The Rundown: Charlotte driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Breaking down the full field for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway : 1. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . A historic win. Truex set so many records, we can't list them all. So we'll settle for this one: He led a Sprint Cup -record 588 miles. Oh, and his 392 laps led ... taken alone, they would rank 121st all time in series history. Grade: AAA+ (and that might be a tad low) 2. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Another second-place finish for Harvick (47th of his career). One more and he ties Lee Petty for 10th all time. Grade: A 3. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson sniffed the lead after the final restart, but Superman said no. Instead, Johnson will be the answer to the trivia question: Who led the second-most laps (five) of the 2016 Coca-Cola 600 ? Sort of like: Who was the second-leading scorer the night Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game? And, no, I don't know. Grade: A 4. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin picked up 5 seconds on leader Martin Truex Jr . on the night's second pit stop ... and still lost by 6.4 seconds. That'll happen in a 600-mile race. Grade: A 5. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski and Kevin Harvick raced so close to each other for the first half of the race, you'd have thought a big ol' magnet in one of the cars was keeping them side by side. Grade: A 6. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch increased his series-leading top-10 finishes to 11 and also moved up a spot to second in the standings behind Kevin Harvick . Grade: A 7. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Disaster came knocking on a green-flag pit stop late in the first half of the race when Austin Dillon fired out of his pit stall and went way wide into Kenseth. Fortunately the impact was minimal. Grade: A 8. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott was running eighth when he was hit with a speeding penalty on the first pit stop; 373 laps later he finished eighth. Nice job. Grade: A 9. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Not that Logano would have been able to run down Martin Truex Jr ., but any chance at the win went away during green-flag pit stops around Lap 254 when a crew member was over the wall too soon. After serving the penalty, Logano was 21st, one lap down, which effectively ended his night. The team battled back, but that's a mistake that can't be made, especially with your driver running so well in such a big race. Grade: D 10. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman was penalized for speeding on pit road during the third caution but battled back to post his fourth top 10 of the season and move up a spot to 16th in the standings. Grade: B 11. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle posted his best finish of the season but couldn't end his drought of top-10 finishes. His previous top 10 was last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when he finished fourth. Grade: B 12. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon started 28th and needed all 400 laps to claw his way up. Grade: B 13. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson made a lot of noise early and was running fourth at the halfway point before fading. Grade: B 14. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Junior was on pit road when the final yellow flag came out, and he took the wave-around to return to the lead lap ... albeit a little deeper in the field for the final restart with 56 laps to go. He was never vying for a win, but that cost him a higher finish. Grade: B 15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was the lucky dog on the final caution, enabling him to score his sixth finish in the teens (13th through 16th) in the past seven races. Grade: B 16. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger's 19.3 average running position was highest among drivers finishing in the top 20 and his 10 laps in the top 15 were the lowest. Grade: C 17. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard's 11th-place-finish at Dover coupled with his 17th Sunday gave him his second-best back-to-back finishes of the season, behind his 15th-8th at Auto Club and Martinsville. Grade: C 18. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards was a fixture in the top 10 and running third when he was hit with two green-flag pit-road speeding penalties. The first came when he was too fast entering the pits on Lap 298. The second came when he was too fast entering pit road to do his pass-through penalty, which required him to do a stop-and-go on the next lap. That put a fork in any chance for a decent finish: Grade: D 19. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray's average running position was 19.1, and that's exactly where he finished. Grade: C 20. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Not a bad finish considering Blaney was hit with his first pit-road speeding penalty of the season on the competition caution, had to return to pit road because of a loose wheel during the third caution and had his right rear tire go down with three laps to go. Grade: C 21. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Danica's consistent: Sunday's finish was her eighth in the 20s this season. Grade: C 22. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne's right front tire went down early putting him two laps back, and he spent the rest of the night slowly making up ground. Grade: C 23. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer was never a factor and saw his string of top-20 finishes end at three. Grade: C 24. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart qualified 21st but rolled off the grid 39th when NASCAR caught a crew member making an unauthorized change to the car on pit road before the race. A pit-road penalty for speeding during the third caution didn't help things, either. Grade: D 25. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Since getting his first top 10 of the season at Bristol, Bayne has had a top-10 finish every other race. If the pattern holds, he'll get his first top 10 at Pocono next week. Grade: C 26. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola finished outside the top 10 for the 14th consecutive race, the fourth-longest such streak of his Cup career. Grade: C 27. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Of the season's 13 races, Cassill has finished 25th, 26th, 27th or 28th six times. Grade: C 28. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith posted his second-best finish in his past eight races. Grade: C 29. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott finished in the top 30 for the fourth race in a row. Grade: C- 30. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears' finish is his worst in the 600 since a 33rd-place finish in the rain-shortened 2009 race while driving for Richard Childress Racing . Grade: D 31. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan finished seven laps back but was running at the finish; he had DNFs in both Charlotte races last year. Grade: D 32. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . Although he finished 32nd, DiBenedetto was running at the finish, unlike in two of the previous three races. Grade: D 33. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch was running 10th and flirting with a top-10 finish when he cut a tire with seven laps to go and smacked the outside wall hard. Instead, he finished with his second straight DNF. Grade: B- 34. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . McDowell posted his worst finish of the season. Grade: D 35. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Whitt was running at the finish, nine laps back. Grade: D 36. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett finished 10 laps back. Grade: F 37. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Buescher could not build on his career-best 18th-place finish at Dover. Grade: F 38. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise finished 13 laps back but was running at the finish for the fourth time in the past five races. Grade: F 39. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Earnhardt's finish was a season low. Grade: F 40. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson completed 200 laps before clutch issues ended his night. Grade: F
Tony Stewart Chase Watch
RELATED: Coverage of Stewart's accident, comeback " Updated Chase Grid Tony Stewart returned from a back injury in April and the three-time champion is in pursuit of one of the 16 spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in his final season. Here's a look at where the driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet stands in his pursuit after the season's 13th of 26 regular-season races. WHAT JUST HAPPENED Stewart faced adversity early in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , as he was forced to start the 600-mile event from the rear due to unapproved body adjustments to the No. 14 Chevrolet. Undeterred, "Smoke" made his way from the back to mid-pack, making a three-wide move for 21st place at Lap 36. But a pit road penalty halfway through the race and lightning fast frontrunners didn't bode well for the No. 14 Chevrolet and he ultimately finished 24th, four laps down. Nonetheless, the result did allow Stewart to jump two spots in the driver standings to 35th. WHAT HE NEEDS Stewart received a waiver from NASCAR for Chase eligibility. The surest way into the Chase is by winning before the end of regular season (at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 10) and climb into the top 30 in the points standings. En route to his 2015 championship, Kyle Busch faced a similar path after missing the first 11 races with a leg injury. Currently, Stewart is 35th in the standings, 60 points behind David Ragan for 30th place. WHAT'S NEXT "Smoke" heads to Pocono Raceway on June 5 (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio). Stewart is a two-time winner at "The Tricky Triangle," his last trip to Victory Lane coming in 2009. In his 34 starts, he also has 12 top fives and 23 top-10 results. RELATED: See all of Stewart's wins " "Smoke" granted Chase waiver
Race Rewind: Charlotte in 15
Relive all of the highlights from the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in only 15 minutes.
Schluter-Systems to Sponsor David Ragan at Talladega
HUNTERSVILLE, NC (April 25, 2016) - BK Racing announced that Schluter-Systems will be the primary sponsor of David Ragan 's No. 23 Toyota Camry at Talladega Superspeedway . In addition, Schluter-Systems also joins BK Racing as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2016 season. "I'm excited to have Schluter-Systems on board our No.23 car this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway ," Ragan said. "We've got a sharp looking car for a track that I really enjoy." "We're thrilled about this partnership with Schluter-Systems," BK Racing Chief Marketing Officer Doug Fritz said. "The Schluter team has been fantastic to work with and we look forward to connecting them with our loyal NASCAR fans." "This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for us at Schluter-Systems," said Marco Ludwig, President and CEO of Schluter-Systems North America. "We've come to get to know David Ragan and the whole team at BK Racing , and our relationship evolved to where sponsorship was the next natural step for us. It began where many Schluter relationships begin-- talking tile-- and today, we are very proud to stand behind No. 23 at the Talladega race. We'll be cheering for David , and wishing him a safe race."
Hot Lap: David Ragan gives a point-of-view look at Kansas Speedway
Take a pace lap around Kansas Speedway with David Ragan as he explains some of the nuances of the track from a driver's perspective.
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.
David Ragan, wife welcome baby girl
The off week could not have come at a better time for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan . The 30-year-old Georgia native and his wife, Jacquelyn, welcomed a baby girl into the world. Meredith Leigh Ragan was born on Tuesday morning, March 22, at 2:45 a.m. ET at seven pounds, three ounces and 19 inches long, according to a spokesperson for the driver. Their first daughter, Julia, was born in June of 2014. I am glad she waited till I got home from California! Blessed to have a healthy little girl and a strong Mama! pic.twitter.com/8K1BBQU1GV — David Ragan (@DavidRagan) March 22, 2016 A new addition to our #BKRacing family! Congratulations @DavidRagan , @JacquelynRagan and big sister Julia. https://t.co/6y7beFCZyY — BK Racing (@BKRacing_2383) March 22, 2016 A second child is not the only change for Ragan this year. He is in his first season with BK Racing , driving the No. 23 Toyota for the two-car team. Last weekend's race at Auto Club resulted in his best finish with the team in the season's first five races, a 22nd-place finish.
David Gilliland tweets about uncertain future
Veteran driver David Gilliland took to Twitter on Thursday night to reveal that his 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series plans are uncertain at the moment. Not really sure what's gonna happen next year. @Team_FRM has been great to me. I wish them nothing but the best. — David Gilliland (@DavidGilliland) December 11, 2015 Hopefully we can put something together! #timewilltell — David Gilliland (@DavidGilliland) December 11, 2015 On Thursday, Roush Fenway Racing and Front Row Motorsports announced that newly crowned NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chris Buescher would drive the No. 34 Ford in the Sprint Cup Series for Front Row under an enhanced technical alliance between the two organizations. The agreement would see Roush provide engineering, equipment and driver support as well as full engineering and pit support. The joint release also noted that plans for Front Row Motorsports ' second Sprint Cup Series entry would be announced at a later date. Gilliland has driven for team owner Bob Jenkins for the past six seasons. The 2015 campaign saw Gilliland make all 36 starts in the No. 38 Ford and finish 32nd in the point standings. The 39-year-old's best finish thus far with Front Row was a runner-up showing in the spring 2013 race at Talladega Superspeedway . That race was won by David Ragan and is the only win Front Row has recorded in the race team's history. In 2014, Gilliland also won the pole for summer race at Daytona International Speedway . In 330 career Cup starts, Gilliland has four top fives, eight top 10s and three poles.
How many times can you bounce David Gilliland's head?
Inside Groove: Racing with an attitude We get it. It's Jan. 5 and we're still a ways away from the opening of the Sprint Cup Series season with the Daytona 500 (Feb. 21, 1 p.m. ET, FOX) at Daytona International Speedway and you're struggling with ways to pass the time until then. Fear not -- we've got your next month and a half covered -- by trying to see how many times you can bounce Cup driver David Gilliland 's head in a row. Wait, what? You read that correctly. DavidGilliland.com now has a games section -- featuring four games, with more on the way -- to keep you occupied and mesmerized, the best of which involves a lot of clicking, a lot of frustration and a whole lot of fun. Until you throw your mouse out the window, at least. So give " David's Head Bounce " a shot and try to beat my current record, which stands at ... three.
David Ragan gives back in Georgia hometown
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan gave back to his hometown of Unadilla, Georgia on Saturday by distributing food with Feed the Children. Ragan was the highest bidder for a hauler full of food at the Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event last month and he spent the day helping to distribute food and essentials to 400 families in the area. Feed the Children's partner agency, The Lord's Pantry, pre-identified families to each receive a 25-pound box of food and a 10-pound box of items that included shampoo, conditioner, lotion, personal-care items and a box of assorted Avon products. "I am excited to partner with Feed the Children and The Lord's Pantry to help provide meals for 400 families in my hometown of Unadilla and Dooly County," Ragan said. "During the Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event, I met the Feed the Children group and learned how they can impact a community like mine. During this Christmas season, it will be a blessing to provide help for families in need." Feed the Children is one of the largest U.S-based charities. Through its network of agencies in 2014, Feed the Children distributed more than $344 million food, essentials, educational supplies and medicine, impacting close to 9 million individuals in the U.S. and more than 4.9 million individuals internationally. Ragan will also participate in the 127th Rose Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 with Shriners Hospitals for Children. Ragan will be one of 11 float riders to be part of the 2016 float, Fezzy Races to Adventure.