Post-Race Reactions: Top Gear 300
Roush teammates Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse and others comment on a hot and long day in Charlotte.
Keselowski grinds out top five on 'so-so day'
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Keselowski gear " Chase gear LOUDON, N.H. -- As one of the resident wizards of the "Magic Mile" over the past five years, it was a little curious to see Brad Keselowski -- who sports a 6.27 average finish at the track since the fall race of 2011 – come out a little flat in Sunday's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. For his latest trick, the Team Penske driver entered the top 10 for good at Lap 270 of 300 and continued to rise from there, sticking the landing with a fourth-place finish that was nearly a third, save for a late pass from Kyle Busch. "We caught a couple breaks on the restarts that helped out. Pleasantly surprised (at how this race turned out)," Keselowski said on pit road following the race. " … It was just a good call there towards the end to put tires on and then just being smooth and keeping it in one piece driving through traffic. … Sometimes you catch some good breaks in this sport. … It was just a really great finish to kind of just a so-so day." While the recovery portends well for Keselowski's hopes of advancing into the Round of 12, the speed that his car lacked at New Hampshire should be of some concern for the 2 team as the Chase continues. The 2012 champ pins it on this week's rules update for post-race inspection that eliminated P2 and P3-level penalties for infractions resulting from the laser inspection system. "I think that rules change at the last minute was certainly not very favorable to our team," said Keselowski, in search of his first win since early July at Kentucky. "We've got to work to find a little more speed for sure." The No. 2 crew chief, Paul Wolfe, pins the lack of performance on a swing-and-a-miss setup after they couldn't quite nail down what they were looking for in Saturday's practice sessions. "The car never drove like what we've had here in the past. We were kind of on the fence about where we wanted to be today as far as set-up wise. There were a couple things we went through in practice yesterday and we picked a direction that obviously wasn't good," Wolfe told NASCAR.com. "So we just really struggled to get any speed out of the car all day. Just tried to stay calm, get what we could and not get in trouble. Brad was doing a good job of that. There at the end, the position we were in I felt it was worth putting tires on it and it was really the new tires and a couple of good restarts that got us to the front. "Definitely not the performance or the speed in the car that we were hoping for today, but we were able to get a good finish out of it and at this point of the Chase, that's obviously the important part." Keselowski now heads to the Dover International Speedway with a little more of a cushion -- he's the overall points leader, though second and sixth-place (in the point standings) drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick, respectively, have clinched their Round of 12 berths -- than it looked like he'd have for most of the race, and should be a lock to advance save for a major, catastrophic mishap. "It feels good to go to Dover and be able to sleep easy knowing that if you have a part failure or get caught up in a wreck or any of those silly things that can happen that aren't you fault, you don’t have to worry about them so that's good," he said. "But we still have some work to do to get a little faster.”
Kaz Grala lands full-time 2017 ride with GMS
STATESVILLE, N.C. (December 5, 2016) -- GMS Racing announces today that Massachusetts-native Kaz Grala will pilot the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado full time in 2017, across all 23 races of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). The soon-to-be 18-year-old rookie, a part-time driver at GMS Racing in 2016, accomplished three top -10 results in only nine races and has now earned a larger opportunity to step up to full-time competition in one of NASCAR's premier racing series. In recent years, Kaz has made a name for himself in Late Model racing by breaking records. In his first race at fabled Hickory Motor Speedway, Kaz won the 2013 UARA 150 and became the youngest winner in series history. The following year, he became the youngest NASCAR winner in Caraway Speedway history when he held off the Whelen All-American Series National Champion to win the 171-lap event. In 2015, Kaz won his Pro All Stars Series debut at South Boston Speedway with a dominant performance, leading 131 of 150 laps. Kaz differentiates himself by tearing up road-course events each year. He has won the 12 hours of NJMP, the 13 hours of VIR, and competed in the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the pinnacle of sports-car racing in America. Kaz made it to the final round in NCWTS qualifying in all but one race in 2016. He scored his first top -10 finish in only his second start in the series at Dover International Speedway . In his first race at Gateway Motorsports Park , Kaz brought home yet another top -10 finish. At the rookie's home track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway , he brought home his best finish of 2016, a 7th-place result. "I am beyond thankful to have an opportunity with GMS Racing to run full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017. This organization has been on a steep rise the past couple of years, and it's been fun being a part of it in 2016," remarked an excited Grala. Joining the GMS Racing stable in 2017 is veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter who claims time in the principal team role in all three of NASCAR's top racing series, dating back to 1986. Baxter has worked with a variety of NASCAR notables and most recently recorded four seasons with Kyle Busch Motorsports and in 2016 with rookie Chase contender Christopher Bell . "I'm looking forward to next season with GMS and working through this transition with Kaz. I really enjoy helping young drivers get started in this series and developing their talent, and I saw what Kaz accomplished in the few races he ran last season," said Baxter. Next season Baxter will tackle year seven in the Camping World Truck Series and looks to add to his series resume of nine wins, 38 top -five finishes, 67 top -10 finishes, six pole-qualifying positions and 1,426 laps led, with the No. 33 team and Grala. Kaz further described his eagerness for next season, "GMS Racing has really gone out of their way to bring some of the best people in the industry on board, and Jerry Baxter is no exception. I'm extremely excited to get to work with Jerry, who not only is a great match for me personality-wise, but also is very accomplished in the NASCAR world. I am looking forward to returning to the No. 33 Chevy Silverado, which I made a few starts in this year. Hopefully Jerry's experience on top of the box will complement my Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender status, and bring success to the team next year." In three full-time seasons in the NCWTS, GMS Racing has earned seven wins and recently captured the 2016 Driver Championship with longtime competitor Johnny Sauter . The success was a result of the perfect combination of veteran skill and young talent. When he's not improving his race skills to become an accomplished NASCAR driver, Kaz is an honor-roll high school senior at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts. The 17-year-old who has a birthday on December 29th is currently interviewing with colleges for the fall of 2017. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt
New NASCAR.com homepage improves mobile, live-event experience
NASCAR.com's homepage is being redesigned with mobile and live events in mind. The new look and functionality improves the user experience by taking fans to the track and the news of the day on any device, wherever they are. The more visual layout presents top stories, videos and photo galleries in a consistent way across computers, tablets and phones. A single homepage highlights news, schedules and standings for the premier series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. Races are at the heart of the new NASCAR.com homepage with the new Race Center component. When cars or trucks are on track, find quick links to all the ways to keep track of what's happening in a clean, well-organized format. It's your go-to spot for weekend schedules, live leaderboards and results for all three national series. Each week, the upcoming track will be featured with facts, photos and ticket links for fans to learn more about that week's venue and see the races live. The new NASCAR.com homepage will launch in January, but take a sneak peek now with the video at the top of the page. Any feedback? Let us know at email@example.com.
Daniel Suarez wins race, 2016 championship at Miami
RELATED: Complete results " Chase Grid SHOP: Champion gear A 6.6-second, two-tire pit stop for Chase driver Elliott Sadler put him on the front row for the final restart in Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . But when first-place Cole Whitt failed to get going at the drop of the green flag, Daniel Suarez whipped around for the lead, his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota holding on for the win and earning the 2016 XFINITY Series championship. Suarez, 24, led 133 laps en route to his third career XFINITY Series win, becoming the first Latin American driver to win a NASCAR national series title. "It's very hard to put into words," Suarez said. "I'm speechless right now. I'm just very proud of everyone and thankful to have the family that I have -- my mom, my dad. They gave me all the tools to be here right now. They put me in a car even when we didn't have the support or the racing background. They supported me, and right now we are just living a dream." The highest-running non-Chase driver, Richard Childress Racing 's Ty Dillon , led 17 laps to earn a runner-up result, while Sadler's two-tire gamble allowed him to finish third. Team Penske 's Ryan Blaney , vying for an owner championship, came up fourth and RCR's Austin Dillon rounded out the top five in his No. 2 Chevrolet. The two other Chase competitors -- Justin Allgaier in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and Erik Jones in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota -- finished sixth and ninth, respectively. The duo put together an impressive battle for the win in the final 20 laps of the race. Suarez was leading fellow Championship 4 contender and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones by less than three car-lengths when Ray Black Jr . spun off Turn 4 to bring out the seventh and final caution on Lap 190. Under the yellow on Lap 193, lead-lap cars came to pit road for tires, but the No. 14 Toyota of Whitt stayed on the track on old tires and inherited the lead, while Sadler's two-tire stop put the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet on the inside of the front row. Coming to the green on Lap 198, Whitt stalled out in the top lane, pinning Jones behind him and costing him any shot at the championship. Suarez rocketed past Sadler into Turn 1 and pulled away for the victory and the championship. "I should have made a better block on Daniel," Sadler said ruefully. "We didn't know that 14 would stay out and jumble up that restart like that. I wish I'd done a better job on that restart. I guess I'll be 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' for a while… I knew Daniel had a better car on four tires, but I wish I could have put up a better fight." The Sprint Cup Series concludes the tripleheader championship weekend in Miami, as Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch and Joey Logano battle for the 2016 Sprint Cup Series title on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Report: Chrysler exec says NASCAR return possible
RELATED: France: New manufacturer in NASCAR a possibility Chrysler is exploring the possibility of making a return to NASCAR, according to a report from the Daytona Beach News-Journal . The report indicates that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne recently spoke with NASCAR Vice Chairman Jim France and International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy about the prospect of Dodge returning to the sport. Dodge left the Sprint Cup Series in 2012 following Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski 's first premier series title. Penske has employed Ford Fusions in its stable since. Should Dodge return to stock car auto racing's top series, it will mark another comeback for the manufacturer after initially being reintroduced in 2001 by Ray Evernham. "I talked to Jim France about this (Saturday) night," Marchionne told the newspaper. "I was the one who made the decision to pull out of NASCAR. I am the guilty party at the table. In 2009, we came out of bankruptcy and tried to race NASCAR (but) with the big bills and make payroll was a stretch. "We are in a different place now. I think it is possible we can come back to NASCAR. I think we need to find the right way to come back in, but I agreed with both Jim and Lesa we would come back to the issue." The newspaper also reported that Jim France confirmed he spoke to Marchionne. "Yes, we talked," Jim France said. "He is a very intelligent man. We had a good discussion."
Suarez 'living a dream' following XFINITY title win
RELATED: Full race results " Final Chase Grid SHOP: Champion gear HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Daniel Suarez , 24 and only two years into a NASCAR XFINITY Series career, can check another box off his career bucket list. Series champion. The Monterrey, Mexico, native became a winner in the series for the first time earlier this season to qualify for the inaugural XFINITY Series Chase. Saturday evening at Homestead-Miami Speedway , he led 133 of 200 laps that made up the Ford EcoBoost 300 , and survived a wild, late-race restart to become the first Latin American driver to capture a NASCAR national series title. He is the first Joe Gibbs Racing driver to capture the series title since 2009 when Kyle Busch won the crown. MORE: Joe Gibbs thrilled after Suarez win Saturday, Suarez outran series veterans Elliott Sadler (third) and JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier (sixth) as well as JGR teammate Erik Jones (ninth) to become the series' 27th different champion and the 34th overall. In the Championship Round, the driver finishing highest wins the title. Suarez made sure no one, Chase contender or otherwise, finished in front of his orange and white No. 19 Toyota. "I'm speechless right now," Suarez, a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, said as fans streamed onto the frontstretch to witness the official coronation and fireworks exploded overhead. "It's very hard to put into words. "I'm just very proud of everyone and thankful to have the family that I have -- my mom, my dad. They gave me all the tools to be here right now. They put me in a car even when we didn't have the support or the racing background. They supported me and right now we are just living a dream." Suarez's parents were on hand to watch their son capture the championship at Homestead. Alejandro Suarez, Daniel's dad, said he has personally watched his son race "maybe 10 times" since Daniel came to the U.S. to embark upon a NASCAR career. "It's a dream. It's a dream and tomorrow I will tell you (what if feels like)," he said, smiling. Success so quickly wasn't expected "Maybe next year, maybe 2-3 years," the father said. "But not this year. But Daniel works hard." MORE: Suarez's long road to the title Jones will head off to begin a premier series career in '17, already having been named to drive the No. 77 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing as that organization expands from one to two teams. Suarez, talented as he is, is expected to return to JGR for another year of seasoning in the XFINITY Series. Gibbs' group currently fields four Sprint Cup teams -- for drivers Denny Hamlin , Matt Kenseth , Carl Edwards and Busch, the defending series champ. "We're in there now," team owner Joe Gibbs said of Suarez's move to the XFINITY Series, "and I think … it's going to be pretty quick we'll be going to Cup. I think it's in Daniel's hands, but obviously he's performed so well. "As everybody knows, it's hard to get all that organized, but we're working -- that's going to be our end game. That's what we're going to be working for." If Suarez is in a hurry to get to the top level, he wasn't showing it Saturday night. He knows he gets to run against some of the premier series drivers some of the time now. "But you never race with all of them," he said. "So I'm pretty sure that the Cup car is going to be different, and to race with all those guys at the same time is going to be even more difficult. "Like I said before … we have to focus on today and tomorrow is going to take care of itself." Today he's a champion. Tomorrow? Who knows. &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;lt;/p&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;gt;
HScott Motorsports won't compete in NASCAR in 2017
HScott Motorsports will not field teams for the 2017 season in NASCAR's premier series, according to a statement from the team. HSM fielded two full-time entries for 2015-16 in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, most recently with drivers Clint Bowyer in the team's No. 15 Chevrolet and Michael Annett in the No. 46 Chevrolet. Bowyer ended the '16 season 27th in points; Annett placed 36th. "Over the past several months I considered a number of options for moving forward with the team," Scott said in the statement. "Regrettably there are no viable sponsor/driver options immediately available to allow the team to participate in 2017." Bowyer, who joined the team before the start of the '16 season, was scheduled to remain with the team for only one season before moving to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 to replace co-owner/driver Tony Stewart in that organization's No. 14 entry. Officials with Bowyer's sponsor, 5-hour Energy, announced earlier this year that the company would become the primary sponsor for Erik Jones and the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota entry in '17. Last month, it was announced that Annett and his sponsor, Pilot Flying J, would move to JR Motorsports to compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season. "One thing I have learned about NASCAR is that it is a 'people business,'" Scott said. "I will be forever grateful to the men and women who worked tirelessly to make HScott Motorsports successful. ... "I love this sport and being part of it. I invested in NASCAR because I truly believe it represents the best racing competition in the world and the best people in all sports." The organization's charter for its No. 15 team has been sold to Premium Motorsports, according to HSM. The No. 46 charter, which was originally leased from Premium, was returned to Premium, which in turn has sold it to Furniture Row Racing . Charter teams are guaranteed starting positions in NASCAR premier series points races. HScott Motorsports came into being after Scott purchased the former Phoenix Racing team from owner James Finch. The organization was originally located in Spartanburg, S.C., but moved to Mooresville, N.C., before the start of the '16 season. "Looking back, I will always be especially proud of the unprecedented success of our NASCAR K&N Series teams, including four consecutive championships, and for the lifelong friendships that were forged over the last seven years," Scott said. Seven drivers combined for 189 starts at HSM; Bowyer managed three of the organization's four career top 10s this past season. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Top moments from NASCAR After the Lap 2016
RELATED: Best quotes from After the Lap " Watch the whole show THE FIRE ALARM IN THE THEATER GOING OFF MULTIPLE TIMES This was caused by the pyrotechnics. Or perhaps Martin Truex Jr .’s flaming Homestead piece was in the vicinity without us knowing. I like to tell myself it’s because my tweets were hot. THE COMMUNITY BOTTLE OF TEQUILA Guy Fieri produced a bottle of the fine tequila, which made the rounds, with Tony Stewart taking a remarkably prolonged swig. We will check tomorrow to see which drivers have entered into a technical alliance with Goody's and the toilet. RUTLEDGE WOOD WITH THE HEAT After the tequila, Tony Stewart says, "Man I don't know if we'll pass inspection now." Rutledge responds with "Oh don't worry -- Chad Knaus is here. He'll get you through." SETTING THE TONE. KEELAN HARVICK’S PRECOCIOUS CONCERN ABOUT KYLE LARSON Kyle Larson 's rim-riding driving style has apparently piqued the interest of Kevin Harvick 's son, who Kevin said asked him "Daddy, why does Kyle Larson hit the wall so much?" AUSTIN DILLON WITH THE VERBAL FLAMETHROWER MORE: Dillon brings the fire to Harvick After Kevin Harvick dodges a question, Austin Dillon interjects with "Hey, don't cut him a break. He didn't cut me one in Texas." OH SNAP, I THINK THE FIRE ALARM JUST WENT OFF AGAIN 'CUZ SOMEONE GOT BURNED BEYOND RECOGNITION. TONY STEWART PROVING HE'S THE BEST SHOW IN LAS VEGAS, ASIDE FROM PERHAPS OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, WHO IS JUST EXQUISITE Tony Stewart clearly left his "give a damn" in Homestead, as he came armed with a stockpile of one-liners. For example, after being handed the community tequila once again, he said "This is peer pressure, kids. You'll learn about this when you grow up, Kyle Larson ." BRAD'S HOOP DREAMS Rutledge and Guy exhumed the incriminating footage of Brad Keselowski "playing basketball." Austin Dillon added "Come on, don't show that. We're supposed to be athletes." TONY STEWART DRAWS THE LINE IN THE SAND BETWEEN HIMSELF AND JEFF GORDON … ACTUALLY, CONSIDERING HIS INJURY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON, PERHAPS THAT'S AN INSENSITIVE ANALOGY "I am not gonna be Jeff Gordon . He helped bail out Dale Jr., but tell you what, if any of you get hurt, you are on your own." MATT KENSETH BEING SO QUIET THAT YOU WANT TO CLIMB ONSTAGE AND HOLD A MIRROR TO HIS NOSE TO MAKE SURE THERE'S CONDENSATION IMPLYING HE'S BREATHING It's become an annual After The Lap tradition. Save money next year and bring just 15 microphones. A SURPRISE APPEARANCE BY THE LEGEND AJ FOYT MORE: Foyt surprises 'Smoke' Tony's friend and mentor Super Tex made a surprise appearance, and earned a rousing standing ovation. Tony and Foyt shared barbs back and forth, which is something I could personally sit and listen to for hours on end. MAN, I wish someone would have handed AJ the tequila.
Top pit crews of 2016 as voted on by coaches
RELATED: Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew When we decided to start the All Pit Road Team five years ago we wanted to make it as legit as possible. In the past, we had crew members vote on who they thought were the best of the best. This year we changed it up a bit and sent out a ballot to each organization and had one coach's ballot turned back in from each organization. We had a great response from the coaches, and below are the crewmen who were selected. Just like last year, only members of the 16 Chase pit crews were eligible for the awards. If there was a tie in voting, the crewman whose team finished highest in the points won. Front Tire Changer First Team: No. 41 Shane Pipala (5) Second Team: No. 2 Hunter Masling (5) Third Team: No. 11 Dustin Necaise (4) Honorable Mention: No. 19 Clay Robinson (3) Front Tire Carrier First Team: No. 19 Kevin Harris (4) Second Team: No. 22 Dylan Dowell (3) Third Team: No. 11 Brandon Pegram (3) Honorable Mention: No. 2 Jeremy Ogles (3) Jackman First Team: No. 22 Ray Gallahan (4) Second Team: No. 11 Nate Bolling (4) Third Team: No. 42 Graham Molatch (4) Honorable Mention: No. 41 Sean Cotten (3) Rear Tire Changer First Team: No. 11 Mike Hicks (7) Second Team: No. 22 Zach Price (4) Third Team: No. 18 Jake Seminara (4) Honorable Mention: No. 19 Kip Wolfmeir (3) Rear Tire Carrier First Team: No. 11 Heath Cherry (4) Second Team: No. 19 Matt Ver Meer (3) Third Team: No. 20 Blake Haugland (3) Honorable Mention: No. 41 Dwayne Moore (3) Gasman First Team: No. 11 Caleb Hurd (4) Second Team: No. 22 Kellen Mills (2) Third Team: No. 18 Tom Lampe (2) Honorable Mention: No. 41 Justin Wilson (2) Pit Crew of the year (Voted on by pit crew coaches) Joey Logano , Team Penske No. 22 (5) Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 (4) Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 (4) Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year (Voted on by crew chiefs) Jimmie Johnson , Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com.