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Somewhat overshadowed by the stifling scrutiny of NASCAR’s new rules package was another Team Penske victory. Joey Logano held off teammate Brad Keselowski’s last-lap push to win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – the fourth victory for a Roger Penske car in seven days.
Kevin Harvick has won the pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first time in his 19-year NASCAR Cup Series career. Harvick turned a lap in 29.914 seconds in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. He beat out Denny Hamlin and hometown hero Kyle Busch for the top spot in Sunday’s race.
Kyle Busch will have the coveted No. 1 pit stall as he races for the NASCAR Cup championship after Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin and pole winner passed on the spot. Hamlin had the first choice of pit stalls because he posted the fastest practice qualifying lap. The JGR team surrendered the spot to Busch at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Team owner Joe Gibbs says it was an organizational decision. Hamlin isn’t one of four drivers racing Sunday for the championship.
Kyle Busch will lead NASCAR’s title contenders at the start of Sunday’s championship finale. Busch was the highest qualifying driver of the four championship contenders at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He was second. Martin Truex Jr., the reigning series champion, qualified third in his final race with Furniture Row Racing. Joey Logano qualified fifth for Team Penske and Kevin Harvick was 12th, lowest of the title contenders.
NASCAR champion Martin Truex Jr. and his crew chief will move to Joe Gibbs Racing next season to remain in the Toyota organization after their race team folds in two weeks. Truex won his first Cup title last year driving for Furniture Row Racing. Barney Visser had funded the team out of pocket for most of its existence but received relief help the last few seasons from sponsorship. Truex will replace Daniel Suarez.
Kevin Harvick has been stripped of his berth in NASCAR’s championship race because his winning car failed inspection after Texas Motor Speedway. The No. 4 Ford had an illegally modified spoiler. The discovery negates the automatic berth Harvick earned into the finale at Homestead. He now enters this weekend’s race at Phoenix fourth among the remaining eight playoff drivers vying for three playoff spots.
NASCAR did not have its finest day at Texas Motor Speedway, where things first went awry with an erroneous penalty even before the race.
Kyle Larson has been docked 10 points by NASCAR for a rules violation that could bring an end to his championship chances. Chip Ganassi Racing was penalized for breaking NASCAR’s policy on damaged vehicles during the race at Talladega Superspeedway. The points deduction drops Larson to 36 points below the cutoff for the final transfer position to the third round of the playoffs. NASCAR will cut the playoff field from 12 to eight drivers following Sunday’s race at Kansas.
Kurt Busch led a Stewart-Haas Racing sweep to put all four of the company cars up front at Talladega Superspeedway. Busch turned a lap at 195.804 mph to qualify in the top spot for Sunday’s race. He edged teammate Clint Bowyer, who qualified second, ahead of Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola as the Ford horsepower built by Doug Yates’ engine shop proved superior in qualifying. It is Busch’s first career pole at either Daytona or Talladega, the two biggest and fastest tracks in NASCAR.
There will be no eighth NASCAR title for Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus. Hendrick Motorsports will split the driver and crew chief at the end of this season. Johnson and Knaus were partnered in 2002 when Knaus built the No. 48 team as part of a Hendrick expansion. They won a record-tying seven titles and made the playoffs in all 15 years of its existence. Kevin Meendering will return to Hendrick after a stint as crew chief for Elliott Sadler in the Xfinity Series to lead Johnson.
NASCAR will use two primary rules packages next season and race at Daytona and Talladega without restrictor plates for the first time since 1987. The rules packages revealed Tuesday will be tailored to specific tracks and designed to slow Cup Series cars to create more passing for the lead. At Daytona and Talladega, the two fastest tracks in NASCAR where horsepower-sapping plates are used on the engines, NASCAR will now use a thicker tapered spacer aimed at restricting air flow.
Kyle Busch passed Brad Keselowski with 38 laps to go and held off hard-charging Kevin Harvick to win the NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Richmond Raceway. Busch won for the 50th time in his career, the sixth time on the 0.75-mile oval and for the first time here in the fall.
Kurt Busch stole the spotlight from his younger brother at Bristol Motor Speedway to grab an overdue short-track victory. Busch won for the first time this season but sixth on the bullring he once dominated.
Kyle Larson won his third pole of the season as he eyes his first NASCAR Cup Series victory of the year. Larson turned a lap at 127.792 mph in qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway. Chase Elliott was second at 127.665.
NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne says he is retiring from full-time racing. The 38-year-old Kahne says he is at ease with the decision. The former Hendrick Motorsports driver has 18 victories in 15 years in the Cup Series. He had a playoff-clinching win last season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, three-time champion Tony Stewart and four-time champ Jeff Gordon have all retired in recent years. Elliott Sadler is leaving after this season.
BROOKLYN, Mich. – Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch swept the front row in qualifying at Michigan International Speedway. Kevin Harvick, neck-and-neck with Busch all season, was right behind in third. Hamlin went 202.794 mph in Friday’s session to win a pole for the second consecutive week. The JGR veteran is winless this season, while teammate Busch has six victories and Erik Jones has one.
Jim France seems to be choosing to stay in the shadows, declining to let the public hear from him as the interim chairman and CEO of NASCAR. France is not expected to be available for interviews as NASCR prepares run its first race, at Michigan International Speedway, since chairman Brian France took an indefinite leave from the company his family owns. Brian France was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of oxycodone Sunday night.
Ford will celebrate its iconic muscle car next year when it races the Mustang in NASCAR’s top Cup Series. The Mustang has raced in the second-tier Xfinity Series since 2011. It will compete against Chevrolet’s Camaro and the Toyota Camry. The Mustang debuted in 1964 and is Ford’s longest running model. The 10 millionth Mustang rolled off the production line this week.
NASCAR participants do not seem concerned about Chairman Brian France’s arrest on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of oxycodone. France has taken a leave of absence and most seem confident his uncle Jim France can be a steady force in trying times for the series. NASCAR is privately owned by the France family.
Denny Hamlin has won the Cup pole at Watkins Glen International. Hamlin traversed the 2.45-mile layout at 125.534 mph to take the top spot in the No. 11 Toyota, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch.