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).
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.
Top 10 consecutive lap averages at New Hampshire
RESULTS: Practice 1 Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 5 Kasey Kahne 5 14 131.273 2 10 Danica Patrick 1 10 126.870 RESULTS: Practice 2 Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 78 Martin Truex Jr 2 11 131.139 2 20 Matt Kenseth 15 24 131.033 3 18 Kyle Busch 23 32 130.757 4 11 Denny Hamlin 24 33 130.754 5 24 Chase Elliott # 3 12 130.576 6 42 Kyle Larson 24 33 130.559 7 27 Paul Menard 2 11 130.472 8 31 Ryan Newman 2 11 130.462 9 88 Alex Bowman (i) 32 41 130.366 10 48 Jimmie Johnson 3 12 130.334 11 19 Carl Edwards 8 17 130.316 12 1 Jamie McMurray 6 15 129.924 13 41 Kurt Busch 20 29 129.825 14 23 David Ragan 1 10 129.795 15 3 Austin Dillon 17 26 129.785 16 2 Brad Keselowski 20 29 129.499 17 43 Aric Almirola 13 22 129.476 18 44 Brian Scott # 27 36 128.899 19 95 Michael McDowell 6 15 128.823 20 21 * Ryan Blaney # 1 10 128.743 21 15 Clint Bowyer 9 18 128.458 22 34 Chris Buescher # 26 35 127.980 RESULTS: Practice 3 Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 19 Carl Edwards 13 22 131.663 2 4 Kevin Harvick 28 37 131.401 3 42 Kyle Larson 24 33 131.342 4 18 Kyle Busch 35 44 131.337 5 48 Jimmie Johnson 1 10 131.279 6 11 Denny Hamlin 2 11 131.167 7 24 Chase Elliott # 34 43 131.113 8 5 Kasey Kahne 1 10 131.069 9 20 Matt Kenseth 2 11 130.927 10 88 Alex Bowman (i) 1 10 130.902 11 41 Kurt Busch 23 32 130.869 12 78 Martin Truex Jr 2 11 130.842 13 2 Brad Keselowski 34 43 130.761 14 22 Joey Logano 23 32 130.705 15 14 Tony Stewart 1 10 130.675 16 27 Paul Menard 3 12 130.561 17 31 Ryan Newman 1 10 130.411 18 1 Jamie McMurray 1 10 130.216 19 3 Austin Dillon 18 27 129.938 20 43 Aric Almirola 1 10 129.656 21 47 AJ Allmendinger 1 10 129.645 22 6 Trevor Bayne 19 28 129.635 23 10 Danica Patrick 27 36 129.247 24 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 16 25 129.231 25 21 * Ryan Blaney # 22 31 129.058 26 44 Brian Scott # 20 29 128.788 27 7 Regan Smith 1 10 128.720 28 95 Michael McDowell 1 10 128.572 29 16 Greg Biffle 7 16 128.554 30 13 Casey Mears 16 25 128.542 31 34 Chris Buescher # 24 33 128.528 32 15 Clint Bowyer 22 31 128.318 33 23 David Ragan 1 10 128.176 34 38 Landon Cassill 30 39 127.961 *Car must run 10 consecutive laps on the track to be included in the above chart. # denotes rookie (i) denotes ineligible for points
Roush Fenway Racing names new pit crew coach
Roush Fenway Racing has decided to reassign longtime pit crew coach Andy Ward, replacing him with Scott Bowen, a current RFR employee and an ex-pit crew member. Ward has been at RFR for many years and has produced some very good pit crews. The Jack Roush-owned organization did not have any drivers qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this year. Roush Fenway Racing released the following statement regarding the move: "We continuously evaluate our race team operations at Roush Fenway, and as part of a mid-season restructuring we have implemented a change in the department structure with our pit crew teams. We have placed Scott Bowen, who previously was our head of purchasing, in charge of our pit crew operations. Scott is a longtime employee of Roush Fenway, and worked as an over-the-wall pit crew member for several years. We believe this change will prove beneficial in our continued effort to improve on-track performance." For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Keselowski shows speed in final Darlington practice
RELATED: Practice 1 results " Final practice results " 10-lap averages Brad Keselowski closed out final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice with the fastest lap Saturday afternoon at Darlington Raceway . Keselowski registered a best lap of 174.649 mph in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford in the 80-minute final prep for Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Kurt Busch posted the second-fastest lap with the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet at 174.031 mph. The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson , fastest in opening practice, was third-best in final practice (174.019 mph), followed by teammate Kasey Kahne (173.656 mph) and Richard Childress Racing 's Paul Menard (173.454 mph) to complete the top five. Kyle Larson , last weekend's winner at Michigan International Speedway , added his name to the list of drivers scraping the wall for a "Darlington Stripe." His No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet sustained minor right-side damage early in the session. Brian Scott replicated the mishap in the session's final two minutes, scrubbing the outside wall with the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 44 Ford. He finished the session 13th. Defending race winner Carl Edwards notched the seventh-fastest lap in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota (172.826 mph). Pole-starter Kevin Harvick , who inherited the first starting spot after Hurricane Hermine's effects scrapped all Friday on-track activity, was 19th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Two-time winner Greg Biffle was the fastest in the 10-lap average category, driving the Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Ford. He landed in the sixth spot during final practice (173.234 mph). Johnson sets pace in first practice Jimmie Johnson roared to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup leaderboard in opening practice Saturday at Darlington Raceway . Johnson guided the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 to a best lap of 176.025 mph on the 1.366-mile track. He'll start ninth in Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) after severe weather related to Hurricane Hermine washed away Coors Light Pole Qualifying and all other on-track activity Friday. Denny Hamlin was second-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota with a lap of 175.060 mph in the 85-minute session. Ryan Blaney , Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman closed out the top five. Points leader Kevin Harvick , who will start from the pole position after Friday's qualifying rainout, was 11th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Jeff Gordon -- making another substitute start for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who is sidelined for the rest of the season with concussion-like symptoms -- was 14th-best in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet. Defending race winner Carl Edwards landed the 22nd-fastest lap in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota. A handful of drivers scraped the wall in the opening session, earning "Darlington Stripes" with mostly minor right-side damage. Among them were Brad Keselowski , Blaney and defending Sprint Cup champ Kyle Busch . Danica Patrick also overshot pit road late in the practice, looping her No. 10 Chevrolet without damage.
Kyle Larson leaps to top of practice board late at Dover
RELATED: Full practice results " Top 10 consecutive lap averages Kyle Larson topped the speed charts in Friday's only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 165.578 mph in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet. Right behind him was Carl Edwards in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 165.122 mph. Rounding out the top five were Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 JGR Toyota, Ryan Newman in the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Sprint Cup Series Chase points leader Brad Keselowski was 19th fastest with a speed of 162.177 mph in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford. The lowest Chase driver was Chris Buescher in 31st place with a speed of 160.100 mph in the Front Row Motorsports Ford. The start of the practice session was delayed 15 minutes in order to finish drying the 1-mile track after rain moved through the area earlier. Coors Light Pole qualifying is at 3:40 p.m. ET with coverage on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App. </p>
How the 'tire war' was won -- at North Wilkesboro
RELATED: North Wilkesboro, 20 years later MORE: Classic Dale Jr. story: Angry dad, purple gas jug In the late 1980s, NASCAR's twofold quest for speed and success took a sharp turn as tire supplier Goodyear introduced the radial tire to the sanctioning body's premier series. Bias-ply tires had been the standard for stock car competition from the very beginning. But radial tire technology had vastly improved, and major open-wheel series had already made the swap to radials. Off the track, radials had also begun replacing bias-ply as the tires of choice for passenger vehicles. But the bias-ply tires still used in NASCAR provided teams with another tool in the toolbox, a way to "tune" the car's setup through the use of air pressures and tire stagger (the variation in the circumference of the car's tires), something radial tire technology couldn't duplicate at the time. Goodyear officials were working toward implementing radials in NASCAR when the company got an unexpected push from Hoosier Tire Company in 1988. The competition between the two was fierce, and not without consequences. "Softer" tires produced by both brands generated higher speeds, but durability faltered. The "fall-off" in the product led to numerous tire failures and hard crashes. The following year, Goodyear officials rolled out radial race tires in an effort to provide both speed and durability. It was an ongoing project -- problems before the season-opening Daytona 500 forced the company to withdraw its product for that event. It wasn't until the spring race of 1989 at North Wilkesboro that Goodyear debuted the radial tire that officials felt was far more durable and could provide the necessary consistency and speed . "We were going to step through it," said Greg Stucker, head of race tire sales for Goodyear. "We were going to introduce them at the short tracks and then slowly step into the other race tracks." Rusty Wallace, driving for team owner Raymond Beadle, won the pole after the Blue Max team made the switch to Hoosiers. "We knew the Hoosiers were quick," Stucker said. "We also knew that the radials were extremely good over the long run. We went the first 100-some odd laps under green, which you don't do at North Wilkesboro very often. And Rusty got lapped, I think, about Lap 70." Dale Earnhardt won the race, thanks in part to the Richard Childress team's use of the Goodyear radials. "I still have that car," Childress said. "That's one of my favorite cars I have on display because I didn't re-do the body on it. I made the rest of them look real nice, but that car is still beat up; it has the Dale Earnhardt look still left on it. All the fenders beat in, the sides, and a set of the very first radial tires. "That's why we kept that one. It was the first win anybody had on radial tires. And everybody said 'That's going to be the end of Dale Earnhardt; he won't be able to run on them radial tires.' Well, we went out there and won the first race on them." The tire war eventually ended – Hoosier pulled out of the sport in mid-1989, returned for the ’94 season with its own radial tire, but departed at year's end due to a lack of sales. "It couldn't have worked out better for us to demonstrate how strong and how consistent the radial was," Stucker said. "The race really played into our hands pretty well. I think it was a good demonstration to everybody that this was a good package. "You know they say you have good days and bad days in racing? That was definitely one of the best days I've had at the race track. It was a good one." &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Purple punch: Earnhardt Jr.'s classic North Wilkesboro memory
RELATED: North Wilkesboro, 20 years later Dale Earnhardt Jr . didn't begin his career in NASCAR's premier series until 1999, three years after the series had moved on from North Wilkesboro Speedway. But Earnhardt Jr., a student of NASCAR history, did compete at the .625-mile track, racing a Late Model entry on at least a couple of occasions. "I ran the Sun Drop (sponsored) car there," Earnhardt Jr. recalled. "Actually, I think we went there twice. With the Sun Drop car I remember qualifying 19th or something; I don't remember how many cars were there but I'm sure they sent a few home so it was cool to make the race." The contentment was short-lived. According to Earnhardt, he "T-boned a guy and had to run the rest of the race with no fenders or hood or anything. So it wasn't a whole lot of fun." The following year, all three Earnhardt siblings -- Earnhardt Jr., older brother Kerry and older sister Kelley -- made the trek to the legendary track to compete in the Late Model race. None of the three managed to qualify, a situation that didn't sit well with their father and team owner, Dale Earnhardt. "Dad had assumed that I would make the race because we'd been running so good at Myrtle Beach," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He said, 'You guys run this race' and there was a race at Myrtle Beach that night; he was going to fly us in his King Air to the beach so we could compete that night and stay in the track points (battle)." But when Dale Jr. failed to make the show, "He told me and my guys to screw off, that we had to drive the damn van all the way from North Wilkesboro to Myrtle Beach to try to make the race. "We had to hustle; we barely made it. He was pissed off that all three cars missed the race." MORE: How end of "tire war" started at track Failing to qualify and having to drive all day to that night's race wasn't the only issue. An incident with "questionable" fuel also took place, but Earnhardt Jr. laughs when he recounts the incident today. "I had a jug of trick fuel for my car," he said. "It was a purple gas jug. We kept it in that purple gas jug so we wouldn't mix it up with the other fuel. It was probably Elf fuel or something just to give my car a little more speed . Or it might have had some propylene oxide in there or something. "One of Kerry or Kelley's guys walked over to get some gas for their car and grabbed the purple jug and a fight ensued between their crew and my crew; it sort of let the cat out of the bag that whatever was in that jug was pretty special. That was kind of comical." Something to laugh about, no doubt, on the long drive from the hills of North Wilkesboro to the sands of Myrtle Beach. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Elliott: Hendrick's recent surge a group effort
RELATED: Dover on-track schedule " Chase Grid DOVER, Del. -- Chase Elliott 's average finish during the six-race stretch from Sonoma in late June to early August at Pocono was a sour 27.67. His past six races? 10.3. The Hendrick Motorsports rookie certainly appears to be over his summer slump. "I was really proud of the way we ran last weekend," Elliott said Friday at Dover International Speedway . "We ran inside the top five the majority of the day. That was a huge improvement for our group. Loudon is a terrible race track for me, so I was really happy with just the fact that we were able to be kind of in that group." Still in his freshman year in the Sprint Cup Series, this marks 20-year-old Elliott's first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup appearance. He's joined in the 16-car playoffs by teammate Jimmie Johnson , who has been a part of each Chase since its inaugural run in 2004. Like Elliott, Johnson's No. 48 team also struggled throughout the summer, but appears to be back to its form of running in the top bracket. Even the non-Chase cars of Kasey Kahne (No. 5) and Alex Bowman (No. 88), fill-in driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., have shown speed in recent weeks. The teamwide improvements beg the question: Has the Hendrick Motorsports organization found something in time for the Chase? Elliott thinks it's bigger than that. "I know that our engine department has been working really hard," Elliott said. "I think that you see their improvements across the board, not just Hendrick cars, but I have a lot of respect for Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and everybody at the engine shop for making their engine program so fair … I think when you see an improvement in the engine shop you are going to see that across the board and I think we've seen that the past couple of weeks. I think there is definitely something there." The No. 24 shop individually has also done its part to put together the jigsaw that seemed to puzzle the Hendrick group in the summer weeks leading up to the Chase. "I know Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and our group has been pushing really hard on that front trying to improve, trying to get the best stuff we can get pumped out of the shop and to the race track," Elliott said. "I think it's a little bit of both to be honest with you and I think we are moving in the right direction on some items that I think we’ve been missing. That is encouraging to me." An encouraged Elliott has elevated his team to ninth of 16 on the Chase Grid, 16 points ahead of the cutoff line. Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) marks the first elimination race of the season that will narrow the field from 16 to 12. Based on recent trends, Elliott's chances at advancing to the next round are strong, provided he's able to tame the Monster Mile, a track where he finished third in May. And from there, the rookie could go all the way to the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "I 100 percent think our group or Jimmie's group could make it," Elliott said on the possibility. "I feel confident in that. I think we've been fast enough these first two weeks to do it, but obviously you have to have some things go your way throughout this deal and you've got to execute your races and try to stay mistake free."
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