Aug 23

NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Road America

Kyle Busch Pulls Off Bristol Sweep

NASCAR logoKyle Busch led 156 laps on his way to Victory Lane in Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway to complete the sweep of all three national series races at the high-banked short track.


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

  • Next Race: Bojangles’ Southern 500
  • The Place: Darlington Raceway
  • The Date: Sunday, Sept. 3
  • The Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBCSN, 5:30 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • Distance: 501.3 miles (367 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 100),
  • Stage 2 (Ends on lap 200), Final Stage (Ends on lap 367)


  • Next Race: Johnsonville 180
  • The Place: Road America
  • The Date: Sunday, Aug. 27
  • The Time: 3 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • Distance: 182.16 miles (45 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 10),
  • Stage 2 (Ends on lap 20), Final Stage (Ends on lap 45)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 

  • Next Race: Chevrolet Silverado 250
  • The Place: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
  • The Date: Sunday, Sept. 3
  • The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET
  • Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
  • Distance: 157.37 miles (64 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 20),
  • Stage 2 (Ends on lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on lap 64)

Busch won all but one stage in the three races at Bristol last week. He now leads active drivers with six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins at the Tennessee track.

The No. 18 Toyota driver ranks second in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings – 101 markers behind leader Martin Truex Jr. His 20 playoff points are second most in the series to Truex’s 35.

On the season, Busch claims two wins, nine top fives, 14 top 10s and 10 stage wins in 24 starts. He’ll ride a four-race top-10 streak to the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (Sunday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

You Gotta Race Car Jones? Erik Jones Posts Career-Best Runner-Up Finish

Erik Jones led a race-high 260 laps on his way to a career-best runner-up finish in Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series contest at Bristol Motor Speedway. The performance followed a third-place showing at Michigan the week prior. Jones heads next to Darlington Raceway riding a four-race top-10 streak.

The No. 77 Toyota driver leads Daniel Suarez by four points in a tight Sunoco Rookie of the Year race. On the season, he has three top fives, nine top 10s and a 16.8 average finish.

With only two races remaining in the regular season, Jones must win at either Darlington or Richmond to make the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

2 To Go: Pressure Mounting For Winless Drivers To Make Playoffs

Only two races remain for winless drivers to clinch berths in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Of the winless drivers, only Matt Kenseth (2013) has won at Darlington. Kenseth (2015), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000, 2004, 2006) and Clint Bowyer (2008, 2012) have all visited Victory Lane at Richmond. Joey Logano, who is currently out of the playoffs because his April Richmond win was encumbered, also took the checkered flag there in 2014.

Here’s how the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Grid shakes out now: Martin Truex Jr. (four wins, 35 playoff points), Kyle Busch (2, 20), Kyle Larson (3, 18), Jimmie Johnson (3, 16), Brad Keselowski (2, 14), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2, 10), Kevin Harvick (1, 8), Ryan Blaney (1, 8), Denny Hamlin (1, 7), Kurt Busch (1, 5), Ryan Newman (1, 5), Kasey Kahne (1, 5), Austin Dillon (1, 5), Chase Elliott (69 points ahead of Clint Bowyer on the cutoff line, 2 playoff points), Matt Kenseth (+61, 3), Jamie McMurray (+58, 0).

Truex Close To Clinching Regular Season Title

Martin Truex Jr. already has a whopping 35 playoff points – 15 more than the next-best driver, Kyle Busch, who has 20.

The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing driver can grab another 15 playoff points next weekend at Darlington Raceway by clinching the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season title.

All Truex must do is finish the race 61 points ahead of second-place. He currently leads second-place Kyle Busch by 101 points in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings.

Truex has been as close to dominant as a driver can be this season. He boasts a series-leading four wins along with 15 stage wins, ranks tied for second with 10 top fives and paces the circuit with 16 top 10s.

Truex also leads the series in an assortment of loop data categories: average running position (8.2), driver rating (113.5), fastest laps run (846, 15.7%) and laps led (1,372, 20.7%).

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series etc.

Darlington Raceway To Hold “Free Can Friday” With Monster Energy: Darlington Raceway and Monster Energy are partnering to offer fans the opportunity to enjoy on-track activities on Friday, Sept. 1, for free by recycling any size Monster Energy can. The Friday on-track action includes four practice sessions for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. Fans may bring an empty Monster Energy can and recycle it at the frontstretch ticket office behind the main grandstands to receive free admission to practice day. Gates will open at noon.


Monster Energy and NASCAR experienced tremendous success when it held the program at Pocono Raceway in June. Under the NASCAR Green umbrella, a comprehensive recycling effort has accounted for millions of bottles and cans being recycled annually thanks to designated bins in the grandstands, concourse, suites, garage, and campgrounds at almost every track NASCAR visits. For more information visit NASCAR.com/Green.


Snapchat To Launch Premium ‘Our Story’ At Darlington’s Throwback Weekend: NASCAR fans attending the Bojangles’ Southern 500 can share their race-day experiences from Darlington Raceway with millions of Snapchatters through a premium ‘Our Story’ on Snapchat covering The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR. Fans, teams and drivers at and near the racetrack will be able to share photo and video Snaps to a special “Our Story” that shows off the best visual experiences that Throwback Weekend has to offer. The Snapchat team will then curate and package Snaps of the various perspectives and experiences into a Story, which will air in Snapchat’s Discover platform for 24 hours.



Road America: The Last Road Course Stop In 2017

With Watkins Glen International and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the books, just one road course remains on the NASCAR XFINITY Series 2017 schedule – Road America. Four races remain in the regular season and this Sunday, August 27, all eyes will be on the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Road America for the Johnsonville 180 (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the only NASCAR national series event this weekend.

Nestled in the Elkhart Lake region of Wisconsin sits the four-mile, 14-turn road course known as Road America. The track has hosted seven NASCAR XFINITY Series races producing five different pole winners – Carl Edwards (2010), Michael McDowell (2011), Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), AJ Allmendinger (2013) and Alex Tagliani (2014 and 2016). Allmendinger, McDowell and Piquet’s were their first career series poles.

The seven series events at Road America have also produced seven different winners – Carl Edwards (2010), Reed Sorenson (2011), Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), AJ Allmendinger (2013), Brendan Gaughan (2014), Paul Menard (2015) and Michael McDowell (2016).

Will we see an eighth different winner? The probability is high. The only previous series Road America winner entered this weekend is Brendan Gaughan.

Gaughan Is This Week’s Johnsonville Brat On The Playoff Grill

Richard Childress Racing’s Brendan Gaughan is feeling the playoff heat after dropping to 12th in the standings, the final playoff spot, with just four regular season races remaining in 2017.

Though Gaughan does have a 43-point cushion over 13th-place Ross Chastain in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver championship standings, he knows to lock himself into the post-season he needs to win. It just so happens the series is heading to a place he knows he can – Road America.

“Looking at the big picture, this race (Bristol) has put us on the bubble, 43 points to the plus side for the playoffs,” said Gaughan following a 30th-place finish at Bristol last weekend. “Fortunately, next week’s race is the one I have been looking forward to. What we lost tonight, we can easily gain back at Road America. I plan to win that thing.”

Gaughan has been quite impressive this season on the road courses, finishing in the top 10 at both Watkins Glen (ninth) and Mid-Ohio (seventh). A few weeks back, Gaughan was battling for the win in the closing laps with Sam Hornish Jr. at Mid-Ohio before he was run off the track on a restart, but was able to salvage a solid finish. Watch for Gaughan to run well at Road America this weekend, in five starts at the four-mile road course Gaughan has posted one win (2014), three top fives and an average finish of 6.6 (series-best); including a runner-up finish last season.

New Winners Are A Standard At Road America

NXS First-Time Winner Track Date
Michael McDowell Road America 8/27/2016
Justin Marks Mid-Ohio 8/13/2016
Chris Buescher Mid-Ohio 8/16/2014
Brendan Gaughan Road America 6/21/2014
AJ Allmendinger Road America 6/22/2013
Nelson Piquet Jr Road America 6/23/2012
Boris Said Montreal 8/29/2010
Marcos Ambrose Watkins Glen 8/9/2008
Juan Pablo Montoya Mexico City 3/4/2007
Denny Hamlin Mexico City 3/5/2006
Ron Fellows Watkins Glen 6/28/1998
Bill Elliott Watkins Glen 6/26/1993

In four of the last five NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Road America, the victor was a first-time winner in the series; including last season’s winner Michael McDowell and the 2014 winner and current title contender Brendan Gaughan.

Road course racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series is familiar with first-time winners – 12 different drivers have posted their first series win on a road courses; including two last season (McDowell and Justin Marks). Marks is entered this weekend in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

Kyle Busch (Watkins Glen) and Sam Hornish Jr. (Mid-Ohio) have won on the first two road courses of the 2017 season.

In seven series races, Road America has seen seven different winners, but Gaughan is the only previous winner entered this weekend – Carl Edwards (2011), Reed Sorenson (2011), Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), AJ Allmendinger (2013), Brendan Gaughan (2014), Paul Menard (2015), Michael McDowell (2016).

Bell And Cindric Are A Couple Truckers Going XFINITY Road Racin’

The next wave of young drivers is upon us and this Sunday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race, the Johnsonville 180 (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Road America, is the perfect stage to showcase their talents.  Two rising NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stars, Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric, are on deck to compete this weekend at Road America.

Christopher Bell, a 22-year-old from Norman, Oklahoma, will attempt to make his third NASCAR XFINITY Series start this season for Joe Gibbs Racing. In Bell’s first two starts this season he has posted one pole (Iowa), one top five (fourth at Charlotte) and 16th at Iowa, compiling an average finish of 10.0.

This will be Bell’s first attempt at competing on a road course in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Bell will be piloting the No. 18 JGR Toyota Camry with crew chief Eric Phillips. Phillips has led Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch to four wins (Kentucky, New Hampshire, Watkins Glen and Bristol) in their last five starts together; including his XFINITY win last weekend when Busch swept all three NASCAR national series races at Bristol.  But keep in mind, Joe Gibbs Racing has yet to win Road America.

Austin Cindric, an 18-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, will be making his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut this weekend at Road America for Team Penske. Cindric will be strapped into the series owner points leading No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang with crew chief Greg Erwin. Cindric will be the fifth different driver Erwin has worked with this season. Erwin led Sam Hornish Jr. to the win two weeks ago, at Mid-Ohio.

Bell and Cindric will also be joined by fellow NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular and NBCSN analyst Parker Kligerman this weekend in the Johnsonville 180 at Road America. Kligerman will be No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports Chevrolet with crew chief Mark Setzer. This will mark Kligerman’s series season debut.

Sadler Thinks JR Motorsports Is The Team To Beat For The Title

When it comes to which team has the highest probability to have a driver win the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship this season, JR Motorsport’s veteran and current points standings leader Elliott Sadler thinks he might know.

“I would say right now, JR Motorsports has a leg-up on the competition,” Elliott Sadler exclaimed following his third-place finish last weekend at Bristol. “I think we are the favorites to win the championship. We just have to go make it happen.”

That’s a bold claim by Sadler, but the stats are there to back it up. Currently all four JR Motorsports drivers are destined to make the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs this season. Three of the four JRM drivers are the top three in points – Elliott Sadler currently is the series points leader with a 110-point lead over his teammate William Byron in second, and a 136-point lead over his other JRM teammate Justin Allgaier in third. Both Byron (three wins) and Allgaier are two of only three series title contenders to win this season; the third being Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed.

Sadler has led the series points for the last 10 consecutive races and it wasn’t till recently did it dawn on Sadler that winning the regular season can mean big dividends come playoff time.

“I will be honest with you, halfway through the year we didn’t realize, we hadn’t done our research, we didn’t know we could get 15 (playoff) points,” said Sadler when discussing the regular season championship. “We were like let’s be aggressive, let’s take chances, so what if we finish wherever, but then we were like wait a minute, if we finish first we get 15 points and that’s like three wins. So, then we decided we can’t throw any races away, and we have to get maximum points.”

Elliott Sadler is looking for his first series title, and 2017 could be the season he takes one home. In 22 starts this season Sadler, has posted nine top fives (series-most), 17 top 10s (series-most) and an average finish of 8.8 (series-best among title contenders). He has made six series starts at Road America posting one top five, four top 10s and average finish of 9.5.

Richard Childress Racing Looks For Fourth Consecutive Road America Win

No team has been quite as successful at Road America as Richard Childress Racing, who has won the last three consecutive NASCAR XFINITY Series races at the 4-mile road course and this weekend is looking to make it four in a row.

Richard Childress Racing first visited Victory Lane at Road America back in 2014 with driver Brendan Gaughan capturing the win. RCR’s Paul Menard then won in 2015 and Michael McDowell took home the checkered flag last season.

The feat of winning four or more consecutive races at a single active track in the NASCAR XFINITY Series by an organization has happened nine times. The record for the most consecutive wins by an organization at a single active track in the NASCAR XFINITY Series is eight by Joe Gibbs Racing at Auto Club Speedway.

Rank Organization No. of Consecutive Wins Track Seasons
1 Joe Gibbs Racing 8 Auto Club (2008-2012)
2 Roush Fenway Racing 5 Auto Club (2004-2006)
3 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 5 Daytona (1990-1994)
4 Joe Gibbs Racing 5 Texas (2008-2010)
5 Joe Gibbs Racing 4 Kansas (2013-2016)
6 Joe Gibbs Racing 4 New Hampshire (2008-2011)
7 Richard Childress Racing 4 Richmond (2005-2007)
8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. 4 Talladega (2003-2006)
9 Roush Fenway Racing 4 Texas (2010-2012)

If RCR pulls off the feat and wins this weekend at Road America, it will be the second time the organization has won four or more consecutive races at a single track. They first did it at Richmond when they won four straight from 2005 to 2007.

This weekend, Richard Childress Racing will be fielding five cars – No. 2 (Ben Kennedy), No. 3 (Scott Lagasse Jr.), No. 21 (Daniel Hemric), No. 33 (Brandon Jones) and No. 62 (Brendan Gaughan).


Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update:  With 22 races in the books here is a quick look at the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings: William Byron (257 points), Daniel Hemric (211), Cole Custer (202), Matt Tifft (166), Spencer Gallagher (127) and Ben Kennedy (110).


International Racing Affair: Road racing in NASCAR has always been a draw for international drivers to try their luck in the series, and this weekend Road America has attracted James ‘JD’ Davison from Melbourne, Australia and Stephen Young from London, England. Davison will be driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with crew chief Chris Gabehart. Young will be driving the No. 78 BJ McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet with crew chief Keith Wolfe.


NASCAR and Wisconsin: A total of 42 NASCAR national series races (see chart below) among two tracks have been held in the state of Wisconsin.

Track Name City Monster Energy XFINITY Camping World Total Races
Road America Elkhart Lake 1 7 0 8
Milwaukee Mile West Allis 0 19 15 34
Totals 1 26 15 42

The very first NASCAR national series race held in the state of Wisconsin was a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Road America on August 12, 1956 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Tim Flock for car owner Bill Stroppe in a Mercury.

The first NASCAR XFINITY Series race held in the state of Wisconsin was at The Milwaukee Mile, located just outside Milwaukee in West Allis, Wisconsin on May 13, 1984; the event was won by Sam Ard for car owner Howard Thomas in an Oldsmobile. The first NXS event at Road America was on June 19, 2010 and won by Carl Edwards for Roush Fenway Racing.

A total of 54 drivers who have made at least on NASCAR national series start have their home state recorded as Wisconsin. Of the 54 Wisconsin racers, 34 (62.9%) have made at least one start in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.  Of the 34 only five have won in the series – Matt Kenseth from Cambridge (29 wins), Scott Wimmer from Wausau (six wins), Paul Menard from Eau Claire (three wins), Johnny Sauter from Necedah (three wins) and Dick Trickle from Wisconsin Rapids (two wins).

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Busch Banks Win At Bristol

Kyle Busch Motorsports owner and driver Kyle Busch won his fifth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway when he won the UNOH 200 last Wednesday night.

Busch, who was forced to the back of the field under penalty to start the final stage, utilized a Lap 119 restart to his advantage – riding the high line to thunder through the field and find himself back in the top 10 by Lap 136.

Busch would go on to sweep the NASCAR national series races at Bristol, winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Friday and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Saturday.

It was the third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win this season for Busch, who isn’t scheduled to run any more races in this series this season.

Crafton Scores Runner-Up At The Last Great Colosseum

ThorSport Racing driver Matt Crafton placed second in the UNOH 200 at Bristol – notching his best finish since winning at Eldora Speedway earlier this season.

With two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races left before the playoffs begin, Crafton is third in the regular season points standings and fourth in the playoff standings.

His seven playoff points rank as the fourth-most accumulated among NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers this season. Christopher Bell has the most with 24 points, John Hunter Nemechek is second with 11 points and Johnny Sauter is third with 10 points.

The Higher Rhodes To The Playoffs

ThorSport Racing driver Ben Rhodes reclaimed seventh-place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs standings after finishing fifth at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Rhodes jumped Ryan Truex, who surpasses him in the standings a week ago at Michigan International Speedway. He now leads Truex by 17 points heading into the off-week for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Rhodes is continuing his strong season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He has two top-five finishes in his last three races – giving him five total top fives and seven top 10s in 14 starts this season. He’s also led 122 laps this season, which is a career-high in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Rhodes.

He will look to further his lead over Truex at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park next week in the Chevrolet Silverado 250.

2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs Countdown: 2 Races

With only two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season races remaining, below is a look at the playoff picture following Bristol.

Rank   Driver                         Points             Race Wins      Playoff Points        Pts from Cutoff

1          Christopher Bell          615                  4                      24                                –

2          JH Nemechek             439                  2                      11                                –

3          Johnny Sauter             573                  1                      10                                –

4          Matt Crafton                562                  1                      7                                  –

5          Kaz Grala                    330                  1                      5                                  –

6          Chase Briscoe            534                  0                      1                                 91

7          Ben Rhodes                469                  0                      1                                 26

8          Ryan Truex                 452                  0                      1                                   9

9          Grant Enfinger            443                  0                      0                                  -9

10        Noah Gragson            418                  0                      1                                -34

11        Austin Cindric             397                  0                      0                                -55

12        Justin Haley                347                  0                      0                              -105

NASCAR Ladder System Proving To Be Fruitful This Season

2017 has been a strong year for young drivers looking to make their name in NASCAR’s top national series.

We’ve seen NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader Christopher Bell make two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts this season, and he will also be making another start at Road America this weekend. Bell was even ready to race at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level at Michigan International Speedway as a standby for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin, who was on baby watch.

NASCAR Next and current NASCAR K&N Pro Series drivers Harrison Burton (five starts) and Todd Gilliland (two starts) have both made starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season.

It was announced earlier this month that former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver and NASCAR ladder system star William Byron will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in 2018. After one year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Byron advanced to the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He now will go to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series after one year of NASCAR XFINITY Series racing.

Former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champions Erik Jones (2015) and Austin Dillon (2011) are both having success at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level this season. Dillon won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race earlier this season at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Jones won his first pole at Bristol this past weekend and has had a strong Sunoco Rookie season. Both have multiple wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

We get to witness the NASCAR ladder system at work again this week as NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Brad Keselowski Racing driver Austin Cindric will make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Road America in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

Cindric has had a strong Sunoco Rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He sits 10th in the series points standings after 14 races. He’s making a strong run at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs as he has six-consecutive top-10 finishes.

Oh, Canada

Following the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will take a week off this week. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will pick back up Sunday, September 3 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for the Chevrolet Silverado 250 (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

John Hunter Nemechek is the defending race winner, while Matt Crafton (fourth), Christopher Bell (fifth) and Johnny Sauter (seventh) all finished inside the top-10.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.:

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner Standings Update: Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota Tundra retains a 42-point lead over GMS Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner standings after 14 races this season. ThorSport Racing’s No. 88 Toyota Tundra (-53), Brad Keselowski Racing’s No. 29 Ford F-150 (-81) and ThorSport Racing’s No. 27 Toyota Tundra (-146) round out the top five.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Manufacturer Standings Update: Through 14 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season, Toyota leads Chevrolet by 22 points in the manufacturer standings, 524-502. In third place, Ford sits at 432 points and has yet to capture a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win this season.

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source: nascar.com