6th Running Of The Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup Series Race At Sparta, Kentucky

Recap of Last Year’s Race: Kyle Busch’s climb toward the top thirty – and a berth in the Chase – continued with his second win of the season in just seven starts. Busch led a race-high 163 laps, including the final twenty trips around the mile-and-a-half oval. The victory lifted him from thirty-seventh to thirty-fifth in the standings with eight races left in the regular season. After missing the first eleven races of the year while recovering from injuries suffered in February at Daytona, Busch’s average finish in seven starts was seventeenth. He led a parade of Joe Gibbs Racing cars into the top five at Kentucky. Denny Hamlin finished third, Carl Edwards fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth. Team Penske’s Joey Logano ran second, one-point-five seconds behind Busch at the checkered flag .With an eighth-place finish, regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick became the first driver to officially clinch his spot on the 2015 Chase Grid.

Track Position in Kentucky: Winners of the first five Sprint Cup Series races run have started first and ninth (Busch), first and eighth (Brad Keselowski), and sixteenth (Kenseth) …

Track Qualifying Record: Keselowski (Ford) … 188.791 miles per hour … 28.603 seconds … June 2014

Track Record, Race Speed: Keselowski (Dodge) … 145.607 mph … 2 hours, 45 minutes, 2 seconds … June 2012

Friday’s Practice Schedule: From 11 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. and 1:30 to 2:50 p.m. (ET) … Qualifying: TODAY at 6:45 p.m. (ET).

Tony Stewart Survives Fierce Last-Lap Duel With Denny Hamlin To Take The Toyota/Save Mart 350

Tony Stewart survived a fierce last-lap duel with former teammate Denny Hamlin, nosing past Hamlin under braking in the next-to-last corner of the final lap at Sonoma Raceway and driving on to his forty-ninth career Cup Series victory. It ended an eighty-four-race winless streak for the three-time champion that dated back to June 2013.

Before Sunday, Stewart’s last trip to Victory Lane had come at Dover International Speedway. He took the white flag yesterday with Hamlin in hot pursuit and briefly lost the lead to his Joe Gibbs Racing rival. But Stewart calmly measured his opponent as they navigated the final turns on the Northern California road course and made his winning pass with the checkered flag in sight. The margin of victory was six-tenths of a second.

Joey Logano, pole sitter Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Junior completed the top five.

Stewart sat out the early weeks of the season while recovering from back surgery after he was injured in late January while driving dune buggies on vacation in California. Despite missing eight races, he’s eligible for the post-season Chase provided he’s among the top thirty in the standings at the end of the regular season.

With Sunday’s victory, Stewart’s nine points shy of that with 10 races left before the sixteen-driver title field is set … Stewart started tenth and led the final twenty-two laps of Sunday’s race in his Number-14 Chevrolet. Runner-up Hamlin led a race-high thirty-three laps around the two-mile natural road course …Sunday’s race included twelve lead changes among eight drivers. There were four cautions for ten laps.

Next Stop, Charlotte Motor Speedway

Next stop, Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600, which marks the halfway point of the 2016 regular season. Martin Truex Junior will start the four hundred-lap marathon from the pole position after topping Thursday night’s qualifying session with a lap of 192.328 miles per hour in the Number-78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. He’ll share the front row with Joey Logano, who was second-quick at 192.007 miles per hour. Ricky Stenhouse Junior qualified third with Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski – Logano’s Team Penske teammate – rounding out the top five. Defending race winner Carl Edwards will start ninth. It’s Truex’s ninth career pole and second this season. He qualified Number-1 at Kansas Speedway earlier this month and finished fourteenth in the Go Bowling 400.

The pole sitter has won the “Six Hundred” just twice over the last seventeen years, both times by Jimmie Johnson – in 2004 and 2014 … Earlier on Thursday, Kurt Busch led opening practice with Johnson, Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson filling positions two through five. Kyle Busch had the best average speed over ten consecutive laps at 185.465 miles per hour … Logano is hoping to complete a sweep of the May events in Charlotte. He won last weekend’s All-Star Race.

The last driver to win both in the same season is Kurt Busch in 2010.

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.

Brad Keselowski Snapped Carl Edwards’ Two-Race Winning Streak

Brad Keselowski snapped Carl Edwards’ two-race winning streak on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, surviving a near-record number of cautions to notch his second victory of the season and take a firm hold on one of the sixteen spots available in the post-season Chase. Keselowski started seventh and led a race-high forty-six laps, including the final seventeen trips around the sprawling Alabama oval. The last of the day’s ten caution periods unfolded in Keselowski’s rear-view mirror with the checkered flag in sight. The accident along the frontstretch involved seven drivers including Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth. The ten yellow flags were one shy of the Talladega track record of eleven that was set in April 2004. Forty-one of the race’s 188 laps were run under caution, with a pair of major multi-car accidents disrupting the afternoon.

Less than thirty laps from the finish, Kurt Busch tapped Jimmie Johnson to trigger a twenty-one-car melee, more than half the starting field. Twenty laps later, a twelve-car incident on the backstretch took out Kenseth, who had led thirty-nine laps. Earlier, with the race at its halfway point, Chris Buescher took the brunt of a seven-car crash that ended with his Number-34 Ford barrel-rolling three times after contact from Michael Annett. None of the drivers involved in the numerous accidents were seriously injured … Edwards’ hopes for a third straight victory were finally dashed when he blew a right-front tire and collided with Dale Earnhardt Junior, saddling Edwards with a thirty-fifth-place finish … The race ended under caution with Kyle Busch grabbing second place. Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray and rookie pole sitter Chase Elliott completed the top five.

Next Stop Talladega Superspeedway

Next stop Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday’s GEICO 500, tenth race of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series. The last two races have been run on short tracks in Bristol, Tennessee, and Richmond, Virginia – with Carl Edwards winning both to climb to the top of the regular-season point standings. The last driver to win three straight Sprint Cup races was Joey Logano, who swept the Contender Round of last year’s post-season Chase with victories at Kansas Speedway, Charlotte and Talladega … Edwards finished fifth and thirty-second in last year’s two trips to the Alabama oval … Joe Gibbs Racing has four wins at Talladega, most recently in 2014 with Denny Hamlin.

Carl Edwards Takes The Food City 500

Carl Edwards lead two-hundred and seventy-six laps to pick up his first win of the 2016 season and fourth win at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Food City 500. Starting from the pole, Edwards maintained good track position throughout the race, piloting his Number-19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to victory on a day that saw several drivers experience trouble at the always difficult half-mile speedway. Dale Earnhardt Jr. rebounded from falling two-laps down at the start of the race to finish second. At the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt Jr.’s stuck throttle safety system activated causing him to retreat to pit road on the first lap to reset the ECU. Kurt Busch led forty-one laps and was in

At the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt Jr.’s stuck throttle safety system activated causing him to retreat to pit road on the first lap to reset the ECU. Kurt Busch led forty-one laps and was in position to challenge Edwards on the final restart with five laps to go, but settled for third. Rookie sensation Chase Elliott and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top five.

Bayne, who started in tenth, fell back to twenty-eighth but battled back to score his first top-five finish in ninety-nine races when he won the DAYTONA 500 in 2011. Edwards was able to escape tire trouble that plagued his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. Busch, who was looking for his third win in a row, finished a disappointing thirty-eighth tallying his first DNF of the season after making contact with the wall for the third time on lap 258. With the win, Edwards assures himself of a spot in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and moved into second place, one-point behind Kevin Harvick in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers Point Standings. Edwards’ victory made it four-in-a-row for Joe Gibbs Racing. The race included sixteen

The race included sixteen lead changes among seven drivers. There were fifteen cautions for one-hundred and two laps, but no incident involving more than three drivers.

Next Stop Texas Motor Speedway

Next s top Texas Motor Speedway, for Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500, the seventh race of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series. Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with six victories on the mile-and-a-half Fort Worth oval including three in a row and five of the last seven. Carl Edwards is next in line with three wins … There’s competitive balance among NASCAR’s three participating manufacturers with each brand winning the track’s spring race once over the last three seasons: Chevrolet with Johnson last year, Ford with Joey Logano in 2014 and Toyota with Kyle Busch in 2013.

Sprint Cup Series teams got the weekend started early Thursday with a late-afternoon practice session. Martin Truex Junior set the pace with a lap of 192.892 miles per hour. Brad Keselowski was second at 192.164 miles per hour. Logano, Austin Dillon and Brian Vickers – still subbing for the injured Tony Stewart – completed the top five. Johnson was sixth on the speed chart.

Kevin Harvick Takes The Win At The Good Sam 500

Kevin Harvick survived a full-contact side-by-side duel with Carl Edwards on the final lap Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, claiming his first victory of the season in a photo finish. Harvick led the field on the day’s final restart and pulled away before a fast-closing Edwards reeled him in and tapped the rear bumper of Harvick’s Number-4 Chevrolet entering Turn-4 on the final lap. Edwards pulled alongside and leaned hard on Harvick as they exited the corner. Edwards and Harvick bumped again as they took the checkered flag with Harvick nosing ahead at the finish. The official margin of victory was a mere one one-hundredths of a second – identical to Denny Hamlin’s dramatic win over Martin Truex Junior in last month’s season-opening Daytona 500.

Harvick dominated the second half of Sunday’s race, leading all but eleven of the final 150 laps including the last seventy-nine trips around the one-mile desert oval. Hamlin finished third and pole sitter Kyle Busch was fourth after leading seventy-five laps. With Edwards’ runner-up showing, Joe Gibbs Racing grabbed three of the top four spots. Dale Earnhardt Junior completed the top five … In its third race, NASCAR’s new low-downforce rules package produced just seven lead changes among four drivers: Busch, Earnhardt, Edwards and Harvick.

Sunday’s race included five cautions for thirty laps … Kasey Kahne’s late-race accident in Turn-3 brought out the day’s final yellow flag which extended the race one lap past its scheduled distance.

Folds Of Honor Quik-Trip 500

Jimmie Johnson pulled away from the field on an overtime restart Sunday and was first to the white flag as a four-car accident unfolded along the backstretch – ending the race under caution and leaving Johnson with his seventy-sixth career win that ties the late Dale Earnhardt for seventh place all-time. Most of the race was caution-free with just one yellow flag in the first 323 laps. With Johnson in the lead less than two laps from completion of the scheduled distance, Ryan Newman’s spin brought out just the second caution of the day that would force overtime. Johnson pushed his Number-48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in front of Kyle Busch coming out of the final restart, and put some distance between himself and the defending series champion before the day’s final caution ended the race. Dale Earnhardt Junior finished second, giving Hendrick Motorsports a sweep of the top two spots.

Busch finished third, one position ahead of older brother Kurt – who had started from the pole. Carl Edwards completed the top five … Kevin Harvick started sixth and led a race-high 131 laps before settling for sixth place. Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin finished sixteenth in his bid to become the first driver with back-to-back season-opening victories in the Sprint Cup Series since Matt Kenseth in 2009.

Chase Elliott was the highest-finishing rookie in the forty-car field, running eighth … Sunday’s race marked the debut of NASCAR’s 2016 low-downforce rules package. It produced twenty-eight lead changes, identical to last year’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.


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