Carl Edwards: Joe Gibbs Racing’s 1.5-mile track program has “shifted” going into Duck Commander 500


FORT WORTH – It’s taken a while, but Joe Gibbs Racing might have found its way in 2015.

JGR has been a team in transition this season with Carl Edwards’ arrival from Roush Fenway Racing, and Kyle Busch suffering a broken right leg and fractured left foot in the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway. The team contended for a win at Auto Club Speedway with Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth before both were taken out of contention – Hamlin by hitting the wall and Kenseth by an axle failure during a pit stop under a late caution after he’d been leading.

“I would’ve said a couple of weeks ago you could really tell where everyone was at,” Edwards said Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. “In our case, (Joe Gibbs Racing) ran really well at California as a group. We didn’t because I tore up the good car in practice, but we ran really well as a group and then we went to Martinsville and Denny got the win.”

Hamlin’s Martinsville win gave JGR its first Victory Lane trip since his win at Talladega Superspeedway in May 2014.

Now comes Texas Motor Speedway,  the third 1.5-mile track the Sprint Cup series has visited this year and the last until Kansas Speedway in four weeks. Texas is a track Edwards has had a fair amount of success at, winning in 2005 and sweeping the events in 2008.

“I love the race track, the way it drives,” Edwards said. “The way the Goodyear tires interact with the surface, the bumps, all that stuff. It’s a lot of fun.”

However, Edwards hasn’t won at a 1.5-mile track since Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March 2011. JGR’s last win at such a track came with Hamlin in the 2013 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“Our program kind of shifted,” Edwards said. “I think this week will be the big test for us on 1.5-mile (tracks). I can’t speak for the whole field, but I think there are a lot of people that are really innovating right now. I think you’re going to see some shift in speed and advantage throughout the field.

“A lot of people are working on a lot of things, and I believe it will look a little differently here in the next few months.”

Edwards’ crew chief, Darian Grubb, believes JGR has enough time and information to fix any problems at Texas in time for the Kansas race.

“We’ve got a lot of development going on within Joe Gibbs Racing ourselves, and everybody is in the same boat,” Grubb said. “We’ve ran a few races, and we’ve got two 1.5-mile tracks under our belt, so now we think we’ve learned a little bit. So we’re going to try and apply a lot of those lessons now and it will carry into those future races.”

The first six races also were devoted to teams tackling a new rules package that reduced horsepower by 125 and downforce by 24 percent from last year. But Grubb commended the work done by Toyota Racing Development on intermediate tracks (1.5 to 2 miles in length) since the middle of last season.

“I feel like we’re right there in contention now,” Grubb said. “We definitely had a little bit of speed to search for at the beginning of the season. At California (and) Atlanta, we showed some of that speed, we just didn’t get the finishes the team wanted.”

NASCAR weekend schedule at World Wide Technology Raceway, Portland


NASCAR’s top three series are racing this weekend in two different locations. Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the Xfinity Series will compete at Portland International Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)

Weekend weather

Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 87 degrees during Truck qualifying.

Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 88 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 93 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, June 4

Garage open

  • 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (240 laps, 300 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.