Six-time champion knows there are no guarantees in postseason RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota LOUDON, N.H. -- Jimmie Johnson knows the capabilities of his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. And he knows its current status. The two are not the same. Often the yardstick by which others measure their own progress, Johnson and his team are currently showing more signs of vulnerability than dominance as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup moves into week No. 2 of 10 here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . No one's writing the team off, but neither is anyone conceding wins to the six-time Sprint Cup champion. "Truthfully, we're not the dominant car right now," Johnson said Friday at NHMS. "We're a good car. We still have nine weeks to get our act together; especially the way the Chase lays out, if we continue to get the most our of our good car and have a dominant car at Homestead, if we're in that position, then we can get seven (championships). "If" isn't typical for the team, which has normally been in more of a "when" mode by now. With the opening race out of the way (Johnson finished a pedestrian, for him, 12th at Chicagoland Speedway ), he enters this weekend's race eighth in points. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus haven't lost their way, but it's clear that others have improved. "This is a tough industry," said Johnson, who turned 39 earlier this week. “And we're working as hard as we can and I'm happy to see my teammates with speed. "And then there are a couple of guys out there that aren't in our camp that we're chasing and just trying to out-race them. But they're amazing race teams and drivers as well." Among them -- 2012 champion Brad Keselowski , winner of the last two Sprint Cup races. His Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano , has been no slouch, finishing fourth and sixth. Keselowski won here in July, and Johnson expects the No. 2 team to be no less of a threat this time around. Keselowski went on to finish first in the opening practice, while Johnson finished 29th. "I would expect him to be in a similar position for two reasons," said Johnson. "One, he had so much more pace than the rest of the field here in the spring race that it's hard to believe that everybody could cover that gap and get back to him. And then when we went to Richmond, which wasn't too long ago … and they had that form there, too. So I'd definitely say those guys are tough to handle." By themselves, Johnson's 24 Chase victories alone would rank in the top 10 among active drivers' total wins. And there are tracks ahead where Johnson will be expected to excel. Next week's stop at Dover ? He's won nine times there. Martinsville? Eight victories. Charlotte ? Seven career wins, including this year's Coca-Cola 600 . But he's taking nothing for granted. "It's awesome to have tracks that you love and tracks that you've had success at in the Chase," he said. "I feel like seven or eight of them have been historically awesome tracks for us. That part is great. "Stats are nice to look at, but you've got to live in the present. So just because we've been good at those tracks before doesn't guarantee us anything going back." A winner of three races in a four-race span earlier this season, Johnson hopes the team can rediscover the magic. "We've had one hot spot in the middle of the year … and we've kind of been lukewarm on the other sides," he said. "I'm hoping we heat up. I'm hoping we get to that hot spot again." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
This episode of The Drive for Superior Performance presented by Goodyear takes an in-depth look at how pit crews prepare for the challenges of a pit stop during a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Drivers Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin discuss whether or not Brad Keselowski still has the dominate car in Loudon this weekend and who has a chance to beat him.
After contact with Jamie McMurray, a flat right-front tire sends the No. 41 hard into the Turn 3 wall.
Alan Cavanna and Kenny Bruce bring you all the latest information prior to the Sylvanina 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
See how the 16 Chase Grid drivers stack up at Chicagoland, New Hampshire and Dover RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
The Nationwide Series returns to Iowa for a night race
KBM driver will change numbers at Martinsville in tribute to 2015 NASCAR Hall inductee CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In the year since his first victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series , Darrell Wallace Jr. says he has learned much about former driver Wendell Scott . When Wallace won the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway last October, he became the first African-American to win a race in one of NASCAR's three national series since Scott accomplished the feat nearly 50 years earlier. "I didn't know he lived only 30 minutes away (from the Martinsville track)," Wallace said of the Danville, Virginia, native. "I didn't know his family was there (that day)." Wallace will be one of two NASCAR drivers to honor the long-time racer when the Camping World Truck and Sprint Cup Series return to the 0.526-mile track Oct. 24-26. Wallace's Kyle Busch Motorsports entry, pictured below, normally sporting the No. 54 on its sides and roof, will sport a blue No. 34 with red trim under which Scott competed. Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan 's No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford will feature a similar blue paint scheme reminiscent of that used by Scott. Both vehicles will carry NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee markings to promote Scott's upcoming induction. Wallace, who has since picked up NCWTS wins at Gateway and Eldora, said he had watched a documentary detailing Scott's NASCAR career before his Martinsville victory. "It was rough to watch, for sure," Wallace, 20, said during Tuesday's unveiling, which was held in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "It reminds me of watching "42" ( The Jackie Robinson Story) a couple of weeks ago just to see what Jackie Robinson went through. It kind of makes you appreciate things more in life away from racing, just life itself. "To be able to carry the torch that Wendell (lit), for me to put our Toyota in Victory Lane last year and now to come back a year later with the iconic No. 34 that myself and David will run, it's going to be a good weekend." Scott earned one win, 20 top-five and 147 top-10 finishes in 495 career starts in NASCAR's premier series. Between 1964 and '69, he never finished lower than 12th in the points standings, and posted a career-best sixth in 1966. Scott will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 30, 2015, along with fellow inductees Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Joe Weatherly and Rex White. Anne B. France will be honored with the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Kyle Busch spins into grass after contact with teammate Matt Kenseth RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Contact between Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray on Lap 180 led to a five-car incident that involved four of the 16 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup during Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Kyle Busch suffered the most damage, with his No. 18 Toyota smacking the back of the No. 20 when Kenseth checked up. Not only did Busch's car take damage, the contact sent him spinning into the infield grass. Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman were also involved. “It's absolutely destroyed," Busch said over his radio. Urged by crew chief Dave Rogers, the No. 18 team did not go to the garage but spent time on pit road fixing the problem. Four ensuing cautions over the next 25 laps ensured that none of the drivers involved lost any laps. Earlier Sunday, Denny Hamlin had a fueling issue and was later caught up in a wreck, further complicating the Chase picture. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
No. 11 falls four laps behind after leading 32 laps; later gets in wreck RELATED: Track your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota LOUDON, N.H. -- Denny Hamlin , one of 16 drivers in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field, suffered an early setback Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when a fueling issue dropped the Joe Gibbs Racing driver four laps down to the leaders. Hamlin led 32 laps in the race before he had to pit under green-flag conditions on Lap 96. "We're not getting fuel in the car; just barely," Hamlin was told of the need for the early stop. "What do you mean we're not getting fuel in the car?," he responded. Team members said there was an issue with the fuel probe that was not allowing fuel to flow into the fuel cell, leading to a frank exchange between Hamlin and crew chief Darian Grubb. When a caution appeared at Lap 105 for debris, Hamlin pitted to correct the problem. He returned to the track just as the field was taking the green flag at Lap 113, and was four laps down to race leader Kevin Harvick . Below is an illustration for the part the No. 11 team had to replace: Illustration of the fueling mechanism on the car that was changed on the 11. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/qgS40tEXT6 — Boris for JGR (@JoeGibbsRacing) September 21, 2014 "We somehow couldn't get fuel in the car," Hamlin said. "There was something going on. I'm not sure what it is but couldn't get fuel in it and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of our day." Running 37th on Lap 180, Hamlin was caught up in a wreck when he slid into David Ragan 's turned car in Turn 2. He was forced to take his car to the garage. Hamlin, sixth last week at Chicagoland Speedway , entered Sunday's Sylvania 300 sixth in points. The race is the second of three that will determine the 12 teams that advance to the Contender Round. Next week, the series moves to Dover International Speedway. "Gosh, you just can't have any mistakes in this three-race deal (Challenger Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup), from the driver, the crew, the team," Hamlin said. "No one can really make a mistake in three races, and unfortunately, no one did. We just had a mechanical failure that really hasn't bitten us in a while. "It's untimely, but we're going to keep digging with our FedEx Ground Toyota and all these guys' efforts. Trying to get this thing back on the race track, but frustrating to say the least. Obviously, we were looking to stretch things out here. We had a great car running in the top two all day. It's just part of it." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation