THE NASCAR X-FINITY SERIES … also visits the famed Indy oval this weekend for Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250. Saturday’s race will be the final Dash 4 Cash race of the season offering four drivers the opportunity to win a one-hundred-thousand dollar bonus. For Ty Dillon it also is an opportunity to lock himself into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase should he win the Dash 4 Cash by virtue of winning the bonus at Richmond. Winning the race would also snap a sixty-four race winless streak stringing back to his first series victory at Indianapolis in 2014. He will be up against tough competition, not only from the series regulars but also six Sprint Cup Series drivers who will be pulling double duty. Those drivers are Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Matt DiBenedetto and Kyle Busch, who was able to sweep the weekend last year.
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Another Cup Crew Chief Suspended
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Chad Johnston has become the fourth Sprint Cup Series crew chief to be suspended in eight days. During post-race inspection following Kyle Larson’s eleventh-place finish on Monday at Pocono Raceway, it was discovered that all the lug nuts on his Number-42 Chevrolet were not properly tightened.
Johnston received a one-race suspension, was fined twenty thousand dollars and placed on NASCAR probation through December 31 st . On June 1 st, Cup Series crew chiefs Randall Burnett (who works with A-J Allmendinger), Tony Gibson (Kurt Busch) and Brian Pattie (Greg Biffle) were suspended for rule violations at Charlotte.
In addition to Johnston’s suspension, six Cup teams were given written warnings on Wednesday for a variety of inspection violations at Pocono. Drivers whose teams were warned are Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Ty Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Danica Patrick and Regan Smith.
Kurt Busch Takes Pocono Raceway
Kurt Busch kept one eye on his fuel gauge and the other on a fast-closing Dale Earnhardt Junior down the stretch Monday afternoon, winning the rain-delayed event at Pocono Raceway. Busch got the jump on "Junior" on the day’s final restart and kept the Number-41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in front the rest of the way, stretching his fuel mileage through the final thirty-two laps to notch his first win of 2016. Busch’s margin of victory was one second over Earnhardt with pole sitter Brad Keselowski, rookie Chase Elliott and Joey Logano completing the top five. It’s Busch’s twenty-eighth career victory and third at The Tricky Triangle. The race was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon but persistent rain moved it to Monday.
Logano and Matt Kenseth showed power during the first third of the race, combining to lead forty-eight of the first sixty-five laps. Elliott took over from there and went on to lead fifty-one laps through the middle portion of the race before yielding to Earnhardt – who then fell victim to Busch on the final, pivotal restart … The race pace was slowed by ten cautions, just three shy of the track record. Busch won with an average speed of 125.490 miles per hour, some twenty miles per hour slower than Jeff Gordon’s track record set in 2011 … Speaking of Gordon, he’s the last driver to win back-to- back June races at Pocono – in 1996 and 1997. Martin Truex Junior had his sights set on matching that achievement but was involved in pit-road contact with Matt DiBenedetto early in Monday’s race and never fully recovered, finishing nineteenth … Kevin Harvick’s ninth-place finish was enough to keep him atop the regular-season point standings.
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