Kurt Busch tops 200 mph in first Sprint Unlimited practice


After an off-season that has made his private life all too public, Kurt Busch found refuge in his race car Friday during the first of two practices for Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited.

Boy, did Busch ever find refuge, becoming the first and only driver to top 200 mph in any one lap, with a top speed of 200.749 mph.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was equally a surprise, having the second-fastest speed, just a hair under 200 mph at 199.769 mph.

Defending Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick was third-fastest at 199.075 mph, followed by Joey Logano (197.928), Kasey Kahne (197.824), Jeff Gordon (197.737), Jamie McMurray (197.637), Matt Kenseth (197.594), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (197.433) and making his debut for Joe Gibbs Racing, Carl Edwards at 197.062.

Two drivers that went out to practice by themselves saw slower speeds because they didn’t have a pack to work with: Six-time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson was 24th-fastest  (191.853) and 2012 Cup champ Brad Keselowski was the slowest in the overall field (191.734).

Also from NASCAR Talk’s Dustin Long: NASCAR said three drivers did not take part in driver weigh-in before getting in their car for the first practice. Denny Hamlin was called back in before he got on the track, Clint Bowyer was on-track and called back in, and Tony Stewart was black-flagged to return for the weigh-in.

NASCAR did not penalize Stewart further for missing the weigh-in, but the three-time series champion wasn’t pleased.

The second Sprint Unlimited practice will begin at 6:30 pm ET and go to 7:25 pm ET.

Here’s the first practice speed chart:

1 Kurt Busch 200.749 mph

2 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 199.769

3 Kevin Harvick 199.075

4 Joey Logano 197.928

5 Kasey Kahne 197.824

6 Jeff Gordon 197.737

7 Jamie McMurray 197.637

8 Matt Kenseth 197.594

9 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 197.433

10 Carl Edwards 197.062

11 Danica Patrick 197.036

12 Tony Stewart 197.807

13 Aric Almirola 196.721

14 Clint Bowyer 196.155

15 Kyle Larson 195.639

16 Greg Biffle 195.283

17 Austin Dillon 195.177

18 Martin Truex Jr. 195.164

19 Ryan Newman 195.156

20 Kyle Busch 195.122

21 Casey Mears 195.067

22 Paul Menard 194.949

23 Denny Hamlin 194.868

24 Jimmie Johnson 191.853

25 Brad Keselowski 191.734

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin

1 Comment

NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Elliott’s car slapped the outside wall. Elliott’s car then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.