Denny Hamlin led Joe Gibbs Racing with a sixth-place finish in this afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Meanwhile, teammates Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards finished eighth, ninth and 15th respectively.
This was the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Four teams will be eliminated from the Chase after the first three-race segment which follows the next two races at New Hampshire and Dover respectively. All four JGR teams remain in the top 10 in points after today’s race. The current point standings are: 1. Truex (2050), 2. Keselowski (-1) 3. Kyle Busch (-4), 4. Hamlin (-5), 5. Logano (-7), 6. Elliott (-11), 7. Kenseth (-12), 8. Johnson (-13), 9. Edwards (-18), 10. Kurt Busch (-19), 11. McMurray (-20), 12. Stewart (-22), 13. Dillon (-23), 14. Harvick (-23), 15. Larson (-23), 16. Buescher (-34). The victory today by Martin Truex, Jr. automatically advances him into the next round of the Chase.
Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota in third and jumped up to second on the opening lap, but debris on the front grill of his car would cause him to drop back a spot to shake it loose. Hamlin would run sixth prior to the first round of pit stops. A caution would come out just as the field was starting a round of green flag pit stops and the 11 would cycle through to restart sixth on lap 57. He was running ninth at lap 100. A caution on lap 119 would bring the leaders down pit road and Hamlin would line up sixth for the restart on lap 125 and held the position through the halfway point. A round of green flag stops at lap 172 would cycle Hamlin through in fourth. A caution on lap 192 would bring the leaders back down pit road and he would restart third on lap 198. Hamlin was running fourth with 50 laps remaining. He would make a green flag pit stop from fifth with 30 laps to go and cycled through to hold the fourth position. Hamlin was running third when a final caution came out with five laps to go. Crew chief Mike Wheeler would make the call to bring the FedEx Camry down pit road and he would restart seventh for a green-white-checkered finish after several cars stayed out on the track. He would go on to finish sixth.
Busch started the No. 18 Skittles Toyota from the pole position and led the opening 21 laps before finally relinquishing the lead and falling back to run third prior to the first round of pit stops. A caution on lap 49 would come out just as the field was starting a round of green flag pit stops. Busch would bring his Skittles Camry down pit road under caution and once all everyone had cycled through he would restart third on lap 57. He was running fourth at lap 100. A caution on lap 119 would bring the leaders down pit road and Busch would hold onto the fourth position for the restart at lap 125 and continued to hold that position at the halfway mark. NASCAR would rule that the Skittles Camry was too fast on pit road during a round of green flag pit stops on lap 172 resulting in a pass through penalty. He would cycle back in a lap down in 20th but managed to drive his way around the leader to get back on the lead lap. A caution on lap 192 would bring the leaders back down pit road and he would restart 12th. Busch was running 13th with 50 laps remaining. A final round of green flag pit stops would see Busch cycle through back in 12th. He would drive his way into the top ten and was running ninth when a final caution came out with five laps to go. Crew chief Adam Stevens would bring the Skittles Camry down pit road one final time and Busch would restart 10th after several cars remained out on the track. He would gain two positions over the two-lap green-white-checkered finish to come home in eighth.
Kenseth started the No. 20 DEWALT FLEXVOLT Toyota in the seventh position and dropped back to run 10th during the opening green flag run while battling an extremely tight handling racecar. A caution on lap 49 would come out just as the No. 20 Camry was making its way onto pit road. Kenseth would cycle through to restart 14th on lap 57. He was running 11th at lap 100. A caution on lap 119 would bring the leaders down pit road and Kenseth was hit with a speeding penalty that sent him back to 19th for the restart on lap 125. The tight handling conditions on his DEWALT FLEXVOLT Camry would continue while racing back in traffic as he held on to 19th position. A round of green flag pit stops would cycle Kenseth through in 13th at lap 180. A caution on lap 192 would bring the leaders back down pit road and he would restart 10th and continued to hold that position with 50 laps remaining. A final round of green flag pit stops would cycle Kenseth through in 10th. He would race his way into sixth before a final caution with five laps remaining. Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff would bring the 20 down pit road and he would restart eighth with two laps remaining after several cars remained out on the track. He would go on to finish ninth.
Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota from the fifth position and settled in to run seventh through the opening green flag while battling tight handling conditions. A caution on lap 49 would come out just as the field was starting a round of green flag pit stops. Edwards would bring the STANLEY Camry down pit road under yellow and once all was sorted out he would restart ninth on lap 57. He was running ninth at lap 100. A caution on lap 119 would bring the leaders down pit road and he would restart 12th on lap 125. Edwards was running 14th at the halfway mark. A round of green flag pit stops would cycle Edwards through in 16th at lap 180. A caution on lap 192 would bring the leaders back down pit road and he would restart 17th. He would gain one spot to run 16th with 50 remaining. A final round of green flag pit stops would cycle Edwards through to run 16th. He was up to 11th when a final caution came out with five laps to go. Crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call to remain out on the track allowing Edwards to restart third for a green-white-checkered finish. With everyone racing behind him on fresher tires the 19 would fall back to finish 15th.
Martin Truex, Jr. captured the win, followed by Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. There were four cautions for a total of 22 laps and 17 lead changes among nine different drivers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next Sunday for the second race in the opening three-race segment in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Live coverage on NBCSN will start Sunday, September 25 at 1:30 PM (race starts at 2 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.
Unloading at Chicagoland Speedway for the final regular season race to set the field for the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, Erik Jones and the No. 20 Hisense USA team qualified in the fifth position and led 10 laps on the way to capturing their fourth win of the season. Rolling off the grid in the fifth position, Jones quickly slipped to ninth on the opening laps and reported to the team that he was too tight and didn’t have the speed he needed on the straightaways. The first caution waved on lap five for the 70 car and the team opted to stay on track. The race restarted on lap 10 with Jones ninth. NASCAR waved a Competition Caution on lap 25 due to rain moving through the area over night and Crew Chief Chris Gabehart called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments to help with the tight-handling conditions. With a solid stop on pit road, the race restarted on lap 31 with Jones in the sixth position. Focused on the leaders and with coaching from Gabehart and spotter Chris Lambert, Jones was able to move up to fifth on lap 42 where he remained when the field started making green-flag stops on lap 80. Gabehart called Jones to pit road from the second position on lap 81 for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. As the field cycled through stops, a competitor spun on the track to bring out the caution. Jones remained on the track and restarted the race on lap 88 from the fifth position. Following multiple cautions, Jones worked his way up to second on lap 117. As the race continued under green-flag conditions, teams were forced to make a second round of green-flag stops. Jones reported that he was happier with the handling of the No. 20 Camry and made his green-flag stop on lap 154 for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. Once the field cycled through stops, Jones returned to the second position with his focus on leader Busch as he began closing the gap between first and second. With two more late-race cautions, including one involving leader Busch, Jones was able to take the lead for the final time on lap 191 and hold off a hard charging Kyle Larson to secure his second win at Chicagoland Speedway in just his third start at the track.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished fourth during the 200-lap event after battling back from damage suffered on pit road. During the only practice session on Friday due to rain in the area, Suárez unloaded fast and maintained his speed throughout the day, finishing third on the time charts with a speed of 176.887 MPH in the ARRIS Camry. Suárez then went out on Saturday morning and qualified his No 19 ARRIS Toyota second for the 200-lap event, turning a lap time of 29.884 seconds at 180.699 MPH around the 1.5-mile speedway. Following the drop of the green flag under a perfect Saturday afternoon night in Joliet, IL, Suárez took the lead on lap two and would be scored in the second position when the first caution of the afternoon waved on lap six. Staying out under the caution, Suárez restarted in second and maintained his position inside the top five until the NASCAR mandated competition caution waved on lap 25. During the caution, crew chief Scott Graves called Suárez down pit road for four fresh Goodyear Tires, Fuel and a round of adjustments. Unfortunately, as Suárez was leaving pit road following his stop, he suffered left and right side damage to his ARRIS Camry after multiple cars hit him on pit road. The damage was severe enough that Suárez came back down pit road to fix the damage and restarted in 29th on lap 31. Despite the setback, Suárez wasted no time working his way to the front, and cracked the top 10 by the time he made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 80 for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. Once pit stops cycled through, Suárez would be scored in the eighth position. Suárez would continue his march towards the front following the pit stop, and would be scored in fourth at the halfway point of the race. The 24-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico would continue to be a mainstay inside the top five for the remaining portion of the race, ultimately crossing the finish line in the fourth position for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) veteran Kyle Busch and the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota team started from row one, a first-place qualifying lap at 180.735 mph captured in 29.878 seconds. Busch led the field nine times over 154 event circuits and was in strong contention for another checkered-flag capture, his ninth of the year, when late in the race, car damage from a wall scrape caused tire damage and a subsequent spin. The No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Camry came home in 13th place while teammate Erik Jones proceeded to grab the checkered flag.
The top-15 finish added to the team’s strong season performance that has documented 10 wins, 16 top-five finishes, 18 top-10 finishes eight poles and 1,905 laps led this year. Busch’s next No. 18 NOS Energy Drink competition will be October 1 at Dover International Speedway for the Drive Sober 200 XFINITY Series event.
In two practice sessions on Friday over the 1.5-mile Illinois racetrack, Busch and team had a difficult time initially with their Toyota Camry. In the first practice session that afternoon, they blew a motor and lost the remainder of that practice session to make the fix. In practice two later on Friday the No. 18 Toyota started to come to life, still needing adjustments, but by the end of the final practice time they were posted fastest on the board.
Qualifying was successful for the No. 18 Toyota team when Saturday morning with a speed of 180.735 mph Busch posted the fastest lap of the field, earning the team their ninth pole of the season, Busch’s seventh first-place start. It was the veteran driver’s 55th pole in 326 XFINITY series races – a series high. At green flag start and from the pole-starting position the NOS Energy Drink Toyota battled initially among traffic, with teammate Daniel Suarez, and dropped to the second-place position. By lap five, however, Busch had regained the top spot and started to pull away from the field when the first race caution appeared. Another restart and again the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Suarez battled hard for position with Busch – taking the lead once more. Busch passed his teammate back once more and again maintained the top position when the competition caution appeared by NASCAR. Busch noted a ‘vibration’ and the team came to their pit box for four new Goodyear tires and Sunoco Racing fuel. They remained in first place with the restart on lap 29 of 200 scheduled event laps. The vibration feeling went away but Busch advised his crew chief Chris Gayle that his Toyota Camry was now beginning to feel tight in the center of the turns. “Exit of one and two is our only problem,” Busch relayed to Gayle. A green-flag pit stop ensued and the team didn’t feel they needed to make any car adjustments. At race halfway, Busch and the NOS Energy Drink team were still leaders. Past the mid-race mark, Busch relayed further to his team about a loose condition with turning in the front and center of the turns. Another pit-road visit and while the No. 18 team elected to replenish four Goodyear tires, other competitors either stayed on the race track or took only two new tires. The No. 18 team restarted in the fourth position but eventually regained the race lead. When asked if he liked the car handling after the last pit stop Busch remarked, “It’s turning better, but it’s not the adjustment I wanted. We’ll be good for short runs but we’ll see how restarts go.” The race momentum changed for the No. 18 team when on lap 148 Busch tried to give room to a lapped car and got pushed up towards, and into the wall, which caused damage to the right rear of the NOS Energy Drink Toyota. “The car will probably go tight now, so don’t make any changes to it. Geez I barely touched it, but it must have really damaged the car, all the rivets are popped out,” Busch relayed to Gayle. Pit road visits occurred at lap 153 and again at lap 161 but the damage forced further issues for the team when on lap 180 they blew a tire. Forced to visit pit road one more time, the No. 18 team replenished tires once more. With the last pit stop at lap 186 NASCAR advised the No. 18 team their crew members made car adjustments by jumping over the wall “too soon.” The penalty was for Busch to restart the final race green flag at the tail end of the line. With only 11 laps remaining to complete the race, Busch didn’t have time to recover and brought his NOS Energy Drink Camry home with a top-15 result, in 13th place.
Saturday’s XFINITY Series event recorded an average speed of 120.576 mph and saw 22 lead changes across 11 drivers. Busch led the field nine times for a race-high 154 laps. There were eight caution periods for 38 laps of the 300-mile event. With Saturday’s 13th-place finish the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink team moves to second place in the series Owner’s Championship competition, now two markers behind the No. 02 Richard Childress Racing team.
Denny Hamlin led Joe Gibbs Racing with a fourth-place finish in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Meanwhile teammates Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards finished sixth, 11th and 19th respectively.
Tonight’s race honored both the past and the present of NASCAR with Darlington Raceway celebrating throwback weekend for the second consecutive year. Special paint schemes adorned all four JGR Camrys to help celebrate the popular theme.
Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota from the seventh position and was able to hold that spot through the first round of green flag pit stops. A caution would come out on lap 96 during a round of green flag pit stops forcing the 11 to take the wave around and restart eighth on lap 104. He would line up ninth for a restart on lap 119. Hamlin was running fourth at lap 200 would line up fifth for a restart on lap 218. A great stop by the Sport Clips pit crew put Hamlin on the lead for a restart on lap 255 and he was running third with 100 laps to go. Hamlin would restart fifth on lap 332 and was running sixth with 18 laps remaining when another caution came out. The FedEx crew would deliver another great pit stop allowing Hamlin to restart fourth with 11 laps remaining. He would hold that position to the checkered flag.
Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Tide Pods Toyota in the 10th position and was strong through the early going making his way up into the top five over the course of the opening 50 laps of the race. Kenseth was running third following the first round of green flag pit stops. A caution would come out on lap 96 during a round of green flag pit stops forcing the 20 to take the wave around and restart sixth on lap 104. He would line up seventh for another restart on lap 119 and was running fifth by lap 140. Kenseth was sixth for a lap 218 restart. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff would bring the Tide Pods Camry down pit road for extended adjustments on lap 251 and Kenseth would line up 14th for a restart on lap 255. Another quick caution would come out and this time the 20 team made the call to remain out on the track allowing Kenseth to restart first. He would drive out to the lead for a few laps but even slightly older tires make the difference on this track and he would fall back to run sixth before the night’s next caution. He was running seventh when another caution came out on lap 279. Kenseth would hold steady in the top ten for much of the rest of the night. He was seventh when a caution with 18 laps to go came out and restarted seventh with 11 laps to go. The Tide Pods Camry would gain one spot on the final run to finish sixth.
Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota from the sixth position and was able to move into the top five early before settling in to run 10th following the first round of green flag pit stops. A caution would come out on lap 96 during a round of green flag pit stops forcing the 18 to take the wave around and restart 13th on lap 104. He would make his way back into the top ten prior to the next caution just 10 laps later. He would restart eighth for another restart on lap 119. Busch was up to sixth by lap 140 and ran fifth on lap 200. Busch would restart second on lap 218 and continued to run in the top five, lining up third on lap 255. He was running fourth with 100 laps to go, but the handling on his Interstate Batteries Camry would change and the 18 would fall back to 10th when a caution came out on lap 279. He would continue to struggle with the handling issues and was running 13th on lap 306. Busch would restart 11th with 11 laps to go and held that position to the checkered flag.
Carl Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota from the third position and although he dropped back a bit at the start he was able to make his way back to the top five prior to the first round of green flag pit stops. Edwards was running ninth at lap 75. A caution would come out on lap 96 during a round of green flag pit stops forcing the 19 to take the wave around and restart 12th on lap 104. He would line up 16th for a restart on lap 119 after an extended trip down pit road for adjustments on his ARRIS Camry. Edwards was back in the top ten by lap 140. Edwards was running eighth at lap 200, but crew chief Dave Rogers made the call for an extended pit stop to help the handling on his car. He would restart 16th on lap 210 and would pit again when another caution came out quickly. He lined up 17th for a restart on lap 218 and was up four spots in just 15 laps. Edwards would line up 13th for a restart at 332 but he had suffered some damage to the left front of his car while on pit road that caused his left front tire to start to go down shortly after the green flag dropped again. He would have to pit under green for repairs. The ARRIS Camry would fall two laps off the pace, but Edwards managed to get one lap back to finish the night in 19th.
Martin Truex, Jr. captured the win, followed by Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Hamlin, and Joey Logano rounded out the top five. There were 10 cautions for a total of 52 laps and 14 lead changes among eight different drivers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Richmond International Raceway next Saturday night for the final race before the race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Live coverage of the race will be carried by NBCSN on Saturday, September 10 starting with its pre-race show at 7 PM ET (race starts at 7:30 PM ET). Live coverage will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) rolled into Darlington Raceway on Saturday afternoon for their first and only stop of the 2016 season at the 1.33-mile historic raceway known as the “Lady In Black.” Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished third during the 147-lap event, securing his 11th top-five finish of 2016.
Denny Hamlin made his second and final NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) start of the 2016 season on Saturday afternoon in the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway behind the wheel of the No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota Camry “Throwback Edition”, inspired by the No. 11 car driven by NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Darrell Waltrip in the 1980’s.
Despite a solid effort by Hamlin and the No. 18 Sport Clips team, they came up short as the checkered flag waved, ultimately settling for a second-place finish at the track where they were victorious just one year prior. Hamlin led a total of 47 laps throughout the 147-lap event and was the top-finishing Toyota driver of the race.
For Erik Jones, it was his first trip to the track known on the circuit as “Too Tough To Tame” and the rookie didn’t have much practice time to learn the ropes since Hurricane Hermine forced officials to cancel on-track activities for Friday. Jones and his No. 20 DEWALT FLEXVOLT™ team only had one 55-minute session to shake down the car before the race on Saturday. Jones started from 10th, and despite some handling challenges, went on to earn a sixth-place finish in his first start at the challenging 1.37-mile track.
Carl Edwards led Joe Gibbs Racing with a seventh-place finish in this afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Meanwhile teammates Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch finished ninth, 13th and 19th respectively.
Carl Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Surfboard Toyota from the ninth position but battled loose handling conditions as he dropped outside the top ten to run 13th prior to a lap 20 competition caution. Edwards would patiently work his way back toward the top ten and was running 11th at lap 50. He would make a green flag pit stop on lap 66 and cycled through to run 14th at lap 70. Edwards was running 13th at lap 100 would restart 12th on lap 125 after a round of pit stops under the day’s third caution. He would lead briefly for just one lap during a round of green flag pit stops. Crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call to have the ARRIS Camry remain out under a final caution that allowed Edwards to line up fifth for a restart with nine laps to go. He would go on to finish the day in seventh.
Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the third position and would drop back outside the top five prior to a competition caution after lap 20. Hamlin would restart in fourth on lap 25 and following another quick caution he would make his way into second. Hamlin would make a green flag pit stop on lap 67 and cycled through to run seventh at lap 70. He would continue to run seventh at lap 100 and would restart fifth on lap 125 after electing to stay out and not pit under caution. Hamlin was running seventh at lap 150 and held that position on lap 175 following a cycle of green flag pit stops. Crew chief Mike Wheeler would make the call for the FedEx Camry to come down pit road one final time and Hamlin lined up seventh for the final restart with nine laps to go. He would go on to finish in ninth.
Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the 13th position and held that spot through the opening 20 laps prior to a competition caution. He was able to enter the top ten on lap 37 and was running ninth at lap 50 while battling a loose handling race car. He would make a green flag pit stop on lap 66 and cycled through to run 12th. Kenseth was running 11th at lap 100 and would pit for tires under the day’s third caution allowing him to restart 11th at lap 125. He would take the lead on lap 157 and held it for eight laps during a cycle of green flag pit stops. A final caution would come out on lap 188 and crew chief Jason Ratcliff would bring the Dollar General Camry down pit road one final time. He would line up ninth for the final restart with nine laps to go and went on to finish the race in 13th.
Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota from 16th position and was able to gain two positions on the opening green flag run prior to a lap 20 competition caution. He would line up 10th for a restart on lap 25, but was loose and spun down the track and into the grass. Busch managed to limit the damage to his Interstate Batteries Camry and he would restart the race just one lap down in 39th on lap 31. He would pit under green on lap 71 hoping to earn the lucky dog spot as the first car one lap down. Unfortunately, that opportunity would never come and the Interstate Batteries Camry would get locked a lap down the remainder of the race. Kyle would finish as the first car a lap down in 19th.
Kyle Larson captured the win, followed by Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. There were four cautions for a total of 17 laps and 20 lead changes among 13 different drivers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head south to Darlington Raceway for throwback weekend next Sunday. All four JGR cars will carry a special throwback paint scheme. Live coverage of the race will be carried by NBC on Sunday, September 4 starting with its pre-race show at 5 PM ET (race starts at 6 PM ET). Live coverage will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.