Crown Hamlin as the king of Halloween
RELATED: More Inside Groove blog content It appears that part of Denny Hamlin 's in-race diatribe on Jimmie Johnson ... uh, is sort of true. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver blasted "Six-Time" on the scanner when trying to make a pass Sunday at Martinsville. ( You can listen to all of that here .) Among the choicest lines: "He thinks he's a (expletive) king." Well, Jimmie, who won Sunday's race, was a king on Monday. In fact, his whole family was royalty in a Halloween photo. All of which led to the below jovial jab from Mr. Hamlin. The life of a father with daughters! #HappyHalloween pic.twitter.com/wpFUgVPmud — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) October 31, 2016 Yea I knew you wore a damn crown to bed. https://t.co/Ptz614qidN — Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) November 1, 2016 Well done, Denny. But "Six-Time" was quick to fire back. Yea I knew you wore damn floppy ears to bed @dennyhamlin . pic.twitter.com/0X0Ks26HWY — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) November 1, 2016 Another classic. Call this one a draw?
Truex Jr. celebrates second crown jewel win of 2016
Martin Truex Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane at Darlington Raceway after winning the Bojangles' Southern 500, his second crown jewel victory of 2016.
Jason Redman's Indy experience as Crown Royal's 'Your Hero's Name Here' Program winner
Jason Redman recaps his experience at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after being named Crown Royal's 'Your Hero's Name Here' Program winner.
Captain clutch? Logano embraces 'privilege' of pressure
RELATED: Why Logano will win the title MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Joey Logano 's path to the championship phase of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs this year has highlighted what might be an underrated component of his game. "Clutch -- it's a great word," Logano said with a trademark grin. "I like it." Logano's performance in pivotal situations has given the Team Penske driver another shot at his first title in Sunday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The 26-year-old ace punctuated the last two series of eliminations with a victory in each round's finale, ensuring his place at the championship table. Those postseason achievements are an extension of Logano's overall efforts since the current Chase system was introduced in 2014. In the 29 playoff races since that format took root, Logano has won seven of them -- more than any Sprint Cup driver. "I think that's something that I'm very proud of, to come into high-pressure moments like that and be better under pressure -- and not just me, my whole race team," Logano said Thursday during Championship 4 Media Day activities in Miami Beach. "We've been able to win two races (this year) under those situations and that's something I'm very proud of and very excited for this weekend because it's the same situation, right?" MORE: Top quotes from drivers Logano's results this season suggest that both he and his Team Penske No. 22 Ford group are peaking at the right time. His teammate, Brad Keselowski , won four races in the season's first half, but Logano prevailed just once in the regular season -- at Michigan in June. Logano also qualified for the Championship 4 field in 2014. After some early season setbacks, he wasn't certain this was the year he'd book a return trip. "There was a point in the season that I wasn't sure that we were going to get this far, you know, and we've definitely found a lot of speed in our race cars in both the 2 (Keselowski) and the 22 at Team Penske , and then to the point, it's like, man, we've got something to win this championship," Logano said. "It's a long season. The sport is cyclical. It goes up and down. You're good for a little bit, and the next thing you know you're looking for more and people catch up. It's just part of it." With this year's 35 other events in the rearview, Logano just has to be good for one more race against a stacked championship field, each with their own heavyweight credentials. Kyle Busch will be vying for a repeat Sprint Cup crown . Carl Edwards , like Logano, will be looking for his first title, trying to overcome the heartache of 2011 when he lost the championship in a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart . And Jimmie Johnson will be seeking to cement his place among the sport's immortals with a seventh championship to put his name in the discussion with Earnhardt and Petty. But Logano knows there are plenty of other drivers in the larger 40-car field eager to end the season on a positive note. His assignment for a successful weekend: To finish in front of all of them with the stakes at their highest. "I've got to beat everyone, and that's a pressure that I love," Logano said. "I said before the race last week on the radio, I said, these are the moments we live for. This is what we prepare for every single day. This is what we think about. This is an awesome opportunity, and to embrace that pressure, because there's only four drivers that get that. You know, it's a privilege to have pressure." &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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;
NASCAR ramps up social media activation for Miami
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A record-setting season on social media continues Nov. 20 when NASCAR celebrates the final race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup like never before on Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Millions of Snapchat users will receive a behind-the-scenes look at the Ford Ecoboost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) from NASCAR fans sharing their race-day experiences from Homestead-Miami Speedway as part of a Snapchat Live Story. During the race, NASCAR will stream the in-car camera from Tony Stewart 's No. 14 Chevrolet on Facebook Live as the legendary driver wraps up his full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. "Nothing in sports beats attending a NASCAR race live, but wherever fans are on Sunday we’ll have unique Chase experiences available for them across multiple social platforms," said NASCAR Managing Director, Social Media, Scott Warfield. "NASCAR is a vibrant, content-rich sport, and we've seen unprecedented social engagement this season by bringing that content straight to our fans." So far in 2016, NASCAR's elevated focus on social media including new platform partnerships has resulted in 236 million engagements -- an 89 percent increase year-over-year -- and 3.8 billion impressions. Social activation leading up to and during Ford Championship Weekend include the following: · Facebook: The live stream of Stewart's in-car camera can be viewed on the NASCAR Facebook page and will feature a special message from the driver to fans. The Facebook Live activation is one of several tributes planned as part of 14 Days of Smoke , a celebration of Stewart's 18-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. · Snapchat: On Championship 4 race day, thousands of submitted Snaps from Homestead-Miami Speedway will be curated and packaged by Snapchat into a video stream, offering fans a look at the sport through the lens of fans and drivers. The Live Story will be available to view on Snapchat for 24 hours. · Twitter: To bring tweets to life throughout The Chase, Twitter and NASCAR created a special, Chase-specific Twitter emoji. Fans are encouraged to join the Chase conversation this weekend and connect with teams, drivers and fans by tweeting with, and searching for #TheChase. · Instagram: NASCAR commissioned illustrators to create custom Instagram images during The Chase. Fans will get a peek into the illustrators' creative process through NASCAR's Instagram Story. The next installment of the Ready. Set. Chase digital film series, re-enacting the on-track storylines of the Round of 8, will debut on social media and NASCAR.com/TheChase during Ford Championship Weekend. A fifth and final film will recap the entire Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and be released next week. NASCAR will crown its 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion at the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the fourth and final round of The Chase on Nov. 20 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tickets are available at NASCAR.com/tickets .
Secret weapon? Grubb's JGR past could help Hendrick
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend Darian Grubb, who spent the past four years as a crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing , says his time there could be beneficial as Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson attempts to win a record-tying seventh Sprint Cup Series title this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "I hope so," said Grubb, now the vehicle production manager at HMS. "If nothing else, it helps me to understand a little bit more about how their mentality was and how they approached races and what they did to prepare. Some of the strategies and the choices you would make going into a championship race, I know what they had done in the past." Johnson is the lone HMS representative in this year's Championship 4 and is going into battle against a pair of JGR drivers in defending series champion Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards , as well as Team Penske representative Joey Logano . "The sport changes so much day to day, year to year; I don't know that it's a huge advantage but hopefully it's something I can help Jimmie and Chad (Knaus, crew chief) a little bit with," Grubb told NASCAR.com on Tuesday. "Just 'Here's what their old mindset was and how they would approach things in the past.' Just so they can think about it." Since the beginning of 2016, chassis production and body hanging programs have been under Grubb's watch at HMS. He also provides engineering consultation and support to all four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams fielded by the organization. He understands the race-day pressure, having weathered the storm from atop the pit box. Grubb was the lead engineer for the 48 of Johnson and the 24 of then-driver Jeff Gordon in 2006 when he was pressed into service after Knaus received a four-race suspension for violations before the Daytona 500 . Grubb helped guide Johnson to the Daytona 500 win as well as a win three weeks later in Las Vegas. Johnson went on to capture the first of five consecutive championships that season. RELATED: Why Johnson will win the 2016 championship He moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009, and two years later Grubb was a part of one of the biggest comebacks in series history as driver Tony Stewart won five of 10 Chase races, including the season-ending event at Homestead. Stewart beat Edwards to win his third series crown . In an unusual turn of events, Grubb was released by SHR following the '11 season, a move that had been determined before the start of the 10-race playoff. During his four-year tenure at JGR, Grubb led Denny Hamlin to seven victories; paired with Edwards last year, the No. 19 team won twice and finished fifth in the overall standings. Monday evening, Grubb got the chance to relive the 2011 championship as NBCSN replayed the race and Stewart chimed in via Twitter throughout the event. "Watching it on TV, it all came back to me," Grubb said. "I felt like I was living in the moment again. There was just so much drama that happened. "It was so much fun to be there, honestly. We had nothing to lose; we could not finish worse than second no matter what happened. And we knew if we won, there was no way that Carl could win the championship regardless of leading the most laps and all those other things. We just had to win and that was our mindset. "We went to the back I think three times. Had some bad pit stops and all kinds of damage to the car that we overcame -- then the rain two times. It was just fun. We could smile and laugh about it the whole weekend and just never get really stressed out. That's what made it so much more enjoyable when it was all done." At one point Monday evening, Grubb tweeted that he hoped Johnson was watching the replay "to get fired up." "Because I got so fired up watching that to go to Homestead now," he said. "That track is so awesome; to be able to run so many different lines and three- and four-wide passes. Just knowing what Jimmie is capable of, I think it's going to be hard for anybody to count him out. We just have to make sure we don't do anything to take ourselves out and let Jimmie go out there and earn it." Can Johnson win No. 7 at Homestead, one of four tracks where he has yet to visit Victory Lane? The No. 48 entry will be one that's been run elsewhere with good results. "It's been back to the wind tunnel and had some more love applied to it," Grubb said. "We're hoping it goes out there and unloads fast. "We've got Jimmie Johnson so that'll put us a leg up on anybody at any given time." The season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 is scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC, MRN, SiriusXN NASCAR). MORE: Johnson has never had to win at Miami
Showdown between JRM, JGR evident in XFINITY Chase finale
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- The first-ever Chase playoff format for the NASCAR XFINITY Series created an intriguing foursome competing for the championship in Saturday's season finale. The dualities ran deep. Two pairs of title-eligible teammates from two organizations created a showdown between Joe Gibbs Racing and JR Motorsports, Toyota and Chevrolet, and -- because of the wide range of experience among the four -- a contrast between veteran savvy and youthful exuberance. Those contrasts played out with the XFINITY Series crown on the line in Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 with Gibbs up-and-comers Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez squaring off with JRM's veteran compatriots in Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The final 50 laps saw all four drivers battling fiercly for the lead, but ultimately it was JGR's Suarez who won the race, outlasting JRM's Sadler, who gambled late with a two-tire pit stop and finished third. Sadler's teammate, Allgaier, finished seventh and JGR's Jones was ninth as they got trapped behind race leader Cole Whitt on the final restart. The four drivers were in an anticipatory mood during Thursday's Media Day at the Loews Miami Beach, trumpeting the virtues of having teammates to lean on through the weekend and conjuring up images of a virtual 2-on-2 matchup. But with a winner-take-all structure in place for Saturday's curtain-closer, the allegiances may only go so far. "We know already that we are going to help each other as much as we can before the race, and once we get into the race, everyone is on his own, and we know that, and we understand that," said Suarez, in his second full season of XFINITY competition. "There is just one trophy, and there are two drivers, two friends here. We have to take care by ourselves and move forward." Suarez has a stellar teammate in Jones, who is earmarked for a full-time ride in NASCAR's premier series next year with Furniture Row Racing . The two worked well this season under the JGR umbrella, combining for six XFINITY victories. But Jones agreed that the notion of teamwork has its limits at Homestead. "I think throughout the weekend, you don't change your process at all. We still share information, still lean on each other, help each other when we can," Jones said. "Obviously in the early and mid-part of the race, we're not going to do anything to hurt each other's races. "Once it gets down to that last hundred, last 50 laps, I think you have to go for it. At some point you're going to have to race for it. We're racing for a championship. We don't want to take each other out of that chance, but at the same time we have to be in it to try to win our team a championship and make it happen. I think that's the point of this Chase and the point of this format." Among the four championship contenders, team alliances created a split, but so has the difference in age. JRM's Sadler is the eldest of the group at 41 with his teammate Allgaier having just crossed the bridge into his 30s this summer. JGR's Suarez is 24 years old with Jones the youngest at 20. Experience can certainly help, but so does pure skill -- something the final quartet has in bunches. While variances in their racing backgrounds exist, all four can claim newbie status in regards to the new Chase format. "I don't know that the years have really given us any more experience," Allgaier said. "Who's to say with the resources and things they've gone through that they could potentially have more experience than what I do? I think we got four really talented race car drivers that made the final round. I think you've got four great teams in this final round."
Meet this year's five Crown Royal finalists
Giving back. It's something the five finalists for Crown Royal's annual "Your Hero's Name Here" program have all done without question or hesitancy, whether it's protecting classmates from gunfire, serving in the armed forces or founding a service-dog centered charity to help wounded veterans. They gave back and served as heroes do. And because they gave back, Crown Royal will put a name in lights. One grand prize winner from among the deserving, heroic five finalists will be etched in history with naming rights to the 23rd annual Brickyard 400, which takes place July 24 at famed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway . This race will mark the 10th time Crown Royal has awarded race-naming rights to an adult fan. The program focuses on all of the unsung heroes who make a difference in their communities, from firefighters and police officers to first responders and local volunteers. Every year five heroic finalists are nominated and through fan voting, and one winner is chosen to have their name cemented in sports history. Beginning this week, adult consumers can go to CrownRoyalHeroes.com to vote for the hero they think is most deserving of naming rights to the race. Voting runs through June 9 and the grand prize winner will be announced that month. See below for their names and bios. All five finalists will be flown to Indianapolis to attend the race, and the grand prize winner will be provided with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which will include delivering the trophy bearing his or her moniker to the race winner in Victory Lane. The Brickyard 400 is one of the landmark NASCAR races every season. Since 1994, the group of big-name race winners includes the likes of Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson . Previous Crown Royal grand prize winners who had the race named after them are: Curtiss Shaver (2012), Samuel Deeds (2013), John Wayne Walding (2014) and Jeff Kyle (2015)
Crown Royal Heroes: Jason Redman
Check out Crown Royal Heroes nominee Jason Redman. One of these five finalists will receive naming rights to the 2016 Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard.