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Furniture Row's Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones top Richmond practice
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond RELATED: Practice 1 results " Top 10-lap times Furniture Row Racing came to play at Richmond International Raceway, as Martin Truex Jr.'s No. 78 Toyota topped the leaderboard at 124.178 mph in Friday's opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice. He was followed by teammate and rookie Erik Jones, whose No. 77 Toyota notched a top speed of 123.035 mph. Wood Brothers Racing's Ryan Blaney was third-fastest, his No. 21 Ford clocking in at 122.772 mph. Roush Fenway Racing's Trevor Bayne (122.084 mph) and Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin (121.726 mph) rounded out the top five, respectively. Hamlin won the most recent race at Richmond (September 2016) in his No. 11 Toyota. Despite notching the second-fastest speed, Jones spun with 74 minutes left in the opening session, his No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota making slight contact with the wall. With rain impacting on-track activity last weekend at Bristol, NASCAR deferred several holds and penalties coming out of Texas Motor Speedway to this weekend. The following teams sat out the first 15 minutes of practice, as they failed race inspection at Texas: No. 11 of Hamlin, No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 37 of Chris Buescher, No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson and No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. There were several holds and penalties out of Bristol as well that were enforced in this session: Ty Dillon's No. 13 team, AJ Allmendinger's No. 47 team and Austin Dillon's No. 3 team also abided by 15 minute-holds for failing LIS race inspection, as well as Aric Almirola's No. 43 group (failing race inspection, templates x 2, T1-T2 and T1). Dillon also will start Sunday's race from the rear. Joey Logano (No. 22 team) and Matt Kenseth (No. 20 team) were held for 30 minutes for swerving at Bristol. The Nos. 6 and 23 XFINITY Series teams of Darrell Wallace Jr. and Spencer Gallagher, respectively, will also have 15 minute holds. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is back on track at 4:45 p.m. ET for Coors Light Pole Qualifying (FS1). &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Joey Logano reflects on 300 Monster Energy Series starts
Watch as Joey Logano takes a look back at some of his favorite -- and least favorite --moments over his career. He will make his 300th start at Richmond International Raceway.
Post-Race Reactions: Top Gear 300
Roush teammates Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse and others comment on a hot and long day in Charlotte.
Kenseth nabs first pole of season at Richmond
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond RELATED: Full results RICHMOND, Va. – Matt Kenseth won't have to come from the middle of nowhere, as he did Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he started 22nd, charged toward the front in the closing laps and finished fourth. Quite the contrary. In Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 (on FOX at 2 p.m. ET) at Richmond International Raceway, Kenseth will lead the field to the green flag in the ninth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season after winning the pole during Friday's knockout qualifying session. Kenseth posted a lap at 121.076 mph (22. 300 seconds) to edge Ryan Blaney (120.854 mph) for the top starting spot by .041 seconds. The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota claimed his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his second at Richmond and the 19th of his career. Kenseth was fast enough to make the cut for the first two rounds despite running a single lap in each, and the tire conservation paid off in the money round. "We had enough speed in our Circle K Toyota Camry that we only had to do one lap each of the first two rounds to get us into the third round, and we improved a little bit the second lap (in the final round). It was a good qualifying effort for us. Feels good to be on the pole. Kenseth is 20th in points after bottom-five finishes at Daytona, Phoenix and Fontana, and qualifying rainouts hurt him at Bristol and Martinsville, where he had to start mid-pack on owner points. "This year has not been a good year for us, obviously, so far," Kenseth said. "We finished strong at Bristol, but we didn't get to qualify because of the rain, and that put us in the middle of the pack – there and Martinsville. "We haven't been getting any stage points. We're buried in the points back there and we finally got a decent finish last week, so hopefully this week we can start up front, stay up front and hopefully collect some of the stage points. But most importantly we're in the mix for a win at the end of the day." Martin Truex Jr. (120.681 mph) will start third, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (120.471 mph) and Joey Logano (120.380 mph). It was the third second-place qualifying effort of the season for Blaney, who also put the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford on the front row at Phoenix and Texas. "We weren't great the first round but kept getting steps better each round, which we've done a really good job of this year," Blaney said. "I thought that's where we struggled a lot last year. We didn't improve last year, we would go backwards. This year we're improving round-to-round. "It's just communication and knowing what we need to change in our car. That's something to be proud of. That's a lot of second starts now. I really want to race the Clash at Daytona (the season-opening exhibition race primarily for pole winners). That's my biggest thing right now. It's upsetting me that we can't get a pole. I think our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion is good—we'll find out in race trim." WATCH: Dillon makes ... interesting ... qualifying lap Both Kenseth and Blaney saved their fastest laps for the final round. The same couldn't be said of Logano, who ran the fastest lap of the afternoon (121.468 mph) in the second round but couldn't sustain his speed in the third. "We just lost a little bit there the last run," said Logano who tied Kevin Harvick for the fastest lap in the opening round at 120.870 mph. "We got loose into (Turns) 3 and 4, missed it the first lap and did the same exact thing the second lap. "It's so frustrating when you win the first two rounds and the one that pays the money, you're not there. That's always frustrating. I guess we have decent speed in our car… it is just frustrating. I don't know what else to say. It just sucks." &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Larson wins at Richmond; Allgaier takes Dash 4 Cash
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond RELATED: Results " Standings " Detailed breakdown " SHOP: Winner gear RICHMOND, Va. – Justin Allgaier had the best car in Saturday's ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Kyle Larson isn't very good at Richmond—and isn't bashful about saying so. Nevertheless, when two late restarts played out at the .75-mile short track, Larson was the race winner in overtime, and Allgaier was a disappointed second, consoled only by the $100,000 check he collected as the winner of the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash bonus as the highest finishing series regular. "It's a bittersweet day, I'll be honest with you," said Allgaier, who finished second to Larson despite leading a race-high 157 of the 254 laps. "I'm really dejected—I won't lie to you. That's going to hurt for a long time." What stung so badly for the driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet occurred in the final 15 laps of the race. Allgaier was leading, and teammate Elliott Sadler was closing fast on fresher tires, thanks to an aggressive pit call under caution on Lap 184. But NASCAR had to call a caution on Lap 239 of a scheduled 250 when the engine expired in BJ McLeod's Chevrolet. Allgaier hit pit road along with the other lead-lap cars, including Sadler, whose only option was a set of 17-lap scuffed tires. Ty Dillon took the lead out of the pits on a two-tire call, but Dillon jumped the restart on Lap 246, mashing the gas before he reached the restart zone. After a five-car wreck involving William Byron, Daniel Suarez, Brennan Poole, Harrison Rhodes and Kyle Benjamin slowed the field on the restart lap, and Dillon was sent to the rear of the field because of the restart infraction, Larson had the lead at Allgaier's expense and controlled the overtime restart on Lap 253. Restarting in the inside lane, Larson cleared Allgaier off Turn 2 and crossed the overtime line before a wreck on the backstretch caused the seventh and final caution and froze the field with Larson in the lead. "I'm not good at this place, so a win is pretty neat," said Larson, who will start 18th as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader in Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 (on FOX at 2 p.m. ET) at Richmond International Raceway. "I still have to work on myself for long runs. I'm terrible on long runs. "I was OK today, but (on Sunday) the competition is a lot harder. The drivers are better. Just have to be patient. Struggled in Happy Hour (final practice), so we’ll see how we are (on Sunday)." Polesitter Daniel Hemric ran third, followed by Austin Dillon and Ryan Blaney. Sadler retained the series lead by 41 points over Allgaier, but the driver of the No. 1 Chevy was frustrated, too. Sadler had race leader Allgaier in his sights, having closed the gap from 3.5 seconds to a couple of car-lengths before McLeod’s engine blew. "I'm proud of the guys for taking the chance we did, and we definitely had the race won," said the Virginia native, who finished seventh on the set of scuffed tires. "It's heartbreaking. We really wanted to win here at our home track, in front of our home fans." Notes: Larson led 10 laps--the final 10... Allgaier won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus for the second time this season, having also taken the prize at Phoenix, where he also won the race… In his XFINITY debut, Kyle Benjamin ran consistently in the top 10 until he had to return to pit road to tighten lug nuts after what should have been his final stop. Mired in traffic, he was a victim of the Lap 246 incident and retired from the race in 32nd-place, seven laps down… Astute pit strategy helped Dylan Lupton to a 12th-place, lead-lap finish in his first XFINITY start of the season… Darrell Wallace Jr. finished sixth for the sixth time in eight races this season. His other two finishes are a pair of 33rds. &lt;/p&gt;
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.”
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond At a Glance What: Toyota Owners 400 Where: Richmond International Raceway, .75-mile oval in Richmond, Virginia When: Sunday, April 30 Green flag: 2:14 p.m. ET TV/Radio: FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Forecast: Mostly sunny with a high near 89, according to the National Weather Service. Southwest winds at 8 to 11 mph. National anthem: Sophia Nadder, 14-year-old singer from Midlothian, Virginia Grand Marshal: Major Eric Phillips, Toyota owner with Priority Toyota of Richmond Race distance: 400 laps, 300 miles Pit road speed: 40 mph Caution car speed: 45 mph Stage lengths: Stage 1 ends on Lap 100. Stage 2 ends on Lap 200. Final stage is scheduled to end on Lap 400. </p>
Larson, Jones lead final practices at Richmond
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond FINAL PRACTICE: Full results " Top 10-lap times A fast lap of 119.074 mph put Kyle Larson's No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet at the top of the leaderboard in Saturday's final practice at Richmond International Raceway. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader turned 84 laps in the 50-minute session, more than any other driver in the field. Furniture Row Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. (119.016 mph) and Erik Jones (118.702 mph) were second- and fourth-fastest, respectively. Both drivers have recorded top -five speeds in all three practices (Truex's No. 78 Toyota led the opening practice, while Jones' No. 77 Toyota topped the second session). Sandwiched between the Furniture Row wheelmen in third was Hendrick Motorsports' Jimmie Johnson, whose No. 48 Chevrolet clocked in at 118.801 mph. Johnson's teammate Chase Elliott rounded out the top five with a fast lap of 118.452 mph in his No. 24 Chevrolet. After battling a car issue in Saturday's opening session and coming up 31st on the leaderboard, Kurt Busch nabbed the sixth-fastest speed in the field in his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford during final practice. The XFINITY Series is on track at Richmond next for the ToyotaCare 250 race (1 p.m. ET, FS1). PRACTICE 2: Full results " Top 10-lap times Earlier in the day, Erik Jones wheeled his No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota at 120.714 mph, nabbing the top spot on the speed charts during Saturday morning's opening practice at Richmond International Raceway. The Monster Energy Series rookie, who topped the leaderboard early in the 55-minute session, was second-fastest in Friday's lone practice to his teammate Martin Truex Jr. Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick was second on the leaderboard Saturday, his No. 4 Ford clocking a fast lap of 120.048 mph. Richard Childress Racing's Paul Menard was third-fastest (120.005 mph) in his No. 27 Chevrolet, while JTG Daugherty Racing's Chris Buescher ranked fourth in the field (119.973 mph from his No. 37 Chevrolet). Friday's practice leader Truex Jr. completed the top five with a 119.941-mph lap in his No. 78 Toyota. Pole-sitter Matt Kenseth was 11th-fastest in the field in his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who announced his retirement from full-time racing after 2017 on Tuesday, was 10th on the leaderboard. In the middle of the 55-minute session, Kurt Busch radioed his team that he thought his No. 41 Ford was "on seven cylinders" and brought the car into the garage for examination. He returned to the track a little over 20 minutes later and told his team that he thought they "fixed it, whatever it was," ending the session 31st on the leaderboard. The following teams were held for the first 15 minutes of Saturday's opening session due to infractions: No. 1 of Jamie McMurray (failing LIS twice), No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (failing LIS second time through) and No. 21 of Ryan Blaney (failing template twice). &lt;/p&gt;
Hamlin: JGR's slump means team's working 'extra hard'
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond MORE: Starting lineup " Photos: Richmond weekend RICHMOND, Va. -- Daniel Suarez is still a newbie in stock-car racing's major leagues, just eight races into his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career. But even without the benefit of gobs of top -level experience, he has clear perception about the difference in his Joe Gibbs Racing team. "If you think about it, by this point last year, I think we had already a few wins and right now we have zero," Suarez said, accurately recalling that JGR had won half of the first eight races of the 2016 campaign. "Definitely there is some speed missing as an organization, but maybe we have one more step left as a team." If there's increased reason for optimism in the JGR camp this weekend, it may help that Richmond International Raceway -- the venue for Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) -- ranks as friendly territory for the Coach Joe Gibbs-owned team. Matt Kenseth gave that notion some heft Friday by winning the Coors Light Pole Award, leading a qualifying effort where three JGR cars -- including Kyle Busch in seventh and Suarez in 11th -- made the final cut in eliminations. The only Gibbs Toyota outside the top 12 belonged to Denny Hamlin, who qualified 16th but has a resume that includes three Richmond wins. Joe Gibbs Racing placed all four of its entries among the top -10 finishers in this race last year, memorably going 1-2 with Carl Edwards' bump-and-run maneuver past Busch on the final lap. That victory clinched a JGR sweep of 2016's early short-track swing and was a key cog of the season-long push, in which Gibbs entries and the JGR-affiliated Furniture Row Racing won 16 of 36 points-paying events. This year has been a different tune, with no Joe Gibbs Racing cars among the top 10 in the standings as victories and top -five finishes have proven difficult to attain. Hamlin speculated that rules changes have played at least a partial role in the power shift, but that the competition has also been making its own gains to put faster cars on the grid. "That makes their job a whole lot easier," said Hamlin, 15th in the series standings. "But these are the trying times, you could say, that defines your character. It makes you work hard. We were on top for probably a year and a half, every week having four out of five of the fastest cars each week. Sometimes we won, sometimes we didn't. But we're going to get better. We're not on top right now, so we've got to work extra hard to get there." JGR's performance has run in contrast to a relatively quick start to the season for its Toyota ally, Denver-based Furniture Row. The team has thrived in the first year of its expansion to a two-car operation, with Martin Truex Jr. leading the way with a Las Vegas victory, a series-high five stage wins and a third-place ranking in the standings. His teammate, rookie Erik Jones, has also shown speed as he makes his first steps into premier-series competition. He is currently 12th in the standings. Truex said no single factor was to account for the early disparity, but echoed a hopeful sentiment that JGR -- Toyota's flagship organization -- would make a speedy turnaround. "It's hard to find when you don't have it, but those guys have been competitive," Truex said. "I know a lot of their finishes haven't really showed how well they've ran at times. … It'll come. Those guys are really, really good, and they'll figure it out pretty quick." &lt;/p&gt;
Last-minute fantasy update: Three to watch at Richmond
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Richmond RELATED: Set your lineup " Top 10-lap times " Practice results With the Toyota Owners 400 just hours away (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), it's time to set your NASCAR Fantasy Live lineup. Here is some last-minute fantasy insight for the spring race at Richmond. Prices are market values in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game for this weekend. Austin Dillon ($20.50) is starting from the rear for failing pre-race inspection five times at Bristol Motor Speedway. Dillon will line up 38th (where he qualified after taking an interesting qualifying lap to conserve tires ), making him a potential place-differential bonanza for fantasy owners. Dillon was sixth and 24th in Saturday's two practices. In six starts at the 0.75-mile track, the Richard Childress Racing driver has an average finish of 22.3. If he were to finish in that range on Sunday, the place difference would easily make him a top -15 fantasy driver on the day. Erik Jones ($20.25) is starting the race 20th. The rookie was running strong for much of the Bristol race on Monday and has quietly put together a nice start to his first season. The driver of the No. 77 Toyota finished all three practices in the top five -- meaning the speed is there and he should be one that makes a move up in the field. That could earn owners place-differential points and possibly stage points, as well. Denny Hamlin ($25.00) is the most recent Richmond winner and has three career wins at the 0.75-mile track. The Virginia native is well known for his short-track prowess and has led 1,594 laps at Richmond in his career. He only qualified 16th, but was a top -seven car in all three practices. Add to that the fact that he placed top five in the best 10 consecutive laps category for the final two practices, and it's easy to make a case to roster him. RELATED: DraftKings Rankings for Daily Fantasy Players &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;