A NASCAR anomaly: The team that stayed together

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They’ve stood as first-hand witnesses to the dissolution of Dale Earnhardt Inc., the rise of Stewart-Haas Racing and the ballyhooed debut of Danica Patrick.

The 2015 Sprint Cup season, which began with a three-race suspension for their driver but later included two victories, might be the most memorable yet for crew chief Tony Gibson and his loyal support staff.

In a bond that has lasted for eight years, Gibson has managed to keep the key members of his crew intact while helming four teams across two organizations. Tuning this season on the No. 41 Chevrolet for Kurt Busch (who will start second Sunday at Sonoma Raceway), Gibson’s team might have its best chance at contending for a championship in NASCAR’s premier series.

In a story for NBC’s SportsWorld site, Nate Ryan examines its memorable ride and the ties that bind them through highs and lows.

Ryan writes:

The results are in part a testament to the perseverance at the core of the No. 41 Chevrolet team: Gibson, shock specialist Brian Holshouser, interior mechanic Jay Guarneri, engineer Johnny Klausmeier, car chief Kevin Pennell and underneath mechanic Shawn Warren. They’ve worked together at SHR since 2009, and all except Warren have been side by side since the waning days of Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007-08.

“We’re just like a pack of wolves, man,” Gibson told me. “It’s like being in the army and you’re with a platoon. Those guys are your family and you protect them and take care of them. Don’t leave anybody behind. That’s our deal.”

“It’s just crazy how long we’ve been able to stick together”

In a sport synonymous with turnover and teams poaching from others’ staffs, Gibson’s group is an anomaly. Consider that only three team members have been constant through Johnson’s reign of six championships since 2006 – the driver, crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec.

Gibson has maintained the core of his team through the uncertainty of sponsorship upheaval (taking Ryan Newman to victory lane in 2012 when the U.S. Army pulled its backing) and oft-mediocre results the past two seasons.

Under Gibson’s tutelage during her first two full seasons in Sprint Cup, Patrick notched four top 10s in 72 starts. Though a stark contrast to making the Chase for the Sprint Cup twice in the previous four seasons with Ryan Newman, Gibson’s guys didn’t fray – in part because SHR management knew they wouldn’t.

“None of these guys had anything negative to say even one time,” Gibson said. “When they asked us to do that, we said, ‘Dude, whatever you do, we’re on board.’ It didn’t matter who was driving. We just had different goals. All we said is, ‘Dude, if we can run in the top 10 or 15 with her right away, that’s like a win.’ We changed our focus.”

“I think a lot of people look it and say, ‘Why? How’s it work?’” Guarneri said. “We’ve got each others’ backs. Gibson has our back. Anything he calls during a race, we’re not going to say, ‘Gibson, you shouldn’t have done that. If he says to pit with one lap to go, we’ll back him.

“We all have (had offers to leave for other teams). I’ve had one or two, but people watch you in the garage and see how hard we work. They always come, but they know this whole group is tight.”

Said Warren: “We have problems and spats like any siblings, but we are family. Our comrades on other teams, they can see it They pull for us as much as we pull for each other. We’ve been through a lot together as a team. I bet you could take a poll of 40 teams and none have been through as much together like we have.”


For more, check out the rest of Ryan’s story here.

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