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 Sonoma Raceway

Next stop Sonoma Raceway in Northern California for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, the sixteenth round of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the first of two road races on the schedule. With Joey Logano’s victory twelve days ago at Michigan International Speedway, the list of Sprint Cup winners this season grew to ten. If there are seven more drivers who reach Victory Lane over the final eleven regular-season races, then there’ll be one driver with a victory to his credit who will not get a spot on the 2016 Chase Grid –which will include only the sixteen top eligible drivers based primarily on race wins. The lone remaining driver who won last year but is still without a victory in 2016 is Dale Earnhardt Junior.

Joey Logano takes FireKeepers Casino 400

Joey Logano started fast and closed strong Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, dominating the day in marching to his first points-paying win of the season. The Team Penske driver started from the pole, led thirty of the first forty laps and sealed the deal by keeping his Number-22 Ford in front over the final forty-eight trips around the two-mile Irish Hills oval. Logano led 138 of the two hundred laps run Sunday, backing up last month’s victory in the Sprint All-Star Race with his fifteenth career Cup Series win.

The margin of victory was eighty-eight one-hundredths of a second over rookie runner-up Chase Elliott. Kyle Larson came home in third place with Michigan native Brad Keselowski running fourth and regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick completing the top five. With team owner Roger Penske celebrating fifty years in motor sports this season, Sunday’s victory by Logano was the team’s fiftieth with Ford Motor Company … Youth was served on Sunday with the average age of the top three finishers – Logano, Elliott and Larson – just 23 years old, the youngest average age for the top three finishers in a Sprint Cup race in NASCAR’s sixty-eight- year history.

Kurt Busch finished tenth, not only bidding for his second straight win of this season but his second consecutive victory in Michigan’s June race. Although he missed another trip to Victory Lane, Busch did hold onto second place in the regular-season standings and now trails leader Harvick by thirty points heading into an off-weekend. The Sprint Cup Series will then resume June 26 th in Sonoma, California.

13 Cup Series Teams Will Test New Pavement At Kentucky Speedway

More than a dozen Sprint Cup Series drivers will take part in a two-day test next Monday and Tuesday at Kentucky Speedway, which is putting the finishing touches on a repaving project that’s added three degrees of banking to Turns-1 and 2 on the mile-and- a-half oval. Regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick, Team Penske’s Joey Logano, Wood Brothers Racing rookie Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch – who has a series-leading three wins this year – are among the drivers scheduled to participate. The test is open to the public free of charge. Cars will be on the track each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (local time) … NASCAR will return to “The Bluegrass State” next month for a tripleheader weekend featuring the Sprint Cup, X-FINITY and Camping World Truck Series.

Kyle Larson Takes The Pocono Green 250

“Mother Nature” kept her word on Saturday and Kyle Larson was in the right place at the right time to capitalize at Pocono Raceway. He had his Number-42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet at the front of the field when the race was stopped by rain three laps past the halfway point of the track’s inaugural X-FINITY Series race. A wet weekend was forecast heading into Saturday’s race, in which Larson led twenty-seven laps including the last nineteen trips around “The Tricky Triangle.”

Rookie pole sitter Erik Jones finished second with Ty Dillon, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano completing the top five. Elliott Sadler grabbed sixth place and cut three points off Daniel Suarez’s lead in the standings. Suarez finished ninth on Saturday and will carry an eleven-point advantage into the next race next weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

With Larson’s victory, Sprint Cup Series drivers have now won nine of the first twelve X-FINITY Series races run this season. Jones and Sadler are the only series regulars to taste victory. Larson started fourth in the forty-car field and had his first lead of the day at Lap-24 … The race included six lead changes among five drivers, four of which are Sprint Cup regulars: Busch, Logano, Larson and Aric Almirola.

Next Stop Pocono Speedway

Next stop Pocono Speedway for Sunday’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400, the fourteenth race of the year that kicks off the second half of the Sprint Cup Series’ regular season. Martin Truex Junior is coming off a dominating victory last weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 and is the defending race winner at Pocono. The last driver with back-to- back victories in the track’s spring race was Jeff Gordon in 1996 and 1997 … With Truex’s victory Sunday night, the list of Sprint Cup race winners this season grew to eight. If there are nine more drivers who reach Victory Lane over the final thirteen regular-season races, then there’ll be one driver with a race win to his credit that will not get a spot on the 2016 Chase Grid – which will include only the sixteen top eligible drivers based primarily on race wins. There are three drivers who won last year but are still without a victory in 2016: Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Junior and Joey Logano. Busch and Earnhardt are two-time winners at Pocono. Logano has one victory there, in 2012.

Truex’s Charlotte Victory Bumps Cup Series Win List To Eight

With Martin Truex Junior’s victory Sunday night in the Coca-Cola 600, the list of Sprint Cup Series winners this season grows to eight. If there are nine more drivers who reach Victory Lane over the final thirteen regular-season races, then there’ll be one driver with a race win to his credit that will not get a spot on the 2016 Chase Grid – which will include only the sixteen top eligible drivers based primarily on race wins. There are three drivers who won last year but are still without a victory in 2016: Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Junior and Joey Logano.

There are thirty-nine drivers on the preliminary entry list for next weekend’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono Raceway led by defending winner Truex and regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick.

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.

All-Star Winner Logano Sets His Sights On The ‘600’

With his victory in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race, Team Penske’s Joey Logano will now look to join a fairly exclusive group of NASCAR drivers with another victory this coming weekend in the Coca-Cola 600.

Since 1985, the first year of the All-Star Race, just seven drivers have won both events in the same season: Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Darrell Waltrip and Kurt Busch – the last driver to do it, in 2010. Logano tops the preliminary entry list for NASCAR’s longest race that also includes defending winner Carl Edwards and regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick.

Last year, Denny Hamlin finished eighth in his bid to sweep the two May races at C-M- S.


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