Joey Logano is picture of perfection: Leads all 300 laps en route to Xfinity Series win at Bristol

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Joey Logano was absolutely perfect in Saturday’s Drive To Stop Diabetes 300, leading all 300 laps en route to victory at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Logano took the lead away from pole-sitter Erik Jones shortly after the green flag dropped and never looked back, earning his 23rd career Xfinity Series victory.

“Such a dominating car,” Logano told Performance Racing Network after the race. “It was fun to drive it. The whole time, you were so nervous that something would happen. It’s such a fun thing to win at Bristol. It’s Bristol. Any time you win here, it’s neat.”

Logano appeared as if he was on coast, but he admitted he was concerned that fellow Sprint Cup regular Kevin Harvick might rally late. As it was, Harvick finished seventh.

“I thought Harvick was really fast and was probably faster than me when we were single-file,” Logano said. “I was hoping for lapped traffic, which is never the case when you’re the leader.”

Logano was so dominant early that by Lap 36, he had lapped half of the 40-car field before cautions bunched the pack back up.

Xfinity Series rookie Daniel Suarez, a native of Mexico, earned a career-best second-place finish, followed by Chris Buescher, Jones and Ty Dillon.

How Logano won: One word best describes Logano: Dominant. Like a police K9 chasing a crook, Logano sunk his teeth in and went for the jugular right from the green flag. He was able to hold off challenges at various points in the race from drivers such as runner-up Daniel Suarez, fellow Cup driver Kevin Harvick, pole-sitter Erik Joes and Chris Buescher, among others.

Who else had a good day: Without question, Daniel Suarez had the most emotional story of the day. Not only did the native of Mexico give Logano a run for his money in the final 30 laps or so, Suarez also likely made headlines back in his native land by finishing a career-best runner-up, his best showing in his rookie Xfinity Series season. Said Suarez, “We kept fighting. All day we had a good car and kept improving it on every stop. … It was a good day. I’m very happy.”

Who had a bad day: There was one significant incident of note. JJ Yeley suffered heavy damage when he smacked the Turn 2 wall after making contact with Landon Cassill. Ryan Sieg also tagged the wall in the same incident. Yeley hit the wall so hard that three laps later, the race was red-flagged so that track and NASCAR officials could examine and repair a part of the SAFER barrier, which had part of the splitter from Yeley’s car embedded in it.

Notables: Chris Buescher finished third, while Ty Dillon finished fifth. As a result, the two drivers are now tied atop the Xfinity Series points standings (Buescher came into the race two points behind Dillon) after seven races into the 33-race junior league season. Chase Elliott and Bubba Wallace are tied for third at 22 points back in standings. Buescher said: “It was eventful. We had a lot of things going on today. I heard we’re in a good points situation now, so that’s pretty awesome.” Added Ty Dillon, “This is the boost we needed. We struggled last couple weeks. As soon as they dropped the green flag, we went to the top. I’m glad we’re back on track with our team and we’ll keep battling.”

Quote of the day: Pole-sitter Erik Jones was somewhat disappointed in his 40th place finish. “It’s alright. You can’t pass. It’s not any fun. We worked back up to the front, weren’t as good as the 22, kept working on it and thought we were a top-3 car.”

What’s next: Toyota Care 250 on Friday, April 24, at Richmond International Raceway.


Unofficial results of Drive for Diabetes 300:

1 Joey Logano … 300 laps

2 Daniel Suarez … 300 laps

3 Chris Buescher … 300 laps

4 Erik Jones … 300 laps

5 Ty Dillon … 300 laps

6 Chase Elliott … 300 laps

7 Kevin Harvick … 300 laps

8 Brian Scott … 300 laps

9 Brendan Gaughan … 300 laps

10 Elliott Sadler … 300 laps

11 Brennan Poole … 300 laps

12 Darrell Wallace Jr. … 300 laps

13 Jeremy Clements … 299 laps

14 John Wes Townley … 297 laps

15 Jeffrey Earhardt … 297 laps

16 Austin Dillon … 297 laps

17 Ryan Sieg … 296 laps

18 David Starr … 296 laps

19 Cale Conley … 296 laps

20 Mike Bliss … 295 laps

21 Ryan Reed … 294 laps

22 Blake Koch … 294 laps

23 Dakoda Armstrong … 294 laps

24 Todd Bodine … 293 laps

25 Joey Gase … 293 laps

26 Eric McClure … 291 laps

27 Ross Chastain … 273 laps

28 Landon Cassill … 268 laps

29 Harrison Rhodes … 260 laps

30 Regan Smith … 252 laps

31 Denny Hamlin … 229 laps

32 Peyton Sellers … 227 laps

33 JJ Yeley … 206 laps

34 Timmy Hill … 198 laps

35 Mike Harmon … 106 laps

36 Carlos Contreras … 60 laps

37 Derrike Cope … 55 laps

38 Morgan Shepherd … 41 laps

39 Jeff Green … 28 laps

40 Derek White … 11 laps

Time of Race: 1 hour, 50 minutes, 00 seconds

Average Speed: 87.218 mph

Margin of Victory: 1.172 seconds

Caution Flags: 8 for 48 laps

Lead changes: 1 among 1 driver

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Jagger Jones earns K&N West Rookie of the Year honors

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Like grandfather, like father and now like son. Racing success is definitely a tradition in the Jones family.

Jagger Jones has followed in the shoes of his legendary grandfather Parnelli and father P.J., capturing the 2019 Sunoco K&N Pro Series West Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, it was announced Wednesday.

“(Winning Rookie of the Year) and to win races, those were our two main goals,” the youngest Jones, of Scottsdale, Arizona, said in a statement. “I think the whole season we’ve led the Rookie of the Year standings, which is pretty cool, and separated ourselves from the other rookies and got it done.”

Driving for Sunrise Ford and team owner Bob Bruncati, the 17-year-old Jones earned one win, eight top fives and 11 top 10s in the 14-race season. He also earned one pole, led 248 laps and had an average finish of 5.4. He finished second in the overall standings behind champion Derek Krause and three points ahead of third-ranked Hailie Deegan.

MORE: Parnelli Jones’ grandson Jagger set to make own racing mark in K&N debut

Brittney Zamora, driving for Bill McAnally Racing, finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting.

“McAnally versus Sunrise was definitely the race in the West competition wise,” Jones said. “To get that and finish second in the points in my rookie season, I was pretty pleased with that.”

Jones becomes the sixth Sunrise Ford Racing driver in the last 13 years to win the top rookie honors, joining Jason Bowles (2007), Luis Martinez Jr. (2010), Austin Dyne (2012), Dylan Lupton (2013) and James Bickford (2014). Bill McAnally Racing won the top rookie award in each of the last three seasons: Todd Gilliland (2016), Derek Kraus (2017) and Hailie Deegan (2018).

Sam Mayer previously won the K&N Pro Series East Sunoco Rookie of the Year award for 2019.

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Daniel Hemric, Jeb Burton to drive JR Motorsports’ No. 8 car in 2020

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JR Motorsports’ revealed Wednesday that Jeb Burton and Daniel Hemric will drive its No. 8 Chevrolet for the majority of the 2020 Xfinity Series season, in addition to one race with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel.

Hemric, who drove Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 car in the Cup Series this season, is scheduled for 21 races.

RCR is replacing Hemric with Tyler Reddick in 2020.

Hemric returns to the Xfinity Series, where he competed for RCR from 2017-18. He made the Championship 4 in both seasons.

“I want to thank Dale, Kelley and everyone at JR Motorsports for believing in me,” Hemric said in a press release. “For a Kannapolis (N.C.) boy like me, driving for the Earnhardt family is pretty awesome.

“My goal here is simple — to go win races for JR Motorsports and to help their program any way that I can. I’ve raced against their cars before and I know how they’re capable of running. My focus is on finishing the Cup season out strong, but once the checkered flag flies at Homestead, we’ll set our sights on getting the No. 8 car to Victory Lane early and often next season.”

Said Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “Daniel is a solid competitor with a great personality. He’ll be a quality addition to our lineup in 2020. We’re lucky to have him. I feel like he has grown as a driver from his time in the Cup Series. That will be valuable to him with this new opportunity to compete in the Xfinity series. He’s a local Kannapolis native with a lot of determination to succeed, and I’m excited to work with him.”

Burton, who has driven in six races for JRM this season, is set for 11 next year.

Other drivers who have piloted the No. 8 for JRM this season included Zane Smith (10 starts), Ryan Truex (six starts), Ryan Preece (four starts), Regan Smith (two starts), Brett Moffitt (one start), Chase Elliott (one start), Sheldon Creed (one start) and Earnhardt (one start).

 

NASCAR America presents MotorMouths airs at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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Today’s edition of NASCAR America presents MotorMouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

On the show will be Rutledge Wood, Kyle Petty, Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan.

Obviously, the main topic of discussion will be this weekend’s championship races, particularly the Cup battle between Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

You can join the conversation by calling 1-844-NASCARNBC or reach out on Twitter via #LetMeSayThis.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch online 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.

Viewers guide to 2019 Miami Championship Weekend

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Sunday’s Cup Series championship race will be a significant moment in the career of one driver.

Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick will each battle for the Cup title at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC and NASCAR Hot Pass on NBCSN).

For Truex, Busch and Harvick, they have a chance to join Jimmie Johnson as the only active drivers with multiple titles. One of them would become the 16th Cup driver to win multiple championships.

For Hamlin, he could finally lose his title of the winningest active driver without a championship on his record.

This will be the last scheduled championship weekend in Miami after it has hosted the event since 2002. Next year it will move to ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Here’s a guide to the final weekend of the NASCAR season:

FUN WITH NUMBERS

The Championship 4 is three against one on multiple levels.

As mentioned, it will feature three past champions going against Hamlin, who will try to win his first title in his 14th year of full-time Cup competition. In his only other Championship 4 appearance in 2014, Hamlin finished third.

Three Toyotas from Joe Gibbs Racing will be pitted against one Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 4 driven by Harvick.

“(We need to) beat three Gibbs cars.  Go faster than them,” Harvick said. “We’re going to do everything just like we’ve done all year.”

Three drivers in their 30s – Busch (34 years old), Truex (39) and Hamlin (38) – are going against Harvick, whose 43.

CHAMPIONSHIP BIRTHDAY?

Speaking of ages….

Like everyone else, Hamlin’s birthday falls on the same date every year – Nov. 18.

This year it falls on the day after Hamlin could claim his first title.

“Homestead is always my birthday weekend,” Hamlin said. “I want to have two reasons to celebrate, not just one.”

Hamlin recalled the last time he came this close to a title.

“In 2010 I shut everyone out,” Hamlin said. “Like I didn’t do any of the birthday stuff.  I didn’t hang out with anyone.  I really didn’t respond to calls or texts or anything like that.  But I’m not going to be that way I don’t think this time around because I just am not going to change who I am.”

Should he win the championship by winning Sunday’s race, he’d earn his 38th Cup Series victory on his last day of being 38 years old.

Also, a win Sunday would be Hamlin’s seventh of the season. That would make him the winningest Daytona 500 winner in a season since Jeff Gordon had seven victories in 1999.

RACE WINNER = CHAMPION

This weekend marks the sixth edition of the Cup championship race under the elimination playoff format.

While the championship is simply awarded to the highest-finishing driver out of the Championship 4, each year the champion has won the race.

2014 – Kevin Harvick (led final eight laps)

2015 – Kyle Busch (led eight of final 10 laps)

2016 – Jimmie Johnson (only led final three laps as part of an overtime finish)

2017 – Martin Truex Jr. (led final 51 laps)

2018 – Joey Logano (led final 12 laps after passing Truex)

Should Busch win on Sunday, he would end a 21-race winless streak.

“It’s obviously a great opportunity to be able to go race for a championship, and that’s what this format is,” Busch said. “It doesn’t mean a whole lot to make it to the Championship 4 if you don’t win it. You know, it’s all reset to zero. There are four of us who go for winner-take-all at Homestead. … It’s what your whole season comes down to.”

ONE LAST MONSTER MASH

Sunday’s race will be the last that Monster Energy serves as the title sponsor for the Cup Series.

Starting in 2020, the Cup Series will movie to a tiered sponsor system with no title sponsor.

The Cup Series has had a title sponsor since 1971 when Winston entered the role it held until 2003.

Nextel owned the naming rights from 2004-07. Sprint then held the rights through 2016 with Monster taking over in 2017.

RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Three drivers who won races in 2018 have a last shot to earn their first victory of this season.

They include Austin Dillon (won the Daytona 500), Clint Bowyer (two wins in 2018) and Aric Almirola (one win).

This will also be Jimmie Johnson’s last opportunity to keep from going winless in two straight seasons. He is winless in the last 94 races (June 2017 at Dover).

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

Sunday will mark the final full-time Cup starts for Paul Menard and David Ragan.

Both have said they plan to continue racing but suggest it could be in other forms beyond Cup.

Menard, the 2011 Brickyard 400 winner, will make his 471st Cup start Sunday. While he did not have as much success as others, he’ll be remembered for his quiet demeanor, abstinence from social media and devoted fan base.

Ragan, who won at Daytona in 2011 and Talladega in 2013, will make his 470th Cup start Sunday.

Both began running full-time in 2007 in a rookie class that included Juan Pablo Montoya and AJ Allmendinger. Montoya won rookie of the year honors.

Front Row Motorsports

Ragan said he’s looked at schedules for ARCA and some Late Model races across the country. He also said there are plans for him to drive the Next Gen car next year in some testing.

“Ford Motor Company has been a really good partner of mine and a supporter of my career since day one, and so I’m working with those guys on how I can help the big picture from Ford Performance and how we can work on next year and the Next Generation car as it rolls out,” Ragan said.

Ragan will be driving a throwback paint scheme on his No. 38 Ford. It will look like the car Ragan won with at Talladega with Front Row Motorsports.

MOVING ON 

This weekend will be the last for a handful of drivers in their current rides before they transition to a new team, while others are still without announced plans for beyond Sunday.

Leavine Family Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto will replace Menard in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Ford.

Xfinity Series driver Christopher Bell will succeed DiBenedetto in LFR’s No. 95 Toyota.

Rookie Daniel Hemric is being replaced by Richard Childress Racing in its No. 8 Chevrolet with Tyler Reddick next season. Hemric will drive for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series in 21 race in its No. 8 car.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Daniel Suarez has not announced his plans for next season. The 2016 Xfinity champion will end his third Cup season on Sunday.

JTG Daugherty Racing and Roush Fenway Racing will be swapping drivers after the Miami race. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. go from driving Roush’s No. 17 Ford to JTG Daugherty to replace Chris Buescher. Meanwhile, Buescher will return to Roush after five years away to drive the No. 17.

Rookie Matt Tifft will not be back in Front Row Motorsports’ No. 36 Ford. He can’t commit to racing next year after he suffered a seizure last month. He’s missed the last two races while John Hunter Nemechek has competed in his place. Nemechek will be in the car this weekend.

NEW TIRE

All three national series will compete on a new tire set-up compared to what was used at this track last year.

This is the same combination of left and right-side tires each series ran at Chicagoland and those in the Cup and Xfinity Series ran at Darlington this season.

This left and right-side tire features construction updates to align with what is run at other speedways, while this right-side tire takes teams from a multi-zone tread tire to a single zone tire and will increase grip.

“The compounds we will be running provide plenty of grip, but also offer the endurance needed on Homestead’s track surface,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, in a press release.  “These high wear tracks put on some of our best races, and the past several years at Homestead have proven that.  Tire fall-off creates more ‘comers’ and ‘goers’ over the course of a long run, which means more passing and tire management being an important element of the race.”

TWO OTHER CHAMPIONSHIPS AT STAKE

The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series also will crown their champions this weekend.

The Truck Series will race Friday night. Defending champion Brett Moffitt, two-time champion Matt Crafton, Ross Chastain and Stewart Friesen will compete for the title.

The Xfinity Series will race Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Cole CusterChristopher BellTyler Reddick and Justin Allgaier will compete for the crown. Reddick won this race last year to claim the championship

This will be the final full-time Xfinity starts for Bell and Reddick before the jump to the Cup Series next year.