The Rundown: Talladega driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Hellmann's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway : 1. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Not even dragging his jack around for one lap could keep Logano out of Victory Lane. Logano grabbed the lead five laps after the engine of teammate Brad Keselowski 's dominant No. 2 car expired and he didn't let it go, leading the final 45 laps. Grade: A 2. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . In his 49th start, Scott snagged the best finish of his career -- and first top 10 -- with a brilliant run. It also was the best finish for RPM since Marcos Ambrose placed second at Watkins Glen more than two years ago . Grade: A+ 3. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin was penalized for speeding on pit road (again) and advanced to the next round of the Chase by the slimmest of margins (about two feet). Hamlin didn't make it easy on himself, but he's moving on -- and his No. 1 track, Martinsville, is up next. Grade: A 4. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Steady Busch flew under the radar into the Round of 8. Well, until his postrace dust-up with teammate Kevin Harvick . Grade: A 5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse's fourth top 10 in seven starts at Talladega is also his sixth this season, a personal best. In addition, it was his fourth top five this season, one more than in his previous three full-time seasons combined. Grade: A 6. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . Larson posted his best finish at Talladega since finishing ninth in his first race there in May 2014. Grade: A 7. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick was running behind Joey Logano on Logano's "jack lap" and caught a huge break when the jack remained attached to Logano's car and didn't fly into him. Grade: A 8. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Finally! Almirola's streak of starts without a top-10 finish ends at a career-high 32. Grade: A 9. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . How close was Dillon to advancing in the Chase? The difference was the one point Denny Hamlin earned by finishing .006 seconds ahead of Kurt Busch . Grade: A 10. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger posts back-to-back top-10 finishes for the third time this season despite having an average running position Sunday of 25.8. Grade: A- 11. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney ran with the leaders all afternoon, and his 7.6 average running position was third best. He also led laps for the second time this season. Grade: A 12. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott needed a win to advance in the Chase and did everything he could -- his average running position of 7.3 was second to Kurt Busch 's 6.9 -- but he was hemmed in at the end and couldn't challenge the front-runners. Grade: A 13. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard posted his best finish since his last top 10, in July at Indianapolis. Grade: B 14. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman, whose average running position of 27.3 was highest among drivers finishing in the top 20, ran one lap in the top 15 -- his last. Grade: B- 15. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle was strong early and led 13 laps, but his day took a negative turn when he brought out the second caution on Lap 114. A coming-together with Jeffrey Earnhardt and Casey Mears sent all three cars into the inside wall. Grade: C 16. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . Three of McDowell's five best finishes this season have been on restrictor-plate tracks (10th and 15th at Daytona). Grade: A 17. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne was two cars behind Kasey Kahne when Kahne spun on Lap 182. Bayne was able to check up and avoid running into the back of Jamie McMurray . Grade: B- 18. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . In a season of small victories, Bowyer posted his 10th top-20 finish of the season. Grade: B- 19. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray's day was saved when he didn't plow into Kasey Kahne 's spinning car immediately in front of him on Lap 182. Grade: B- 20. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick now has finished 20th to 24th in half of this year's races (16 of 32). Grade: C 21. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Cassill made a great save with 20 laps to go when his car went veering down the track after he tried to fill a gap in front of David Ragan and received a nudge from behind. Grade: B 22. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . That Buescher finished the race is the story here. He had DNFs for crashes in the season's first three restrictor-plate races. Grade: B 23. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson did his best to help teammate Chase Elliott , but in the end, wherever the No. 48 finished was never an issue. Johnson's ticket into the next round of the Chase was punched two weeks ago. Grade: S (for Smart, Safe and Satisfactory) 24. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan posted his best finish at Talladega since finishing sixth in the fall race three years ago. Grade: C 25. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith posted his second-best finish in restrictor-plate races this season. He finished eighth in the Daytona 500 . Grade: C 26. Ryan Reed , No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Nice Sprint Cup debut for the 23-year-old. Grade: B- 27. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 93 Toyota, BK Racing . Great effort by DiBenedetto, who raced even though he was in the throes of food poisoning. Grade: C+ 28. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . If you are going to be critical of what Gibbs drivers Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch did Sunday -- playing it safe by driving together in the back of the field -- would you have been critical of any of the three if they had mixed it up in the peloton, crashed and failed to advance in the Chase? You can't have it both ways. Grade: S (as in See Jimmie Johnson ) 29. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Ibid. Grade: S 30. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Op cit. Grade: S 31. Bobby Labonte , No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing. Our TBJT (Throw Back to Junior Theme) Latin bibliography references end with Labonte, who completed his four-race, restrictor-plate run for the second consecutive year the same way he began the season – with a 31st-place finish. Grade: C- 32. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Driver Tony's 70th superspeedway restrictor-plate race finished quietly. Can't say the same for Owner Tony. Grade: D 33. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett stayed out during green-flag pit stops and led six laps, one fewer than he led in his first 101 Sprint Cup starts. Grade: C+ 34. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . Earnhardt's Lap 114 tangle with Greg Biffle also collected Casey Mears . Despite significant damage, Earnhardt posted the first lead-lap finish of his career (20 starts). Grade: C 35. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne went for a spin on Lap 182, and his run of good finishes -- six top 10s in his previous seven races -- spun out, too. Grade: D 36. Alex Bowman , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Bowman's tweet said it all: "3rd with 5 to go and we finish 36th ... damn speedway racing." Grade: D 37. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson finished 13 laps off the pace in his first start at Talladega in two years. Grade: F 38. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski had the dominant car and led a race-high 90 laps, but he held the point for too long after debris blocked part of his grill. A slick, orchestrated move with Ryan Blaney removed the debris, but it was too late. Moments later, his engine started smoking and his day, and championship hopes, came to an end on Lap 145. Grade: F 39. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Racing can be so cruel. For the second time in three weeks, something bad happened to Mears for no other reason than he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This time, he was two lanes below Greg Biffle and having a beautiful day when Biffle turned into Jeffrey Earnhardt and also collected Mears. The three slammed into the inside wall, but only Mears could not continue and was gone after 113 laps. Two weeks ago, Mears received a "U" grade for Unfortunate. This week? Based on his grade at Charlotte -- and if you caught all four clues -- you know the answer. Grade: U2 40. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . When Truex's engine blew on Lap 42, his championship hopes ended as well. It's a shame Truex won't be able to contend for the championship, but we haven't heard the last of Truex this season. Finishing with the most victories would be huge. Grade: F
Truex tames Talladega for Coors Light Pole Award
RELATED: Qualifying results " See every car in the field TALLADEGA, Ala. – Just 13 points to the good entering Sunday's Round of 12 cutoff race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , Martin Truex Jr . gave himself as much of a cushion as possible, winning the pole for the Hellman's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway during Saturday’s knockout qualifying session. Seventh in the Chase standings, and 13 points ahead of Joey Logano and Austin Dillon , Truex covered the 2.66-mile distance in 49.508 seconds (193.423 mph) to claim the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday's race (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) that will trim the Chase field from 12 drivers to eight. "It's definitely cool," said Truex, who has never won a restrictor-plate race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "You come here, and you don't really have a whole lot to say as a driver when it comes to qualifying, so obviously proud of the team and proud of everybody in Denver (Colorado) and proud of everybody at the race track for their efforts. "Built a brand new car to come here, and it's awesome to be the fastest guy in town. Excited about that, and obviously everybody at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) who builds the engines has done a great job too – it takes a lot to get a restrictor plate pole, so excited for all those guys and really neat to lead Toyota to their 1,000th start (in NASCAR’s top three series combined). Hopefully, we'll be able to get the victory when the day is over." Truex didn't allow a pre-qualifying inspection issue to derail his effort. Before his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota rolled out onto the grid, NASCAR confiscated a non-conforming jack screw from the car and required the team to replace it with a legal part. RELATED: NASCAR confiscates part from 78 team The pole was Truex's first at Talladega, his fourth of the season and the 11th of his career. Truex was .015 seconds faster than four-time Talladega winner Brad Keselowski (193.365 mph), who will start on the outside of the front row. Keselowski is 11th in the standings, seven points behind Logano and Dillon. "It's good to qualify up front," Keselowski said. "I think it's a good confidence boost. I feel like when we have cars that qualify well here, we race well. The Miller Lite Ford was really fast here in qualifying, and hopefully it will stay the same for Sunday. "It's been a good track for us, but past success is no guarantee. You have to go out and put the work in, and I think we're ready to do just that." Chase drivers Matt Kenseth (193.189 mph) and Chase Elliott (193.166 mph) will start third and fourth, respectively. Elliott is 12th in the Chase standings, likely needing a victory in Sunday's race to advance to the Round of 8. "As we all know, qualifying here is all about the guys back in the shop preparing these cars," Elliott said. "The Hendrick Engine shop gave me great speed, and the guys gave me an excellent car for tomorrow. "Qualifying here at Talladega isn't a make-or-break-you deal. I think it's good. I think our car has decent speed, and hopefully that will show up on Sunday." Roush Fenway racing drivers Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., both non-Chasers, will start from the third row after qualifying fifth and sixth, respectively. Other Chase drivers qualified as follows: Kurt Busch (seventh), Denny Hamlin (eighth), Dillon (ninth), Carl Edwards (13th), Kyle Busch (14th), Joey Logano (16th), Jimmie Johnson (17th) and Kevin Harvick (22nd). Johnson and Harvick already have earned spots in the Round of 8 by virtue of their respective victories at Charlotte and Kansas, leaving six berths available to the remaining 10 drivers. Reed Sorenson , who was required to make the field on the basis of qualifying time, posted an eyebrow-raising lap of 194.145 mph to lead the first round, a sizable .326 seconds faster than the next-fastest driver, Truex. Sorenson's Premium Motorsports No. 55 Toyota faded considerably in the final round and will start 12th. David Gilliland failed to qualify for the 40-car field. NASCAR will meet and discuss the non-conforming jack screw on Truex's car during its weekly competition meeting, but Scott Miller, NASCAR's senior vice president of competition, characterized the imposition of a points penalty that would affect the Chase standings as "unlikely." "I would say it would be unlikely, but it has to go through our process," Miller said. "We don't typically do that on a weekend, and because this is the playoffs, everybody has a heightened sense of everything. "But this is really no different than things that we've done all year. We'll treat this one like just like we've done all year long." Three Joe Gibbs Racing cars -- those of Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin and Kenseth -- were pulled from the qualifying line just before their speed attempts. NASCAR officials said that they were investigating a potential issue with the rear deck lid and quarter panel area. With those issues remedied behind the wall, all three were allowed to qualify. RELATED: JGR cars brought back through pre-qualifying inspection Contributing: Staff reports &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Talladega Sprint Cup qualifying order
RELATED: How qualifying works at Talladega # Car Driver Team 1 32 Bobby Labonte VisoneRV.com Ford 2 93 * Matt DiBenedetto Dustless Blasting Toyota 3 7 Regan Smith Golden Corral Chevrolet 4 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 5 55 * Reed Sorenson Toyota 6 35 * David Gilliland Dockside Logistics Ford 7 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet 8 83 Jeffrey Earnhardt # Starter Toyota 9 23 David Ragan sweetFrog Toyota 10 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Chevrolet 11 41 Kurt Busch (C) Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet 12 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 13 3 Austin Dillon (C) American Ethanol Chevrolet 14 22 Joey Logano (C) Shell Pennzoil Ford 15 21 * Ryan Blaney # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 16 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 17 2 Brad Keselowski (C) Miller Lite Ford 18 14 Tony Stewart Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 19 10 Danica Patrick Nature's Bakery Chevrolet 20 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 21 11 Denny Hamlin (C) FedEx Ground Toyota 22 42 Kyle Larson Energizer Chevrolet 23 78 Martin Truex Jr (C) Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota 24 18 Kyle Busch (C) Snickers Halloween Toyota 25 99 * Ryan Reed (i) Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford 26 27 Paul Menard SYLVANIA/Menards Chevrolet 27 88 Alex Bowman (i) Mountain Dew Chevrolet 28 5 Kasey Kahne UniFirst Chevrolet 29 19 Carl Edwards (C) Subway Toyota 30 24 Chase Elliott # (C) NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 31 20 Matt Kenseth (C) DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota 32 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) Lowe's Pro Services Chevrolet 33 4 Kevin Harvick (C) Jimmy John's Chevrolet 34 38 Landon Cassill FR8 Auctions Ford 35 44 Brian Scott # Goody's Ford 36 95 Michael McDowell KLOVE Radio Chevrolet 37 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 38 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Zest Ford 39 34 Chris Buescher # Love's Travel Stops Ford 40 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/Scott Products Chevrolet 41 16 Greg Biffle Cheez-it Ford *Driver is required to qualify on time, (i) ineligible for driver points in this series
Almirola's No. 43 destroyed after being clipped by Ragan
Aric Almirola and David Ragan collide off Turn 4, destroying the front end of the No. 23 and sending Almirola through the grass.
Earnhardt-Talladega streak to continue Sunday
The streak lives on -- an Earnhardt will drive at Talladega. BK Racing announced Monday that Jeffrey Earnhardt will drive the No. 83 Starter Toyota Camry at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. Earnhardt will be one of three BK Racing cars on track for the Alabama 500 as he joins teammates David Ragan and Matt DiBenedetto . It extends one of the sport's great streaks that was in serious jeopardy. An Earnhardt has started every race at Talladega since 1980, with Dale Earnhardt and son Dale Earnhardt Jr . collecting 16 total wins at the 2.66-mile track during their respective careers (10 for Earnhardt, six for Earnhardt Jr.) Earnhardt Jr. will not drive in Sunday's race as he continues to recover from the effects of a concussion suffered earlier this season. Enter Jeffrey Earnhardt , Earnhardt's grandson and Earnhardt Jr.'s nephew. By putting him in the No. 83, BK Racing ensured Earnhardt will start in the 40-car field (43 cars are on the entry list) because the No. 83 team has a Charter. "I'm really excited to drive the No. 83 Starter Toyota Camry for the fall race at Talladega," Earnhardt said in a team release. "It's my first Cup Series race at Talladega, my first race with BK Racing , the first time anyone from our family competes in a Toyota and it's the 25th anniversary of my grandfather's victory at Talladega. Having this opportunity with an iconic American partner like Starter is an incredible honor. I can't remember being so pumped up for a race and sincerely appreciate our friends at Starter for their support." Doug Richert, who was crew chief for Earnhardt Sr. during the 'Intimidator's' first title in 1980, will serve as Jeffrey Earnhardt 's crew chief. "I'm looking forward to once again returning to the track as crew chief with an Earnhardt behind the wheel," Richert said. "The Earnhardt family has played such an important part in my racing career; starting in 1978 with Dale Sr. and then winning a championship with him in 1980, it's very cool to work with the fourth generation of the family." The Earnhardt streak since 1980 totals 73 races. Sunday's race will be 74 in a row.
Truex, No. 78 team pass on Homestead-Miami test
RELATED: Chase Grid KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Martin Truex Jr . and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team won't take part in next week's organizational test for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, even though the 1.5-mile track hosts the season-ending, championship-determining event for the series next month. "There's a lot that went into it," Truex said Friday about the decision. "We actually skipped the Chicago test as well and went there and we won, so … that certainly plays into the decision a bit." The single-car organization is based in Denver, Colorado, also plays a role into such decisions, he said, noting that "Homestead is a long way from Denver." "Just trying to make sure we are focused on the right things. We feel like testing has not really done anything to help us along. We feel like our time is better spent at the shop getting prepared. "It seems like every time we've tested this year, we've gone to the race track and spent the first day-and-a-half trying to regroup and figure out where we need to be, so it seems like it's probably hurt us more than helped us and it's just kind of our mindset going forward that we feel like we'll be better off if we don't go." The season's fifth and final organizational test is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 18-19. Unlike Goodyear tire tests which normally feature only four teams among the three manufacturers, organizational tests are open, but limited to one team per organization. The following drivers are scheduled to participate in the test, including each of those currently in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup : Brad Keselowski ( Team Penske No. 2 Ford); Austin Dillon ( Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet); Kurt Busch ( Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet); Carl Edwards ( Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota); Chase Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet); Chris Buescher ( Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford); Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford); Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford); Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No. 42 Chevrolet); Michael McDowell (Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing No. 95 Chevrolet); Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford); and David Ragan ( BK Racing No. 23 Toyota). Truex has won four times this season, including twice in the opening Round of 16 of the Chase -- at Chicago and Dover. The team is scheduled to take part in Monday's Goodyear tire test here at Kansas Speedway , but Erik Jones is listed as the driver for the No. 78 entry. Jones, who competes in the XFINITY Series for JGR, will move to Furniture Row next season to drive a second full-time entry for the organization. READ: Furniture Row adds Jones to growing team Danica Patrick (SHR), Jimmie Johnson (HMS) and Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) are also expected to take part in the single-day test for the tire supplier. Truex and his team were participants for Goodyear tests this year at Charlotte, Pocono and Michigan. Of the four previous organizational test, the team tested one day only at Kentucky and Watkins Glen and both days at Indianapolis. It did not take part in the most recent at Chicagoland Speedway . "It just seemed like every time we talked about (the Homestead test), it was just like 'I don't really think that we should do it. I think we should continue to focus on the things that we've been doing,' and ultimately I think Cole (Pearn, crew chief) made the decision to say, 'Alright, that's it. We're not going to do it,' and he feels good about that, so I'm with him. I think he's making the right decision," Truex said. Because of a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing , which fields four teams, the Furniture Row Racing group will have access to data gleaned during the Homestead test from the No. 19 team of Edwards as well as TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Edwards said there are two sides to the opportunity to test at Homestead in the midst of the Chase. "There's an opportunity to test for the ultimate race -- the race that finishes the year," he said, "but it's also an interruption in your Chase and you have to go do it and it can take away as well." Dave Wilson, President and General Manager for Toyota Racing Development, USA said while Toyota officials were aware of the move, "ultimately it's their decision. "In their case, I think it's just a balancing of priorities," he said. "The good news is with the technical alliance that Furniture Row has with Joe Gibbs Racing , they will still get some of the benefit that JGR will bring back from that test. "I think the value of testing is considerably different today than it was five years ago, just the influence of technology, the influence of simulation is so great now. And the predictive tools that all these teams have are very powerful; it's amazing how good they are, so it's not as much of a must-do, must attend (event) as it has been in the past." Truex finished 13th in last week's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , the opening race of the Round of 12. He enters Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas (2:15 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) seventh in points. Only the top eight advance to the Round of 8 for stops at Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix before the top four from that group move on to Homestead to determine the 2016 Sprint Cup Champion.
Jimmie Johnson vs. Regan Smith: A Rivalry Is Born?
While I normally try to make every effort to watch every lap of every race (I knew I should have taken Kevin Harvick’s advice from that 2003 commercial ), I seem to have missed a crucial element to one narrative -- Jimmie Johnson 's apparent rivalry with Regan Smith , driver of the No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet. Despite Johnson successfully snapping a 24-race winless streak at Charlotte last week, fans of the six-time champ are calling for the 7's head on Twitter. Congrads to @JimmieJohnson Go get the #7 — Hunter Memphis (@N3GoodWrench) October 9, 2016 It's coming 7 !! @JimmieJohnson well done today boys awesome job @LowesRacing https://t.co/JMdVP703nr — david bayliss (@davidbayliss10) October 9, 2016 @JimmieJohnson @CLTMotorSpdwy congratulations Jimmie. Go get number 7 — Dennis Whitworth (@WhittyPics) October 9, 2016 So pumped for @JimmieJohnson ! You deserve this one, champ! Go get #7! — Hunter Smith (@HSR30) October 9, 2016 Go get that 7. @JimmieJohnson — Matt Inman® (@yellaboy2013) October 9, 2016 @JimmieJohnson Congratulations JJ on winning and advancing. Time to get #7 — TheVoiceOfReason (@TBLFANnFL) October 9, 2016 While Johnson hasn’t yet taken any action or retaliation toward Smith, fans seem to consider it a matter of when -- not if -- Jimmie gets No. 7. Their question is simple: What's holding him back? Is it the pit crew? A grand conspiracy? @JimmieJohnson Jimmie - you can get number 7 - there is no doubt in your talent and abilities _ your crew just needs to avoid mistakes — Frances (@Jakesmom2809) October 2, 2016 @JimmieJohnson Man they just don't want you to get 7. Smdh. Conspiracy. — Chris Day (@02Z51vette) October 2, 2016 It's unclear what sparked the rivalry with Smith, whose No. 7 Chevrolet isn't battling Johnson in this year’s Chase, but Johnson's fans make it clear that something is coming -- perhaps even this year. @LowesRacing @JimmieJohnson @NHM we hunting 7 now in 2016 — James (@James89174965) September 22, 2016
Top consecutive 10-lap averages for Kansas
Practice 1: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 11 Denny Hamlin (C) 3 12 186.256 2 13 Casey Mears 1 10 185.041 Practice 2: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 18 Kyle Busch (C) 1 10 182.530 2 27 Paul Menard 1 10 181.964 3 19 Carl Edwards (C) 16 25 181.930 4 42 Kyle Larson 14 23 181.592 5 14 Tony Stewart 1 10 181.370 6 1 Jamie McMurray 19 28 181.028 7 11 Denny Hamlin (C) 1 10 180.975 8 20 Matt Kenseth (C) 19 28 180.946 9 3 Austin Dillon (C) 18 27 180.860 10 2 Brad Keselowski (C) 21 30 180.595 11 21 * Ryan Blaney # 14 23 180.335 12 16 Greg Biffle 25 34 179.901 13 24 Chase Elliott # (C) 20 29 179.575 14 6 Trevor Bayne 22 31 179.469 15 5 Kasey Kahne 13 22 179.367 16 31 Ryan Newman 18 27 179.199 17 95 Michael McDowell 5 14 178.752 18 23 David Ragan 10 19 177.826 19 44 Brian Scott # 9 18 176.984 Practice 3: Results Pos Car Driver From Lap To Lap Avg Speed 1 4 Kevin Harvick (C) 1 10 183.740 2 14 Tony Stewart 1 10 183.490 3 18 Kyle Busch (C) 1 10 183.346 4 24 Chase Elliott # (C) 1 10 183.208 5 20 Matt Kenseth (C) 1 10 182.690 6 42 Kyle Larson 20 29 182.534 7 27 Paul Menard 1 10 182.483 8 5 Kasey Kahne 35 44 182.422 9 3 Austin Dillon (C) 1 10 182.393 10 2 Brad Keselowski (C) 1 10 182.371 11 11 Denny Hamlin (C) 1 10 182.144 12 31 Ryan Newman 1 10 182.004 13 41 Kurt Busch (C) 32 41 181.903 14 1 Jamie McMurray 34 43 181.813 15 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) 1 10 181.773 16 78 Martin Truex Jr . (C) 6 15 181.768 17 88 Alex Bowman (i) 24 33 181.642 18 22 Joey Logano (C) 23 32 181.612 19 21 * Ryan Blaney # 21 30 181.127 20 19 Carl Edwards (C) 28 37 180.788 21 10 Danica Patrick 1 10 179.888 22 7 Regan Smith 1 10 179.836 23 23 David Ragan 1 10 179.544 24 34 Chris Buescher # 18 27 179.322 25 83 Matt DiBenedetto 1 10 179.074 26 95 Michael McDowell 5 14 178.930 27 43 Aric Almirola 25 34 178.599 28 46 Michael Annett 15 24 173.901 * Car must run 10 consecutive laps on the track to be included in the above charts. (C) indicates driver is in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup .
No. 21 Darlington throwback a tribute to David Pearson
The Wood Brothers unveil their throwback paint scheme for Ryan Blaney at Darlington Raceway, honoring David Pearson's 1976 season where he won the Daytona 500, World 600 and Southern 500 that season.
David McGrath looks to make mark at New Hampshire
RELATED: Buy tickets for New Hampshire If you happen to be a track promoter or a race fan, there is a pretty good chance you believe there is no such thing as too much racing. At least that's the case for New Hampshire Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager David McGrath and the fan base that fills the grandstands two weekends a year at the 1-mile track located in Loudon, New Hampshire. "The crowds tell you no," McGrath told NASCAR.com. "Those stands don't empty. "They get it twice a year (at our facility) and they live for it. Like any other part of the country, the Northeast race fan is a rabid fan of our sport. They love it; they can't wait to get up to New Hampshire. They plan their summers and early fall around those races." McGrath, a native New Englander, understands the region's race fans, the bulk of whom arrive from in-state, with nearby Massachusetts and those making the trek from across the Canadian border making up a sizable chunk as well. Named to oversee the Speedway Motorsports Inc. track in October of '15, McGrath has quickly become acquainted with the intricacies and aspects of running such a facility. "Yeah, jack of all trades, master of none," he said. "You have to work at state level, local level, know your governor, senators, representatives and local selectmen. ... We care a great deal about our municipalities and our towns we work with, because we are all in the same boat together. We are the largest driver of economic revenue (in the state), but we don't do that with a swagger. "You are always trying to be understanding, tolerable and work together to figure out solutions. But make no mistake, the vision of the speedway is to be able to utilize that 1,100 acres with the team we've got and find new, cool events, create things for fans to come and experience." The typical race weekend at New Hampshire will see anywhere from three to four series competing during the course of three days. A Sprint Cup/XFINITY Series doubleheader in the summer and a Sprint Cup/Camping World Truck Series doubleheader in the fall headline programs that also include events from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Whelen Modified Tour and American Canadian Tour. It's rare to wander into the facility during a race weekend and not hear cars of one sort or another on the track, either practicing, qualifying or racing. Competing at New Hampshire is a big, big deal, especially for the grassroots circuits. "Certainly in the case of the Modifieds it is, no question," McGrath said. "They are a touring series that travels all over the Northeast and they look at New Hampshire as their big, big event. Their Daytona, if you will." The track has played host to the Whelen Modified Series since 1990, three years before Sprint Cup came calling, and the list of previous winners includes such standouts as Mike McLaughlin, Steve Park, Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Stefanik, Tony Hirschman and Ted Christopher. "Saturday on either race weekend at our track, whether it's July or September, I think is one of the best deals in all of motorsports as far as for the race fans," McGrath said. "Absolutely. You get three great races. In July you've got the K&N race to end the day, you've got XFINITY and then you've got Modifieds. And then in September, you've got Modifieds, Trucks, and the ACT. That's just a great day." In addition to hosting two Sprint Cup Series races, including one that falls in the Round of 16 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the fall Truck Series race will serve as that series' opener for its inaugural seven-race Chase. Off the track, McGrath said his vision is to continue to develop those things that track ownership -- the facility is one of eight operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc. -- has already undertaken. "We work for the fans," he said. "One of my visions is to continually improve the facility to make it more fan friendly than it already is. Our company has invested a lot of money since we purchased the track back in 2007 going into 2008. We're going to continue to do those things as it makes sense. "We will continue to evaluate areas where we can improve the fan experience. We've built bath/shower houses, increased and improved site drainage ... and have new paving areas all over the campgrounds and the facility. "But the vision would really be to evolve and improve the track and think about new ways to increase the fan experience."