Just three Sprint Cup Series races remain in the regular season and four spots are still open on The Chase Grid for non-race winners to fill heading into Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400. Twelve drivers have been victorious thus far in 2016: Matt Kenseth, Kyle and Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Junior, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher. All are within the requisite top thirty of the standings, which currently leaves a maximum of four post-season spots available based on the point standings. Ryan Newman holds a thirty-five-point lead over Trevor Bayne in the fight for what would be the final “playoff” spot. In this year’s first race at Michigan on June 12th, Newman finished eleventh and Bayne placed fifteenth … If the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup began today, Austin Dillon, rookie Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray would hold the three other spots. Any driver who hasn’t yet won but reaches Victory Lane in one of the next three races would qualify for the post-season, provided that driver was among the top thirty in points, and would reduce the number of spots available based on the regular-season standings.
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THE NASCAR X-FINITY SERIES … also competes at Watkins Glen with Saturday’s Zippo 200. Teams got two practice sessions on the newly paved road course on Thursday with Kyle Busch posting the fastest overall speed, 123.006 miles per hour. Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and defending race winner Joey Logano followed on the speed chart as Sprint Cup drivers took the top four spots. Justin Allgaier completed the top five … Larson had the fastest average speed over ten consecutive laps, 122.552 miles per hour. Allgaier, Trevor Bayne, rookie Erik Jones and Darrell Wallace Junior took positions two through five.
A number of NASCAR Sprint Cup teams took part in a two-day organizational test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday. The test was in advance of the Crown Royal presents the Wounded Warrior Coalition 400 to be held on July 24. Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, and Kevin Harvick were among those at the test that were consistently fast in each of the sessions. Two sessions were held on Tuesday, with teams working through the lunch break Wednesday due to a threat of weather in the area. Matt Kenseth who was second quickest in the opening session on Tuesday noted that the tire fall off was significant with the new lower downforce package being used this season and expected that fall off to translate to good racing. Others taking part in the test included Paul Menard, Joey Logano, Brian Scott, Chris Buescher, Trevor Bayne, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. AJ Allmendinger and his No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team were originally scheduled to attend the test, but following two incidents on Saturday night in Kentucky that injured Allmendinger’s hand, the team passed on attending the test. Allmendinger has been cleared to return to NASCAR competition following an X-ray on Monday.
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.
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