Byron gives NASCAR another surprise winner at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – William Byron gave NASCAR its third surprise winner in three weeks, this one not quite as stunning as the first two at Daytona International Speedway. Byron controlled most of the final two stages at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday and won for the second time in 111 Cup starts. Byron entered the weekend as a 28-1 shot to win a race many expected would provide a return to normal for the racing series. When Byron’s former crew chief, Chad Knaus, moved up at Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick hired Fugle and paired him with Byron. The Roush Fenway Racing driver led five times for a total of 57 laps, but he started to fade when as sunset neared.
Byron gives NASCAR another surprise winner at Homestead
William Byron was the third surprise winner through three races this season with his victory Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Byron controlled most of the final two stages at Homestead to win for the second time in 111 Cup starts. Byron entered the weekend as a 28-1 shot to win a race many expected would provide a return to normal for the racing series. The Roush Fenway Racing driver led five times for a total of 57 laps, but he started to fade "when as sunset neared. He ended up getting X-rays, which were negative, and was cleared to work the Cup Series event.
NASCAR resumes Texas playoff race 3 days after it started
FORT WORTH, Texas – NASCAR's playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway finally resumed Wednesday, three days after it started. The restart came nearly 72 1/2 hours after the race was red-flagged Sunday because of misty conditions and drizzle in the area that persisted until early Wednesday. It was overcast with temperatures still in the mid-40s when the race resumed, but there was no more precipitation in the forecast. The 40-car field resumed with four caution laps before going green on lap 57. Harvick won the last three fall races in Texas and is a nine-time winner this season, but was running 36th and a lap down.
NASCAR's Cup playoff at misty Texas put on hold another day
(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)FORT WORTH, Texas – The NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas was pushed back yet another day without drivers completing any more laps Monday. Another 115 laps have to be completed to get to the halfway mark of 167 laps that would make Texas an official race. The only other race between Texas and Phoenix is Sunday at Martinsville, the shortest and oldest Cup track. The race cars remained parked in the garage, never rolling to pit road. There were several periods Monday when the track appeared to be drying, before more misty conditions would further soak the track.
Misty, drizzling day postpones Cup race in Texas on Lap 52
Cars sit on pit road during a red flag period due to misty rain during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)FORT WORTH, Texas – NASCAR's Cup playoff race in Texas was postponed Sunday night after 52 laps on a misty day that slowly deteriorated to drizzle while it never actually rained before the event was called off. The pandemic-reduced crowd watched Clint Bowyer emerge as the leader with Jimmie Johnson second in the last Texas race as full-time drivers for both veterans. It was fitting that Bowyer and the seven-time series champion Johnson were leading when the race was stopped. The 41-year-old Bowyer, a 10-time winner in 16 Cup seasons and twice a runner-up in Texas, plans to move into the broadcast booth next season.
Chase Briscoe lands childhood hero Tony Stewart's No. 14
Briscoe idolized fellow Indiana native Tony Stewart and dreamed of one day driving Stewart's car. and I'd say ‘Man, the dream is to drive the 14,’" Briscoe said in an interview with The Associated Press. Much like Stewart, Briscoe is considered a blue-collar racer who lacks the family wealth needed to clear the path for an aspiring young driver. He had to earn everything on the track, yet nearly every year Briscoe's season plans were 11th hour deals. It’s why he’s ready for the NASCAR Cup Series and why we are so honored to support him.”
Bowyer chooses long role in NASCAR over proper farewell tour
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If Clint Bowyer could have scripted his sendoff, it most certainly would have been a proper blowout for NASCAR's best partier. Bowyer would have had fans and friends and celebrated every week all along the NASCAR circuit if he'd had his way. I was getting close to being ready," Bowyer said of retirement. The pandemic gave Bowyer weekly studio time and his large and loud personality was full-throttle during the virtual racing telecasts. Just like Waltrip did for nearly two decades, Bowyer can now look toward a long future in NASCAR's spotlight.
Elliott wins at Roval as champ Busch bounced from playoffs
Chase Elliott won on the hybrid road course-oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Busch and three others were trimmed from title contention. Elliott, meanwhile, won for the second consecutive year at “The Roval” and third time this season. “Best way to get into the next round is to win,” Elliott said. Bowman battled anxiety through the race as he worried Kyle Busch would win and bump him from the playoffs. When Busch didn't pit, Bowman nervously asked his Hendrick Motorsports team if he was about to be eliminated.
NASCAR champion Busch tries to stave off elimination
Busch doesn't need to win on the “Roval” to advance, but there's only five races remaining for him to improve his season. The Sunday forecast calls for an 80% chance for rain and the road course portion of the Roval permits NASCAR to race in wet conditions. The Cup drivers have never before used rain tires in competition. NASCAR stopped the Xfinity Series race for about 40 minutes Saturday so its track dryers could push water off the racing surface. "What is the drainage like at that racetrack through the infield road course?
Hamlin wins in 3rd overtime of Talladega's longest race
Denny Hamlin (11) races William Byron (24) and Matt DiBenedetto (21) to the finish line during the YellaWood 500 NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Talladega, Ala. Hamlin won. His sweeping three-wide pass in triple overtime Sunday brought an end to the sloppiest race of the season. “To win the championship, you have to win the last race and you have to get to the last race. But Talladega's finish line is unusually close to Turn 1 and Elliott had not made it there before a crash behind him. DiBenedetto was initially denied his first career victory a year ago by Hamlin the same week DiBenedetto learned he was out of a job.
Kurt Busch ends 0-for-21 skid to finally win at home track
LAS VEGAS – Two decades of heartbreak at his home track finally ended for Kurt Busch when a little bit of luck fell his way at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch then took the checkered flag to the finish line and smacked it on each of the letters in Las Vegas. Kyle Busch appreciated the milestone his older brother achieved in finally winning at Las Vegas. Not only had Kurt Busch never won before at Las Vegas, but he had just five top-10 finishes before the win. “It was pretty cool to finally see him get a victory here in Las Vegas and score a hometown win.
Ryan Blaney hopes to avoid playoff elimination at Bristol
With a bit of disbelief over his fast fall in the NASCAR standings, Ryan Blaney is determined to avoid elimination from the playoffs. William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Blaney are the four drivers below the cutline headed into the knockout race. “This whole group, this team, we are not a 16th-place-in-points team,” Blaney said. 12 team was also off last week at Richmond, where Blaney finished 19th to fall to the edge of elimination. Cole Custer trails Bowyer by eight points, while DiBendetto is 25 points behind and Blaney is 27 points out.
Hamlin seeks to regain mojo at Richmond in home track race
Denny Hamlin stands on his car after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Dover International Speedway, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Dover, Del. (AP Photo/Jason Minto)Kevin Harvick grabbed the first win of NASCAR's playoffs while rival Denny Hamlin finished a distant 13th. Hamlin believes data sharing has allowed his rivals to catch him at his favorite track. Now we’ve had to rely on just putting a better race car on the racetrack than them, which is very, very difficult." I think we were both battling really hard for a win,” Elliott said.
Harvick takes Southern 500 after leaders Elliott, Truex bump
Harvick didnt dominate the Southern 500 in his series-best eighth victory of the season. The leaders got tangled up there and the next thing you know we were racing for the win, Harvick said. PLAYOFF PUSHAlmiorola is now squarely on the bubble ranked 12th among the 16 drivers after the first playoff race. BLANEY PENALTYBlaney's title chances took a hit just hours before the first playoff race began. UP NEXTThe second playoff race is at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.
Playoffs begin with 14 drivers chasing Harvick and Hamlin
Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are expected to race head-to-head for the NASCAR Cup title when the 10-week playoff series begin Sunday at Darlington Raceway. That theoretically leaves the 14 other drivers racing for just two spots in the winner-take-all race. Busch joins his older brother, Kurt, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and DiBenedetto as drivers without a win as the playoffs begin. Logano won twice in the first four weeks of the season, while Elliott scored his two wins after racing resumed. Others have been labeled dark horses, but Truex has very quietly made himself a strong challenger to Harvick and Hamlin.
NASCAR drivers cautious of COVID-19 as playoffs begin
CHARLOTTE, N.C. NASCAR has decided it will not grant COVID-19 relief during the playoffs, meaning a positive coronavirus test will end a driver's championship bid. The playoffs begin Sunday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina without a safety net for the 16 participants during the pandemic. Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon both missed one race during the season following a positive COVID-19 test and earned zero points. NASCAR made no changes for the 10-race playoff series, so missing a race would would effectively end a driver's championship chances. Johnson was not suffering symptoms but was tested after his wife received a positive test; Dillon was experiencing mild symptoms.
Byron wins to reach Cup Series playoffs, knocks out Johnson
Those moves got him to victory lane for the first time in his young NASCAR Cup Series career and back in the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Winless in 120 races, Johnson made a trip to victory lane to congratulate Byron and the No. Its a big win for Chad Knaus and William Byron," Johnson said. Its been a hard couple of years in the Cup Series and trying to get my first win and trying to gel with this team," Byron said. WALLACE REACTSWallace said before the race that there was not much of a dialogue among NASCAR drivers regarding sitting out the Cup Series regular-season finale at Daytona.
Higher stakes at Daytona mean 'crazy things will happen'
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Racing at Daytona International Speedway always comes with a hefty dose of drama. Nearly half the field is looking to clinch a postseason berth with a victory, including seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson. Crazy things will happen.Thats exactly what NASCAR envisioned when it moved Daytonas summertime extravaganza to the regular-season finale. Cup races at Daytona already were considered wild-card events in which just about anyone could end up in victory lane. Throw in the raised stakes, and it's sure to create an ultra-intense couple of hours on the track.
Road king: Elliott wins at Daytona for 3rd straight on road
NASCARs most popular driver won the Cup Series road course race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, holding off hard-charging Denny Hamlin following a late restart and notching his third consecutive victory away from ovals. The 24-year-old Elliott also won on road courses at Charlotte and at Watkins Glen last year. Elliott, Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. had the cars to beat. Making up that kind of ground on a 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course was a nearly impossible tough task, especially considering Elliott was turning mistake-free laps at the front of the field. Newman was one of the few Cup drivers with experience on Daytonas road course.
Unpredictability ahead as NASCAR gets on Daytona road course
NASCAR takes to the retooled road course at Daytona this weekend for what surely will be a unique unprecedented, really experience for dozens of drivers who have only raced it online. The Xfinity Series race is Saturday, followed a day later by the Truck Series and the Cup Series. Both ran the Rolex 24 endurance race on the road course in January. Kenseth and Ryan Newman have victories on the Daytona road course, each winning IROC races in the mid-2000s. While Busch and Allmendinger surely provided teammates help learning the tracks nuances, many teams eager to gain an advantage turned to road course experts for assistance this week.
Harvick holds off Hamlin for Michigan doubleheader sweep
BROOKLYN, Mich. Kevin Harvick won just about everything he could in a stellar weekend at Michigan International Speedway, although fittingly, Denny Hamlin was the last driver to pressure him. Harvick held off Hamlin on Sunday to complete a doubleheader sweep in the NASCAR Cup Series. With NASCAR running an adjusted schedule because of the coronavirus, both Michigan races were held on the same weekend. That meant Harvick became the first driver since Richard Petty in 1971 to win back-to-back Cup races on consecutive days. Its been a long time since Ive raced back-to-back days, let alone in the Cup car, Harvick said.
Keselowski still seeking 1st win at home track in Michigan
Keselowski still hasn't won a Cup race in his home state, and it seems like every year that is a story when NASCAR comes to Michigan. I was actually talking to Joey Logano about it, because I won last weekend at his home track in New Hampshire. Normally, Michigan hosts races in June and August, but the pandemic pushed them both onto the same weekend this year. The races in Michigan always take on a special importance for Ford, which has swept the MIS Cup races each of the past two years. DOUBLEHEADERMichigan is set to become the second track in series history to run a doubleheader at the same facility on back-to-back days.
Wallace crashed out of chance of racing for $1 million prize
BRISTOL, Tenn. Bubba Wallace was wrecked out of the qualifying race for NASCARs annual All-Star event, ruining his shot of racing for the $1 million prize. One driver advanced into the All-Star race through a fan vote and Wallace had been leading when results were last updated by NASCAR a week ago. Aric Almirola advanced by winning the first stage, William Byron for winning the second stage and Matt DiBenedetto for winning the third stage. Crowd estimates for that event have been around 10,000 spectators, but the NASCAR race would likely be the largest sporting event in the United States since March. Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr. failed inspection twice and forfeited the top starting spot in the All-Star race.
Jones dodges wrecks to win 1st career Truck race at Pocono
Its the first time three NASCAR National Series races will be raced on the same day at the same track. It will be the fifth time three National Series races will run on the same day, but those were at different tracks. The Truck race was rained out Saturday forcing the move to early Sunday. The Truck race never got any momentum and dragged from start to finish because of nine caution flags and two red flags on a sloppy day of racing at Pocono. He had 13 top-five finishes in the Truck Series just never the checkered.
Denny Hamlin wins on a long day at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. Denny Hamlin found the magic at Homestead-Miami Speedway, once again. Hamlin went to the lead for the final time with 30 laps left and held off Chase Elliott for his record-tying NASCAR Cup Series victory at Homestead. At Homestead, he led 137 of 267 laps on the 1 1/2-mile track in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. Most of those fans were gone when Hamlin drove under the checkered flag at 10:46 p.m., ending the marathon day. Austin Dillon had a day hell never forget, though his seventh-place finish wasnt even close to the most significant development.
Another win falls into Keselowski's lap in final moments
Keselowski inherited his second win in a week when the leaders crashed in front of him with a lap remaining Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. I felt like I was in Las Vegas, Keselowski said about the Bristol win. "I went from having a bad hand to a full house real quick.The victory dropped into Keselowski's lap when Chase Elliott and Joey Logano collided as they raced for the win. Logano cleared Elliott for the lead with three to go, but Elliott stalked him while seeking his second win in three days. "Awww, just going for the win," Elliott said.
NASCAR picks up at tricky Darlington after 10-week hiatus
FILE - In this May 11, 2012, file photo, drivers take the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. NASCAR will re-fire the engines moments after mask-clad drivers climb into their cars at Darlington Raceway. (Tyler Barrick/Pool Photo via AP, File)DARLINGTON, S.C. NASCAR will not be as you remember it when racing returns at old egg-shaped Darlington Raceway. He tested at Darlington shortly before the season was suspended and determined then he was fit to race again. Busch and Hill are adding Xfinity Series races at Darlington and Charlotte, and a Truck Series race at Charlotte to their calendar. His only victory so far this season was the Truck Series race at home track Las Vegas.
Daytona tweaks Speedweeks, moves Clash onto road course
NASCAR will hit the road for its first race in 2021, part of a schedule shakeup that starts at Daytona International Speedway. They include running the exhibition Busch Clash on the 3.56-mile road course that winds through the Daytona infield and packing seven races as well as Daytona 500 pole qualifying into a six-day span. The tweaks eliminate two traditional “dark days” at the track during Speedweeks and should provide a better fan experience leading into NASCAR’s premier event, the Daytona 500. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson also have Rolex experience on the road course. “It is a very unique road course,” Wile said.
NASCAR drivers anticipate changes to Speedweeks next year
“I’d miss it,” driver Austin Dillon said Wednesday during Daytona 500 media day. “It’d be like somebody trying to go on top of the Daytona 500. The second that we lose sight of that … we’ve got problems.”The Super Bowl is set for Feb. 7, 2021. Well, guess what, sometimes you get a Super Bowl like we had this year and sometimes you get a rout. “I don’t mind them starting a week earlier,” defending Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin said.