Chris Buescher Scores His First Career Sprint Cup Win

Chris Buescher scored his first career Sprint Cup Series win in Monday’s rain-delayed Pennsylvania 400 when the race was called due to fog and an approaching storm on lap 138. Buescher battled back from a cut tire under green that put him in the back and opened up the need for pit strategy on a day that every team was racing the weather as hard as any competitor. As a green flag cycle of pit stops was nearing its end, Buescher and his Front Row Motorsports team chose to stay out as fog begin to build around the track hopeful for a stoppage. That stoppage came when spotters no longer could see turn 1. The race was then called after an hour and 20 minute red flag where the cars ended up being covered up on pit road because of weather in the area. Brad Keselowski who had been on an off-sequence pit strategy all afternoon, finished second. Regan Smith, who also had yet to pit, finished third for his first top five since 2012, and first since joining Tommy Baldwin Racing at the start of the season. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart rounded out the top five. Joey Logano led a race high thirty-eight laps, but was forced to the garage for repairs on lap 106 after contact with Chase Elliott. Kyle Larson led thirty-seven laps and looked to have a car that would have competed for the win but fell back after contact with Austin Dillon while battling for the lead around the halfway mark. Larson would eventually work pit strategy to race back to finish sixth, while Dillon would finish thirteenth. The fast and furious racing to halfway and then to beat the impending weather produced nineteen lead changes among eleven drivers, and was slowed for caution seven times for thirty-one laps.

Johnson Joins ‘Unlimited’ Field

Jimmie Johnson has joined Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Junior, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Kyle and Kurt Busch, and rookie Chase Elliott on the list of drivers newly eligible for next year’s Sprint Unlimited non-points special event as a result of their qualifying efforts in 2016.  The non-points special event features pole winners from the previous season and traditionally kicks off Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.  Johnson earned the Number-1 starting spot for this past weekend’s race in New Hampshire with a lap of 133.971 miles per hour.  He finished twelfth in Sunday’s race … Next stop in the Sprint Cup Series is this coming Sunday’s Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

21st Running of the Auto Lotto 200 X-FINITY Series Race

Last Year’s Race: On paper, it looked like Denny Hamlin had an easy time of it in winning at New Hampshire – leading 145 of the two hundred laps to post his second X-FINITY Series win of the season.  But on the track, it was quite a different story.  Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch leaned hard on each other twice during the course of the afternoon while racing for position.  In one instance, contact early in the race sent Hamlin – the pole sitter – spinning and forced him to restart at the rear of the field.  But the Number-20 Toyota was strong, Hamlin charged back toward the front and took the lead at Lap-43.  With less than thirty laps to go, Austin Dillon jumped past Hamlin on the day’s final restart and led briefly.  But Hamlin pulled alongside Dillon a short time later and nudged him out of the way to reclaim the lead and drive off to his thirteenth career victory.  Dillon was critical of Hamlin’s bump-and-run tactic after the race as he had to settle for second place.  Brad Keselowski finished third and Busch was fourth, giving Sprint Cup Series drivers the top four finishing positions.  Rookie Daniel Suarez was fifth, the highest-placed X-FINITY Series regular.

Friday’s Practice Schedule: From 1 to 1:55 p.m. and 3 to 4:25 p.m. (ET) … Qualifying: Saturday at 11:15 a.m. (ET).

NASCAR X-Finity Head To Charlotte For The Hisense 300

The NASCAR X-Finity Series  also is running in Charlotte this weekend, with Saturday’s Hisense 300. Elliott Sadler of Junior Motorsports leads the standings by three points over Daniel Suarez. Teams got two practice sessions on Thursday with Ty Dillon posting the fastest overall speed, 181.342 miles per hour in the Number-3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Rookie Erik Jones, Suarez, Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon – Ty’s older brother – completed the top five. Suarez had the best average speed over ten consecutive laps at 175.708 miles per hour.

Austin Dillon swept both races at C-M-S last season and goes for three in a row on Saturday. The last driver to do that in Charlotte is Mark Martin in 1995 and 1996 … There is no on-track activity at C-M-S on Friday. The schedule resumes Saturday with X-FINITY Series qualifying at 11:15 a.m. (ET) and a pair of Sprint Cup Series practice sessions … THE CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES … is idle this weekend and will return to action Friday night, June 10th, in Fort Worth, Texas. Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – will have live coverage of the Rattlesnake 400, beginning at 8:30 p.m. (ET).

Truex Joins ‘Unlimited’ Field

Martin Truex Junior has joined Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Kyle and Kurt Busch, and rookie Chase Elliott on the list of drivers newly eligible for next year’s Sprint Unlimited non-points special event as a result of their qualifying efforts in 2016. The non-points special event features pole winners from the previous season and traditionally kicks off Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Truex earned the Number-1 starting spot for this past weekend’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway with a speed of 190.921 miles per hour. He finished fourteenth in the race.

Next stop in the Sprint Cup Series is Dover International Speedway for Sunday’s Triple-A 400 Drive for Autism. Chevrolet has a six-race winning streak on “The Monster Mile” dating back to 2013 – with Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart contributing to the recent run of success. Johnson has three of those wins.

Austin Dillon Helps Team Dover Start Fast In 10-3 Victory

Sparked by Austin Dillon’s leadoff triple in the first inning, Team Dover quickly put three runs on the board and went on to beat Team Pocono, 10-3, in the fourth annual Dover versus Pocono Celebrity Softball Game that was played Tuesday in Wilmington,

Delaware. Kasey Kahne, who singled in his first at-bat, helped lead Team Pocono’s effort in the game that took place at Frawley Stadium, home of the Wilmington Blue Rocks – Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Rosters of each team were filled with members of the local and national motor sports media, and other regional media personalities.

The softball exhibition helps promote upcoming NASCAR weekends at Dover International Speedway … May 13th through the 15th… and at Pocono Raceway … June 3rd through the 5th… Dillon’s had a busy week, traveling from Delaware to North Carolina for a Wednesday media event and then on to Kansas Speedway for Sunday’s Go Bowling 400.

Austin Dillon Joins ‘Unlimited’ Field

Austin Dillon has joined Kyle and Kurt Busch, and rookie Chase Elliott on the list of drivers newly eligible for next year’s Sprint Unlimited non-points special event as a result of their qualifying efforts in 2016. The non-points special event features pole winners from the previous season and traditionally kicks off Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Dillon earned the Number-1 starting spot for this past weekend’s Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California, with a speed of 188.482 miles per hour. He finished twenty-fourth in the race, one of thirty drivers running on the lead lap with winner Jimmie Johnson at the checkered flag.

Kurt Busch is the only one of those four drivers with multiple poles thus far. He led qualifying February 26th in Atlanta and followed one week later with a track record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch heads into the Easter break seventh in the regular-season standings, twenty-two points outside the top five and forty-seven behind leader Kevin Harvick.

Brad Keselowski Takes Kolbalt 400

Brad Keselowski charged past race leader Kyle Busch late in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and kept his Number-2 Team Penske Ford in front over the final six laps to notch his first victory of the young season. Keselowski overcame a speeding penalty on pit road to claim his eighteenth career Cup Series win and first since March of last year at Auto Club Speedway – thirty-four races ago. Keselowski’s margin of victory over teammate Joey Logano was sixty-seven one-hundredths of a second. Jimmie Johnson led a race- high seventy-six laps and finished third in his bid for back-to-back victories after winning last weekend in Atlanta.

Busch grabbed fourth place with Austin Dillon completing the top five. Pole sitter Kurt Busch led only the first thirty-one laps and finished ninth, one of twenty-two drivers running on the lead lap with Keselowski at the checkered flag … The afternoon began with forty-mile-an-hour winds whipping across the mile-and-a-half desert oval and it looked for a while near the end of the day that Busch would blow the field away after seizing the lead on a late restart with a daring three-wide pass and pulling away. But the Number-18 Toyota developed a vibration in the closing laps that forced the reigning Sprint Cup Series champion to eventually surrender the lead to Keselowski.

Despite missing his second trip to Victory Lane this weekend … Busch won Saturday’s X-FINITY Series face, he did hold onto the early-season lead in the standings and enjoys a seven-point advantage over Johnson and Kevin Harvick – who are tied for second.

NASCAR X-Finity Series Boyd Gaming 300

The NASCAR X-Finity Series runs on the mile-and-a-half desert oval with Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300, where Austin Dillon seeks his second straight Vegas victory. If successful, he would be the first driver with back-to-back wins since the track first hosted the series in 1997. Dillon is among forty-two drivers on the preliminary entry list that includes early-season points leader Elliott Sadler … Five drivers are signed up for double duty at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Dillon, Almirola, Busch, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski. Team owner Jack Roush has amassed thirteen victories in Las Vegas – seven in the Sprint in the X-FINITY Series, leading both divisions.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400

Next Stop… Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 the third race of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series and the second weekend for NASCAR’s new low-downforce rules package. Teams had a pair of practice sessions on Thursday with Jimmie Johnson posting the fastest overall speed of 192.981 miles per hour. Aric Almirola, Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Matt Kenseth completed the top five. Joey Logano had the fastest average speed over ten consecutive laps, 187.604 miles per hour.

Kevin Harvick, the defending race winner, failed to crack the top ten in either of Thursday’s two sessions. In last year’sKobalt 400, Harvick started eighteenth and finished first. Jeff Gordon started first and finished eighteenth.

Hamlin hit the wall during Thursday afternoon’s test session. His Number-11 Joe Gibbs Racing team will use a back-up Toyota this weekend. Teams will get ninety more minutes of practice today before qualifying late this afternoon. Kasey Kahne has the track record for poles with three, one ahead of Kyle Busch – who’s the only Cup Series driver to win a race in Vegas after starting from the pole position. That victory came in 2009.

Johnson leads all drivers with four wins at L-V-M-S, including a run of three straight from 2005 through 2007.

He’s coming off his seventy-sixth career win last weekend in Atlanta, which tied the late Dale Earnhardt for seventh place on NASCAR’s all-time list. The last driver with back-to-back wins in the Sprint Cup Series is Logano, who put three victories in a row together during last year’s post-season Chase.


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