead of having to fix and work on them." Team co-owner Richard Petty said the results after just five races might be somewhat similar to the 2015 season, but the improvement is there. The seven-time series champion and winner of 200 races said the RPM group is "just a wee bit better than we were last year. "But we're doing a lot of our own stuff and feel like we've got a lot better opportunity of improving over the year than what we did before because most of the time what we started the season with is what we wound up with," Petty said. "Now, we can make our own changes with the body or the chassis or whatever the rules are, so it might not be there, but we're going to have a better chance of our destiny being in our hands from the car standpoint." Scott's teammate Aric Almirola is 13th in points with three finishes of 15th or better. He has three top-10 finishes in 14 career starts on the unique 0.526-mile layout and will start 20th Sunday. Scott will start 26th. He posted two top-10 runs in the Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville, but Sunday's race will be his first in a Sprint Cup entry. "The short track program has been a sticky spot for Richard Petty Motorsports in the past with the exception of Bristol – they've run really well at Bristol and Dover," Scott said. "But the short, flat track program is an area that they needed probably the most improvement out of all their programs. ... I feel like that's an area that bringing Chris (Heroy) in from another company has been helpful; it's just that it takes time to implement new ideas and to get those things in place."
Herring, Scott top practice sessions at Kentucky
RELATED: Practice 2 results SPARTA, Ky. -- Rain ended Friday's on-track activity early for the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Kentucky Speedway . Final practice was set to run from 6 p.m. to 7:25 p.m. ET, but a red flag for wet weather came out around 30 minutes in with NASCAR calling it shortly thereafter. At the time of the stoppage, Drew Herring (175.959 mph) was at the top of the speed chart. Herring is practicing and qualifying the No. 54 Toyota for Erik Jones and Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky. Jones will be in the No. 54 for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) Ryan Blaney (175.661 mph) and Daniel Suarez (175.593 mph) were in the top three in the final practice session. Brian Scott topped the opening practice with a speed of 178.159 mph, followed by his RCR teammates of Ty Dillon (177.439 mph) and Brandon Jones (177.194 mph). Chris Buescher enters this weekend's race with a 25-point lead on Dillon and a 28-point lead on defending series champion Chase Elliott in the driver championship standings. Brendan Gaughan is the defending race winner. The VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 is the final standalone of the 2015 XFINITY Series schedule. XFINITY Coors Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 4:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra) with the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. Brad Keselowski won the July XFINITY Series race at Kentucky in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford. That car will be driven this weekend by Ryan Blaney , who won this race in 2013 for his first career XFINITY Series win. It has been a rainy NASCAR season for the 1.5-mile oval track as much of the NASCAR tripleheader schedule in July was washed out by rain. All three national series races were run at their scheduled times, but most practice and qualifying sessions were rained out. RELATED: Practice 1 results Brian Scott topped the leaderboard during the final minutes of opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice at Kentucky Speedway . In the series' final stand-alone event of the year, Scott had a fastest lap of 178.159 mph in his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Scott's RCR teammate, Ty Dillon , was right behind him, wheeling his No. 3 Chevrolet around the 1.5-mile track with a fastest lap of 177.439 mph. Next was Brandon Jones , who finished with the third-fastest lap (177.194 mph) after topping the leaderboard for much of the first session. Ryan Blaney (176.840 mph) and Daniel Suarez (176.811 mph) were fourth and fifth, respectively. Defending race winner Brendan Gaughan was ninth-fastest, pulling a fastest lap of 175.279 mph.
Top 10 consecutive lap averages at Bristol
Opening practice 10-lap averages Position Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 11 Denny Hamlin 61 70 126.740 2 21 * Ryan Blaney # 26 35 126.485 3 2 Brad Keselowski 19 28 126.219 4 47 AJ Allmendinger 15 24 126.207 5 4 Kevin Harvick 47 56 126.191 6 43 Aric Almirola 40 49 126.128 7 19 Carl Edwards 34 43 126.016 8 3 Austin Dillon 14 23 125.907 9 24 Chase Elliott # 26 35 125.692 10 1 Jamie McMurray 30 39 125.665 11 18 Kyle Busch 43 52 125.476 12 20 Matt Kenseth 49 58 125.457 13 27 Paul Menard 38 47 125.326 14 83 Matt DiBenedetto 3 12 125.295 15 13 Casey Mears 2 11 124.799 16 15 Clint Bowyer 28 37 124.470 17 14 Tony Stewart 3 12 124.252 18 95 Michael McDowell 20 29 124.240 19 10 Danica Patrick 58 67 124.231 20 5 Kasey Kahne 51 60 124.134 21 41 Kurt Busch 4 13 124.089 22 22 Joey Logano 40 49 123.951 23 30 * Josh Wise 13 22 123.902 24 38 Landon Cassill 19 28 123.526 25 31 Ryan Newman 38 47 123.498 26 34 Chris Buescher # 48 57 123.189 27 23 David Ragan 12 21 123.091 28 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . 35 44 123.043 29 48 Jimmie Johnson 39 48 123.032 30 88 Jeff Gordon 50 59 122.389 31 16 Greg Biffle 51 60 122.260 32 44 Brian Scott # 29 38 122.232 33 6 Trevor Bayne 36 45 122.182 Final practice best 10-lap averages Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 11 Denny Hamlin 2 11 127.193 2 18 Kyle Busch 1 10 127.015 3 24 Chase Elliott # 1 10 126.865 4 31 Ryan Newman 5 14 126.811 5 20 Matt Kenseth 26 35 126.669 6 2 Brad Keselowski 33 42 126.660 7 19 Carl Edwards 62 71 126.273 8 4 Kevin Harvick 67 76 126.086 9 14 Tony Stewart 4 13 126.038 10 21 * Ryan Blaney # 4 13 125.966 11 5 Kasey Kahne 7 16 125.906 12 41 Kurt Busch 1 10 125.826 13 48 Jimmie Johnson 54 63 125.789 14 47 AJ Allmendinger 10 19 125.473 15 3 Austin Dillon 6 15 125.441 16 16 Greg Biffle 38 47 125.431 17 88 Jeff Gordon 6 15 125.231 18 42 Kyle Larson 48 57 124.631 19 34 Chris Buescher # 50 59 124.585 20 1 Jamie McMurray 2 11 124.538 21 13 Casey Mears 4 13 124.432 22 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . 5 14 124.285 23 95 Michael McDowell 41 50 124.260 24 15 Clint Bowyer 4 13 123.988 25 27 Paul Menard 25 34 123.696 26 6 Trevor Bayne 13 22 123.611 27 22 Joey Logano 50 59 123.400 28 44 Brian Scott # 39 48 123.245 29 83 Matt DiBenedetto 15 24 122.606 30 23 David Ragan 1 10 120.742 31 30 * Josh Wise 11 20 120.246
Ready for points 'battle' to Richmond, Buescher stepping up aggression
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Chris Buescher has a victory but remains outside the top 30 in points, a situation that the Front Row Motorsports rookie driver hopes to remedy in the coming weeks as he seeks a berth in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . For the third consecutive season, NASCAR's Chase field will consist of drivers in the top 30 in points who have one or more wins, with any remaining positons in the 16-team field determined via points. Buescher earned his first career Sprint Cup victory at Pocono Raceway , and trails 30th place David Ragan ( BK Racing ) by only three points heading into Saturday night's Bass Pro Shops NRA 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (8 p.m. NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). But it's not just Ragan and the seemingly slim deficit that Buescher said he and his Front Row Motorsports team have their sights set on. "I think anyone will tell you that it's not necessarily just three points," said Buescher. "It's going to be constantly changing. There are four drivers in this window that can basically upset the balance or change it each and every weekend. "For us right now, yeah, it's three points to David Ragan , but after Bristol it could be a completely different story. We could gain points on David, but get passed by the one behind us. It's a balance, but we've got to take it week by week. … We have to capitalize on our weekends as much as possible. That's what is going to be important for us -- to do the best we can and let everything else fall the way it's going to." Regan Smith trails Buescher by 14 points; Brian Scott sits 11 behind Smith. Ten drivers have clinched one of the 16 Chase berths based on wins and their current points positions, including defending series champion Kyle Busch and 2012 champ Brad Keselowski . Tony Stewart has a victory, but has yet to officially clinch a spot since the three-time series champ sits 26th in points and could fall out of the top 30. Eleventh through 16th in points but winless this season are Ryan Newman , Chase Elliott , Austin Dillon , Jamie McMurray , Kyle Larson and Trevor Bayne . Should Stewart remain in the top 30 and Buescher advance, only four positons would be set based on points. Just outside the top 16 are Kasey Kahne and Ryan Blaney . "Right now, we've got to get all we can get and be aggressive with it to gain points and that's more fun racing," Buescher, one of four drivers competing for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, said. "We can enjoy these weekends and not be too worried about giving it up, just knowing that we've got to do everything we can do to run as well as possible. "That's not necessarily saying we've got to try and get ourselves in a fuel window and run out of gas and lose a bunch of spots. It's saying we've got to be aggressive on track, take passes whenever we can get them, and make sure that we can drive forward so that we're earning points versus losing them each of these next four weekends." Buescher finished 21st at Bristol in the spring race, and said it's "probably one of our better race tracks this year for speed … and this should be a place where we can gain a lot of those points." But, he added, "the guys that we're racing also run really well here, so it's going be a battle right up to the end of Richmond."
NASCAR Nation offers condolences on Clauson's passing
Editor's note: Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Turford/The Drivers Project Drivers, crew chiefs and others from NASCAR Nation joined fans from around the racing world in offering condolences to the family of Bryan Clauson, a 27-year-old racer who died Sunday night following a Saturday night wreck in a sprint-car event. Very sad. Thoughts and prayers with Bryan's family and friends. #RIPBryanClauson https://t.co/bzNjfnpW6J — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) August 8, 2016 Tough to hear the news this morning. Thoughts and prayers go out to the @BryanClauson family during this tough time.. #wheelman #RIP — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) August 8, 2016 Thinking of @BryanClauson family today. Very sad day in the Motorsports community. — Erik Jones (@erik_jones) August 8, 2016 pic.twitter.com/dQuRARCGyo — Rico Abreu (@Rico_Abreu) August 8, 2016 Absolutely heart broken for the Clauson family! Rest in peace @BryanClauson — Tony Gibson (@TonyOldman41) August 8, 2016 My thoughts and prayers are with all of Bryan Clauson's family and friends. — Regan Smith (@ReganSmith) August 8, 2016 Heartbreaking to learn that Bryan Clauson has passed away. Praying for peace and comfort for his family and friends. #racingfamily — DeLana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) August 8, 2016 Card night was on Mondays at my GMA's house back in the day. Grandma always complimented his manners. His parents should be proud. #RIPBryan — landon cassill (@landoncassill) August 8, 2016 Awesome driver and great guy... RIP https://t.co/g8aXGJB89G — Casey Mears (@CJMearsGang) August 8, 2016 I'm really at a loss for words this morning. Im just sick hearing the news about @BryanClauson . Thoughts and prayers to his family #ripchamp — Justin Allgaier (@J_Allgaier) August 8, 2016 Very sad news today regarding @BryanClauson RIP to an incredibly talented race car driver — Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) August 8, 2016 Unbelievable. RIP to Bryan Clauson. Lots of prayers to his family right now. — Ryan Reed (@driverRyanReed) August 8, 2016 Horrible, Bryan was an incredible and TRUE racer. My heart and prayers go out to his family. https://t.co/z5PEpnp4QF — Parker Kligerman (@pkligerman) August 8, 2016 Very sad news. Thoughts and prayers to Bryan's family. https://t.co/9PJeDxcDAa — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) August 8, 2016 My thoughts are with Bryan's fiancé Lauren and their family and friends. #bc — Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) August 8, 2016 pic.twitter.com/2F9try4u9L — Katelyn Sweet (@Katelyn_Sweet) August 8, 2016 https://t.co/mNG3Zx4L1u — Brian Scott (@bscottracing) August 8, 2016 So saddened to hear the news of Bryan Clauson my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. #RIPBryanClauson — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) August 8, 2016 There aren't enough competitors in our sport like @BryanClauson and now there's one less. RIP my friend. — Justin Marks (@JustinMarksDG) August 8, 2016 Awful news to hear about the passing of a true racer @BryanClauson God speed my friend. — Cole Whitt (@ColeWhitt) August 8, 2016 It's surreal to think Bryan Clauson is gone. He was one of the good ones. He was kind, funny, and a damn good driver. Heavy heart today. — Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) August 8, 2016 Bryan Clauson was as good as they get behind the wheel and one of the nicest, happiest guys around. Always smiling and enjoying life... #bc — Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) August 8, 2016 Sad to see the news of @BryanClauson the racing community just lost another great one. #RIPBC — AJ Allmendinger (@AJDinger) August 8, 2016 Thoughts and prayers with the Clauson family. I always admired @BryanClauson love for racing. His determination will never be forgotten. — Austin Dillon (@austindillon3) August 8, 2016 Very sad news this morning on Bryan Clauson my condolences and prayers go out to his family — Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) August 8, 2016 RIP. Godspeed BC. Please send prayers to his family and friends. #PrayersForBC https://t.co/eyf332eO3F — Brian Scott (@bscottracing) August 8, 2016 Our hearts are heavy with the news of @BryanClauson 's passing. Godspeed to him, and our thoughts & prayers are with his family. — Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) August 8, 2016 My thoughts and prayers are with all of Bryan Clauson's family and friends. — Regan Smith (@ReganSmith) August 8, 2016 Very sad to hear about #BryanClauson . He was a wheel man for sure. Thoughts and prayers to his family during this terrible time. — Jeremy Clements (@JClements51) August 8, 2016 https://t.co/Jz07KHXYgT — Michael Waltrip (@MW55) August 8, 2016 A true racer who will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. https://t.co/FlSSbjTbnB — Jeff Burton (@JeffBurton) August 8, 2016 while @BryanClauson was fighting hard for his life, @steviewaltrip and I were praying hard for his recovery, God had other plans, RIP — Darrell Waltrip (@AllWaltrip) August 8, 2016 Our greatest comfort in sorrow is to know that God is in control. — Darrell Waltrip (@AllWaltrip) August 8, 2016 Very well put DW. Such a sad day to hear the passing of a great man and driver. Rest in peace @BryanClauson https://t.co/8nynbxGIPm — Matthew DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) August 8, 2016 Absolutely unbelievable. Words cant be put into place when you lose family. Were all family in the racing world. Rest in peace BC. — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) August 8, 2016 The racing family lost an amazing young man. Deepest condolences to the family and friends of @BryanClauson . Rest in Peace. — Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) August 8, 2016 Man it seems like just yesterday @BryanClauson and I were playing Nintendo 64 and racing quarter midgets. I just can't believe it. Praying. — Brennan Poole (@brennanpoole) August 8, 2016 Bryan and I were teammates back at Ganassi. He always had a smile on his face. Hell of a driver and even more he was a hell of a person. — Kevin Hamlin (@KevinHamlin) August 8, 2016 Godspeed Bryan https://t.co/rSBursglmZ — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 8, 2016 Sending thoughts and prayers to the Clauson Family. — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) August 8, 2016 My thoughts and prayers are with the Clauson family, absolutely terrible hearing about this. — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) August 8, 2016 Love that https://t.co/GVbDcAjY2G — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) August 8, 2016 Please, today, just take a few mins out of your day to look up @BryanClauson 's accomplishments and a few of his best races online — landon cassill (@landoncassill) August 8, 2016 pic.twitter.com/gSRkQKeEYQ — Josh Wise (@Josh_Wise) August 8, 2016 So many Memories we made that I will never forget. We had plans of making so many more together. #ripBC pic.twitter.com/im3OEvMOmJ — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) August 8, 2016 So sad to hear of @BryanClauson 's passing. An incredible man & driver. Thoughts & prayers for his family & friends. https://t.co/dZMp8o4O4s — Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) August 8, 2016