Wednesday, Nov 30
Matthew Jackson

Matthew Jackson

Brad Keselowski will start from the pole in Saturday’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway.

Driver No. 2 took the top spot with a speed of 127.185 mph.

“I didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t do a qualifying run in practice, but we’ve had phenomenal short-run speed here,” Keselowski told NBCSN post-qualifying. “Haven’t necessarily qualified all that well but when the race comes we get the short runs and we can really make some steam.”

Playoff drivers would make up the top five. Kevin Harvick was second followed by Chase Elliott in third, Kyle Busch in fourth and Clint Bowyer in fifth.

Rounding out the top ten were Denny Hamlin in sixth, Aric Almirola in seventh, Martin Truex Jr. in eighth, Kurt Busch in ninth and Jimmie Johnson in tenth.

Johnson (10th) was the highest qualifying non-playoff driver.

Below is where the rest of the playoff drivers qualified:

Kyle Larson - 13th

Ryan Blaney - 15th

Erik Jones - 16th

Ryan Newman - 19th

Alex Bowman - 20th

William Byron - 25th

Joey Logano - 28th

Live coverage of tomorrow’s Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond Raceway begins at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.

Martin Truex Jr. began the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs with a win in Sunday nights race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Driver No. 19 passed Kevin Harvick with 20 laps to go in the final stage and would stay in command of the lead to the finish.

For Truex, Sunday’s win marks his fifth victory of the season.

“We took a gable and qualified 24th” Truex told NBCSN post-race. “For a while there it wasn’t looking too smart with Harvick out front. Got the right adjustments at the end. Had a great car all day long.”

With his win on Sunday, Truex has now won the first race of the playoffs in three out of the last four years.

Rounding out the top five were Kevin Harvick in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Chase Elliott in fourth and Ryan Blaney in fifth.

Harvick finished runner-up after leading 47 laps of the race.

“We were way off after we got there this week,” Harvick told NBCSN post-race. Kept working. We qualified well and it wasn’t where we wanted when we started the race. We got stage points and led there late and gave us an opportunity. Martin was just so much better on the second half of the run.”

Playoff drivers rounded out the top 10. Alex Bowman finished sixth, William Byron finished seventh, Kyle Larson finished eighth, Joey Logano finished ninth and Ryan Newman finished tenth.

Kyle Busch, who won the regular season championship, finished 19th. Driver No. 18 had to pit on Lap 12 after making contact with the wall in the beginning of the race and would fall to two laps down. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones finished 36th after he went to the garage at the beginning of the second stage after his transmission got stuck in second gear.

Kurt Busch finished 39th after he cut his left-front tire after making contact with Martin Truex Jr. on a restart.

Clint Bowyer, who started on the pole, finished 25th.

The second race of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs will take place with the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.

Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano

Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

 

Playoff Standings

1. Martin Truex Jr. (Win)

2. Kevin Harvick, +52 points above cutoff

3. Joey Logano, +48

4. Kyle Busch, +36

5. Brad Keselowski, +31

6. Chase Elliott, +30

7. Denny Hamlin, +29

8. Kyle Larson, +17

9. William Byron, +13

10. Ryan Blaney, +12

11. Alex Bowman, +11

12. Aric Almirola, +6

13. Ryan Newman

14. Kurt Busch, -14 points behind cutoff

15. Clint Bowyer, -21

16. Erik Jones, -26

Clint Bowyer will start from the Pole in tomorrow’s South Point Casino 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

For Bowyer, this marks jus his third career Cup Series pole with a top speed of 178.926 mph. Bowyer’s other poles came at Darlington and New Hampshire in 2007.

Bowyer, who is a playoff driver, led his Stewart-Haas Racing drivers in qualifying. Daniel Suarez will start second, followed by Kevin Harvick in third and Aric Almirola in fourth.

Kurt Busch rounded out the top five.

“I just asked the guys, There’s something wrong here. What’s going on here?” Clint Bowyer told NBCSN post-qualifying. “The throttle stuck, that’s what it was. We were here at the test earlier in the spring before the season got started. Kind of have an opportunity to figure out how to try to make the track a little bit smaller. It’s all about getting up through the gears, getting momentum built up, making the track as big as possible coming to the green.”

Out of the sixteen playoff drivers, only five will start in the top 12.

Below is where the rest of the playoff drivers will start.

Chase Elliott - P8

Denny Hamlin - P11

William Byron - P14

Kyle Larson - P15

Ryan Newman - P17

Brad Keselowski - P18

Alex Bowman - P19

Kyle Busch - P20

Joey Logano - P22

Ryan Blaney - P23

Martin Truex Jr. - P24

Erik Jones - P26

Coverage of the South Point Casino 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway begins tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.

Wood Brothers Racing announced on Tuesday that their current driver Paul Menard would be retiring from full-time competition following the end of the 2019 season, and the team also announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed Matt DiBenedetto to drive the No. 21 Ford full-time in 2020.

Throughout Menard’s career, Menard has over 460 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series starts, and has been with his current team Wood Brothers Racing since the 2018 season. Menard has one career NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series win which came at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2011 while driving for Richard Childress Racing.

“I’ve enjoyed every moment of my career racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, and I’m so thankful for all the great memories and friendships I’ve made through this sport. But I’m looking forward to spending more time with my wife, Jennifer and our two young children while moving forward with the next chapter of my life,” Menard said. “I’m excited for what the future holds and I’m looking forward to sharing the plans for 2020 and beyond in the coming weeks.”

Matt DiBenedetto, who currently drives for Leavine Family Racing, which announced earlier this year that DiBenedetto would not be returning to the No. 95 for 2020.

DiBenedetto has three top-five finishes thus far this season, including a second place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway which he led 93 laps of the race.

"I am so excited about this opportunity to race for one of the most successful teams in NASCAR history beginning in 2020," said DiBenedetto. "The No. 21 Ford is one of the most accomplished and iconic cars in our sport and it will be an honor to join Wood Brothers Racing and help carry on the team’s tradition of success in NASCAR. I want to thank Eddie and Len Wood, Kim Wood Hall, Menards, Edsel Ford and Ford Motor Company for this opportunity.”

Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s regular season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

For Harvick, this marks his second win at the historic track.

Harvick, who started the race from the pole, led 118 laps of the 160 lap race and beat Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace late in the race to score the victory, which is his third of the season.

“This is great, just got to say thanks to all the fans,” Kevin Harvick told NBC post-race. “Can’t tell you how coming to Indianapolis meant to me as a kid. I watched Rick Mears win Indy 500’s and got to be around him as a kid and he was my hero. So coming here and winning here is pretty awesome.”

Driver No. 4 is running on some momentum thus far as he’s won three of the last seven races.

“I don’t know if we had the best car, but we had the fastest car,” Kevin Harvick told NBC in victory lane post-race. “We gave up the lead there on one of those restarts and then we came and pitted and the caution came out and it worked our way. We’ve given so many away just because of circumstances here, and the way that the caution flag fell today actually worked in our favor. It gave us control of the race and we were able to keep control of the race and not make any mistakes and here we are in victory lane at one of the greatest places on earth to race.”

Rounding out the top five were Joey Logano in second, Bubba Wallace in third, William Byron in fourth and Clint Bowyer in fifth.

Brad Keselowski was involved in a hard wreck along with Erik Jones with two laps to go in Stage 1.

Kyle Busch experienced his first DNF of the season when he suffered a mechanical issue with 13 laps to go in Stage 2.

Ryan Newman, who finished eighth, clinched the final playoff spot along with Clint Bowyer.

“It’s been a year of progress, a year of learning, a year of a lot of things. I’m more rookie this year than I’ve ever been. An ice cold Coke never tasted so good after these first 26 races,” Ryan Newman told NBC post-race.

Daniel Suarez, who finished 11th came just four points shy of the top 16 in the playoff standings.

Jimmie Johnson’s playoff chances came to an end when he was involved in a multi-car wreck on a restart with 55 laps to go. It was the 7-time champion’s first DNF of the season.

The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs begins next Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the running of the South Point 400 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.

Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano

Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick

7-time NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson will have one last chance to make the playoffs this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A 16th-place finish didn’t do driver No. 48 any favors on Saturday at Darlington Raceway. Nor did his finish accurately represent Johnson’s overall performance in Saturday’s Southern 500.

For most of the 367 lap race, Johnson ran in either the top five or top ten. “I had at least 15 years with a lot of luck on my side, seven years of championships and having two or three bad ones is just part of it,” Johnson told NBC Sports post-race on Saturday night. “I keep saying that we’re getting there and tonight we showed it, from the way we qualified to how we ran on those stages. I was running fourth when that accident took place in Turn 3 and I just had nowhere to go.”

Johnson was collected when Daniel Hemric’s tire went down and hit the wall. Driver No. 48 continued and would soon find the lead briefly.

Crew chief Cliff Daniels kept Johnson out on the track when others began to pit early in what was the final pit cycle with just 45 laps remaining, hoping a caution would put the team back into contention for the race win. Johnson would only lead laps 324-326 in the 367-lap race before he pitted.

“Had we done it all over again, we would have done the exact same thing.” Cliff Daniels told NBC Sports post-race.

For 2019, Johnson has 3 top five place finishes and 8 top ten place finishes with an average start of 13.8 and an average finish of 16.2.

To put that into perspective, when Johnson won his last NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Championship back in 2016, driver No. 48 had 5 wins, 11 top five’s, 16 top ten’s with an average start of 12.1 and an average finish of 14.0.

In his 2016 Championship season, Johnson led 737 laps throughout the season. Over the past three years, Johnson has led a combined 341 laps. That’s 396 laps less than what he led in his entire 2016 season.

If Johnson wants a shot at an eighth career NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Championship, he’ll likely need a victory to make the playoffs. 

Cole Custer won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington after Denny Hamlin’s car failed post-race inspection.

NASCAR disallowed Denny Hamlin’s victory after the No. 18 did not meet the minimum requirement for the left-front height.

Wayne Auton, managing director for the Xfinity Series said that Joe Gibbs Racing has until Monday at noon to decide if they choose to appeal the penalty.

This marks the fourth time in the Xfinity Series this season that a car has been disqualified after a race but the first time it has been declared the winner of the race.

The victory was awarded to Custer, who initially crossed the finish line second behind Denny Hamlin.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who made his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start of the season and first at Darlington since 1999, finished fifth.

Rounding out the top five were Tyler Reddick in second, Ryan Blaney in third, Christopher Bell in fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in fifth.

Rounding out the top ten were Chase Briscoe in sixth, Brandon Jones in seventh, Noah Gragson in eighth, Justin Allgaier in ninth and Austin Cindric in tenth.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head into Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September, 7th at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN. 

Stage 1 Winner: Tyler Reddick

Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney 

Race Winner: Cole Custer 

Christopher Bell won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America in a two-lap shootout, earning his sixth win of the 2019 season.

“I’m honestly in shock,” Bell told NBCSN. “I really butchered qualifying, tore the crap out of that left-front. I felt like once we got in the race there I’d be able to drive by those guys. And they dropped the green flag and they’re driving by me. That wasn’t very much fun. Then I told Jason I’m just really, really tight. We got those tires off and he said that left front was hurt pretty bad. We got pretty good there whenever we got the fresh tires on. The strategy obviously worked out really good for us pitting there.”

Driver No. 20 led 10 of the race’s 45 laps in route to victory. Bell was in position to win Saturday’s race thanks to a debris caution caused from his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones with 14 laps remaining. Bell would pit from second place right before the caution came out and was able to stay out while the rest of the field came to pit road.

The final restart of the day was result of Gray Gaulding spinning off course in Turn 1 with five laps remaining.

Bell’s win on Saturday snaps Austin Cindric’s two-race win streak on road courses.

Matt DiBenedetto, who led the most laps of any driver with 18, bounced back from going off track in the middle of the race and was second on the final lap before he spun in the final turn. He would finish 27th.

“Just being stupid on my part,” Matt DiBenedetto told NBCSN. “Was looking in my mirror and got too high and barley got up in the middle and made the most rookie mistake of my life. It was dumb. Uncalled for. We had the fastest car on track and nothing to show for it. I drove stupid. I’m pretty pissed off at myself. Nothing else. Won’t sleep all week. This isn’t exactly a good run when I’m trying to make my career.”

Justin Allgaier the defending race winner, finished ninth after he locked up the brakes entering Turn 1 on the final lap on the fist stage and became stuck in the gravel. Points contender Cole Custer finished 10th after he went off course on the Stage 2 restart and suffered damage to his grille and had to make several pit stops for repairs.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head into Darlington Raceway in the running of the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 where Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to compete. Live coverage begins at 4:00 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

Stage 1 Winner: AJ Allmendinger

Stage 2 Winner: Chase Briscoe

Race Winner: Christopher Bell

Kevin Harvick won Sunday's Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

For Harvick, this was his second win of the season.

Harvick ran down Joey Logano in the final laps on Sunday and drove away from Joey Logano and the rest of the competition to earn his second straight August win at Michigan International Speedway.

"Takes a lot of people to make these cars go around, and winning races is what it's all about," Kevin Harvick told NBCSN. "Just can't do it without all you guys. I mean, to come here to Michigan and win for Ford, and i know how much Mobil 1 likes to beat that Shell car, so that was cool."

Driver No.4 didn't need to save fuel like several others had to do in the closing laps on Sunday, as crew chief Rodney Childers told Harvick that he has two laps to the good on fuel with 13 laps to go.

Harvick had to overcome an early-race flat right front tire issue that forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop, making in to pit road with no damage. Harvick took only two right-side tires and good fuel management helped Harvick get the No. 4 to victory lane.

Joey Logano had to pit with three laps to go for a splash of fuel, ending his hopes of finishing in the runner-up spot. Denny Hamlin would then move up to finish in the second position.

Kyle Larson would finish in the third position, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez. Truex made an stellar comeback with his fourth place finish after he was forced to start from the rear of the field due to inspection issues pre-race.

"We lost track position for the start of Stage 3, restarted 19th and lost some spots, got going a little bit and got some back and then another restart got in the wrong lane and lost some more," Truex told NBCSN. "The track position deal really hurt us but we just had to pick them off one-by-one and of course fuel mileage helped us get some more."

The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series will head into Bristol Motor Speedway next Saturday in the running of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.

Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick

Chase Elliott held off Martin Truex Jr. to win Sunday's Go Bowling at the Glen at Watkins Glen International.

Elliott lead a race-high 80 laps in route to his victory on Sunday.

Driver No. 9 successfully defended his 2018 on the road course, which saw Elliott once again go head-tohead with Martin Truex Jr. in the closing laps.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver swept every stage of the race as Truex followed, beginning with a restart with just four laps left in the second stage.

For Elliott, this is his second win of the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season following his win at Talladega earlier this year.

"That was freaking awesome," Elliott told NBCSN. "I've never been so far from and felt like i was at my house. Just stayed mistake free. Martin was a little quicker i felt like those last two runs. But the track position was king, and i didn't mess up into (Turn) 1 this time, so that was good, so just a huge thanks to everybody that makes that happen."

With his win on Sunday, Elliott snaps a seven-race streak of finishing outside of the top 10.

Rounding out the top five were Martin Truex Jr. in second, Denny Hamlin in third, Erik Jones in fourth and Ryan Blaney in fifth.

For Martin Truex Jr., driver No. 19 has finished in the top two in five of the last six road course races.

"I tried to do all i could," Truex told NBCSN. "Chase did an excellent job, just not making mistakes, and really all i could do was get to two car lengths, one and a half at the closest in braking, and just try to force a mistake but he hit his marks. His car was really fast in the key areas thst you need to be, leaving a few of the key corners. I just couldn't get a run on him and we werekind of stuck there."

Rounding out the top ten were Matt DiBenedetto in sixth, Kevin Harvick in seventh, Kyle Larson in eighth, Brad Keselowski in ninth and Kurt Busch in tenth.

The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series will head into Michigan International Speedway next Sunday Aug. 11 in the running of the Consumers Energy 400. Live coverage begins at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.

Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott

Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott

Race Winner: Chase Elliott

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