Upon Further Review: Texas

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Hendrick Motorsports placed all four of its cars in the top 10 Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, marking the third consecutive race on a 1.5-mile speedway that Hendrick has had at least three cars in the top 10.

With five of the 10 Chase races on 1.5-mile speedways — including the season finale in Miami — how teams perform on this type of track is pivotal in the title race.

Next month will be key for teams with three events on 1.5-mile speedways: The May 7 race at Kansas Speedway, the May 21 Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

After those events, the only race on a 1.5-mile track before the Chase begins in September will be July 9 at Kentucky Speedway.

“I think the company as a whole is pushing real hard to improve, and there’s an impression within the company that we need to grind a little bit and make some gains going forward into the middle of the season here,’’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. said after his runner-up finish for Hendrick.

Through the first three races on 1.5-mile tracks (Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas), here’s who has the best average finish:

Through the first three races on 1.5-mile tracks, here’s who has led the most laps:

  •   1. Martin Truex Jr.             175
  •   2. Kevin Harvick                133
  •   3. Jimmie Johnson            128
  •   4. Carl Edwards                125
  •   5. Kurt Busch                      93
  •   6. Matt Kenseth                   77
  •   7. Kyle Busch                      74
  •   7. Joey Logano                   74
  •   9. Brad Keselowski             24
  • 10. Trevor Bayne                  12

— Noteworthy runs at Texas:

Chase Elliott‘s fifth-place finish was a career-best result in Cup. His previous best was sixth at Auto Club Speedway last month.

Kasey Kahne‘s eighth-place finish was his best of the season. His previous best was 10th at Las Vegas.

Trevor Bayne finished a season-best 15th. His previous best this year was 17th at Las Vegas.

Ty Dillon‘s 20th-place finish was the best finish of the season for Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing. It’s previous best was 24th at Martinsville with Michael McDowell driving the car.

— Will Kyle Busch’s streak continue this weekend at Bristol?

He enters having won the past two Sprint Cup races. Busch and Joey Logano each had three-race winning streaks last year. Busch won Daytona in July, Kentucky and New Hampshire. Logano’s three wins came in the Chase at Kansas, Charlotte and Talladega.

Busch also is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in each of the last four short track races, which includes Martinsville last month, the November Martinsville race, the September Richmond race and the August Bristol race.

— It has been a tough start of the season for Xfinity Series drivers this season. Series regulars have led 6.5 percent of the 1,033 laps run this season with Sprint Cup drivers dominating the series. Friday night’s race saw 12 of the 200 laps led by drivers scoring Xfinity points this season.

Last year, Xfinity Series regulars (those who score points in that series) had led 13.7 percent of the 1,033 laps in the first six races of the season.


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.