RELATED: Gordon by the numbers at Charlotte As Jeff Gordon 's farewell tour winds down, so do the number of chances to scratch the win column in his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The four-time champion sees opportunities in the seven races that remain, however, even as a bigger goal looms. Gordon took his rightful place among the 12 title-eligible Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Tuesday, just days before the three-race Contender Round kicks off with this Saturday night's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM). A victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend would provide a bookend for his career at the site of his first major-league triumph, back in 1994. With 29 races in the books, Gordon is facing down the prospect of a winless final season, but he said a title ring for the thumb would be the ultimate trump card. "I mean, I'll be disappointed, but at the same time, I'm a realistic person and we've rarely put ourselves in position and had the cars and the team to do that," Gordon said. "I think certainly Martinsville's high on my list of opportunities, and I feel like we've been able to win there the last several years. I've got to make sure I go in there and do my job because I think we're very capable of winning there. "To me, the championship overrides that, and even if we don't win a race and win the championship, that'll supersede the win." Gordon qualified for the 10-race postseason on the basis of points and advanced through the first three-race series with finishes of 14th (Chicagoland), seventh (New Hampshire) and 12th (Dover). Passing the Challenger Round test mirrored the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 team's steady effort from the regular season, when Gordon placed in the top 10 in half of the 26 races. With the points re-racked for the next round, Gordon said having equal footing in the standings makes the championship race a new day for all 12 finalists, icing on the season-ending cake. "I feel like it's all bonus from here on out," Gordon said. "We haven't had the best year, but we've done a great job at fighting and overcoming things and here we are with having -- up to the Chase -- not a very great performance, and yet we're in the Chase. And I think we showed in Chicago that we've improved our mile-and-a-half program. Let's hope that continues these next two weeks, but it's full-on reset. "We came into this thing very far behind in bonus points and now we're on an even playing field as far as points are concerned. You've got to just play to your strengths, and I think our strengths are that we're very consistent, we've got a lot of fight in us, and we've had to fight through a lot of things this year, so we're very experienced at that." Gordon exited the title hunt last year in the Eliminator Round, the final three-race series before the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Though the current Chase format is only in its second year, Gordon said the pressure "only intensifies from here" as the season winds down. One team that has risen in close correlation with the stress levels has been the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 outfit helmed by defending series champion Kevin Harvick , who converted a must-win situation last weekend at Dover to keep his repeat hopes alive. Though Gordon said the focus remains in-house for the No. 24 bunch for the time being, it's been hard to ignore the accomplishments from Harvick & Co. "We're in a category right now where it's really just focus on how we get ourselves to Homestead and then see who we need to worry about, but the first step is just that," Gordon said. "But I will say consistently every weekend, he's at the top of board, he's the guy that I think everybody's measuring themselves off of, but in all honesty I think he's in a whole 'nother category right now."
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 8, 2015) – Four finalists have been chosen for The NASCAR Foundation's fifth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide, which honors volunteers from across the country who dedicate themselves to children's causes in their communities. Through December 3 at 11:59 p.m. ET, fans have the power to decide the winner by voting for their favorite champion for children at NASCAR.com/Award . This year's finalists include Bob Bowler of Special Olympics North Carolina, Stephanie Decker of Stephanie Decker Foundation, Carl Flatley of Sepsis Alliance and Jeff Hanson of Children's Tumor Foundation. The national winner will be announced on Dec. 4 during the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Award show at Wynn Las Vegas at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The NASCAR Foundation will donate a total of $175,000 to the charities of the finalists -- with the winner’s charity receiving $100,000 and remaining finalists' charities receiving $25,000 each. The winner will also receive a 2016 Ford Fusion given by the Official Car Sponsor. The Award was established in 2011 to honor The NASCAR Foundation Founder and Chairwoman Emeritus Betty Jane France’s passion for service and volunteerism. Since its inception, the Award has donated $700,000 and impacted over 52,000 children nationally. "This year's finalists are 'raising the bar' for our award," said Betty Jane France. "They have national stature but are community-oriented. Collectively, they have done an incredible amount of important work toward improving the quality of life for children in need. "As we now go through the online process, our finalists will increase awareness of both the award and The NASCAR Foundation overall. They have wonderful, inspiring stories to tell, which is not surprising because they are wonderful people. We are very proud to call them our 2015 finalists." 2015 marks the first year of The NASCAR Foundation's partnership with Nationwide, which has a deep commitment to be "More Than a Business." "Nationwiders care. We volunteer in our communities and we help our members feel safe and protected. The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award embodies those same values and we're proud to be partners in recognizing the giving spirit of others," said Terrance Williams, chief marketing officer of Nationwide. "We congratulate this year's finalists and thank them for their selflessness and leadership." Fans are encouraged to join the conversation on Facebook at Facebook.com/NASCARFoundation and Twitter on Twitter using the hashtag #BJFHAward. Following is additional information about the 2015 BJFHA finalists: Bob Bowler (Charlotte, North Carolina) is no novice when it comes to volunteerism. He has been doing volunteer work for an incredible 31 years for Special Olympics North Carolina. Bowler has assisted more than 2,500 young Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities through tennis and basketball programs and Camp SOAR, a free summer camp he started 15 years go. He has raised more than $1 million in cash and in-kind contributions for Special Olympics athletes, covering all camp expenses. Stephanie Decker (Sellersburg, Indiana) was faced with serious adversity in March 2012 when a tornado struck her home and threatened to take away all that she knew and loved. Having lost both of her legs after shielding her children from debris, she started the Stephanie Decker Foundation to help children with prosthetics get involved in sports and, in the process, provide access to the best prosthetic technology available. Decker has become a motivational speaker and an advocate, having gone to the Kentucky State Senate to fight for a bill that would require insurance companies to cover new and refurbished prosthetics. Carl Flatley (Dunedin, Florida) lost his 22-year-old daughter Erin in 2002 after contracting sepsis -- an often-deadly systemic infection -- following a routine outpatient surgical procedure. Determined to prevent others from the same fate, Flatley founded Sepsis Alliance in 2007 to increase awareness and encourage medical facilities to establish sepsis protocols. Awareness is crucial as sepsis is preventable and treatable, and the cause of 18-20 million deaths globally each year. Flatley has established educational programs and an endowment to provide sepsis training for young physicians in Florida. According to Sepsis Alliance, the organization has increased awareness in the U.S. from 19 percent in 2003 to 44 percent today. Jeff Hanson (Overland Park, Kansas) was only 6 years old when he was diagnosed with optic glioma, a tumor that attacks the optic nerve that is caused by the rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis (NF). After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Hanson was legally blind at the age of 12. During his 2005 chemotherapy treatments, he began painting bright, bold colors on note cards, perfectly suited for someone with limited vision. Hanson turned his paintings into a fundraising platform and has since generated more than $250,000 for the Children's Tumor Foundation and more than $1.3 million for charities worldwide. To learn more about the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide and each of the national finalists, please visit: www.NASCAR.com/award .
@nascarcasm sets infamous confrontation to famous fight scenes MORE: Harvick shoves Johnson " Can Harvick recover and advance in Chase? RELATED: All content from @nascarcasm " Follow @nascarcasm
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman talks with the winner of the AAA 400, Kevin Harvick, in Victory Lane at Dover International Speedway.
RELATED: Johnson's post-race reaction to being eliminated DOVER, Del. -- Once the crowd cleared, Jimmie Johnson walked around to each member of his crew on pit road, giving them a pat on the back and "good job," following his 41st-place finish in Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway . His dreams of a seventh title in the 2015 season had been washed away, his finish eliminated the No. 48 team from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup -- coincidentally in what was his 500th premier series start. The result marked Johnson's worst finish in his career at Dover, a track that he's dominated in years past, reaching Victory Lane a series-best 10 times. "It just wasn't meant to be," Johnson said on pit road after the race. "It's unfortunate. I feel for my team, I feel for Hendrick Motorsports , Lowe's, Chevrolet." Trouble began stirring around Lap 104 when Johnson felt something breaking in his car while running 16th. "It was instantaneous for me," Johnson recalled. "I was coming down the frontstretch and it just started vibrating, the right rear hub I guess started seizing up because the fluid was out of it. It was just metal on metal shaking." A broken rear axle seal was revealed as the culprit of Johnson's Monster Mile misfortune -- a part that Johnson said retails for around $5. "It's really horrible, it's a simple piece," Johnson said. "We're always very cautious, these axles come in and out of the car. I think I had one go in practice earlier this year. Maybe five in my whole career have ever gone." The faulty part sent Johnson behind the wall for nearly 30 minutes, as every member of the No. 48 team -- and even a few No. 88 crew members -- feverishly worked to get the car back on track. They returned to the track in last place, 37 laps down. But as the race continued, Johnson's daunting task became an uphill battle -- a monster that even "Six-Time" couldn't tame. "I really didn't have anything to fight for," Johnson said. "It was completely out of my control with how many laps we were down. Just a matter of what went on. "But then 20-30 minutes of being back on the track, I could see the flow of the race. Guys were minding their manners pretty well on the track, a lot of green flag runs, so I kind of felt like we were in big trouble." Mechanical issues have been few and far between for the No. 48 team in the past. Johnson's six championship titles prove that, his cars under guidance of crew chief Chad Knaus and his notoriously meticulous nature. But as Johnson showed today, even something as simple as an axle failure can happen to anyone. "As I worry about things, I worry about a flat, I worry about a pit call, I worry about hard racing, something going on -- I don't worry about an axle seal failing," Johnson said. "It's just not on your radar. "You just take things for granted. There's so many parts and pieces on these cars and you take for granted what they all do." No. 4 crew chief Rodney Childers, who won Sunday's race at Dover with driver Kevin Harvick , attested to that after the race. "Honestly, it's one of the things that is the scariest of everything that race teams deal with," Childers said in the post-race press conference. "... You think that race teams worry about engine trouble or things like that. But these axle seal problems, they happen all the time, and a lot of times you don't hear about them." With a win at Dover, Childers and Harvick will continue on to the Contender Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , vying for a second straight title for the No. 4 team. But while the hunt for a seventh championship title is over for Johnson this season, the chance remains for his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who advanced to the next round. And Johnson's own desire to win races remains furiously intact. "We had a very, very fast race car today, the past three or four weeks we've had very competitive cars," Johnson said. "We want to win races, that's what the rest of the season is for us. "Help our teammates advance, help our teammates win the championship."
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway and picks up a sweet gift.
Editor's note: During each week of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , The Joey Logano Foundation will provide grants to a non-profit in each of the race markets in a program called "Chasing Second Chances." Each week, Logano will detail those plans for NASCAR.com. Thank you again for all of your support this weekend. Another solid finish for our No. 22 team. Hopefully we can keep this momentum up as we head into Dover. This Week's Cause: Suicide Prevention September is Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is a tough topic to talk about, but I believe the issue has to be addressed if we want to work on solving the problem. We decided for the third week of Chasing Second Chances it was important to bring awareness to this cause, in particular Veteran Suicide. Currently, the estimate is 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Some believe this number is low and other people believe there needs to be more studies done to have a more accurate figure, but what we know for sure is veterans have a suicide rate higher than non-veterans. About a year ago, I was introduced to an organization working to prevent veteran suicide. The group Elder Heart, a veteran non-profit organization, teamed up with a global advertising agency to create the Mission 22 campaign. Elder Heart is made up of Delta Force and Special Forces operators Tom Spooner, Magnus Johnson and Mike Kissel. Because of their personal battles with PTSD and TBI they have made it their mission to raise awareness, enlist support and end veteran suicide in America. The Mission 22 site ( http://www.mission22.com/vetintel ) is a great resource for veterans who may be struggling -- and their families. I was really struck by a statement on the site… "You may feel vulnerable asking for help, but be brave enough to admit when you need backup. You are not alone. There's an army behind you. Find a counselor, psychiatrist, family member or friend who is willing to help. You fought for your brothers in arms before. Now let your community fight for you." To those of us who have never had to fight because others were willing to risk their lives for our freedom, it is our turn to fight for these veterans. We need to become the army these soldiers need to get through the struggle. I wanted to focus on listing resources in this post in case you or someone you love needs help. The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential crisis resource that veterans and their families and friends can access any day, anytime. Trained responders — some of them veterans themselves — are ready to listen, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Also, striking up a conversation with a veteran, or encouraging those on your social networks to support veterans in your area, could save a life. You never know who is listening. Remember … "They fought for us. And now we must fight for them. Commit a small portion of your time to help veterans in need in your community. It could be the difference between losing a hero and saving a life." -- Mission 22 This Week's Joey Logano Foundation Chasing Second Chances Partner In partnership with Elder Heart, Mission 22 and Dover International Speedway , the Joey Logano Foundation will provide a permanent statue designed to raise awareness about the 22 soldiers we are losing each day. It will be placed on track property so fans and visitors can be reminded that our soldiers need us. The statue will feature Michelle Langhorst, one of the 22 that died on March 30, 2015. I encourage you to explore the Mission 22 site, share the information and join us in bringing awareness to this cause. During this week (Sept. 28-Oct. 4), I am offering veterans a free copy of War and Soul: Healing our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder , a book recommended on the Mission 22 resource site. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide a brief explanation of who the book is for and an address for where the book can be sent.* "Everyone, vets and their families, want things to return exactly as they were before deployment. And that just isn't going to happen, and that's OK. People naturally grow, evolve and change based on things that happen in their lives and war only accentuates this. You have to move forward -- encourage your vet to look over the horizon and all of you should be open to new evolutions." -- Magnus Johnson THANK YOU, to all the veterans for your service. We truly appreciate you and your families for the sacrifices you have made. *Depending on the response, limited quantities may available. Please limit one per household.
RELATED: Race results " Updated NXS standings DOVER, Del. -- Regan Smith charged from fourth to first during a restart on Lap 121 and stayed there for the rest of the Hisense 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover International Speedway Saturday, posting his second victory of the season and working his way back into championship contention. After a 31-minute rain delay, Smith passed Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin and leader Elliott Sadler on the restart on Lap 121 of 200, staved off intense pressure from Hamlin midway through the final green-flag run and pulled away as the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates battled for second place. Without a concrete deal in place for next season, Smith won for the first time at the Monster Mile -- in fact, the 80 laps he led were the first circuits he had ever spent out front at Dover. The victory was the sixth of Smith's career, and all of them have come under the JR Motorsports banner. RELATED: Dillon has tire failure as caution waves Hamlin won the fight for the runner-up spot, crossing the finish line .703 seconds behind Smith. Busch led a race-high 110 laps and came home third, followed by Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson . Austin Dillon ran sixth, one spot ahead of Chase Elliott , who moved into second place in the series standings, 24 points behind leader Chris Buescher , who finished eighth on Saturday. Smith, who rallied from a flat tire in the first third of the race, took over third in points, 36 behind Buescher. "I knew the car was fast, but I didn't know it was that fast until we got out in clean air," Smith said in Victory Lane. "This wasn't a Hail Mary. We came from the back to the front and just had a fast race car. "If we can keep doing that every week, and get another win or two here or there, I don't know what's going to happen. I'm trying to figure out some things for next year, so wins never hurt -- that's never a bad thing going forward." A victory for Smith was not even a remote consideration when a light rain began falling shortly after the halfway point, with the race already under caution for a wreck involving Stanton Barrett and Cale Conley on Lap 106. Sadler, whose 2016 move to JR Motorsports was announced on Friday, took two new tires under the yellow and was first off pit road, leading the race and praying for a monsoon. But the rain abated, depriving Sadler of a going-away present to Roush Fenway Racing , the organization he will leave at season's end. "I've never had much luck with the rain," Sadler said ruefully. "I've always been on the wrong side of that, going back to the 2009 Daytona 500 (where Sadler was fifth with a chance to win when the race was called because of rain after 152 laps)." Note: Ty Dillon cut a tire and hit the outside wall on Lap 24, resulting in a 28th-place finish. He slipped from second to fourth in the series standings, 39 points back of Buescher.
Jeff Gordon says his crash at Indy was disappointing, but his team is going to fight for a win and a way into the Chase all the way through the race at Richmond.
Debating the Johnson-Harvick incident, who will win the Chase RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated " Harvick shoves Johnson post-race After a rollicking start to the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway , we move on to the tighter confines of New Hampshire with the possibility of more confrontation. With visions of Robby Gordon and Michael Waltrip coming to mind -- helmet toss, anyone? -- intensity always seems to amp up when the races left start to dwindle. Was Kevin Harvick right, was Jimmie Johnson wrong? Can’t we all just get along? We roll along now into this week’s installment of Herman Unplugged: NASCAR ILLUSTRATED: You were dead-on a few weeks back here in predicting Kevin Harvick 's mental and physical tactics coming into play once the Chase started. Was his punch warranted after the incident with Jimmie Johnson though? HERMAN: "No, and it made me sick to my stomach. I know that these two are somewhat friends, they both have children and both are champions. I know for a fact and in my heart that Jimmie didn't say, 'Hey, I’m gonna flatten your tire.' I thought Jimmie was trying to make it right. He felt his relationship with Kevin was strong enough and he was going to address the issue. Props to the NBC camera people because we wouldn't have seen all this otherwise. What made me sick was you could tell how shocked Jimmie Johnson was and the way that Kevin reacted. I hated it for both of them." NI: Do you think it was done for the purpose of intimidation or gamesmanship? HERMAN: "No, because everybody in the garage area knows that Jimmie is involved in sports therapy and he's got a Green Beret type mentality. You're never gonna get Jimmie; that's why you just can’t get to him. I guarantee you that Jimmie has already psychologically figured out how to get over it, whether from the sports therapist or in some of the lessons that he learned. I think that was a natural reaction from Kevin Harvick . It could be a meeting of the psychological minds because Kevin's into therapy, too. In professional modern day sports, it’s in your best interest to pay a handful of thousands of dollars a year to talk to a sports therapist. They teach you how to focus, be positive and ignore social networking. All of us are a little fragile or we're a little too strong." NI: The after effect of these incidents especially in the Chase is this provides a wonderful promotional tool and NASCAR will want to make the most of it. It's like wrecks, too. Are you OK with that promotional aspect of things? HERMAN: "Yes I am and let me tell you why. We are in a new era in life. You cannot believe the ratings for this UFC fighting. People love cage fighting. It's a little crazy to think but people like death and destruction whether they admit it or not. I was just at Berlin Raceway in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the promoter Don DeWitt told me that one of his biggest moneymakers was cage fighting on the front straightaway. We have to do something to reinvent ourselves. The foundation of NASCAR is something of an old template. A car going around in circles is very boring for the human right now. So they're going to tune in to see a fight or a wreck. They are not gonna tune in, and it's sad to say, people don't tune in anymore to watch cars go in circles. They tune in to watch cars battle, bump, fight and wreck." NI: One race into the Chase and you can have Joe Gibbs Racing or the field as this year's champion. Who are you going with and why? HERMAN: "I'm gonna go with Joe Gibbs Racing because it seems to me that whatever they have it's not shaken, it's not going away. If I'm in a fight and I have a gun, I want as many bullets as I can get. And they got four -- and all four of them are capable. Some people are taking all four Gibbs cars -- Johnny Roberts, my comrade at FOX Sports, he's not an idiot, he took all four to be in the final round at Homestead." SUBSCRIBE NOW!