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NASCAR will test a different aerodynamic package in next month’s All-Star race in which the cars will have restrictor plates at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The plates are used to choke horsepower and slow speeds, and they are used at Daytona and Talladega, the two biggest and fastest tracks on the schedule. The aero package that will be used in the May 19 All-Star race is the same that NASCAR tried in the Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.
NASCAR has suspended Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Alan Gustafson for two races after Chase Elliott’s car was found to have an illegal rear window during the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Elliott was docked 20 points, and Gustafson was fined $50,000. The 20-point penalty drops Elliott from 15th to 18th in the Cup standings.
Monster Energy will remain the title sponsor of NASCAR’s top Cup Series through 2019 under a new contract extension. Monster is not expected to be back after next year as NASCAR will re-evaluate how it sells its sponsorship. The energy drink company signed a two-year deal in 2016. The brand is a strong fit for NASCAR as the series tries to energize its fan base and appeal to a younger demographic.
Stewart-Haas Racing is already off to a sensational start this season. Now the team is starting 1-2-3 in a race for the first time, with Kurt Busch on the pole and Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer qualified right behind him. Harvick has already won three times this season, including at both 1 1/2-mile tracks, and Bowyer is coming off his first win in six years. All four Stewart-Haas drivers are in the top 11 in points.
Stewart-Haas Racing drivers Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer will start in the first three spots at Texas Motor Speedway after a weather-shortened qualifying session. Busch, Harvick and Bowyer were the fastest in the first round of qualifying. But the second and third rounds were wiped out because of lightning and threatening weather in the area. Bowyer is coming off a win two weeks ago at Martinsville that snapped a 190-race winless streak.
Danica Patrick climbed out of her burning, smoke-filled, wrecked race car and trudged toward pit road. She pulled off her gloves and helmet in frustration before being taken to the infield care center.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. threw his own retirement party on pit road. Earnhardt popped out of his car, flashed a thumbs-up sign and chugged a Budweiser. Drenched in sweat and suds, he grabbed another cold one. It was easy enough to keep happy hour rolling since the beer cooler was stashed on the trunk of his Chevrolet.
Martin Truex Jr. ended NASCAR’s final practice on top.
The timing was perfect for Kevin Harvick’s first NASCAR Cup Series victory at Texas. So was his winning pass.
Denny Hamlin’s streak is alive. Hamlin topped qualifying Friday night for the NASCAR Cup playoff race Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, marking the 13th straight year he has captured a pole on the top circuit.
Kyle Larson slipped between cars on an overtime restart, capping his wild weekend with a victory in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
Kevin Harvick won all three rounds of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway. He earned his 19th career pole with a lap of 198.405 mph during the final segment at the 1 1/2-mile track that was completely repaved earlier this year.
Jimmie Johnson says it’s like NASCAR is coming to Texas for the first time after track changes. Johnson has led more laps at Texas than any other NASCAR Cup Series driver. He has also won a record six times there. But that was all before entire 1 1/2-mile track was repaved, and Turns 1 and 2 were reconfigured. Johnson says all past history is out the window.