Brian France praises Martin Truex Jr.’s win at Pocono as ‘essence’ of NASCAR


NASCAR Chairman Brian France hailed Martin Truex Jr.’s victory at Pocono Raceway as “what NASCAR is all about” during a Monday interview on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

France said he visited the Denver shop last fall of Barney Visser’s Furniture Row Racing, which fields only Truex’s No. 78 Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series.

“It’s an underfunded team that competes with their talent and hard work and succeeds,” France said during the Tradin’ Paint show on the NASCAR Channel. “It’s really great for those guys. Boy, it’s fun to watch someone’s talents and efforts to carry them to a place no one thought was possible. They’ve been building on this for a number of weeks, and they’re the real deal.

“They’re not stopping here. They want to compete for a championship. That’s exciting to see.”

With his third career win, Truex is a virtual lock to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup after finishing a career-worst 24th in the points standings last year. He has 13 top 10s in 14 races this season.

France said his primary focus was ensuring storylines such as Truex’s were possible.

“It’s real simple: Making sure the racing product is the best, closest, competitive and safest we can have,” he said. “That’s an ongoing mission. That’s our single goal. The commercial things take care of itself. We’re able to put the best racing forward, have teams that are underfunded like Barney Visser and Martin Truex that have a real shot at winning a race, that’s real success. We’ll keep working to make racing close, tight and competitive. Our fans expect that, and we do as well. That’s my main focus.”

France said “doing hard things well” is the most enjoyable part of his job.

“We’re doing a lot of hard things and balancing everyone’s interests as well as we can,” he said. “We’re having a lot of fun doing it because of the passion that is in this sport. It’s an amazing passion from our fans to team owners to drivers.

“It’s what makes sports great. It’s competition. It’s the essence of it. Our ability to deliver that in a way, even to the teams that are underfunded, that’s why this weekend’s story was so great with Martin, where they still have a shot. We’re trying to do that at the highest level, and it’s fun to do.”

Among other topics addressed by France in the interview:

  • He visited with several Sprint Cup stars at Pocono for the first time since a newly formed driver’s council met with NASCAR executives last week. “We can’t get close enough to our drivers, our owners and other stakeholders,” he said. “That’s fundamental to us. There are times we make that formal, i.e. a driver council, and that’s fine. When NASCAR works best is when we have all the right opinions and input. I was glad to do that.”
  • NASCAR was pleased by the debut of new pit safety regulations at Pocono. “Safety is obviously the No. 1 priority, no matter what we’re doing,” France said. “The teams are joined at the hip doing that. You’re seeing that. You’re seeing as close and competitive as it is, it’s still the safest form of racing in the world.”
  • Working on the 2016 rules remains a collaborative effort. “Everybody’s interests actually come together in the end,” he said. “We’re all about lower-cost racing. We put packages together that influence racing to be close, tight and competitive. None of our goals — whether it’s safety, lowering costs, getting drivers and teams disadvantaged from funding to have a real shot to do well — none of those goals are inconsistent. They all come together, and that’s the beauty of it. … We don’t always get it right. The drivers and their styles — one likes a certain package of low downforce or higher downforce. They don’t always agree. The good news is if we do it right, it’s the essence of NASCAR. Lower-cost racing, more people have a shot and super competitive, which our fans love and expect. Close, tight competition in a safe manner. That’s as good as it gets for us.”
  • France said NASCAR still fields calls from potential new manufacturers. “We’re generally open to figuring out how to make a new manufacturer work in NASCAR,” he said. “We have those discussions. Obviously, it’s complicated how a manufacturer might enter the sport. It goes back to the original points. They want to make sure they have a fair and balanced playing field. If they line up talent, that they can have a shot to compete and do well. … Every single thing, and this is the beauty of NASCAR, leads back to the same path: How do we make sure that, as a sanctioning body, we lay out a plan and path where drivers, teams, manufacturers and sponsors all feel they can come into NASCAR if they compete hard and their talent allows them to do reasonably well? That’s an ongoing mission and serves everybody well when we get it right. That’s our mission.

Xfinity Series playoff standings entering first round

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The Xfinity Series playoffs begin this weekend with a 12-driver field set to compete for the championship.

The playoffs start Saturday night with a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric start the postseason tied after they each earned 50 playoff points during the regular season.

More: Las Vegas entry lists

The last four drivers in the standings are Ryan Sieg (2,002 points), Michael Annett (2,002), Riley Herbst (2,001) and Brandon Brown (2,000).

Here are the full playoff standings entering the Round of 12.


Cup playoff standings entering Round of 12

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The Round of 12 in the Cup playoffs has arrived following Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Eliminated from contention were Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Blaney, Cole Custer and William Byron.

The second round begins Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

More: Entry lists for Las Vegas

Kurt Busch begins the round last in the standings with 3,0001 points.

Here is the full playoff standings entering the Round of 12.

Drivers in yellow are those who will compete in the Round of 12. Drivers in red were eliminated at the end of the first round.

Cup playoff standings


NASCAR entry lists for Las Vegas

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The Round of 12 begins this weekend for the Cup Series and NASCAR’s entry lists for Las Vegas Motor Speedway are out.

All three national series will compete at the 1.5-mile track as the Xfinity Series begins its playoffs and the Truck Series holds its second playoff race.

More: Bristol winners and losers

Here are the preliminary entry lists for Las Vegas:

Cup – South Point 400 (7 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN)

Thirty-nine cars are entered for the first race of the Round of 12.

Joey Logano won at Las Vegas in the spring over Matt DiBenedetto and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. This race was won last season by Martin Truex Jr. over Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski.

Click here for the Cup entry list.


Xfinity – Alsco 300 (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-four cars are entered in the Xfinity playoff opener.

Daniel Hemric is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Austin Hill is entered in Hattori Racing Enterprises’ No. 61 Toyota.

Chase Briscoe won at Las Vegas in February over Austin Cindric and Ryan Sieg. This race was won last year by Tyler Reddick over Christopher Bell and Brandon Jones.

Click here for the Xfinity entry list.


Trucks – World of Westgate 200 (9 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

Thirty-six trucks are entered.

Ryan Truex is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 40 Chevrolet.

IndyCar driver Conor Daly will make his Truck Series debut in Niece Motorsports’ No. 42 Chevrolet.

Travis Pastrana is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 45 Chevrolet for his second start of the season.

Kyle Busch won at Las Vegas in February over Johnny Sauter and Austin Hill. Austin Hill won this race last year over Ross Chastain and Christian Eckes.

Click here for the Truck entry list

NASCAR 2020 schedule: Times, TV channels, stream info and tracks for Cup series

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The second round of the NASCAR 2020 Cup series playoffs will begin on Sunday, September 27 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

William ByronCole CusterMatt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney saw their championship hopes end last Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway where Kevin Harvick stole the show with his ninth win of the season. Harvick’s victory at Bristol marked a career-best milestone as his previous best was eight wins back in 2018.

Click here to see the NASCAR entry lists for Las Vegas 

    RELATED: Bristol Cup results, driver points report

NASCAR 2020 Schedule Playoffs – Round of 12

Sept. 27 – South Point 400

Time: 7 p.m.
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Oct. 4 – YellaWood 500

Time: 2 p.m.
Track: Talladega Superspeedway

Oct. 11 – Bank of America Roval 400

Time: 2:30 p.m.
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL

Playoffs – Round of 8

Oct. 18 – Hollywood Casino 400

Time: 2:30 p.m.
Track: Kansas Speedway, 2:30 p.m.

Oct. 25 – Texas 500

Time: 3 p.m.
Track: Texas Motor Speedway

Nov. 1 – Xfinity 500

Time: 2 p.m.
Track: Martinsville Speedway

Championship – Round of 4

Nov. 8 – NASCAR Cup Series Championship

Time: 3 p.m.
Track: Phoenix Raceway


Daytona 500

Date: Feb. 17
Winner: Denny Hamlin

Pennzoil 500 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Date: Feb. 23
Winner: Joey Logano (video)

Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway

Date: March 1
Winner: Alex Bowman

FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway

Date: March 8
Winner: Joey Logano (video)

The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway

Date: May 17
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway

Date: May 20
Winner: Denny Hamlin (video)

Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Date: May 24
Winner: Brad Keselowski

Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Date: May 28
Winner: Chase Elliott  (video)

Supermarket Heroes 500 – at Bristol Motor Speedway

Date: May 31
Winner: Brad Keselowski

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Date: June 7
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway

Date: June 10
Winner: Martin Truex Jr. (video)

Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Date: June 14
Winner: Denny Hamlin (video)

Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

Date: June 22
Winner: Ryan Blaney

Pocono Organics 325 at Pocono Raceway

Date: June 27
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Pocono 350 at Pocono Raceway

Date: June 28
Winner: Denny Hamlin

Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Date: July 5
Winner: Kevin Harvick

Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

Date: July 12
Winner: Cole Custer

NASCAR All-Star Race

Date: July 15
Winner: Chase Elliott

O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Date: July 19
Winner: Austin Dillon

Super Start Batteries 400

Date: July 23
Winner: Denny Hamlin

Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

Date: Aug. 2:
Winner: Brad Keselowski

FireKeepers Casino 400

Date: Aug. 8
Kevin Harvick

Consumers Energy 400

Date: Aug. 9
Kevin Harvick

NASCAR Cup Series Race at Daytona Road Course

Date: Aug. 16
Chase Elliott

NASCAR Cup Series Race at Dover

Race 1

Date: Aug 22
Denny Hamlin

Race 2

Date: Aug. 23
Kevin Harvick

Coke Zero Sugar 400

Date: Aug. 29
William Byron

Playoffs – Round of 16

Date: Sept. 6 
Kevin Harvick

Date: Sept. 12
Brad Keselowski

Date: Sept. 19
Kevin Harvick

For more on the NASCAR 2020 schedule, news and information, read NASCAR Talk