How NASCAR driver points are awarded per race
Under the charter system that was established in 2016, NASCAR's premier series events have 40 cars in the field. Each finishing spot in the field earns a driver points , from a maximum of 40 points to the driver who finishes first, down to one point for the driver who finishes 40th. These points accrue over a season and determine the driver standings , as well as the owner standings . Points are accumulated over each of the 36 races. There is a reset for the 16 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after the regular-season finale at Richmond, the series' 26th race of the season. There are additional points resets in the postseason after the completion of the three-race Round of 16, Round of 12 and Round of 8. Below is a look at how a driver earns points based on finishing position. Additionally, a driver can earn bonus points for the following: -- Three bonus points to the race-winning driver -- One bonus point to any driver who leads a lap in a race -- One bonus point to the driver who leads the most laps in a race Other key items to know: • The driver who starts the race receives the points ; a relief driver does not earn points . • If two or more drivers tie for most laps led, each gets a bonus point. • Bonus points are not awarded in the final race of the season to the Championship 4 drivers.
Logano crew chief fined; two NXS teams lose points
Todd Gordon, crew chief for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano , has been fined $10,000 for a lug nut infraction following the completion of Sunday night's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway . The No. 22 Team Penske group was one of several Sprint Cup Series teams to receive either penalties or warnings, according to the NASCAR penalty report issued Wednesday. Meanwhile, NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Brendan Gaughan 's task of advancing to the title round of the series' inaugural Chase suffered another setback with the loss of 10 championship driver and owner points for a body height violation at Texas, which the penalty report referred to as an "encumbered finish." Gaughan enters this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway eighth in points among the eight Chase drivers still in title contention. The points loss leaves him now trailing fourth-place Blake Koch by 33 points . Only the top four advance to the Championship 4 to compete for the series title Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Shane Wilson, crew chief of the No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, was fined $10,000 for the violation. Gaughan's team wasn't the only one to lose 10 points for a violation at Texas. The No. 88 Chevrolet fielded by JR Motorsports, and driven at Texas by Sprint Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick , was also penalized 10 championship owner points and crew chief Dave Elenz was fined $10,000. The No. 88 team appealed its penalty today at the R&D Center, but was denied. The team can now appeal to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer. Because the finishing positions are considered "encumbered," they would not be factored into any potential tie-breaker scenarios. No driver points were deducted because Harvick does not earn points in any series other than Sprint Cup . The No. 88 teams remains seventh in the owner points standings . For Logano, his No. 22 Ford was found to have only 19 of 20 lug nuts secured following his runner-up finish to Carl Edwards ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) on Sunday. He is one of six drivers vying for a berth in the championship-determining Chase for the Sprint Cup . Edwards and six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson ( Hendrick Motorsports ) have already secured berths in the Nov. 20 finale. Gordon is the fourth crew chief to be fined $10,000 for a lug nut violation, joining Greg Ives ( Hendrick Motorsports No. 88), Drew Blickensderfer ( Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43) and Brian Pattie ( Roush Fenway Racing No. 16). Previous lug nut infractions carried a heftier fine and included suspension before NASCAR officials adjusted the penalty. In addition to the penalty on the No. 22 team, 14 other teams received written warnings for failing laser or template inspection. • Because their teams failed pre-qualifying template inspection three times, drivers Kevin Harvick , Tony Stewart , Edwards and Martin Truex Jr . will lose 15 minutes of practice time this week at Phoenix International Raceway . • The teams of Trevor Bayne , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth , Kurt Busch and Matt DiBenedetto received written warnings for failing template inspection twice during the pre-qualifying inspection process. Bayne and Hamlin served penalties at Texas for having four written warnings. • Failing the laser inspection three times in pre-qualifying inspection will cost driver AJ Allmendinger 15 minutes of practice at Phoenix as well. • Written warnings, with no loss of practice time, were given to the teams of Austin Dillon (LIS, pre-race and pre-qualifying), Greg Biffle (LIS, pre-qualifying) and David Ragan (LIS, pre-race). • Additional XFINITY Series penalties from Texas were a $5,000 fine for crew chief Kevin Meendering (JR Motorsports) for a lug nut violation; and a 15-minute loss of practice time for the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry at Phoenix. Kyle Busch is scheduled to compete for the team this weekend. Four other teams received written warnings for inspection issues with no loss of practice time.
Nod to history as The Clash comes back to Daytona
RELATED: Official news release NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway jointly announced Wednesday that the annual exhibition race to kick off 2017 Speedweeks will have a familiar format, a smaller field and a nostalgic name -- The Clash. The season-opening non- points event -- scheduled Saturday, Feb. 18 (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) -- will take a page from its earliest roots, when it began as the Busch Clash in 1979. The race, which has frequently served as an invitational for the previous season's pole winners, has also been known as the Bud Shootout and Sprint Unlimited in its history at the 2.5-mile track. "We're bringing back The Clash at Daytona," Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile said in the news release. "The Clash was a race name that has always been popular among both the competitors and race fans. We're looking forward to bringing it back and building on the rich history of this thrilling and always unpredictable event that kicks off the NASCAR season." NASCAR and the speedway indicated that the race format would remain unchanged from last year -- 75 laps with a competition caution period scheduled for Lap 25. The method for assembling eligible drivers, however, carries some slight tweaks from 2016's edition. Drivers invited include last year's Coors Light Pole Award winners in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition (14 total), former Clash winners (2), former Daytona 500 pole winners who raced full-time last year (1) and drivers not otherwise eligible who qualified for the Chase postseason (3). Last season, the field reached its 25-car limit by inviting the remaining highest-finishing drivers in the previous year's standings to fill the starting grid. That criteria has been dropped for 2017, leaving 20 drivers eligible to compete. One of those positions is held by three-time champion Tony Stewart , who announced that he would end his full-time driving career last season. Stewart indicated in an appearance Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he is far from retired, planning to compete in sprint cars and even entertaining an offer to drive sports cars at Le Mans. Another starting berth is also held by Greg Biffle , who parted ways with his longtime team at Roush Fenway Racing last week and has no announced plans in place for 2017. Biffle won the Coors Light Pole at Daytona in July to secure a starting spot. The list of eligible drivers: 2016 Coors Light Pole Awards winners: Greg Biffle , Alex Bowman , Kurt Busch , Kyle Busch , Austin Dillon , Carl Edwards , Chase Elliott , Denny Hamlin , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Matt Kenseth , Brad Keselowski , Joey Logano , Martin Truex Jr . Former Clash Race Winners: Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Tony Stewart Former Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole Award winners: Danica Patrick Remaining 2016 Chase drivers: Chris Buescher , Kyle Larson , Jamie McMurray The race's length and field size have grown steadily from its first running in 1979, which was exclusively reserved for the previous year's pole winners. In an era with far less parity, it meant a nine-car field vying for a $50,000 payday in a 20-lap (50-mile) shootout. Buddy Baker was the inaugural winner, leading 18 of the 20 laps in Harry Ranier's "Gray Ghost" No. 28 Oldsmobile. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who helped bring the "Gray Ghost" scheme back to life, threw his support behind The Clash. This is a great move to restore the identity of a historic event. Pole award winners and @NASCAR fans can rejoice! #TheClashIsBack https://t.co/hb5mYiU8Gj — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) November 30, 2016
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Standings
After Race 36 of the 2016 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway Pos Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt PPos G/L Wins Attempts 1 Hendrick Motorsports 48 5,040 0 0 2 1 5 36 2 Team Penske 22 5,037 -3 -3 1 -1 3 36 3 Joe Gibbs Racing 18 5,035 -5 -2 4 1 4 36 4 Joe Gibbs Racing 19 5,007 -33 -28 3 -1 3 36 5 Joe Gibbs Racing 20 2,330 -2,710 -2,677 5 0 2 36 6 Joe Gibbs Racing 11 2,320 -2,720 -10 6 0 3 36 7 Stewart-Haas Racing 41 2,296 -2,744 -24 7 0 1 36 8 Stewart-Haas Racing 4 2,289 -2,751 -7 11 3 4 36 9 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 2,288 -2,752 -1 12 3 1 36 10 Hendrick Motorsports 24 2,285 -2,755 -3 10 0 0 36 11 Furniture Row Racing 78 2,271 -2,769 -14 8 -3 4 36 12 Team Penske 2 2,267 -2,773 -4 9 -3 4 36 13 Chip Ganassi Racing 1 2,231 -2,809 -36 13 0 0 36 14 Richard Childress Racing 3 2,223 -2,817 -8 14 0 0 36 15 Stewart-Haas Racing 14 2,211 -2,829 -12 15 0 1 36 16 Front Row Motorsports 34 2,169 -2,871 -42 16 0 1 36 17 Hendrick Motorsports 5 898 -4,142 -1,271 17 0 0 36 18 Hendrick Motorsports 88 895 -4,145 -3 19 1 0 36 19 Richard Childress Racing 31 895 -4,145 0 18 -1 0 36 20 JTG Daugherty Racing 47 830 -4,210 -65 20 0 0 36 21 Wood Brothers Racing 21 812 -4,228 -18 21 0 0 36 22 Roush Fenway Racing 17 772 -4,268 -40 22 0 0 36 23 Roush Fenway Racing 6 762 -4,278 -10 23 0 0 36 24 Roush Fenway Racing 16 691 -4,349 -71 24 0 0 36 25 Stewart-Haas Racing 10 689 -4,351 -2 25 0 0 36 26 Richard Childress Racing 27 678 -4,362 -11 26 0 0 36 27 Richard Petty Motorsports 43 638 -4,402 -40 27 0 0 36 28 HScott Motorsports 15 628 -4,412 -10 28 0 0 36 29 Germain Racing 13 556 -4,484 -72 30 1 0 36 30 Circle Sport-Leavine Family 95 552 -4,488 -4 29 -1 0 36 31 Front Row Motorsports 38 530 -4,510 -22 31 0 0 36 32 Leavine Family Racing 59 494 -4,546 -36 32 0 0 2 33 Richard Petty Motorsports 44 481 -4,559 -13 33 0 0 36 34 BK Racing 23 455 -4,585 -26 34 0 0 36 35 BK Racing 83 406 -4,634 -49 35 0 0 36 36 HScott Motorsports 46 329 -4,711 -77 36 0 0 36 37 Premium Motorsports 98 289 -4,751 -40 37 0 0 32 38 GO FAS Racing 32 281 -4,759 -8 38 0 0 36 39 Premium Motorsports 55 237 -4,803 -44 39 0 0 31 40 The Motorsports Group 30 174 -4,866 -63 40 0 0 35 41 BK Racing 93 55 -4,985 -119 42 1 0 9 42 Front Row Motorsports 35 46 -4,994 -9 41 -1 0 4 43 Leavine Family Racing 159 26 -5,014 -20 43 0 0 44 Roush Fenway Racing 99 15 -5,025 -11 44 0 0 1 45 Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 3 -5,037 -12 55 10 0 36 46 BK Racing 26 3 -5,037 0 45 -1 0 1 47 Hillman Racing 40 0 -5,040 -3 46 -1 0 1
Talladega 'Big One' hits Truck points standings hard
WATCH: Wildest rides of 2015 TALLADEGA, Ala. -- The "Big One" hit in Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, and it had an impact as massive as the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway oval itself. The championship race took a sharp turn when the No. 51 of Matt Tifft came down from the top line into a dense pack of trucks on Lap 92 (of 98), triggering a 10-vehicle incident that brought out the red flag for nearly 15 minutes. It was the last and worst shot to Matt Crafton , who led 43 laps but was involved in that incident that sent him tumbling down the leaderboard. Crafton, who trailed Erik Jones by four points entering the fred's 250 Presented by Coca-Cola, wound up 23 points behind the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver after finishing 24th. Four races remain in the 2015 season. Jones finished fourth. Fellow title contender Tyler Reddick ( Brad Keselowski Racing) was also involved in the wreck, but he rallied for a fifth-place result and is second in the standings , 18 points behind Jones. Two-time defending series champion Crafton was aggravated over the radio at the Talladega-style racing -- "it's the greatest (expletive) racing," he said sarcastically – and brief in his analysis on the points battle following the race. "I had my problems," Crafton said. "If (Jones and Tyler Reddick ) have their problems … I'm not worried about it. We're going to try and go win the next four and see what happens." Crafton was plagued by a spate of bad incidents Saturday that put his hopes for a three-peat as series champion in serious jeopardy. First, there was the large piece of debris that affixed itself to the front of Crafton's No. 88 Toyota, which caused the driver -- in the lead at the time -- to drop back in the field behind the pack, so that the air from the pack would sweep the trash off. That was successful in freeing the debris, but being in the back presented problems on Lap 86 when Stanton Barrett got into the wall, hitting Crafton's truck in the process. The ThorSport Racing driver was making his way up through the field before being drilled and sent into the inside wall, all of which preceded the final blow of the "Big One." Jones led six laps and was up front nearly the entire day after qualifying third. The 19-year-old ran 1-2 with Crafton prior to the No. 88 falling to the back to clean debris and extended his streak of consecutive top-10 finishes to 11, a run that began with his win at Iowa Speedway in June. "Never would have thought that we could have come out of this race that far ahead," Jones said of the points battle. "Everything from the best to the worst can happen here, and fortunately the best happened for us."
Reddick won't return to Brad Keselowski Racing
Tyler Reddick confirmed Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he will not return to Brad Keselowski Racing next season, ending a three-year tenure with the team owned by the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. "It's going to be a shame I'm not going to be there next year, but I've really enjoyed the time I've spent there," Reddick told SiriusXM. "Hopefully I can repay them with two more wins to add to the list." Reddick did not announce his 2017 plans. In 61 races, which includes two full-time seasons, Reddick has won three times and logged 24 top-five finishes and 39 top 10s. His first victory was the 2015 season-opener at Daytona, setting the tone for a memorable year in which Reddick never dropped below third in the points standings . Battling Erik Jones and Matt Crafton all year, Reddick would finish second to Jones in the championship point battle. Deemed a title contender by many entering 2016, Reddick did not find the same success as the previous year. The driver did not qualify for the inaugural eight-driver NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, although he did win at Las Vegas, a postseason race. A natural fit for Reddick may be a promotion to the NASCAR XFINITY Series, where Team Penske -- for whom Keselowski drives -- is expanding its operation to a second car. The intention, according to the team, is for Ford Performance to use the second entry as an extension of a driver development program in an effort to build for the future. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski Racing will have two new drivers in its two-truck operation next year. Daniel Hemric , who qualified for the postseason, is moving on to drive for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next year. It was announced on Friday that Austin Cindric would drive full-time for Brad Keselowski Racing in 2017. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Hemric, Crafton move up in standings after last-lap chaos
RELATED: Race results " Updated standings KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- It was a night that an 18-year-old scored his first career in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series. A two-time champion went from first to 10th to second. And the first- and second-place trucks on the final lap wrecked before they got to the finish line. In other words, Friday night's Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway was your typical Truck Series race. "It got pretty exciting there; obviously all you hope for at the end of a deal like this, especially with all the cautions we had in the race, was to have an opportunity," said third-place finisher Daniel Hemric ( Brad Keselowski Racing). William Byron seized the opportunity, picking up the win for Kyle Busch Motorsports after getting nearly overwhelmed on a green, white, checkered restart. But contact between Johnny Sauter (GMS Racing) and Ben Rhodes (ThorSport Racing) while battling for the lead shot their chances and opened the door for Byron. RELATED: Rhodes makes contact with Sauter "It was very interesting," runnerup Matt Crafton (ThorSport), the two-time series champ said, pausing to watch a replay of the final lap play out and the leaders spin. "Wow. He smoked her down in there, didn't he? "I shoved it three wide in the middle and I'm like 'Yeah, this probably isn't the way to go.' I lifted just a little bit, got it back to the bottom and got a decent run. The bottom had been terrible all night and I got a decent run, everybody got loose and checked up … it worked out for me." MORE: Relive the day in photos Hemric and Crafton each improved five positions in the points standings -- Hemric vaulted from seventh to fifth and Crafton returned to the top-10 after sitting on the outside following the season's second and third races. He now sits sixth as the series prepares for to head to Dover International Speedway next week. It will be the first back-to-back race weekends for the series this season. Crafton led 57 laps, tops in a 170-lap race that was slowed by 11 cautions. The leader on a restart on Lap 135, Crafton quickly fell back through the field after contact with the second-place truck of Timothy Peters (Red Horse Racing). Gathering it back in after falling to 10th, he slowly began working his way back toward the front. "I was like, 'OK, we'll probably be all right, probably drive back by here in a minute'" Crafton said of the initial setback. But advancing through the field proved to be a handful and the final restart saw his No. 88 Toyota seventh in the running order. And then? "That last restart was just chaos," he said.
Bowman lands first Coors Light Pole at Phoenix
RELATED: Starting lineup " See every car " Points standings " Chase Grid Alex Bowman stormed to his first Coors Light Pole Award in Friday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway . Bowman, prepping for his eighth start in place of the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr ., guided the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet to a best lap of 140.521 mph around the 1-mile track. The Arizona native's first pole position comes in the 80th start of his Sprint Cup career. "Man, it's amazing," said the 23-year-old from nearby Tucson. "We weren’t really that strong in qualifying trim in practice (earlier on Friday). I don't really know where that came from, but I just can't thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports enough. "To do this in Phoenix, so close to home, means so much to me. We have had such fast race cars. We haven't had an ounce of luck, but to get a pole here means a lot." Kyle Larson posted the second-fastest lap, turning a 140.263 mph qualifying pass in the final round in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. He'll start on the front row alongside Bowman in Sunday's Can-Am 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the ninth of 10 events in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. Rookie Chase Elliott was third-fastest at 140.236 mph, completing a 1-2-3 sweep by drivers out of the eight-driver playoff picture. Sunday's 312-lapper is the final race in the Round of 8 to determine the final four qualifiers for the Nov. 20 Championship 4 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Only Jimmie Johnson , who qualified 17th Friday, and Carl Edwards (11th) have clinched title shots, leaving two open spots up for grabs among the six remaining postseason hopefuls. The rest of the Chase field's qualifying spots: Joey Logano (fourth), Denny Hamlin (fifth), Kevin Harvick (sixth), Matt Kenseth (10th), Kurt Busch (12th) and Kyle Busch (19th). Harvick, who tops the series with eight Phoenix victories, has won five of the last six races for the series on the Arizona oval. Fourth on the grid wasn't what Logano wanted in his quest to make the Championship 4 at Homestead, but his position on the outside of the second row could be an advantage at the start of the race. "No, it's not first, right?" said Logano, who is tied for third in the Chase standings with Kyle Busch . "We had a fast Shell Pennzoil Ford again in qualifying and didn't get the pole. That part is frustrating. The good part is we are fourth and not that far back, and the outside lane is usually a good place to be here at Phoenix on the restarts. "Usually the leader takes the outside, and that works out pretty well. Overall, we should get a decent pit stall and be able to race toward the front. I'm frustrated because I am not first, which I guess is a good thing -- but it kind of stinks." The Chase drivers aside, the story in qualifying was Bowman, who ran a third lap after posting his fast time in the second, not knowing he had run fast enough to secure the pole. Earnhardt, who watched from pit road, was elated at the success of his relief driver. "This is his hometown, kind of, so it's awesome that all his friends are around to see him do this," Earnhardt said. "This is great for his career. This is exactly what we were hoping to happen for him. Hopefully, he can put it together on Sunday." Austin Dillon was second-fastest in the opening round of qualifying, but committed a "blend-line" violation with an improper merge onto the race track early in the second round. It mattered little as last weekend's pole winner at Texas wound up seventh in Friday's qualifying in the desert. Martin Truex Jr ., whose Chase hopes ended in the Round of 12, will start last in the 40-car field after his Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota failed to make a lap. After a wreck with its primary car in Friday practice, the team had difficulties getting its reserve through inspection. The backup car cleared with roughly one minute left in the opening 20-minute round, and time ran out before Truex could get buckled in. Tony Stewart , scheduled to run his final Sprint Cup race at Phoenix, just missed a chance at advancing past the first elimination in qualifying. His 137.825 mph lap was just .014 seconds slower than Casey Mears , who took the 24th and final spot in the first round. Contributing: Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Daniel Suarez surges into XFINITY points lead
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings LAS VEGAS -- Daniel Suarez experienced a first in his XFINITY Series career, and it wasn't a win. But the Drive for Diversity product snagged the points standings lead from Elliott Sadler after finishing second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch in Saturday's Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . This is the first time Suarez has led in the XFINITY standings . In fact, it's the first time a driver born outside the United States has been a series points leader, according to NASCAR statistical services. However, his position atop the standings is not weighing too heavy on his mind. "I think it's too early, we're just three races into the season and with the new Chase format anything can happen," Suarez said. "You need to win a race to be safe and lock yourself into the Chase." This is the first season of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase playoffs, similar to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . XFINITY drivers compete in an elimination-style format that begins with 12 eligible drivers at Kentucky in September and is whittled down to four for the final race of the season at Homestead. A win practically guarantees a driver's position in the Chase, but runner-up finishes go a long way, too. RELATED: Chase format explained "We have to keep working because someone else out there is still faster than us," Suarez said. "And it's good because it's our teammate ( Kyle Busch ) and we know he has the same stuff that we do. "We need to keep working to be consistent ... we need to keep working to get more speed and try to win a race to be more comfortable." Now it's all about maintaining his lead, finding more speed and seeking out that first win, which could come just as early as next week at Phoenix International Raceway , where the No. 19 driver has a best finish of fourth last season. Suarez has shown speed since the 2016 season started, with a eighth-place finish at Daytona and a seventh-place finish at Atlanta. The 24-year-old's second-place finish on Saturday was his best showing since Bristol Motor Speedway in April of 2015, when he was a runner-up to Joey Logano .
Buescher heads to Ohio seeking separation in standings
He has the best average finishing position overall, and the points lead. Now he hopes to build a little separation between himself and the rest of the field. Heading back to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where he scored his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series win last year, Chris Buescher likes his chances. The Roush Fenway Racing driver has been atop the series points standings since earning career win No. 2, at Iowa, in a span of near one dozen races. Next up is Saturday's Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). It's the second of three road-course stops in the span of a month for the series. Given his success at Mid-Ohio, and a third-place run this past weekend at Watkins Glen, it's little wonder Buescher, 22, is looking forward to the next few weeks. "I really hope that road courses will be a strong point for us," Buescher said. "I feel really comfortable going back to Mid-Ohio obviously. Road America (where he finished 18th a year ago) was the one where I needed a little bit more work. "I think we should be able to run top 10 very easily there. I like road racing ... I seem to hang in there and we seem to be able to put fast Roush Fenway race cars on the track." Road America, coming up at month's end, falls later on this year's schedule than in recent seasons when the race there was held in June. Buescher doesn't lead the series as far as average finish on road courses is concerned. In the past two seasons, he ranks fourth (12.8) along with Ty Dillon . Chase Elliott (5.3), Elliott Sadler (7.8) and Brian Scott (8.8) have been a bit more consistent. But Buescher, crew chief Scott Graves and his No. 60 crew have been getting better. Not that there haven't been hiccups, but the team has yet to finish outside the top 20 this season. They've been good, but not great, as the Watkins Glen finish attests. "I like where we’re at right now," Buescher said. "We have speed in our road course cars. The (Team) Penske cars showed up better than us (at Watkins Glen) though. They were very fast, class of the field. That being said, they always run fast at that particular track. "Mid-Ohio, I don't feel like there was a car there that really had something better than us last time around. If we can repeat that, maybe we can improve on it a little bit. I’m pretty comfortable where we're at." Elliott, the defending series champion, trails Buescher by 24 points (724-700). Dillon (also 24 back), Regan Smith (minus-57) and Sadler (minus-58) round out the top five.