VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 entry list
The Nationwide Series makes its seventh stop of the season at Darlington
VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 starting lineup
See the complete starting lineup for the Darlington Nationwide Series race
Sadler goes for a spin at Darlington
Elliott Sadler makes a great save at Darlington Raceway during the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200
Kyle Busch, Logano lead XFINITY practices
Practice 2 recap " Results Joey Logano led the final XFINITY Series practice at Darlington Raceway on Friday, posting a top speed of 166.676 mph on Lap 2 of 28. The Team Penske driver was fourth-fastest in the series' opening practice earlier in the day. Kyle Busch , who was fastest in the first XFINITY Series practice at Darlington, came in second-fastest behind Logano (166.642 mph). Ty Dillon (165.643 mph), Kyle Larson (164.556 mph) and Daniel Suarez (164.457 mph) rounded out the top-five fastest on the practice leaderboard. Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is the final race in the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash program and Suarez, Dillon, Brian Scott and Chase Elliott will compete for the final $100,000 cash prize. Elliott was ninth-fastest while Scott was 11th-fastest in Friday's final practice. Practice 1 recap " Results Kyle Busch led opening practice for Saturday's XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway . The Joe Gibbs Racing driver completed his fastest time on Lap 2 of 19 at a speed of 167.379 mph. Closing in on Busch was JGR teammate Denny Hamlin who came in as second-fastest (167.015 mph). Paul Menard (166.304 mph), Joey Logano (166.034 mph) and Ty Dillon (165.788 mph) round out the top-five fastest drivers at the "Too Tough to Tame" track. Piloting the No. 9 Chevrolet, defending race winner and XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott was 11th-fastest in the first session (165.009 mph). The XFINITY Series returns to the track at 3 p.m. ET for the final practice before Saturday's race at 3:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Wisconsin native Menard wins at Road America
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated standings ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- The decision to compete in Saturday afternoon's NASCAR XFINITY Series sixth annual Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America (Wisconsin) paid off in a huge way for Paul Menard , who scored his third career XFINITY victory at his hometown track. Menard, a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, started eighth and saw a decision to stay out after pitting on Lap 24 work to his advantage as he edged out a relentless Ryan Blaney by 0.573 seconds at the 14-turn road course. After the contest, Menard said had the race extended a lap farther, he would not have collected his first XFINITY win since Michigan International Speedway last June. "I've been really fortunate to win at some of the coolest tracks, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Road America is right there," Menard said. "These guys called a great race. We didn't have the fastest car. We had a really good short run car. We really burned off the rear tires as we ran, but the Richmond Water Heaters/Menards Chevrolet was fast and (crew chief Danny) Stockman made a hell of a call at the end." If wondering about running out of fuel wasn't enough, Menard also had to fend off a hard-charging Blaney. "I was definitely concerned," added Menard on both circumstances. "I was saving as much as I could under caution, but then when we fired off I was just chattering the left rear tire really bad. It took a couple of laps for it to come in, then the (No.) 22 started burning his stuff up, but it just didn't fire off very good in the end, but it came to us." After inclement weather forced the cancellation of Coors Light Pole qualifying, Ben Rhodes earned the top starting spot based upon turning the fastest lap at the 4.048-mile road course in the first XFINITY Series practice session Friday afternoon. Rhodes, a NASCAR Next alum, would find himself under pressure from the drop of the green flag when JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott made the move for the lead in Turn 1. Quickly, though, the field would be under the first full-course caution of the day when Tomy Drissi found himself stuck in the gravel trap in Turn 5. Racing resumed on Lap 4 with Elliott checking out from the field and before the first round of green-flag pit stops. The reigning champion stretched his lead to over 10 seconds, when he relinquished the top spot on Lap 11 for a routine pit stop. Championship contender Ty Dillon inherited the lead when Elliott pitted. Dillon, who finished 10th, stretched his fuel run an extra lap to earn a crucial bonus point toward the championship picture. When pit stops cycled through, Elliott reclaimed the point on Lap 16 and built a 13.7-second lead over second-place Brian Scott at the halfway mark. On Lap 22, the second caution waved for fluid on the track, erasing Elliott's substantial advantage. Despite half of the field electing to come to pit road for service behind them, Elliott and his JRM team stood firm on their plan and stayed out. On the restart, Elliott withstood a challenge for Brian Scott and Ryan Blaney , but in Turn 14 and through the frontstretch, Scott mounted the pressure and made the move on Elliott to take the lead on Lap 27. Unable to make it to the end on fuel, Scott pitted under green on Lap 29 handing the lead to defending race winner Brendan Gaughan . Three laps later, though, Gaughan pitted, handing the lead to hometown hero Paul Menard who pitted during the second caution with 13 laps remaining. Planning to stay out till the end, Menard in saving mode purposely gave up the lead to Blake Koch ,who led with 10 laps remaining when pole-sitter Rhodes found himself stuck in the gravel trap in Turn 7 issuing the third full course caution. During the extended caution, Koch lost power, putting Menard back at the point. On the Lap 41 restart, Menard withstood challenges from Darrell Wallace Jr . and Blaney to seal the win in his 197th career start. Next up for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is a trip to the track dubbed "Too Tough To Tame" at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 on Sept. 5 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).
Hamlin tops field for Darlington pole
RELATED: Full lineup Denny Hamlin will start Saturday’s race at Darlington Raceway after earning his 20th career Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver topped the leaderboard in the final round of qualifying with a best speed of 171.704 mph. Hamlin, who started and won from the pole at the track “Too Tough to Tame” in 2006, 2007 and 2010, has never finished an XFINITY event outside the top 10 at Darlington. JGR teammate Daniel Suarez will start alongside him on front row after running a lap at a 171.178 mph clip. Kyle Larson (170.970 mph), Joey Logano (170.815 mph) and Paul Menard (170.703 mph) -- who led the first two rounds -- round out the top five. Following a bit of a bizarre moment, XFINITY stalwart Kyle Busch will start 36th after failing to advance to the second round. His time was disallowed for a blend line violation. Defending race-winner Chase Elliott will start seventh after a best speed of 170.395 mph. Tune in to watch the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Additional coverage is on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Denny Hamlin wins from the pole at Darlington
RELATED: Complete race results " Updated series standings DARLINGTON, S.C. -- You could call polesitter Denny Hamlin 's victory in Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway "dominating," but the NASCAR XFINITY Series event wasn't without its share of drama -- courtesy of a fuel shortage and Hamlin's own Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez . Hamlin Led 117 of 147 laps at the 1.366-mile speedway, but he didn't make the winning pass until Lap 145, when he surged past Suarez, who was stretching fuel after foregoing a final pit stop in hopes of stealing the victory. The win was Hamlin's third of the season (all from the pole), his fourth at Darlington (all from the pole) and the 14th of his career. In a 1-2-3 finish for JGR, Kyle Busch got past Suarez, who finished third, to start the final circuit and came home in the runner-up position. But Suarez secured a $100,000 bonus as the top finisher among eligible series regulars in the final XFINITY Dash 4 Cash event of the season. Suarez also won $100,000 for Kurt Kolstad, a race fan paired with Suarez for the Dash 4 Cash finale. When Hamlin brought his No. 20 Toyota to pit road under caution on Lap 72, he returned to the track after a lightning fast stop during which his team left the fuel cell slightly short of a full load. That meant Hamlin would have to pit before his primary pursuers, Busch and Kevin Harvick , and hope the race would run caution-free for the entire cycle of stops. Hamlin got his wish. After pitting on Lap 122 and gaining time on fresh tires, a relieved Hamlin saw the race run caution-free to the end, giving him just enough time to catch Suarez, who was saving fuel on old rubber, before the laps ran out. "I'm almost glad we didn't (get the car full of fuel)," Hamlin said after the race. "We didn't want a caution to fall and trap us there, but I had scraped the wall and kind of misjudged my line one time and got a little right-side damage, and the car just stopped turning. "I don't know if the right side would have made it or not (under the pressure of all-out racing)." Harvick led 16 laps and finished fourth, his chances thwarted when the race ran green to the finish. "The 9 ( Chase Elliott ) hit the wall or was blowing up or something, and we stayed out a few extra laps, thinking that the caution was going to come out, and got a little bit behind," Harvick said. "The 20 (Hamlin) had the best car. We were better in the long run -- we could run him back down and race with him, but on the short run, those guys were a little bit better than we were." Chris Buescher ran fifth and extended his series lead to 29 points over Ty Dillon , who finished 15th, and 35 over Elliott, who came home 24th, three laps down, after his engine soured late in the race. Joey Logano , Kyle Larson , Landon Cassill , Regan Smith and Ross Chastain completed the top 10.
Chris Buescher wants a big Dash 4 Cash win
Fans, drivers have chance to win $100,000 RELATED: 100,000 reasons to win " Learn more about Dash 4 Cash CONCORD, N.C. -- Roush Fenway Racing 's Chris Buescher picked up his second win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series last weekend at Iowa Speedway and took over the series points lead, but he said Thursday the only regret he had from the performance was that it didn't come this week in the Dash 4 Cash qualifier. Saturday's Hisense 300 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, Sirius XM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway marks the first step in the 2015 Dash 4 Cash as Buescher and other drivers who are eligible for XFINITY Series points will get a chance to race into the program's opener next weekend at Dover International Speedway . The Dash 4 Cash is a yearly contest that sparks excitement in the form of a $100,000 paycheck to the highest-finishing eligible driver in four select XFINITY Series races. This year's Dash 4 Cash includes races next week at Dover, July 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway , Aug. 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway and Sept. 5 at Darlington Raceway . "I love short track racing and to have Dover and Darlington and Bristol in there is awesome, because those are three of my top five race tracks," Buescher said. "If we're fortunate enough to qualify in for it, I think the red banner on the windshield and the spoiler will match our paint scheme quite nicely." Yes, the red banner and spoiler on Dash 4 Cash-eligible cars will replace the blue ones that were used last year when Nationwide ran the show. But that isn't the only change Comcast made since taking over the program. The qualifier race is new to Charlotte, as is the finale at Darlington -- last year's finale at Iowa was won by Trevor Bayne -- and the inclusion of Dover and Bristol is also a change. Plus, the schedule is more spread out than usual, allowing Bristol and Darlington to get into the mix. But what remains the same is that fans can enter the NASCAR XFINITY Series $100,000 Sweepstakes at www.nascar.com/Dash4Cash for a chance to take home their own stack of cash if they are paired up with the winning driver at Darlington. "There's a lot of hype around it and it's cool for fan engagement and for the drivers to try and put a little extra pressure on themselves and our teams," Buescher said of the Dash 4 Cash. "It's going to be a little bit more spread out this year, which I think is a good thing. I think it gives a little more time to prepare and plan for it." First, drivers like Buescher need to qualify for the event and that means finishing in the top four among eligible drivers on Saturday. Buescher admitted that will be a tough task, because he said the track at Charlotte changes a lot throughout the weekend. Buescher has had two top-10 finishes in his three XFINITY Series starts at Charlotte, and even though it's a small sample size, it's something to build on for the 22-year-old Texas native. Plus, since he's coming to Charlotte fresh off the win in Iowa, he said he's feeling pretty confident about his chances. "It's been a good start to the season for us, for sure," Buescher said. "We've had new people on board this year, new teammates in Elliott (Sadler) and Bubba (Wallace). I feel like it's coming together quite nicely this year. We have race cars that are coming to the race track a lot quicker than they were at the beginning of last year at this point in time, and we're in a much better points position not missing Daytona for sure and being able to get a win early in the season." It's worth something, in more ways than one, to see if Buescher can carry that momentum into Saturday. For more information on the Dash 4 Cash, go to http://www.nascar.com/dash4cash.html . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Darlington Raceway to host expansive open test
At least 10 teams expected at track Wednesday RELATED: Buy tickets for Darlington At least 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are expected to participate in a one-day open team test Wednesday at Darlington Raceway . The historic 1.366-mile track, the first paved speedway to feature NASCAR competition, will host the Bojangles' Southern 500 Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, Sept. 6. Drivers scheduled to take part in this week's test are: Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports ), Greg Biffle ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ), Kurt Busch ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Jimmie Johnson ( Hendrick Motorsports ), Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ). The test is scheduled to run from 9 a .m.-5 p.m. ET. ( UPDATE: End time pushed up to 4:45 p.m. ET because of expected showers.) Biffle, Bowyer, McMurray and Newman will also be on hand Tuesday for a single-day Goodyear tire test. "This is a great, free opportunity for fans to watch NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams race around our famed oval for the first time in nearly 14 months," track president Chip Wile said. "This will be the only time the teams and drivers will be able to see Darlington before the series returns on Labor Day weekend." The Sprint Cup Series hasn't visited Darlington since April of 2014. An offseason schedule change moved the event back to the holiday weekend, a spot it held on the schedule for more than 50 years. The open test will be the seventh of the season. Future single-day tests are scheduled for Richmond International Raceway , Chicagoland Speedway , Bristol Motor Speedway , Homestead-Miami Speedway , Kansas Speedway , Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway . Nearly all of the tests follow one- or two-day Goodyear tire tests at the individual tracks. The Richmond team test, scheduled for June 17, is a recent addition. Meanwhile, a two-day Goodyear tire test at Bristol was changed to a single-day open team test (July 30). NASCAR banned private team testing for 2015, developing the National Series Master Unified Test Schedule instead to provide teams an opportunity to work with this season's new rules package. Only one team from each Sprint Cup organization is allowed to participate in the open team tests. The four teams taking part in the Goodyear portion are the only ones from their organizations allowed to participate in the open test, if they choose. "With the Bojangles' Southern 500 being the second-to-last race before the Chase cutoff, I'm sure the teams will be looking for a little something extra to get to … Victory Lane and potentially secure a Chase berth before times runs out," Wile said. Two sections of the Colvin Grandstands, located on the backstretch, will be open to fans. Kevin Harvick , 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, is the defending winner of the Bojangles' Southern 500 . In addition to the Sprint Cup race, Darlington Raceway will also host the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race Saturday, Sept. 5. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Josh Berry to drive No. 88 car at Richmond for JRM
RELATED: Dale Jr. proud of JRM teams Josh Berry will make his first NASCAR XFINITY Series start of 2015 for JR Motorsports on Sept. 11 at Richmond International Raceway . Berry will pilot the No. 88 Chevrolet in the Virginia529 College Savings 250 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The No. 88 car will carry sponsorship from Speedco for the race. "We're happy to be able to put Josh in our XFINITY car again at a track he has some laps on to allow him to show what he can do," JRM co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr . said in a release provided by the team. "I felt like he performed well last year in the two races he was able to run. He's really elevated himself as a driver this year, winning at multiple tracks in the late model to earn this opportunity and I expect him to make the most of it." Berry made two XFINITY Series starts last season for JRM at Iowa (in August) and the season finale at Homestead. His best finish was a 12th-place result at Iowa. "I'm just really excited to have another opportunity to move up," Berry said in a team release. "We've had a really good season so far in the late model car, and I'm really excited to get to do another XFINITY race, especially at a race track I've been to before. I ran in the XFINITY Series twice last year and wasn't sure I would have the opportunity to do it again, but luckily Speedco came on board for this race. I'm really thankful for their support and for the opportunity Dale, Kelley, L.W. (Miller) and everyone at JRM are giving me." Berry runs a late model for JRM and has totaled nine wins this season. The No. 88 car is currently 10th in the owner standings in the XFINITY Series. Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick , Kasey Kahne and Ben Rhodes all have piloted the No. 88 car this season. Harvick has driven the team to its two wins and will be behind the wheel this weekend at Darlington in the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).