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Post-Race Reactions: VFW 200
Jason White, Parker Kligerman and Dakoda Armstrong discuss their top-five finishes at Michigan.
Hamlin rides fresh tires to overtime XFINITY win at Charlotte
RELATED: Full Charlotte race results CONCORD, N.C. -- In an event that bore notable similarities to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race a week earlier, Denny Hamlin won Saturday's Hisense 4K TV 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a pass on the final lap. Hamlin's fresh rubber trumped the old tires of Kyle Larson and Joey Logano , who restarted ahead of Hamlin in overtime at the 1.5-mile track. In fact, Hamlin restarted sixth on Lap 205 after coming to pit road for four new tires under the eighth and final caution of the race, brought out when polesitter Erik Jones , Hamlin's teammate, slammed the outside wall and performed the coup de grace on his already wounded No. 20 Toyota. "It was a second opportunity, obviously," Hamlin said. "I was hoping for that caution there at the end, and we got it and we were able to get four tires on this Hisense Camry and took off. A little closer than what I thought -- I mean, we were just really tight those last couple laps, but what a great day." The victory was Hamlin's first of the year in his only start so far, and it was the fifth this season for the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, the first four coming with Kyle Busch behind the wheel. Logano surged ahead of Larson at the restart, but Hamlin gained huge momentum on his new tires from the outside lane. With less than a lap left, Hamlin got past Logano and held on to win the race by .291 seconds over Austin Dillon , who edged Logano for second in the final corner. Dillon had opted for right-side tires only on his final pit stop. But for a timely caution, however, Hamlin would not have had the opportunity to win the race. As they had done a week earlier in the All-Star race, Larson and Logano swapped the lead, with Logano powering past Larson's No. 42 Chevrolet on lap 166 of a scheduled 200 , and Larson regaining the top spot with five laps left in regulation. But when Jones slammed into the wall on Lap 199, Hamlin had the chance to come to pit road for tires under caution, while Larson and Logano stayed out to preserve their track position. With just two cars up front on old tires, as had been the case for the final restart in the All-Star race, Hamlin made short work of the cars in front of him. It was the third last-lap pass for the win in the XFINITY Series this season. Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gayle conferred before the final pit stop and ultimately opted for the fresh rubber. "It was a collaborative call," Hamlin said. "He (Gayle) leaned towards staying out, but I thought that I could get around those guys in just two laps even though we were way faster on that last run. I thought tires were the thing. "I knew if I could start on the outside that I wanted new tires and it just worked out on pit road where I came out on the outside. It all worked out and it was very exciting in that last corner, a little more exciting than what I expected." Hamlin desperately needed the final caution because his No. 18 team had drawn a penalty for an uncontrolled tire on a pit stop under yellow on Lap 160. Hamlin restarted mid-pack instead of at the rear of the field as the violation requires, because according to NASCAR, the cars at the rear of the field failed to pass Hamlin’s No. 18 Camry before the green flag waved on Lap 164. Hamlin said he left a large buffer for the laps-down car to pass him before the restart, but that they declined to do so. By the time Jones hit the wall, Hamlin had driven to third place, trailing only Larson and Logano. The similarities to the finish of the All-Star Race were not lost on Logano. "I thought it was kind of supposed to be like what the All-Star Race was with old tires and new tires, but the (my car) was the fastest it's been all year," Logano said. "We can't hold our heads down about it. We had a car that was capable of winning if circumstances went right. I felt like I was going have a good restart next to Kyle. "I felt my restarts were a little better than his all day, and I thought, 'OK, if I can clear him,' which we did I was like, 'Alright, we've got a shot,' but it was really hard to hold off those four tires. What a fun race. It got really exciting there at the end. I got passed on the top by Denny and then Kyle just kept ripping up top and had a big run into the corner, so it was fun to watch that. I was hoping they would get into each other, and I would sneak one out."
Daniel Suarez earns $100,000 third-place finish
RELATED: More on Dash 4 Cash DARLINGTON, S.C. – Winning the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus wasn't on the mind of Daniel Suarez during the closing laps of Saturday's VFW Sports Clips 200 at Darlington Raceway . That's because the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was concerned about something a bit more important – his first NASCAR XFINITY Series win. "No it’s not," Suarez said following his third-place finish. "But the victory is." Late green-flag pit stops by the leaders cycled the No. 18 Toyota of Suarez into the lead, and with his team instructing him to save fuel, the 23-year-old nursed his advantage for as long and as far as he could –until the rocket-fast entry of teammate Denny Hamlin came roaring past with just three laps remaining on its way to the checkered flag. Fellow teammate Kyle Busch shot around Suarez to claim second as JGR drivers swept the top three spots in the series' 24th stop. Third wasn't first, but it was tops among the four eligible drivers competing for the final $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. Others vying for the award were Brian Scott (12th), Ty Dillon (15th) and Chase Elliott (24th). "After I hit the wall, for some reason … I messed something up and I wasn't able to hear 100 percent my spotter and my people," Suarez said. "I was able to understand them but when we were under the green flag it was tough. "When we had maybe 20 laps to go, when we took the lead, they were telling me to save fuel … I was saving; I wanted to save but I didn’t want to lose the lead, either. It's always hard to be in the position when you need to save fuel and you are leading the race because I wanted to go; I wanted to lead more. "But the problem is if I go, and for some reason we run out of fuel, that's my fault." Suarez qualified for the fourth segment in this year's Dash 4 Cash program by finishing fifth last month at Bristol, earning his first $100,000 bonus. Regan Smith (JR Motorsports) had won the season's first two segments, at Dover and Indianapolis. In a NASCAR.com fan pole asked to pick the Darlington Dash 4 Cash winner, Suarez received only eight percent of the vote. Scott received 40 percent of the vote, Elliott 37 percent and Dillon 15 percent. "We were alright; it's just once everyone started pitting as early as they did, I got a little bit scared and I knew we had a buffer," Eric Phillips, crew chief for Suarez, said. "And in my mind, we were racing the 3 (Dillon), the 2 (Scott) and the 9 (Elliott) for that XFINITY $100,000. "The fuel situation was probably close. But … probably not as close because we saved a lot of gas there at the end – probably too much gas." Hamlin pitted with 27 laps remaining in the 147-lap race, a move necessitated due to problems filling the car with fuel on a previous stop. But the flip side of the earlier-than-anticipated trip to pit road eventually played into the driver's favor – the fresh tires enabled him to shoot through the field as others stopped to eventually reel in his teammate. "He did a great job," Phillips said of his driver, who made contact with the wall during practice on Friday and again on the second lap of Saturday's race. "The hardest thing with him is to get him to understand that's part of this place. It's going to happen. The best of them have done it all the time. You've got to go keep dealing with it, and you're going to do it. You're pushing as hard as we pushed, and we probably didn't have the best car but we got a good finish and did what we needed to do today." It was the first trip to Darlington's difficult 1.366-mile track for Suarez. A third-place finish and second consecutive $100,000 bonus didn't make up for the lost opportunity, but it made it easier to digest. "I felt like we were a top-10 car," said Suarez. "We were running seventh, sixth maybe, not much better than that. And we finished third. So we'll take it."
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
Victory Lane: Harvick celebrates back-to-back NCWTS wins
Kevin Harvick celebrates his second consecutive win in the Camping World Truck Series after emerging victorious in the VFW 200 .
Kenny Humpe shows the way at Charlotte
Kenny Humpe (The TEAM) once again showed everyone why he is the defending NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion, leading 168 of 200 laps en route to a dominant victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Humpe started on pole and was only challenged by Ray Alfalla (Slip Angle Motorsports) before a late caution created a five-lap dash to the finish. Humpe and Alfalla, along with nine others, chose to stay on the track for the shootout and hoped their track position would overcome worn tires. Corey Vincent (Overclock Motorsports) had been fast throughout the race and was the first car on four tires, restarting 12th. When the green flew, Humpe shot out to the lead as Vincent began to quickly pass cars using the top groove in Turns 1 and 2. However, Vincent's run was cut short when Nicholas Johnston (HPM) and Dylan Jones (Nexxus) sparked a massive crash exiting Turn 2, causing the race to end under yellow. Humpe took the win over teammate Justin Bolton, who came on strong in the second half of the race, with Alfalla coming home third ahead of PJ Stergios (ineX Racing). Dylan Duval's fifth place result made it three cars from The TEAM in the top five. Vincent could only manage eighth on the abbreviated last run, but almost surely would have won if the race stayed green to Lap 200 . The race started with an 82-lap green flag run, complete with two rounds of green flag pit stops. Humpe and Alfalla were in another zip code early on with Alfalla the only sim racer within seven seconds of the lead by Lap 60. After a yellow on Lap 83 for Adam Gilliland's (Aftermath Motorsports) spin, Alfalla found new life in his car and challenged Humpe for the lead as the race approached the halfway point. Humpe was too strong though and held Alfalla at bay using the momentum from the outside lane. The middle segment of the race had its share of carnage as cautions broke-up the runs and led to some differing strategies when everyone pitted on Lap 120. On this round of stops Trey Eidson opted for just right side tires and inherited the lead while Humpe had a bad pit stop and found himself fourth on the restart behind Bolton and Alfalla. Humpe grabbed third from Alfalla on the restart before a huge crash in the back of the field brought the pace car out yet again. On the following restart Humpe was on the move again, this time picking off Bolton after just one lap and setting his sights on Eidson for the lead. Eidson and his old tires did not stand a chance as Humpe reeled him in after only four laps, but the pass for the lead nearly ended in disaster for both drivers when they went for the same piece of track off Turn 2 and made contact. The impact sent Eidson into the wall, damaging his car, while Humpe continued unscathed and leading once again. The last 65 laps were paced comfortably by Humpe, save for Alfalla having one more go for the lead with 11 laps remaining. As was the case earlier in the race, Humpe held-off the two time champion on the top as passing on the bottom proved difficult on old tires. Despite missing-out on the victory Alfalla built on his championship lead and now sits 14 points ahead of PJ Stergios as the 2016 season reaches the halfway point. Humpe continues his rise up the standings and is now 58 points back in third. After a 14th place finish last night, Jake Stergios is fourth while Vincent rounds out the top five. With the first half of the season in the books the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series has a five-week break before starting the second half of the season at Chicagoland Speedway on June 28. The break, along with a new iRacing build due for release before the race, could shake-up who has speed when cars return to the track. Can Alfalla continue on his way to a third championship? Or, can Humpe continue his hot streak and complete an unprecedented comeback to win his second title in as many years? Be sure to catch the sim racing action when the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series reopens for business the evening of June 28 in iRacingLive!
Bruce, Cain reveal NASCAR Hall of Fame ballots
RELATED: Photos of Voting Day, inductees NASCAR.com was privileged to have two ballots cast as part of NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day on Wednesday. Senior writers Kenny Bruce and Holly Cain each submitted their five nominations for induction in the Class of 2017 and a vote for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. A spirited discussion and voting process created one of the most intriguing classes in the stock-car shrine's history with Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons selected as Hall of Fame members. Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles received the Landmark Award. Here are Holly's and Kenny's ballots cast Wednesday with their choices for induction: Kenny Bruce Ron Hornaday Jr. No one dominated NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series like Hornaday, the only four-time series champ. He remains the leader in career wins, top-five and top-10 finishes in Truck Series history. Mark Martin. The working man's racer; Martin finished second in the premier series points battle five times and earned 40 wins in 882 career starts. His XFINITY Series record wasn't too shabby, either. Benny Parsons. Folks who knew Benny the Broadcaster might not know just how talented Parsons was behind the wheel of a race car. The 1973 premier series champion, Parsons won 21 times, including victories in the Daytona 500 (1975) and World 600 ('80). Raymond Parks. The Atlanta-based businessman not only provided much-needed financial assistance as the newly formed NASCAR governing body got up and running, but Parks was a successful car owner as well. His career as an owner peaked in 1949 when driver Red Byron won NASCAR's first Strictly Stock crown. A year earlier, Byron had won the group's first Modified title in a Parks-backed entry. Robert Yates. As an engine builder, Yates helped power Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough to 77 victories. As a car owner, his drivers won three Daytona 500 titles, 57 races and 48 poles. Landmark Award H. Clay Earles. His Martinsville Speedway was there from the beginning (actually before NASCAR was formed) and it remains a popular stop today as one of three short tracks on the premier series schedule. Keeping up with the changing landscape of the sport wasn't easy, and no one did it better than Mr. Earles. Holly Cain These are the Hall of Fame votes I considered the most worthy and timely, considering a ballot of 20 of the sport's most deserving people. I tried to decide on a well-balanced group of drivers, owners and technical people and considered time on the ballot, too. Some I did not vote for this year I feel like will be definite choices in the upcoming Hall of Fame votes. Red Byron. NASCAR's first champion should be in its Hall of Fame for historic reasons. He won NASCAR's very first race on Daytona Beach in 1948, won NASCAR's first "season" championship and then its first Strictly Stock title, which is the modern era Sprint Cup crown. Raymond Parks . He owned the first championship car driven by Red Byron and for many of the same reasons Bryon needs to be in the Hall, so does Parks. Even after the two early titles he fielded cars for greats such as Bob and Fonty Flock. He is the sport's heritage, its beginning. Benny Parsons . Many current NASCAR fans know Benny from his ease and skill behind the television microphone and camera once he retired from driving a race car, but he was an amazing competitor, too, winning NASCAR's two biggest trophies -- the 1973 Cup championship and the 1975 Daytona 500 . Perhaps most amazingly, he finished among the top 10 in 54 percent of the races he ran. Waddell Wilson. It is impressive Wilson was so successful both as an engine builder and a crew chief. He built the motors that David Pearson and Benny Parsons drove to titles and as a crew chief led Buddy Baker and Cale Yarborough (twice) to Daytona 500 wins. He built the first engine that broke 200 mph -- driven by Parsons in qualifying for the 1982 Winston 500. Robert Yates. This is another example of the ultimate in successful multi-tasking. Similar to Wilson, he built championship-quality engines (1983 with Bobby Allison) and then Yates owned a championship team, fielding the car with which Dale Jarrett won a title in 1999. He owns three Daytona 500 wins as part of a 57-win legacy as a team owner and won 77 races as an engine builder. Landmark Award Ralph Seagraves. This was a tough category. My selection was based on his contribution really being a turning point for the entire sport. Under Seagraves' leadership, RJ Reynolds provided top-dollar, high-promotion sponsorship of the sport that lasted for more than 30 years. It thrust NASCAR into another stratosphere as far as the American sports landscape was concerned and absolutely created a foundation that is still enjoyed today.
Darlington releases throwback ticket design for Southern 500
RELATED: 2015 Darlington throwback paint schemes " Buy tickets Darlington Raceway on Thursday released its commemorative ticket design for the 2016 Southern 500 throwback weekend over the Labor Day holiday, Sept. 2-4. This year's commemorative ticket will hearken back to the ticket from the 1978 Southern 500, featuring South Carolina native and Darlington Raceway legend David Pearson. It will be used for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Bojangles' Southern 500 and the NASCAR XFINITY Series' VFW Wport Clips Help a Hero 200 races. The design gives nods to the present and more recent past, as well, honoring the 2015 Souther 500 winner, Carl Edwards , and featuring more photos spanning the track's history. "The retro-style ticket was one of many touchpoints fans enjoyed during last season's throwback festivities," track President Chip Wile said. "We felt that it was important to continue to honor our rich history with a tremendous champion like David Pearson, while also celebrating last year's winner Carl Edwards , on the ticket." The 2015 throwback event was so popular that Darlington Raceway won the NMPA's Myers Brothers Award for the event. The 2016 theme focuses on the 1975-1984 era in NASCAR. MORE: Best photos from Darlington's throwback weekend
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).