Sprint Cup Series News
Sprint Cup Series News

Sprint Cup Series News (9776)

NASCAR® announced today that the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ Awards – and all of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week™ – will return to Las Vegas in 2015 as part of a renewed partnership with the destination. The agreement ensures that Las Vegas will continue hosting the week-long celebration, offering fans and industry members a chance to see the sport’s stars and congratulate the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will headline NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week at Wynn Las Vegas on December 4, 2015. The 16th annual DAYTONA Rising / NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, hosted by SportsBusiness Journal, will kick off NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week festivities at The Mirage on December 1-2.  

“We’ve had a great experience in Las Vegas and are very pleased to extend our partnership with the city,” said NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps. “Las Vegas has consistently set the stage for a vibrant, exciting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week, when the sport looks back on the season and toasts its newest Champion.”

NASCAR began hosting its premier series awards show in Las Vegas in 2009 following a 28-year run in New York City. Since then, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards and Champion’s Week has hosted events at over 30 venues along the famous Las Vegas Strip, drawing the sport’s top drivers and an assortment of high-profile musical and celebrity guests.

“We are thrilled that NASCAR and Las Vegas will continue their strong and successful partnership as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week return for the seventh year,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Each year this event gets bigger and better, and Las Vegas provides the ultimate backdrop to this unrivaled experience in the most exciting city in the world.”

For the first time, the DAYTONA Rising / NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum will expand to a third day and make its debut at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, providing sports industry executives an inside look at the newly completed DAYTONA Rising project. The DAYTONA Rising / NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum has established itself as the premier event where thought leaders both in and out of the racing community gather to discuss, debate and share insights that impact the future of racing. Registration is required at www.MotorsportsMarketingForum.com, and more details on the agenda will be shared in the weeks and months ahead.

“We’re very happy to expand our 2015 NASCAR Motorsports Marketing program to include a Daytona component on February 17, given how much excitement there is surrounding the DAYTONA Rising project,” said Richard Weiss, Publisher of SportsBusiness Journal. “It’s a win-win combination for attendees who will join in our December Motorsports Marketing Forum discussions in Las Vegas who will now also be able to get an insider’s perspective on the Daytona International Speedway project.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will air on NBCSN beginning at 9 p.m. ET. MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the awards show live at 8 p.m. ET.


The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will travel to Watkins Glen, New York this week for the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen.

This will be the series second trip to a road course race this season. Watkins Glen is more suited for stock cars, because it a high speed track that requires less finesse than Sonoma. The word fantasy NASCAR fans will hear a lot this week is “Wheel-hop”. Teams that can keep all four tires on the track win have the most speed in the race.

One of the mistake fantasy teams making is selecting the road course ringers. Do not fall into this trap because the Sprint Cup drivers are the best in the world. They can get around Watkins Glen as well as any specialist in the field.

Here are my picks for the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen.


Yahoo Group A Picks

This will be a good time to take a chance with drivers you have many allocations left in Group A of Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing. Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson have had success at Watkins Glen, but they are too good on the 1.5-mile tracks to be used Sunday. Take a shot with Brad Keselowski or Jeff Gordon this week.  

My sleeper pick in Group A is Joey Logano.  He is not the first name people think of when it comes to road course racing, but Logano can hold his own. He has finished three of the last four races at Watkins Glen in the top seven. He would be a good pick for your team this week.

Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A.

Kyle Busch (7)

How can you select a fantasy NASCAR team without Kyle Busch on it? He is on one of the hottest streaks since Jimmie Johnson won four consecutive races in 2007. It does not matter what kind of track the series competes on, Busch has won at all of them.

Busch has run well at Watkins Glen in his career. He has two wins and eight finishes in the top 10 in his 10 career races at the track. Busch has led 188 laps in the races at Watkins Glen so he knows how to stay out front. Coming off a win at the last race on a road course, Busch is the driver to beat this week.


Brad Keselowski (8)

Keselowski is not on a hot streak like Kyle Busch, but he has been running very well the past month. Now the series competes at one of his best tracks. Keselowski had three consecutive runner-up finishes at Watkins Glen before his 35th place finish last year. Keselowski should be the driver chasing Busch to the checkered flag Sunday.

Other good choices: Joey Logano,Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon


Yahoo Group B Picks

The best choices in the field this week will be from Group B. The problem is every fantasy team will probably have A.J. Allmendinger on their team. You will need to make up ground on the competition by your other selections from this group.

Sam Hornish Jr. is my sleeper pick for Group B. Most fantasy teams probably have all nine allocations left with Hornish and this could be the week to spend one of them.  He has not competed here since 2012, but he finished fifth in that race. Hornish has a chance to run in the top 10 this week.  

Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B.


A.J. Allmendinger (8)

Allmendinger should be on every team this week.. JTG Daugherty Racing will have all their chips on the table at this race trying to make it to Victory Lane. They know that Allmendinger is a road course ace and his best chance to make the Chase is by winning on Sunday. He got the job done in 2014 and he will have a good chance to do again this season.

Carl Edwards (4)

Edwards is a driver that flies under the radar on the road courses. He is better at Sonoma than he is at Watkins Glen, but he does know his way around this track. Edwards has five top-five finishes and seven finishes in the top 10 in his 10 career starts at the track. He should easily add another top-10 finish to his resume this week.

Tony Stewart (8)

Stewart witll be a controversial pick this week. He has been the worst driver in Group B all season. Why should I select him for my team this week? The one thing Smoke has been able to do is qualify his car. He should be able to start upfront and provide bonus points for qualifying. These points will come in handy this week.

Stewart is also very good at Watkins Glen. He has five wins and finished 12 of his 14 starts in the top 10 at the track. If he looks good in practice, he could be worth a shot this week.

Kyle Larson (5)

Larson ran well at Watkins Glen last year and I will take a chance with a repeat performance from the No. 42 team this week. In 2014 Larson qualified 23rd and drove through the field to a fourth-place finish. He should be much better in his second trip to the track.

Since I know I am start Allmendinger no matter what happens in practice, I only need one other driver to pair with him. I will take a chance that Larson is the best choice in Group B Sunday.

Other Good Choices: Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch


Yahoo Group C Picks

There are not many good choices in Group C this week. Fantasy teams will have to decide if they want to use a road course ringer (Boris Said), an Xfinity Series driver (Chris Buescher), or the Sprint Cup regulars. I do not expect any of these drivers to finish inside the top 15.

My sleeper pick in Group C is David Gilliland. He has not been very good this season, but Gilliland is a good pick on the road courses. He has finished the last three races at Watkins Glen inside the top 25. That is not bad for a driver in this category.

Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C.

Justin Allgaier (9)

This would be a great race to use an allocation with Allgaier. He has only competed in one race at Watkins Glen, but he performed very well. Last year Allgaier qualified 15th and finished 17th. Most fantasy teams would take the same type of results from Allgaier Sunday.

Danica Patrick (5)

Patrick has not been great at Watkins Glen but what she has been able to do is make her way through the field. In 2013 she started 35th and finished 20th. Last year she started last and finished 21st. If Patrick can qualify the car in the top 25 she should be able to finish inside the top 20.

Other Good Choices: David Ragan, Boris Said and Chris Buescher


Fantasy Live Picks

The strategy for Fantasy Live this week is not difficult. There are only 90 laps in the race so there will only be 45 bonus points available for leading laps. Fantasy teams will not be able to score well using all of the drivers starting up front.  Selecting drivers who start in the back with an opportunity to score points for position differential will be the strategy to use at Watkins Glen.

Fantasy teams should build a balanced lineup this week using cheaper drivers like Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer and A.J. Allmendinger. There is no need to pay a premium price for the top drivers this week.

Here are the five drivers I selected for Fantasy Live for the race at Watkins Glen:

Driver 1: Brad Keselowski $26.25

Driver 2: Kyle Busch $26.25 

Driver 3: Carl Edwards $21.00

Driver 4: A.J. Allmendinger $15.25

Driver 5: David Ragan $10.50

Pick to Win: AJ Allmendinger

* Driver prices based on prices at Pocono


Fox Fantasy Racing

The strategy for Fox Fantasy Racing will be the same as Fantasy Live this week. Selecting drivers who qualify in the middle of the pack and can move to the front will score your team the maximum amount of bonus points this week. Be sure to check out the Happy Hour speeds for the popular drivers who start in the back. If they run fast laps in practice, they should be able to make their way through the field once the green flag is waived.

Here are my selections for Fox Fantasy Racing for Watkins Glen:

Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $14,300

Driver 2: Brad Keselowski $11,000

Driver 3: Carl Edwards $8,300

Driver 4: Kyle Busch $7,200

Driver 5: A.J. Allmendinger $7,700

* Driver prices based on prices at Pocono


*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info


With just under two laps remaining Martin Truex Jr. was safely running in second place in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. 

But as the race was approaching the checkered flag an unexpected turn of events occurred at the 2.5-mile triangular-shaped track. Race leader Joey Logano ran out of fuel on lap 157 of 160, moving Truex to second. One lap later Truex experienced the same problem and was forced to come down pit road for a splash of fuel. And a short time later Kyle Busch, who was leading the race at the time, also ran out of fuel.  

The fuel issue wasn't the only problem for Truex at the end of the race. He was initially shown with a 10th-place finish but was penalized after the race for speeding when he entered pit road for the final fuel stop. When the final results were posted by NASCAR, Truex was listed with a 19th-place finish, Logano 20th and Busch 21st. 
"It seems that I never come out ahead on these fuel mileage races," said Truex. "We thought we were going to be ok (for fuel). I am sure other teams who ran out felt the same way. Yeah, it's disappointing but what I am going to take away from this race is how our Furniture Row guys kept on making our Chevrolet better and better during the weekend. We were a contender today and in the big picture that's the most important point for our team as we head into the Chase. We were rolling today -- just needed a little more fuel to make it an even better weekend." 

Crew chief Cole Pearn echoed the same feelings. 

"We had a great car, I guess that's a consolation," said Pearn. "I wish we could have worked it out to get to victory lane. I thought we were saving enough (fuel) to make it, but obviously the No. 20 did (Matt Kenseth). Hindsight is 20-20. Everybody thought they were good on fuel, I am not really sure what the deal was there."

Truex started the race from the 13th position and jumped into the top-10 on Lap 10. He ran solidly for the entire race, and led six laps.  

Truex remains fifth in the driver points standings.


RCR Post Race Report - Windows 10 400

Written by
Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Monday, 03 August 2015 09:07

Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing drivers Paul Menard, Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman finished 11th, 13th and 23rd, respectively, in the Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway.
  • Menard ranks 12th in the Sprint Cup Series championship point standings, trailing current leader Kevin Harvick by 189 points, while Newman ranks 13th and Dillon ranks 20th.
  • Matt Kenseth earned his second win of the 2015 season and was followed to the line by Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Greg Biffle.
  • The 22nd race of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season is the Watkins Glen 355 at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 9, 2015, which is scheduled to be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.

Austin Dillon Drives No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet to 13th-Place Finish at Pocono Raceway


Austin Dillon drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet to a 13th-place finish in the Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon. The sophomore NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor started the 160-lap race from the fourth position and ran within the top five during the beginning of the race. Crew chief Slugger Labbe took advantage of varying pit cycles to place the No. 3 team on an alternating pit strategy from the race leader, opting to make the team's first pit stop under caution on lap 29 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Dillon restarted 26th when green-flag racing resumed on lap 33 and again raced his way into the top five within 20 laps. The team made their final pit stop of the race on lap 123 for four tires, fuel and additional chassis adjustments. Shortly afterwards, Dillon was running in the 10th spot when Labbe advised him to conserve fuel for the remainder of the race. The team's calculation's indicated that they were one lap shy of the finish. A long green-flag run ensued and despite heavy conservation methods, Dillon coasted to pit road two laps short of the race's finish for a splash of fuel before returning to the track and finishing 13th in the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet. The next race on the 2015 schedule is at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 9, where Dillon will drive the No. 3 Dow Chevrolet.


Start - 4                 Finish - 13                   Laps Led - 0                Points - 20


"I'm proud of the American Ethanol team. We had a solid Chevrolet today. I thought we saved enough fuel but came up just a little bit short. I'll learn from that experience for next time. Running in the top five and top 10 for a majority of the day definitely gives this team a lot of momentum heading into Watkins Glen and the remainder of the races on the schedule."



 2011 CC Team Icon 27 NSCS Menards


Paul Menard Finishes 11th in the SYLVANIA/Menards Chevrolet SS at Pocono Raceway


Paul Menard started Sunday's 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway from the 18th position and crossed the finish line in 11th. An early incident on lap five sent the red flag into the air just 10 laps before the competition caution. This put teams on different pit strategies throughout the 160-lap event at the Long Pond, Pa.-based facility. Crew chief Justin Alexander opted to have Menard come down pit road during the NASCAR-mandated competition caution for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to alleviate a tight-handling condition in Turn 3. After the restart, Menard raced within the top 25 and by the lap 37 was in the top 16, but reporting a loose in- and loose off-handling condition in the corners. The No. 27 team alleviated the loose-handling condition on lap 55 with four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Menard raced within the top 15 and reported the SYLVANIA/Menards Chevy responded positively to the latest adjustments with 51 laps to go. After one final pit stop, the Eau Claire, Wisconsin native maintained his position in the top 13 and crossed the finish line 11th. This marks Menard's 14th top-15 finish of the season and moves him up to 12th in the driver point standings. Up next for the No. 27 team is Sunday's road-course race at Watkins Glen International.


Start - 18            Finish - 11           Laps Led - 0              Points - 12



"Today was a good day for us considering how it ended here earlier this year. That early caution got us on different pit strategies which made it interesting. We were one lap short there at the end and tried to make it up but fell a little short. Luckily we were still able to cross the finish line in 11th. We'll take it."


Ryan Newman Posts 23rd-Place Finish at Pocono Raceway after Fuel Tank Runs Dry


Ryan Newman drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS to a 23rd-place finish in Sunday's 400-mile event at Pocono Raceway. The South Bend, Ind., driver started 14th but was forced to drop to tail end of the field after the team discovered a possible issue with the rear-end gear on Saturday. Within the first 40 laps of 160, Newman raced up to 18th position. He communicated to crew chief Luke Lambert that the No. 31 Chevy was loose in Turn 1 and tight into Turn 3. By halfway, Newman competed in 15th and needed more help in Turn 3 since he ran too tight. The Cat crew serviced the car on lap 88 to help the driver climb into the top 10 before settling into the top 15 at lap 100. The team's final service occurred on lap 123 for wedge and air pressure adjustments under green-flag conditions. Lambert instructed his driver to conserve fuel but with just two laps to go, Newman's tank ran dry forcing the driver on to pit road. The untimely splash and go resulted in the 23rd-place finish. Newman now ranks 13th in the championship point standings and 14th in the Chase Grid with just five races remaining before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship begins.

Start - 14           Finish - 23          Laps Led - 0          Points - 13



"This certainly wasn't the finish we were hoping to have for the type of Caterpillar Chevrolet we had. We were fast all weekend and expecting to back it up with at least a top-10 finish but our gamble on fuel did not pay off this time. It's unfortunate with how we were able to race up through the field after we started in the back due to changing our rear-end gear. We had a fast car, we just don't have the finish to reflect it. I'm looking forward to next weekend to close out our strong road-course racing season with a very solid finish at Watkins Glen."


Greg Biffle drove his No. 16 Roush Performance Ford Fusion to a fifth-place finish at Pocono Raceway.  Biffle had worked his way into the top 10 and was able to capitalize on pit strategy, stretching fuel mileage to the end.  Biffle ran out of fuel coming to the white flag, but was able to coast his way to a fifth-place finish while many others had to pit for fuel. 

“My car ran so good today,” said Biffle.  “That last run of the day I got tight and three guys got by me. We are really excited about getting the Roush Performance Parts Ford Fusion up in the top-five but we had a second or third place car there on speed but got really tight on that last set of tires. I don’t know what happened. It was the same air pressure but a little tight.

It is a turnaround from where we were in practice and qualifying so we are good with that.  We needed all those guys in front of us to run out of gas and have a good run and get a win there but it didn’t happen today. We will keep working at it. We need a win to get in the Chase. We won’t get in on points. We will have to get in on a win.”

Biffle started the 160-lap race from the 25th position and slowly began working his way forward.  His No. 16 Roush Performance Ford would fire off loose and tight right after a pit stop, but the handling came around as a run continued.  There were many cautions early in the race but later in the race Biffle got the long green flag runs his Ford needed.

Different pit strategies unfolded towards the end.  Biffle was running solidly just outside the top 10 as the race winded down but was able to stretch fuel further than others despite the tight-handling condition from the last pit stop.  The Roush Performance Ford ran out of fuel coming to the white flag, but Biffle was able to coast his way to a fifth-place finish.

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, was battling for a top-20 position before striking a piece of debris entering Turn One on Sunday afternoon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) event at Pocono Raceway, ending the Roush Fenway Racing driver’s afternoon just past the halfway point of the event.   

“You don’t see that every day,” said Bayne after the race.  “I was going into Turn One wide open on the front stretch and the No. 7 car was in front of me and at the last second he darted and a tail pipe bounced up and went through the radiator. So we lost water pressure and oil pressure and may have lost a Roush Yates engine here.

“It is really unfortunate because I felt we were getting our car better,” Bayne continued. “We’ve had a rough month and I feel like we are getting back on track with this No. 6 AdvoCare Ford and we probably had a top-20 car going so it is unfortunate but you will have that sometimes and today just wasn’t our day.”

Bayne began the 160-Lap event from the 23rd position after advancing to the second round of knockout qualifying on Friday afternoon. From the drop of the green flag, Bayne reported to crew chief Bob Osborne that the AdvoCare Ford was loose. Utilizing a Lap 4 caution period, Osborne called Bayne to pit road for a chassis adjustment.

Returning to the track in the 36th position, Bayne maintained his track position until a strategy call by Osborne during the competition caution on Lap 15 for fuel only moved Bayne back into the top 25. On the ensuing restart, Bayne ran over a piece of debris, causing the left-rear tire to go flat. An opportune caution on the same lap allowed the Roush Fenway Racing driver to hit pit road without losing a lap.

Despite the early setback, the Knoxville, Tenn. native raced his way back up to the 21st position following a Lap 33 restart. Bayne would ultimately move up to as high as the 12th position before hitting pit road for the first round of green flag pit stops on Lap 58. Bayne returned to the track in the 32nd position but was able to improve 10 positions after staying out during a Lap 65 caution.

After narrowly avoiding a spinning No. 41 car on the ensuing restart, Bayne drove his way into the top 20. Then, while maintaining his track position just past the halfway point, Bayne sustained damage to the nose of the AdvoCare Ford after hitting a piece of debris heading into the first corner. This debris proved catastrophic as it punctured a hole in the radiator of the car, ending Bayne’s afternoon early.

In the end, Bayne was scored with a 40th-place finish. 


After starting in the 34th position, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. gained seven positions in the first 15 laps before the No. 9 machine slowed in the high groove leaving Stenhouse Jr. nowhere to go. The damage on his Ford Ecoboost Ford was irreparable leaving Stenhouse Jr. with a 41st-place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pocono Raceway.

“Everything was happening real fast,” Stenhouse said after being released from infield care. “I saw the No. 9 in turn three run up the track and I thought he just got loose and everything was fine but getting into turn one the car in front of me ducked out at the last minute and there was the No. 9 sitting there and I got on the brakes really hard. I think it got on the splitter and couldn’t go left or right and I just ran right into him. It is not a good day for us. I thought I had a car that could pass some other cars and we did that until that yellow and then we got shuffled back. We thought we would have a better day than that.

“We started off the weekend really slow and struggling with the handing of our cars,” Stenhouse continued. “We got it better at the end of final practice and made it up to 27th there during that caution and then we came in and took fuel and were coming back through there and got involved in that wreck. It is a frustrating weekend and a frustrating year but we will continue to work to get our cars better and continue to plug away.”

After battling a loose Ford in qualifying, Stenhouse Jr. started in the 34th position gaining three positions in the first five laps and steadily moved up through the field.  When the competition yellow was displayed on lap 15, the two-time XFINITY champion was scored in the 27th position.

With fuel mileage always a factor at Pocono, crew chief Nick Sandler chose to bring Stenhouse down pit-road for a splash of fuel during the third caution of the day. On the next restart, the No. 9 machine slowed in the high groove leaving Stenhouse Jr. nowhere to go forcing him to settle with a 41st-place finish.


When the checkered flag waved on Sunday afternoon cars were running out of gas left and right. In the end it was Matt Kenseth who wound up in Victory Lane to capture his first win at Pocono Raceway and his second victory of 2015 after winning at Bristol in April.

Kenseth has been accustomed to finishing poorly at Pocono. Since joining Joe Gibbs Racing at the beginning of the 2013 season Kenseth’s best finish at Pocono was sixth back in June. The other four races at Pocono the No. 20 team’s best finish was 22nd.

Kenseth led just two laps on the afternoon and was able to capitalize on the opportunity in front of him. This marks Joe Gibbs Racing fourth series win in a row and has made them serious contenders for the championship going forward.

“There’s no better feeling coming off of the last corner of a Sprint Cup race and you know that you’re going to win,” said Kenseth. “I thought as a group we showed a lot of speed. Today we had a really good car I just did s bad job on the restarts and it got us behind. Once we got single-file it was just really tough to pass. Once I could pass some cars and clear them we were able to run some competitive laps times that were close to the leader. We had a top-three to to-five car so that was encouraging. Jason (Ratcliff) told me that I had to really start saving. Once I got in front of Jimmie (Johnson) I kept begging Jason when we could go and he told me never. I wanted to get as close to the leaders in case we ran out. That’s hard to not run as fast as you can in the last five or six laps of a race.”

Joey Logano and Kyle Busch had the field covered on Sunday. Logano led 97 laps on the afternoon, but coming to the white flag the No. 22 ran out of gas handing the lead over to Busch. However, the lead for Busch was short-lived because on the backstretch of the final lap the No. 18 ran out of gas. Logano finished a disappointing 20th while Busch finished 21st and sits just outside the top 30 in Cup Series points.

Other cars that ran out of gas in the last three laps include June winner Martin Truex, Jr. Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman. Many cars pitted with just a couple of laps left in the race in order to make it to the checkered flag.

The final 64 laps were run under the green flag, which threw every team for a loop after having eight cautions in the first 93 laps.

Brad Keselowski had an eventful race but rebounded to bring his Ford home in the second position.

During one of Keselowski’s green flag pit stops he slid through his pit stall collecting the front-tire changer and the jackman. The tire got away from the front-tire changer which resulted in a pit road penalty for the No. 2 team. Keselowski came from one lap down to have a top 10 car, but with all of the commotion in the last handful of laps he found himself finishing in the runner-up position.

“Fast cars are really a joy to drive,” said Keselowski. “That was so much fun to have a car that fast. It’s just another race where things didn’t exactly go our way. This one is on me for hitting my guys.”

Jeff Gordon finished in the third position in his last race at Pocono Raceway. Gordon will finish his career at the famed track with six total wins, but he also had to overcome adversity in order to gain crucial points on the cutoff to the Chase.

“I’ve enjoyed the challenges of this race track,” Gordon said post-race. “The shifting, the three unique turns and you have to set-up the person that you’re racing each and every corner and try to get momentum off of the corner.

Gordon didn’t have a third-place car all afternoon. The No. 24 team struggled to run in the top-15, but it’s the end result that counts and Gordon had a good points day.

“You know when the red flag comes out on Lap 4 that you’re going to have a wild day,” he said. “We got behind because we played that strategy and got behind. It wasn’t looking very good, but in the end when we crossed the line it looks genius.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth on Sunday. Much like Keselowski and Gordon, Earnhardt also had to overcome an early race incident to score a top five finish.  

Just prior to halfway Earnhardt was spun out by Cole Whitt. Earnhardt was running at the tail-end of the lead lap because he received a speeding penalty on pit road. While keeping the car out of the wall saved the No. 88 team, they had to go a different route in strategy and barely made it to the checkered flag.

“It’s just hard to get track position back,” Earnhardt said. “There are so many cars on the lead lap, it was tough for us. We get stuck in traffic and it’s really hard to pass here once guys get sorted out, so even if we can run guys down and are a half-second faster than the guys in front of us when you’re five car lengths back you can’t pass them and you can’t go any further. You get in dirty air and there’s nothing you can do.”

Other drivers who had solid finished were Greg Biffle who picked up just his second top-five finish of 2015 both coming on fuel-mileage. AJ Allmendinger finished in the seventh position which builds momentum heading back to Watkins Glen, the track that the No. 47 team won at in 2014.

 There were a bunch of incidents that changed the complexion in the first half of the race.  

The biggest hit of the day came on Lap 4 when Kasey Kahne spun out of Turn 3 and collided with the pit wall. Kahne’s No. 5 was the third different car this weekend that hit the pit wall. In final practice on Saturday it was Jeb Burton who got loose and spun. In a preliminary race on Saturday another car spun into the pits. This has been an ongoing issue at the track and Pocono Raceway is looking into it.

“I just got loose really late,” Kahne said after being released from the infield care center. “I’m not sure why or what happened, it just jumped out. You’re so far off of the corner that it’s a slow slide so far down pit road. I couldn’t believe it when the No. 26 did it in practice and then I did it probably further down than he did.”

Kahne finished last on Sunday.

On Lap 20, Kevin Harvick blew an engine just as he passed teammate Kurt Busch for the lead. Harvick was one of the pre-race favorites to take home the checkered flag.

Busch finished in the 37th position after he made contact with Paul Menard on Lap 66. Busch had a huge slide through the middle of the pack and had it corrected until Sam Hornish, Jr. hit the No. 41 in the rear.  

Pocono was one of the more unusual races in recent memory.  The Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen next weekend to tackle the left and rights of the Finger Lakes region with just five races remain before the Chase. 

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