Who is hot and cold entering the Sprint Cup season finale

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Only two of the drivers in the Championship 4 have won at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

They both receive a paycheck from Joe Gibbs Racing.

Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch have combined to win on the 1.5-mile track three times, with Busch winning last year to clinch his first Sprint Cup title.

Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson, who has won 79 times in his Sprint Cup career, has never won the final race of the season. Homestead represents one of four tracks the six-time champion has yet to conquer in 15 starts. He’s finished second twice, but not since 2010.

The fourth piece of the Championship 4 puzzle is Joey Logano. If the 26-year-old driver wins on Sunday in the Ford EcoBoost 400, it would be the first win for Team Penske at the 1.5-mile track. It and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are the only active Sprint Cup tracks Penske has not won at.

Logano’s best finish in seven starts is fourth last season.

Here is who is hot and cold entering the 2016 Sprint Cup season finale.

Who’s Hot

Kyle Busch

  • Finished in the top five in every Round of 8 race.
  • Finished top 10 in nine of last 10 races.
  • Seventeen top-five finishes this season, most of all drivers and tied for his most in a season.
  • Has not won since the Brickyard 400 in July.

Carl Edwards

  • Only three top 10s in last 11 races but won at Texas to earn spot in Championship 4.
  • Three wins this season are his most since winning nine in 2008.
  • Despite two wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway, had finished outside the top 10 in last four visits.

Joey Logano

  • Won at Phoenix International Raceway to clinch Championship 4 spot.
  • Finished top 10 in 19 of last 23 races.
  • Two top 10s in last seven visits to the 1.5-mile track, all came in last three seasons. Led 72 laps last year.

Jimmie Johnson

  • 468 laps led in the 2016 Chase, 266 in the regular season.
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway is one of four winless tracks. Has finished second there twice.
  • Finished ninth in the last three visits.
  • Finished 38th at Phoenix after a pit penalty and radiator damage on a restart accident.

Who’s Cold

Tony Stewart

  • Only one finish better than 13th in last 13 races.
  • Finished 17th or worse in last three season finales.
  • Only led 36 laps this season, 60 laps in last two seasons.

Martin Truex Jr.

  • One top five in last six races.
  • Finished last twice in last four races (Phoenix, Talladega).
  • Average finish of 13.3 is down from 12.2 last season.

Kurt Busch

  • Only five top-10 finishes in the last 14 races after earning 14 of the first 16 races of the season.
  • Was eighth in Round of 8.
  • Has led 238 laps this season after leading 788 in 2015.

Brad Keselowski

  • Finished 14th at Phoenix for fourth finish outside top 10 in last five races.
  • Despite four wins, led only 549 laps this season, down from 1,185 in 2015 and 1,540 in 2014.
  • Average finish of 10.8 is best since 10.1 in 2012 when he won the championship.

Other notes of interest ahead of the Ford EcoBoost 400:

  • Race winner has won the championship three times: Stewart (2011), Harvick (2014) and Kyle Busch (2015).
  • Leader of the most laps has failed to win last five races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
  • Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart lead all drivers with three wins at the track.
  • Jeff Gordon is only driver to have competed in first 17 races on the track. This will be the first without him.

NASCAR America: Scan All from the Brickyard 400

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Kasey Kahne has dreamed of winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ever since he first visited the track in 1999 as a kid fresh from his home in Washington.

The dream came true on Sunday with his victory in the Brickyard 400.

Kahne recounts how he won Sunday’s race in this week’s “Scan All,” which again presents the best scanner traffic from the 24th Brickyard 400.

The highlights include.

  • “That will make for a fun Tuesday.” – Matt Kenseth‘s reaction to the Lap 111 crash involved his teammate Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Tuesdays are when Joe Gibbs Racing holds a weekly meeting between drivers. It’s also happens to be the day “Scan All” airs.
  • “The 41 is melting down right now.” – Jame McMurray’s assessment of Kurt Busch after a bit of close racing between the two of them on a restart. Busch sarcastically clapped as McMurray drove by him under caution.
  • “(Expletive) Danica! (Expletive) her!” – Clint Bowyer‘s reaction his hard crash that involved Kurt Busch and Erik Jones. Patrick, who was running in front of Bowyer, wasn’t involved in the crash.
  • “Damn it, we had that thing won!” – Jimmie Johnson after his crash in Turn 3 on Lap 158 while racing three-wide with Kahne and Brad Keselowski.

Watch the above video for the full “Scan All” experience.

Landon Cassill: ‘Still haven’t really wrapped my head around’ Brickyard penalty for disobeying red flag

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Landon Cassill said Tuesday he is still trying to understand the situation that resulted in his Brickyard 400 ending in the garage after NASCAR parked his No. 34 Ford for not heeding a red flag during the overtime period of the race.

Cassill was parked on Lap 162 after he continued to pit road when the red flag had been displayed for a wreck on the first overtime restart. The field was stopped in Turn 4.

After the race Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Cassill was parked because he “disobeyed a red flag.”

NASCAR’s official infraction report says Cassill was parked for “pulling up to pit.”

Cassill, taking part in a Goodyear tire test at Dover International Speedway, said he, his crew chief Seth Barbour and the team’s two spotters did not see the red flag displayed.

“I still haven’t really wrapped my head around it completely,” Cassill said. “They themselves did not see the red flag while I was rolling, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t out, I guess. The button they push in timing and scoring to trigger the red (flag) in their system is different than the flag man actually displaying the red flag. The flag man displaying the flag is what we have to work off of as drivers. It could have been the flag man had the red flag out the whole and the four of us as a team just missed it. That’s kind of why I kept rolling. I am very understanding of the rule and why it is what it is.”

With Cassill parked, the race ended on Lap 167. The Front Row Motorsports driver placed 22nd with his third DNF of the season.

Despite how it ended, Cassill earned his best result at a track other than a restrictor-plate track since he finished 21st at Kansas Speedway in May.

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NASCAR America airs live 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN: Brad Keselowski extension, Scan All

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs for an hour beginning at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continues to breakdown all the big stories from the Brickyard 400.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Steve Letarte, Slugger Labbe and Parker Kligerman in Stamford, Connecticut.

On today’s show:

· The Silly Season brings more news for next season. Brad Keselowski will stay with Team Penske after agreeing to a multi-year contract extension. How does this impact others drivers potentially needing rides for 2018?

· Kasey Kahne became the 12th driver to virtually guarantee himself a playoff spot due to his Brickyard 400 win. Steve and Slugger will see how Kahne’s win impacted the playoff picture and focus on those drivers who have to clinch a spot.

· If you thought the Brickyard 400 was chaotic. Just wait until you see the race from the teams’ point of view in today’s edition of Scan All: Indianapolis.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also watch it via the online stream at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. defends crew chief Greg Ives’ performance

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he had heard enough “chatter” from fans about crew chief Greg Ives that he needed to tell them to “shut THAT (expletive) down.’’

Earnhardt, in his final full-time season driving in Cup, sent the tweet after exiting Sunday’s Brickyard 400 because of contact on a restart damaged his car. He finished 36th.

Some fans were upset about Ives’ pit strategy before the incident. Earnhardt could have stayed out on a caution at Lap 72 with others. Had he done so, Earnhardt would have restarted fifth. Instead, Ives called him to pit road and Earnhardt restarted 24th.

Ives told NBC Sports that it was an easy call because of what he felt was the difference between old tires and new tires. With what he thought would be a limited cushion of cars between Earnhardt and those with new tires on the restart, Ives said it was best to pit.

On the restart, the field got jumbled and Earnhardt ran into the back of Trevor Bayne’s car, damaging the radiator on Earnhardt’s Chevrolet.

It was another disappointing finish for Earnhardt, who needs a win to make the playoffs. He is 22nd in the points with one top five and four top-10 finishes in 20 races. He’s led 24 laps this season. 

As some fans complained about the strategy, Earnhardt reacted with the tweet.

Earnhardt explained during a break in tire testing Tuesday at Dover International Speedway why he sent the note to his fans.

“I just have heard the chatter over the season,’’ Earnhardt said. “We’ve had a difficult year and there’s just been a little rumbling in the background from the fans. They just love to target the crew chief. Our struggles are no one individual’s responsibility.

“I think that being my crew chief, we have such a very passionate fan base, very large fan base, it’s a challenging position for anybody. I’ve seen that with all the guys that I’ve worked with and they’ve all had to deal with criticism, was it the right call this week, what about the next week? They just get really picked apart.

“This is our last season. We’ve had some pretty difficult results and had opportunity to be frustrated and miserable, but I don’t want this season to be remembered by my crew chief, by myself, by my guys as a miserable time. The fans have an influence on that. They can definitely ease up a little bit on Greg and realize that he’s extremely talented, he’s in that position for a reason.’’

Ives has been praised for how he kept the team together after Earnhardt was out 18 races because of concussion symptoms. Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman drove the No. 88 Chevrolet in Earnhardt’s absence. Hendrick Motorsports announced last week that Bowman will take over Earnhardt’s ride next season.

Earnhardt, who will join NBC Sports’ broadcast team next year, said he can’t wait to watch Bowman and Ives next year.

“He’s going to have incredible success beyond my driving career as a crew chief at HMS, and I look forward to seeing that happen as soon as next season with Alex,’’ Earnhardt said Tuesday of Ives. “He was able to work with Alex in a matter of a few weeks and have Alex up to speed, confident and fast and almost winning races. (Ives) won a championship with Chase (Elliot) in the Xfinity Series. He won five championships with Jimmie Johnson as the lead engineer.

“Maybe Twitter ain’t the place to be drawing attention to things like that. You just hear enough chatter through the course of a long period of time. It wasn’t something that happened that particular weekend. … It’s not OK to be a fan and dog the crew. You’re a fan of the team. I know it’s important that they embrace the crew chief, the guys on the crew, the mechanics, the tire changers, they’ve got to embrace the whole thing.’’

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