Grant Enfinger earns first win in Talladega truck thriller
RELATED: Race results " Updated Truck Series Chase Grid TALLADEGA, Ala. – In the race that decided the lineup for the Round of 6 in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, Alabama native Grant Enfinger stole the thunder from the playoff drivers in Saturday's fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway . With a strong push from GMS Racing teammate and Chase driver Ben Kennedy after a restart on Lap 93 of 94, Enfinger surged to the front and stayed there in the face of a last-lap challenger from another teammate, Spencer Gallagher , who came home second, .108 seconds behind the winner. The victory was Enfinger's first in 13 career starts in the series. "It's unbelievable," said Enfinger, who led the first-ever 1-2 finish for GMS. "It's my home track. It's just so special." RELATED: 'Big One' shakes up Trucks Chase The race reduced the NCWTS Chase field from eight drivers to six. Third-place finisher Timothy Peters was the highest finisher among those who advanced, followed by Kennedy in fifth place, as GMS drivers claimed four of the top seven positions. "I got behind Grant Enfinger and tried to push him as much as I could," said Kennedy, who shoved his teammate's No. 24 Chevrolet to the front in the outside lane. "I knew the outside line had a little bit of something. I pushed him as much as I could, and once he got out to the lead, that truck was so fast out there. "I thought about trying to make it three-wide, but I didn't really have the momentum to carry it around him." Also moving on to the Round of 6 were sixth-place finisher Christopher Bell , GMS driver Johnny Sauter (seventh on Saturday), 10th-place finisher William Byron (who already had clinched a spot with a victory in the opening Chase race at New Hampshire) and Matt Crafton (who came home 22nd after his blown engine caused the seventh and final caution on Lap 89). WATCH: Nemechek out after his engine expires John Hunter Nemechek was eliminated from the Chase early in the race. The engine in his No. 8 Chevrolet expired on Lap 13, and Nemechek retired in 32nd place. Daniel Hemric , who entered the race below the Chase cut line, remained there thanks to three separate incidents on Saturday, the most costly a 14-car wreck on Lap 59 that severely damaged his No. 19 Ford. Hemric finished 11th, but fell 13 points short of Crafton, whose engine problems occurred too late to be of help to Hemric, given that 10 other trucks already were in the garage when Crafton’s motor blew. "Today was completely full of trials and trying to overcome things," Hemric said. "All we can do now is try to win races. It wasn’t for lack of effort. We got involved in three or four different situations there and never had the opportunity to get back to the front." Sunoco Rookie Rico Abreu finished fourth, his second top-five of the season and his best result in the series on pavement. Byron is the top seed in the Round of 6, followed by Bell, Peters, Crafton, Kennedy and Sauter. All six drivers start the Round of 6 with points reset to 3,000. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Post-Race Reactions: Scott's EZ Seed 300
Kahne, Earnhardt Jr., and others comment on their finishes in Thunder Valley.
Biffle and Jeffrey Earnhardt wreck, collects Mears
Greg Biffle and Jeffrey Earnhardt make contact and collects Casey Mears at Talladega Superspeedway.
Heads up: Kansas weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Kansas Speedway . WEATHER The good news? It doesn't appear likely that a hurricane will impact this weekend's racing at Kansas. The highest chance of precipitation is around 20 percent, according to Weather.com. Otherwise, we're looking at consistent temps hovering around 81 degrees most of Saturday and Sunday, while it will be mostly cloudy and a little cooler (70 degrees) when cars roll on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The Sprint Cup Series holds its first practice Fri d ay at 1 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App), with Coors Light Pole qualifying at 6:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App). The Hollywood Casino 400 is at 2:15 p.m. ET Sunday (NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). XFINITY Series: The XFINITY Series opens practice Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN/NBC Sports App) and qualifies Saturday at noon ET (CNBC/NBC Sports App). The Kansas Lottery 300 is Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Kansas media center at NASCAR.com/presspass. Click here for a full schedule. Click here to tune into the live stream . LAST TIME Like last week, Joey Logano is the defending race winner. The Team Penske driver led 42 of 269 laps to secure a victory in the middle of his three-race sweep of the Round of 12 (Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega) last season. In fact, he has won this race the past two years. YOU SHOULD KNOW • Joey Logano had three times as many wins in the Round of 12 last year than he does in all of 2016 (one). In need of a stellar finish -- if not a win -- after limping to a 36th-place finish at Charlotte, Logano certainly isn't hurting for motivation this weekend and Kansas lines up well for the prospects of regaining his mojo. The Penske driver has won two of the past four races at Kansas and had a top-five streak of five races snapped in the spring race (38th). • Despite winning the race with driver Kyle Busch , the spring event at Kansas didn't favor Toyota as we've seen much of this year, placing just two drivers (Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth ) in the top 10. After the pair was the only set of Toyotas in the top 10 at Charlotte, as well, this trend could continue. But then again -- it wouldn't be a shock to see either of those drivers win and advance. • Some XFINITY Series heavy hitters were knocked out of the Round of 12 after failing to advance at Charlotte in Ty Dillon , Brennan Poole , Brandon Jones and Ryan Sieg . In the series' first Chase, it'll be interesting to observe how teams adjust after seeing firsthand (in some cases) how a subpar opening round race can put a group in a serious, unrecoverable hole -- quickly.
XFINITY contenders to apply Round of 12 lessons at Kansas
RELATED: Chase Grid KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The first round of the first Chase for NASCAR's XFINITY Series trimmed the field of championship hopefuls from 12 to eight. The three-race subset also served as a learning tool for those who advanced to the second round, which begins Saturday with the Kansas Lottery 300 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) here at Kansas Speedway . "I learned that in the first race of the first round the intensity level was very high," Daniel Suarez ( Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota) said Friday. "It was definitely more high than what I was expecting." Elliott Sadler (JR Motorsports No. 1 Chevrolet) won the Chase opener held at Kentucky Speedway . Suarez was a close second, won the following week at Dover and finished third last weekend at Charlotte, unofficially taking the mantle of Chase favorite with four races remaining. "I thought everyone was going to go out there to try to be consistent and to try to make it for the next round and that wasn't the case," Suarez said. "Everyone was going for the win and everything got a little crazy in the first race in Kentucky. "But, honestly I'm very proud of everyone …. We had three races with three top-three finishes which I think is something really good for the first round. We have to do exactly the same thing for the second round and after that try to put ourselves in a good position for Homestead and pull everything we have for that last race and the most important race of the year." Sprint Cup Series regular Joey Logano won the Charlotte event, the only race not won by an XFINITY Series regular in the Round of 12. Suarez, 24, said he expects the level of intensity seen in that opening race to return here this weekend as drivers and teams try to knock out an early win and qualify for the Round of 8. "For some reason everyone – I thought everyone was going to be more relaxed in the first race but for some reason everyone was very, like I said, the intensity level was very high," he said. "And, then for the second race it was lower and everyone was more relaxed because everyone was a little bit too crazy in the first one. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same in this second round. "I don't think that I was myself, I don't think I got super crazy in Kentucky and we ended up with a pretty good result. Actually I felt like we should've won that race, we just came up one lap short. "I felt like everything that we learned the whole year we are trying to put that in the most important part of the year in the Chase in the first round and second round in order to get to the last race at Homestead and so far it's been working out. So, hopefully we can keep it up and move forward." Justin Allgaier (JRM), Erik Jones (JGR), Brendan Gaughan ( Richard Childress Racing ), Ryan Reed ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Darrell Wallace Jr . (RFR) and Blake Koch (Kaulig Racing) complete the Round of 8 for the XFINITY Series Chase. Suarez, Sadler and Jones are the only drivers in the postseason with victories this season. Gaughan, who has 15 top 10s, including a season-best runner-up at Road America , said the first round taught his team that "organizationally, to make sure we are prepared. "Make sure … we have everything kind of set and ready. "Another thing Shane (Wilson, crew chief) and I learned was (we) still are clowns that do it our way. It works for us. We don't scream and yell. … He doesn't get down on me when I hit a wall twice at Kentucky. And I don't bark at him when I think he makes the wrong call on pit road or we unload and it doesn't handle quite the way I want. "We're going to do it the way we think it needs to be done, stay patient and stay on each other’s team. A lot of pressure comes on these guys … and a lot of people succumb to that pressure." NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have won the last three XFINITY Series races at Kansas.
Kyle Busch wins at Kansas; XFINITY Chase gets shake-up
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Chase Grid " Photos from the day SHOP: Busch gear KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kyle Busch 's domination of Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway was about the only predictable thing that happened in the first race of the Round of 8 in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In winning his fourth XFINITY race at the 1.5-mile track, his ninth of the season and the 85th of his career -- extending his own series record -- Busch led 150 of 200 laps, passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez after a restart with 13 circuits remaining. "It was a hard-fought battle," said Busch, who had surged to a lead of 7.961 seconds before the first caution slowed the field on Lap 57. "Seemed like it was going to be easy for us. We had a super-fast car, and when we were out front, I could take it easy on those long runs and we could drive away. "The car would turn so well. A lot of things were trying to work against us at the end of the race. We were able to persevere and do the right things and have lucky restarts and be in the right grooves and not get caught up in the melee that was happening." Suarez had reason to be elated with his eventual third-place finish. An unexplained "popping" sound in his No. 19 Toyota accompanied a loss of horsepower, and Suarez settled for a hard-won result after Elliott Sadler passed him in the closing laps for the runner-up spot. Because Suarez led laps and Sadler didn't, he and Sadler leave Kansas tied for the Chase lead, but Sadler owns the tie-breaker due to higher finishes. "I'm proud of my race team," Sadler said. "We just kept working on the car and getting it better and better. I've got to do a better job trying to outrun that 18 car (Busch). He's really good, and he knows how to manipulate the air. But I've got to keep trying." Blake Koch finished ninth -- third among Chase drivers -- despite a late flat tire, the adverse effect of which was diminished by a timely caution, one of 10 during the afternoon. Koch is seven points behind the two Chase leaders. Chaos gobbled up the remaining five Chase contenders. A tap from Brandon Jones turned Chaser Justin Allgaier sideways and ignited a six-car wreck that also eliminated Darrell Wallace Jr ., who crashed out in 33rd-place. In a severely damaged car, Allgaier soldiered to a 14th-place result and left Kansas tied with Erik Jones for the final transfer spot into the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Jones ran up front through the vast majority of the race, but his No. 20 Toyota was turned into the Chevrolet of Ty Dillon when NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Kyle Larson made an aggressive move after a restart on Lap 183. Jones pitted with a cut tire and finished one position behind Allgaier, one lap down. "He (Larson) said it was his fault," Jones said after talking to Larson on pit road. "He owned up to it, got me ran over. It is what it is… He just said he got a good start and there was no hole there, nowhere to go with the run he had just got into my left rear and turned us. It's a shame, we both had fast cars." Ryan Reed salvaged a 16th-place finish despite a loose plug wire that kept him down on power until his team could troubleshoot the problem on pit road. After contact in heavy traffic on Lap 176, Brendan Gaughan took a wild spin through the infield grass and came home 31st, 18 laps down. Both Wallace and Gaughan will have yeoman work to do when the Chase resumes at Texas Motor Speedway after a two-week break for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (Nov. 5, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
NXS GarageCam: Watermelon, tires and the White House
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage as teams prepare for the Kansas Lottery 300 .
Truex's 400th start a 'wow moment' for contender
RELATED: Why Truex won't be at Homestead-Miami test KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Martin Truex Jr . enters this weekend's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway set to cross the milestone of 400 career Sprint Cup Series starts. Looking back to the not too distant past, the Furniture Row Racing driver wasn't even sure he'd hit 300 . "There was a point in time there, Monday or Tuesday after Richmond, I was, like, worried if I'd ever get to race again," Truex said Friday at Kansas Speedway , site of Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 (2:15 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Following events that occurred on track at Richmond International Raceway in 2013, NASCAR deemed that Michael Waltrip Racing manipulated the results of the regular season finale, levying the now-defunct organization with hefty penalties. NAPA, the long-running MWR sponsor and Truex's primary sponsor at the time, decided to leave the team -- saddling the veteran with the burden of finding a new home and support, late in the season and after many open rides had already been snatched up. Truex landed on his feet with Furniture Row Racing for the following year, but struggled mightily with the single -- soon to be two -- car organization, with just five top 10s and one lap led on the season. A major turnaround came in 2015, as he notched a career high in top-10 finishes (22) and raced for his first title at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Championship 4. Undoubtedly difficult for Truex to see the forest for the trees at the time, he now understands that those series of events -- speedbumps, if you will -- set him up for the success he's finding today, especially as he stands as arguably the favorite to win the 2016 title. "There's a few big (crossroads in my career). Obviously 2013 after Richmond that was probably the big one which ultimately led to today," said Truex, who won two races in the Chase-opening Round of 16. "You never know in this sport. It was so late in the season, you don't know what rides are open, all that stuff. To be sitting here just a few years later going for a championship is pretty amazing, so as bad as that week was it led into some really good opportunities and you never … when bad things happen, you never really know what the future holds for you and I just feel fortunate to be here and have another shot at it and hopefully we'll take advantage of it." Truex's 400th start -- which he referred to as a "wow moment," once he was told he was going to hit the mark this weekend -- has high potential to be a celebratory one. Much of his 2016 success has come predominantly at intermediate tracks a la Kansas' 1.5-mile layout -- as evidenced by marquee wins at Charlotte and Darlington (1.366 mi.) -- and he led 172 of 267 laps from the pole in the spring race here before a parts failure relegated him to a 14th-place finish. RELATED: Tough luck trips up Truex in Kansas night race "Yeah, I definitely get a positive vibe coming here; a positive feeling that we've been so close. We've done just about everything here but win and I feel like it's time for us to make that happen," Truex said. "I don't think there's ever been a time where I've come here more confident and so, yeah, I mean I'm looking forward to seeing how the weekend goes and seeing if we can finally close the deal here. "I feel like we can do it and just ready to go out there and give it a shot." &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Busch battles back to grab ninth NXS win of 2016
Kyle Busch battles back late in the race to grab the checkered flag in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway, leading 150 or 200 laps on the day.
Jones' day destroyed by late-race restart collision
Erik Jones and Ty Dillon make contact during a late-race restart at Kansas Speedway causing Chase contender Jones to lose the lead in the Kansas Lottery 300 .