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.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Standings
After Race 12 of the 2016 season at Dover International Speedway Pos Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt PPos G/L Attempts 1 Stewart-Haas Racing 4 418 0 -- 1 0 12 2 Joe Gibbs Racing 18 397 -21 -21 2 0 12 3 Stewart-Haas Racing 41 386 -32 -11 5 2 12 4 Joe Gibbs Racing 19 381 -37 -5 3 -1 12 5 Hendrick Motorsports 48 370 -48 -11 4 -1 12 6 Team Penske 2 368 -50 -2 6 0 12 7 Hendrick Motorsports 24 341 -77 -27 11 4 12 8 Team Penske 22 340 -78 -1 7 -1 12 9 Furniture Row Racing 78 336 -82 -4 10 1 12 10 Richard Childress Racing 3 315 -103 -21 8 -2 12 11 Hendrick Motorsports 88 314 -104 -1 9 -2 12 12 Joe Gibbs Racing 20 313 -105 -1 14 2 12 13 Joe Gibbs Racing 11 308 -110 -5 13 0 12 14 Chip Ganassi Racing 1 296 -122 -12 12 -2 12 15 Wood Brothers Racing 21 288 -130 -8 16 1 12 16 JTG Daugherty Racing 47 283 -135 -5 15 -1 12 17 Richard Childress Racing 31 278 -140 -5 17 0 12 18 Roush Fenway Racing 6 275 -143 -3 20 2 12 19 Roush Fenway Racing 17 273 -145 -2 19 0 12 20 Hendrick Motorsports 5 271 -147 -2 18 -2 12 21 Stewart-Haas Racing 14 246 -172 -25 21 0 12 22 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 243 -175 -3 22 0 12 23 Richard Childress Racing 27 232 -186 -11 24 1 12 24 Stewart-Haas Racing 10 216 -202 -16 26 2 12 25 Roush Fenway Racing 16 215 -203 -1 25 0 12 26 Richard Petty Motorsports 43 213 -205 -2 23 -3 12 27 HScott Motorsports 15 211 -207 -2 27 0 12 28 Front Row Motorsports 38 202 -216 -9 28 0 12 29 Germain Racing 13 184 -234 -18 29 0 12 30 Richard Petty Motorsports 44 178 -240 -6 30 0 12 31 Circle Sport-Leavine Family 95 165 -253 -13 33 2 12 32 BK Racing 23 161 -257 -4 34 2 12 33 BK Racing 83 152 -266 -9 31 -2 12 34 Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 148 -270 -4 32 -2 12 35 Front Row Motorsports 34 141 -277 -7 35 0 12 36 HScott Motorsports 46 103 -315 -38 36 0 12 37 Premium Motorsports 98 102 -316 -1 38 1 12 38 GO FAS Racing 32 97 -321 -5 37 -1 12 39 Premium Motorsports 55 52 -366 -45 39 0 7 40 The Motorsports Group 30 44 -374 -8 40 0 12 41 Circle Sport - Leavine Family 59 26 -392 -18 41 0 1 42 Front Row Motorsports 35 24 -394 -2 42 0 2 43 BK Racing 93 5 -413 -19 43 0 2 44 BK Racing 26 3 -415 -2 44 0 1 45 Hillman Racing 40 0 -418 -3 45 0 1
Matt Crafton wins Truck race at Charlotte
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings CONCORD, N.C. -- Matt Crafton had a lot to overcome on Saturday -- a 17th-place starting position and a difficult pit stall that cost him dearly in the early stages of Saturday's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . But after 134 laps, Crafton was 5.748 seconds ahead of second-place Kyle Busch , winning the race and extending his series lead to 12 points over seventh-place finisher Timothy Peters . In fact, the two-time champion won consecutive races for the first time in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career, going back-to-back in successive weeks at Dover and Charlotte. Even though it took Crafton more than half the race to get to the front, he sensed the quality of his ride from the drop of the green flag. "I literally did," Crafton said. "I was like, 'Wow!' This thing was unbelievable from the time we dropped the green. This thing went through (Turns) 1 and 2 -- well, the first original start, everybody got jumbled up and went through (Turns) 1 and 2 and then 3 and 4, and I'm like, 'This thing feels really good right here.' "Then we fell back to the 20s (after pit road issues) at that point and we started driving back through them and I was like, 'Oh, my goodness, these boys are in trouble today.' " The victory was the 13th of Crafton's career, but despite the wide margin of victory, his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota didn't take the lead for the first time until Lap 80, when Crafton tracked down Peters and passed him for the top spot. After starting mid-pack, Crafton worked his way forward during the first run but had major issues on pit road, first sliding through his pit box and later getting blocked in his stall. The miscues forced Crafton to pass a gaggle of cars, but by Lap 78 he was fourth for a restart after Christopher Bell 's spin off Turn 4, and two laps later, Crafton had the lead. The advantage grew to more than 8.5 seconds before a cycle of green-flag pit stops for fuel trimmed Crafton's winning margin in the closing laps. Johnny Sauter did an extraordinary job of saving fuel and rolled home third behind Crafton and Busch. Tyler Reddick and Matt Tifft , the latter recently named to the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class, were fourth and fifth, respectively, both on fuel strategy. Spencer Gallagher , Peters, Bell, Daniel Hemric and polesitter William Byron completed the top 10. Busch led 27 laps in the early going but suffered a suspension part failure that caused the handling of his No. 18 Tundra to tighten up. Nor did it help that Busch's team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop on Lap 68, forcing the driver to restart at the rear of the field on Lap 71. "Once we got back in traffic, it just got super, super tight," said Busch, whose Kyle Busch Motorsports organization also owns the trucks driven by Bell, Byron and Daniel Suarez . "Something broke, and after that, it was just laying on the splitter."
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 12th of 26 regular-season races. WHAT JUST HAPPENED It was a rough weekend for the three-time Dover winner who took his last trip to Victory Lane in 2013 at the "Monster Mile." First, Stewart was forced to a backup car after wrecking in practice Friday, and started 34th. He'd worked his way up to steadily running in the 20s until Lap 343, when he suddenly broke a track bar. The bar punctured the oil tank, and smoke billowed from the rear of his No. 14 Chevrolet as he made his way to the garage. He ended up finishing exactly where he began: 34th, but was 58 laps down. RELATED: Stewart's Chase chances take a hit at Dover 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 37th in the standings , 67 points behind David Ragan for 30th place. WHAT'S NEXT "Smoke" heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Stewart has just one of his 48 career wins at the 1.5-mile track, with it coming in 2003. He has six top fives and 13 top 10s in 33 starts there. RELATED: See all of Stewart's wins " "Smoke" granted Chase waiver
Elliott: 'I had a chance and didn't get it done'
RELATED: Results " Standings " At-track gallery DOVER, Del. -- Hendrick Motorsports ' most consistent driver this season stopped his car on pit road at Dover International Speedway a top-three finisher, secured by an exceptional run amidst a thrilling battle in the closing laps. Before you jump to conclusions, we're not talking about six-time Sprint Cup Series champion and 10-time "Monster Mile" winner Jimmie Johnson . Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott landed his team-best eighth top-10 finish of the season, battling for the lead with eventual race-winner Matt Kenseth and runner-up Kyle Larson to finish third, his best finish through the first third of the 36-race campaign. "Unfortunately we couldn't be on the good end of (a great race) but proud of our effort today," said Elliott, now seventh in the points standings , solidly in line for a Chase for the Sprint Cup berth. "We really started a good ways out of where we needed to be. I thought we made a lot of really, really solid gains throughout the day to get our car better and better. " … Hate to not get the job done and be so close, but we'll keep digging at it and try to get a little better." Elliott, Larson and Kenseth gave fans one of the most entertaining finishes of the season, trading positions back and forth over the final thirty-plus laps with each potential victor offering a uniquely compelling story line. The No. 24 driver appeared to have the fastest car at times -- and he thought he may be able to pass the No. 20 at some point -- before eventually losing steam while battling the No. 42. "I mean, I felt like we might (catch Kenseth). It was just a matter of getting some clean laps and not having to fend off the 42 I think was the big thing," Elliott said. "When somebody's on your bumper like that, it's hard to put a real good lap together. "When you're racing around people, it just slows everybody down. When the 42 got into the 20, I was able to catch them, got a run on Kyle. Looking back, wish I had done some different things to open up some clear lanes and run different lines. Regardless, I don't think we were quite as good as what the 42 was there, and he did a good job of getting back by us, giving Matt a shot." While neither Elliott nor Larson were able to land in Victory Lane for the first time in their respective Sprint Cup careers, the show the young stars put on while battling with NASCAR's second-oldest full-time Cup series driver -- an accomplished veteran and champion in his own right -- was remarkable. The battle may have been a preview of the years to come. "I certainly wouldn't complain if I was battling for wins for the next 10 years," said Elliott. "It would be great on my watch. I don't know about (Larson), but that's the way I would do it. That would be great. I'd love to be in the mix for wins moving forward." Larson concurred. "Yeah, no, it was fun battling Chase there. I didn't see him much throughout the race. I knew he was lining up behind me there the last restart," the Chip Ganassi Racing driver said. "It was fun racing with him, though. We've had a lot of good battles through the XFINITY Series and even K&N (Pro Series). Hopefully we're battling up front for many years to come. Just looking forward to the future." For Elliott, a driver never content with anything short of a race victory, a win can't come soon enough despite Sunday marking continued gains for the 24 team. "I had a chance and didn't get it done. That's about as simple as it gets. … Doesn't really matter what I say. Till you go get it done, it really is irrelevant," Elliott said. "For me, I think I have a team that's capable of doing it. The way I see today, we had our shot, we had a chance to do it today, I didn't do it. "Either you do or you don't, and we haven't yet."
Erik Jones pockets second Dash 4 Cash win of season
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Dash 4 Cash hub DOVER, Del. -- Erik Jones has a few extra bucks in his pocket after a weekend of racing at the "Monster Mile." The Joe Gibbs Racing driver locked up his second Dash 4 Cash win of the season Saturday at Dover International Speedway , topping an eligible field that also included his teammate, Daniel Suarez , Richard Childress Racing 's Ty Dillon and JR Motorsports' Justin Allgaier . Oh, by the way, he won the Ollie's Bargain Outlet 200 race outright, to boot. By virtue of his two Dash 4 Cash wins (the other came in April at Bristol, a race he also won) along with two said race victories, Jones now sits atop the XFINITY Series Chase Grid with three wins. He's fifth overall in the points standings and would be higher had he not wrecked from the pole in the Dash 4 Cash race last month at Richmond. RELATED: Dash 4 Cash 101 -- What you need to know "It's pretty cool to get another win here ... at Dover and another Dash 4 Cash race," Jones said. "I wouldn't say (the new format plays to my strengths), I'd say that it's more the tracks; that they're at tracks that I've had historically good runs at. They just kind of work out that way. ... "I think our ability to adjust and maintain and get better throughout the day and throughout the race is just one of the best in the garage, and having the opportunity to do it after the heat race just gives us that little bit of an edge." With three Dash 4 Cash races in the books, only Saturday's Heat 2 winner, Dillon (winner of the second event at Richmond), still has a shot at earning a Chase berth by acquiring a pair of D4C wins. The RCR driver finished fifth, while Heat 1 winner Allgaier landed a spot ahead in fourth. Suarez was ninth. Drivers will have one last chance at the $100,000 check on July 23 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Lilly Diabetes 250 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Jones is just hoping he's allowed to spend some of his Bristol winnings by then. "I'm still waiting to get my cut of the last check," the JGR driver said. "I haven't gotten a chance to spend any of it yet." While the 19-year-old isn't quite sure how he'll splurge yet, don't expect any exotic pet monkeys a la Tony Stewart coming his way. "It's hard to say. I'm not one to buy too many extravagant things, I guess," Jones said. "You never know. Maybe I'll find something I come across that I may want. I guess we'll see when that day comes around."
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 .
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."
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 11th of 26 regular-season races. WHAT JUST HAPPENED The two-time Kansas winner proved why he's so good at the 1.5-mile track, just missing the top 10 with a 12th-place finish. "Smoke" even led for 12 laps while a cycle of green flag pit stops was taking place. WHAT HE NEEDS Stewart has received a waiver from NASCAR for Chase eligibility. The sureest 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 37th in the standings , 59 points behind Regan Smith for 30th place. WHAT'S NEXT "Smoke" heads to Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism race on May 15 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The 1-mile track has been the site of three of Stewart's 48 wins, including his most recent win in 2013. In addition to the three wins at the "Monster Mile," Stewart also has 11 top fives and 17 top 10s in 33 starts there. MORE: See all of Stewart's wins " "Smoke" granted Chase waiver
With shades of 'the Intimidator,' Dillon earns third in chaotic 'Dega race
RELATED: Results " Standings post-Talladega " Relive the day in photos TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Austin Dillon , driving a Chevrolet with NASCAR's most famous number -- 3 -- on its side panels, nearly matched one of Dale Earnhardt's most extraordinary feats at the exact location it happened, mere days after what would've been the 65th birthday of the late, great "Intimidator." Instead, he still came home with a career-best finish in what was the wildest race the Sprint Cup Series has seen in some time. "We started 17th with three laps to go and finished third," Dillon said after the GEICO 500 . "So, from 17th to third, that was pretty cool. One guy came up to me in the suite (before the race), said Dale's last win here (in 2000), he came from 15th to first. Maybe if we started 15th, we could have gotten there." Looking at Dillon's Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet after the race, you'd never have thought it was a third-place car. It was as banged up as any car after 500 laps at Bristol and appeared to have more tape on its front right quarter panel than 3M has in one of its warehouses. TEAMWORK. We pitted 17 times. Wrecked 4 times. Ran out of tires. We were 32nd 1 lap down. We NEVER quit. Result = P3 pic.twitter.com/PjxAxjE893 — greg osborne (@greg_ozz) May 1, 2016 But you should've seen the rest of the field. Dillon's ride was one of a handful that actually made it to the checkered flag on the lead lap, a borderline miracle given he pitted a whopping 16 times -- a race-high, with no other driver hitting pit lane more than 13, including some of those involved in some of the several "Big One(s)." RELATED: Dillon one of 21 cars involved in 'The Big One' "We pitted (16) times. That's amazing," Dillon said. "The car was killed and we came home with a third-place finish. What a good day. "It's a testament to my guys. They never panicked today. We've panicked a lot this year on certain problems and today was smooth and calm and they handled their situations that they were put through and it was a great race for us. … We've been meeting about it the last couple weeks. We can't lose our minds because sometimes it's just not your day." The finish is Dillon's third top-five of the year, eclipsing his career total (two) since he began running Cup races in 2011. The 26-year-old finds himself in unfamiliar territory 10 races into the season -- the top 10 in points standings . Immediately after the race he was able to enjoy his showing, but he may be more thankful he made it out relatively unscathed -- his car not included -- once he watches a replay of the race. "Truthfully I don't know everything that happened yet, so I am really excited about my third‑place finish because I know what our team went through today," said Dillon, currently on pace for his first career Chase for the Sprint Cup berth. "I did see a video of AJ Allmendinger getting out, and he looked pretty shook up. I hope everybody is all right from all these crashes. I haven't got a chance to look at all of them. I pray they're all all right. "For me, I'm proud of our team. If you guys can see the car, if you go look at it, you would never expect it to get to third." Dale, undoubtedly, would be proud, too.