Carl Edwards wins at Texas, advances to championship round

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Thanks to help from the weatherman, Carl Edwards punched his ticket into the Sprint Cup championship race in Miami, winning Sunday’s rain-shortened AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Edwards led when rain began to fall, prompting NASCAR to wave the caution flag on Lap 290. Cars continued around the track under caution until Lap 294 when NASCAR summoned cars to pit road.

A few moments later, NASCAR officials ruled the event official — 40 laps shy of its scheduled 334-lap distance — and awarded the win to Edwards, his fourth career Sprint Cup victory at TMS.

“I actually enjoyed it,” Edwards said of the pressure he faced, coming into the race 32 points behind the points leaders, last in the standings. “The pressure was really mounting and obviously this was what we had to do. … We have a shot at the championship, and that’s all we wanted. I can’t wait to go to Homestead. We’re going to have a blast.”

The key to Edwards’ win was an outstanding pit stop on Lap 258. Edwards’ crew made a four-tire and fuel stop in 11.8 seconds, while Truex, who came onto pit road in the lead, had a 12.5-second stop, allowing Edwards to take the lead.

“If we wouldn’t have beat him off pit road, we probably wouldn’t see this,” Edwards said.

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http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2016/11/07/sprint-cup-points-playoff-standings-after-texas/

This will be Edwards’ first title chance since he lost the 2011 crown to Tony Stewart in a tiebreaker.

Edwards joins Jimmie Johnson, who won last week at Martinsville, in the championship round.  Two more spots will be filled after next weekend’s race at Phoenix.

Chase driver Joey Logano finished second. He led 178 of the first 188 laps.

“Second stinks,” Logano told NBCSN after the race. “The rain came a little sooner than I wanted to. It would be interesting if we would have had another 10-15 laps, what would have happened, but is what it is.”

Martin Truex Jr., who took over the lead from Logano on Lap 189 after a series of green-flag pit stops, finished third.

Chase Elliott and Chase driver Kyle Busch finished fifth.

Other Chase drivers and where they finished were: Kevin Harvick (6th), Matt Kenseth (7th), Denny Hamlin (9th), Johnson (11th) and Kurt Busch (20th).

As for the Chase standings, Johnson and Edwards are tied, Logano and Kyle Busch are both one point behind. Below the Chase cutoff are Matt Kenseth (-1), Denny Hamlin (-2), Kevin Harvick (-18) and Kurt Busch (-34).

HOW EDWARDS WON: An outstanding pit stop on Lap 258 won it for Edwards, allowing him to overtake Martin Truex Jr. Another key was Edwards maintained consistency and patience throughout the race, hanging around the top-five the majority of the time, until what proved to be his race-winning pit stop.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: While disappointed that he did not win, which would have earned him a spot in the Chase championship race, Joey Logano dominated the first half of the race.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Kurt Busch (20th) is last in the Chase grid, 34 points out of first place and 33 points short of the cutoff. He’s essentially in a must-win situation next Sunday at Phoenix. … Pole-sitter Austin Dillon, who was involved in a late-race multi-car crash, finished 37th. Casey Mears was also in the wreck and finished 39th.

NOTABLE: Because of the rain, Edwards did not perform his trademark post-win flip off his race car. “I think I’m going to keep the backflip for Homestead. It’s probably the safe thing to do.” … Harvick, who won the first edition of the new Chase format in 2014 and reached the final round last year, is in jeopardy of not advancing this year. But he’s going to Phoenix – where he has won six of the last eight races.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “That’s all we said we needed was a shot. And now we’re going to go to Homestead and do what we need to do … and I really believe we can do it at Homestead.” – Carl Edwards.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 13 (2:30 p.m. ET).

 

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Danny Stockman Jr. returning as Daniel Hemric’s crew chief in 2018

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After ending his rookie Xfinity season with Randall Burnett as crew chief, Daniel Hemric will be back with Danny Stockman Jr. on top of his pit box in 2018.

Hemric made the announcement Saturday during the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series Award ceremony in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Burnett led Hemric’s No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet for the final five races of the season. Stockman was suspended for four races after a weight fell off Hemric’s car during practice for the Dover playoff race in September

After Hemric narrowly raced his way into the Championship 4 in the Phoenix elimination race, RCR stuck with Burnett for the title race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hemric wound up placing fourth in the standings after a battery issue resulted in him finishing 34th.

“I’m very excited about that,” Hemric said of Stockman’s return. “We had some situations that were thrown our way with five races left in the season. … I have all the faith in the world in Danny and in our race team and the direction we’re going as a company and knowing I’ve got him to lead our group is very exciting.”

Hemric finished his rookie year with no wins, seven top fives and 16 top 10s.

He’s still winless in three full-time seasons in NASCAR, including two in the Camping World Truck Series.

The 26-year-old driver addressed some of the struggles he faced in his transition into Xfinity.

“You’ve got more Cup guys on a regular basis,” Hemric said. “Those guys you’re trying to race but you’re trying to learn from them and you’re trying to as a rookie in this series and with a rookie team. We were all working together, so just trying to process all of that. But more than anything else, you’re racing so much more that you see the learning curve kind of take its own path a lot quicker throughout the year. It’s taking advantage of the moments knowing that you get to turn around every four or five days and get back on the race track and you get to work on your craft. It was good to be able to that and kind of have some success early on like we did.”

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. dominates in 2017 RCCA ELITE Diecast sales

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With Dale Earnhardt Jr. retiring from Cup Series competition this season, that means one thing for diecast collectors.

Get them while you still can.

The Racing Collectables Club of America, through Lionel Racing, has released its top-10 list of 1:24-Scale RCCA ELITE diecasts for 2017. The list was included in the RCCA’s year-end catalogue.

According to the Lionel Racing website, ELITE diecasts are the most detailed produced, with more than 260 individual parts.

Earnhardt, who just earned his 15th straight most popular driver award, dominates the list with six of 10 cars.

The only other drivers represented on the list are Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott.

Below you can see a picture of the full top-10 list.

Here’s the entire top 10.

  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Axalta “Last Ride” No. 88 Chevrolet – Earnhardt drove this car, based on the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet from his 2000 rookie season, in his final start at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
  2. Ryan Blaney: Motorcraft No. 21 Ford, Pocono race win diecast – Blaney drove this car to his first Cup win on June 11 at Pocono Raceway.
  3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Nationwide No. 88 Chevrolet, Darlington throwback paint scheme – Earnhardt raced this car, based on his ACDelco paint scheme from his two Xfinity Series championship seasons (1998-99), in the Southern 500.
  4. Kurt Busch: Haas Automation No. 41 Ford, Daytona 500 race win diecast – The confetti and grass-covered car Busch won the 59th Daytona 500 in to start the year.
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Nationwide No. 88 Chevrolet, primary paint scheme
  6. Austin Dillon: Dow Salutes No. 3 Chevrolet, Coca-Cola 600 race win diecast – The car Dillon drove to his first Cup win in May, sending the No. 3 to Victory Lane for the first time since Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s last win in October 2000 at Talladega Superspeedway.
  7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Nationwide No. 88 Chevrolet, patriotic paint scheme – Earnhardt drove this scheme in the Coke 600.
  8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Mountain Dew/Ride With Dale No. 88 Chevrolet, race version – Earnhardt drove this car in his final start at Talladega Superspeedway in October. Fans were able to register to have their names inscribed in the scheme. Earnhardt started from his 15th and final Cup pole in this race.
  9. Chase Elliott: Hooters No. 24 Chevrolet – Elliott drove this car in the spring Talladega race and the playoff races at Phoenix Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.
  10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Nationwide “Gray Ghost” No. 88 Chevrolet – Earnhardt drove this car in his final Cup start at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt originally intended to run the scheme in the 2016 Southern 500, but Jeff Gordon did when Earnhardt missed the last 18 races of the season for a concussion.

See the list below.

Photo by Daniel McFadin

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Social Roundup: Sights from the Xfinity, Truck Series Awards Banquet

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The NASCAR season officially came to a close Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, with the annual Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series Awards at the Charlotte Convention Center. The ceremony will air at 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 17 on NBCSN.

Xfinity driver William Byron and Truck Series driver Christopher Bell were recognized as this season’s champions before they move on with their careers. Byron will race in the Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports and Bell moves up to Xfinity with Joe Gibbs Racing.

NASCAR handed out plenty of annual awards for each series.

Rookie of the Year: Byron (Xfinity) and Chase Briscoe (Trucks)
Manufacturer title: Chevrolet (Xfinity) and Toyota (Trucks)
Comcast Community Champion: Chip Ganassi Racing pit crew department

Mobil 1 Driver of the Year: Kyle Busch (Xfinity) and Bell (Trucks)
Mahle Engine Builder of the Year: Roush Yates Racing’s Doug Yates (Xfinity) and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Mark Cronquist (Trucks).
Duralast Brake in the Race: Busch (Xfinity) and Bell (Trucks)

JR Motorsports’ Elliott Sadler was voted most popular driver for the third time after he finished runner-up in the season standings to Byron.

Brad Keselowski Racing’s Chase Briscoe was voted most popular driver in the Truck Series, though there was a slight mixup with his name on the trophy. We’ve all been there.

Here are more sights from the award ceremony brought to you by social media.

Your guide to the 2018 Cup Series paint schemes

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The 2018 NASCAR Cup season is still two months away from its start with the 60th Daytona 500.

But it’s not too early to start brushing yourself up on the various Cup Series paint schemes.

Some teams haven’t made many changes to their cars (Team Penske, Joe Gibbs Racing), while others have completely revamped their looks (Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing).

Here’s your look at all the released paint schemes so far for next season.

This post will be updated.

Jamie McMurray

Brad Keselowski

Source: Lionel Racing

Austin Dillon

 

Lionel Racing
Lionel Racing

 

Kevin Harvick

Lionel Racing
Lionel Racing

Trevor Bayne

Roush Fenway Racing
Lionel Racing

Chase Elliott

Lionel Racing

Aric Almirola

Stewart-Haas Racing

Denny Hamlin

Lionel Racing

Ryan Blaney

Team Penske

Ty Dillon

Lionel Racing

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Lionel Racing

Kyle Busch

Lionel Racing

Daniel Suarez

Lionel Racing

Erik Jones

Lionel Racing

Paul Menard

Lionel Racing

Joey Logano

Team Penske
Lionel Racing
Lionel Racing

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports
Lionel Racing

Ryan Newman

Lionel Racing
Lionel Racing
Richard Childress Racing

Kyle Larson

 

Chip Ganassi Racing

Darrell Wallace Jr.

(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Jimmie Johnson

Martin Truex Jr.

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Lionel Racing

Alex Bowman

Nationwide