Darrell Wallace Jr.

Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman climb up NASCAR record book

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A bit overlooked from last weekend’s race at ISM Raceway was that both Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman moved up a spot for most consecutive Cup starts.

Both started their 580th consecutive Cup race last weekend. That moved them ahead of Ken Schrader (579 career starts) into ninth on the all-time list. Kevin Harvick has 572 consecutive starts. He’s set to pass Schrader at Kansas in May.

Next for Johnson and Newman is Mark Martin, who made 621 career Cup starts.

Jeff Gordon is the record holder with 797 consecutive starts. At this point, both Johnson, who is 42 years old, and Newman, who is 40, would need six years to reach Gordon’s mark.

To put the streak Johnson and Newman have compiled into perspective, rookies William Byron and Darrell Wallace Jr. would each need to not miss a race for 16 years to match them (provided there continues to be 36 points races a year). Both Byron and Wallace will need 22 seasons to match Gordon’s mark.

Most consecutive Cup starts 

797 – Jeff Gordon

788 – Ricky Rudd

704 – Bobby Labonte

697 – Rusty Wallace

655 – Terry Labonte

648 – Dale Earnhardt

628 – Jeff Burton

621 – Mark Martin

580 – Jimmie Johnson

580 – Ryan Newman

579 – Ken Schrader

572 – Kevin Harvick

571 – Matt Kenseth

548 – Jamie McMurray

521 – Tony Stewart

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Say it again: Defiant Kevin Harvick wins at Phoenix for 3rd in a row


Kevin Harvick scored his third consecutive victory Sunday, earning his ninth career win at ISM Raceway and sending a message to those who questioned his team after its recent penalty.

Harvick’s victory comes after his team was penalized this past week for a failed window brace and a side skirt not made of aluminum. Harvick lost all seven playoff points he earned at Atlanta. After exiting his car, Harvick leaned over to pound the rear window of his car.

 “I’ve been pissed is what I’ve been,” Harvick said to Fox after the win. “I’ve been mad as all get out because this team does a great job. This organization does a great job and we’ve got fast race cars. And to take that away from those guys just really pissed me off last week. To come here to a race track that is so good for us is a lot of fun and everyone was just determined this week and we just wanted to just go stomp them. We didn’t stomp them, but we won. That’s all that really matters. What a badass team right there!

“This really felt more important than winning at Homestead, racing for a championship, just to drive it home for all those supporters out there. And all you haters (smiles and points), I see you.”

MORE: Phoenix Race results 

MORE: Points report

Harvick, 42, becomes the first driver age 40 or older to win three consecutive races since Harry Gant won four in Sept. 1991 at age 51. Harvick is the first driver to win three Cup races in a row since Joey Logano won three consecutive races in the second round of the 2015 playoffs.  Harvick’s win also is his seventh in the last 12 races at the Arizona track.

Kyle Busch finished second Sunday. Chase Elliott placed third and was followed by Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.

Stewart-Haas Racing placed all four cars in the top 10 for the first time with Harvick (first), Clint Bowyer (sixth), Aric Almirola (seventh) and Kurt Busch (10th).

Stage 1 winner: Kyle Busch

Stage 2 winner: Kurt Busch

How Kevin Harvick won the race: He took his time, worked his way to the front and took control of the race in the second half after leap-frogging Kyle Busch on a green-flag pit stop.

Who had a good race: Kyle Busch scored his second consecutive runner-up finish. … Chase Elliott’s third-place finish marked the first top-five result of the season for Hendrick Motorsports. … Aric Almirola finished seventh and has not placed worse than 13th in any of the first four races this year. … Daniel Suarez finished a season-best eighth. … William Byron finished a career-best 12th and led his first laps in Cup.

Who had a bad race: Paul Menard’s race ended early when his car broke loose after the bead on his right-rear tire melted, causing it to break loose and back into the SAFER barrier. he finished 36th. … Darrell Wallace Jr. finished 28th, slowed by two separate loose wheels during the race. … Jamie McMurray placed 26th for his second consecutive finish outside the top 25.

Notable: Kevin Harvick’s win marks the third time a driver has won three of the first four races in a season. Only one driver has won four of the season’s first five races (Bill Elliott in 1992).

Quote of the day: “All you haters, I see you,” Kevin Harvick said after the win.

Next: The Cup series races at Auto Club Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET on March 18.

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Martin Truex Jr. wins Cup pole at ISM Raceway

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Martin Truex Jr. qualified first for Sunday’s Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway.

The pole is his 16th in the Cup Series and his second at the 1-mile track. Truex captured the pole with a speed of 136.945 mph.

Kyle Larson will start second (136.643).

Rounding out the top five is Chase Elliott (136.126), Alex Bowman (136.080) and Joey Logano (135.947).

“I did get a little loose going into (Turn 3) and thought for a second maybe I screwed it up,” Truex told Fox Sports 1. “But I caught the brake and caught the front grip just in time to keep it off that seem in the middle of the corner and was able to get a good shot off.”

Truex’s last pole at track in Avondale, Arizona, was in 2009 when he drove for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.

Larson will start on the front row for the first time since last September’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“I’m actually a little disappointed in second because I always qualify good here,” Larson told FS1. “I’ve been top eight every single time I’ve qualified at Phoenix (except for 12th in the spring 2015 race). Still don’t have a pole yet. I thought today would be the day.”

Defending race winner Ryan Newman will start 13th.

Jimmie Johnson was fastest in the first round but qualified 17th.

“I got to look back to the amount of practice we had today, we only had 20 minutes of practice because of the issues we had in Las Vegas,” Johnson told FS1. “I never had a chance to go out on scuff tires to see what adjustments we needed to make. I had two runs on stickers in practice and we clearly dialed that part of the car in. It would have been nice to have a scuff run to go out and understand just what to do.”

Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ty Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. failed to advance out of the first round.

Keselowski will start 25th, his worst starting spot since the 2015 Brickyard 400 (31st).

Jeffrey Earnhardt brought out a red flag four minutes into the first round after he made contact with the wall.

Click here for qualifying results.

Kyle Larson leads first Cup practice at ISM Raceway

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Kyle Larson led a Chip Ganassi Racing sweep of the top two spots in Friday’s Cup Series practice session at ISM Raceway.

Larson took the top spot from Jamie McMurray in the final moments with a top speed of 138.281 mph.

McMurray followed at 137.762 mph.

The top five was completed by Kyle Busch (137.662), William Byron (137.620) and Chase Elliott (137.615).

Joey Logano, who was sixth fastest, was the quickest Ford driver.

There were seven Chevrolet drivers in the top 15, including the four in the top five.

Darrell Wallace Jr. recorded the most laps in the session with 18. He was 25th on the speed chart.

There was only one accident in the session. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made contact with the outside wall with about 32 minutes left. He will go to a backup car.

Cup qualifying is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. ET.

Click here for the practice report.

Pit crew member for Darrell Wallace Jr. injured at Las Vegas

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Josh Frankos, front tire changer of the No. 43 driven by Darrell Wallace Jr., suffered a hand injury Sunday morning while preparing for the Cup race, Richard Petty Motorsports announced.

The team stated that Frankos was transported to a local medical center.

Michael Hubert will replace Frankos on pit road for today’s race.

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