Kasey Kahne edges Erik Jones to win in tie for second-closest finish in Truck history, but fails post-race inspection



In an outstanding green-white-checker finish, Kasey Kahne defeated Erik Jones by less than the width of a bumper to win Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kahne won by .005 of a second, tying for the second-closest margin of victory in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history.

It wasn’t all good news for Kahne’s JR Motorsports team. NASCAR announced after the race that the winning Truck was too low on both sides of the front and too high on the right rear. Any penalties will likely be announced Tuesday.

Kahne has made just six career starts in a Truck and has now won five of those races (plus one second-place finish). He defeated Jones, despite the latter dominating the extended 139-lap race with 88 laps led.

What’s more, both Kahne and Jones — who qualified on the pole and the outside, respectively — had to drop back to start the race from the back of the field due to unapproved changes (Kahne) and missing the driver’s meeting (Jones).

Reigning series champ Matt Crafton finished third, followed by Tyler Reddick and Brad Keselowski.

Sixth through 10th were John Wes Townley, Timothy Peters, Matt Tifft, Justin Boston and Spencer Gallagher.

How Kahne won: It looked like Jones would win until Daniel Hemric brought out the final caution with a half-lap to go in regulation time. The race was extended to a two-lap green-white-checker finish and Kahne somehow was able to get in front of Jones by a mere 2-3 inches as they both crossed the finish line. … “Jones was really fast, he was kind of in a league of his own when he could get to clean air,” Kahne said. “I knew if I could stay back and stay with him, that as long as he didn’t get to clean air, I’d be alright. … That’s a fun win. It felt good.”

Who else had a good day: Erik Jones had the class truck of the field, leading a race-high 88 laps. But he just couldn’t get past Kahne when it mattered most, at the finish line. Still, Jones has nothing to be ashamed of: including this race, he’s now led 240 laps in his last two races.

Who had a bad day: Mason Mingus had a good race going until 25 laps from the scheduled finish, when he slammed the inside retaining wall hard. Mingus was uninjured but instead of a potential top-10 finish, he wound up with a 26th place finish.

Notables: Kahne’s victory was the first Truck win ever for JR Motorsports. … It was also the 200th career Truck win for Chevrolet. … Crafton led the second-most laps (24), while Kahne led the third-most (22). … After the struggles his team endured last week at Kansas, Brad Keselowski had to be happy that two of his trucks finished in the top five Friday night: Tyler Reddick was fourth and Keselowski was fifth.

Quote of the day: “Man, it sucks when it has to come down to a green-white-checker and the fastest truck loses the race for the second week in a row. I just can’t believe we lost it. I don’t even know what to say. It really, really hurts. … It’s nice to have fast trucks, but I wish we could win. It just really, really hurts. I really, really wanted this one and it’s hard to come up second.” – Erik Jones, runner-up in Friday night’s race.

What’s next: Friday, May 29, 5:30 pm ET, Lucas Oil 200, Dover International Speedway; Dover, Del.



Follow @JerryBonkowsk

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.

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.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


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, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott 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.