Ford looking for first Coca-Cola 600 win in 14 years

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Greg Biffle is the oldest active driver in the Sprint Cup Series, but he hasn’t been around the longest.

The 46-year-old driver was 32 when he first broke into Sprint Cup racing in 2002 as a part-time driver competing in seven races for Roush Fenway Racing, Petty Enterprises and Andy Petree Racing.

He would start driving full-time for Roush the following season, but in 2002, Jack Roush fielded four full-time drivers in Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth.

That season also marked the end of a four-year streak of Roush and Ford winning NASCAR’s longest race – the Coca-Cola 600.

Martin’s triumph in the 2002 race – his only win in the 600 –  stands as the last time a Ford-powered car visited victory lane in the Memorial Day weekend event.

Ford has won three of the last nine Cup races at Charlotte Motor Speedway – one with Roush – but none have come in the May race.

Since Martin’s win, which followed Burton’s victories in 1999 and 2001 and Kenseth’s first-career win in 2000, Ford is 0 – 13.

In those 13 races, the Coke 600 has been won eight times by Chevrolet, three times by Dodge (which left Sprint Cup at the end of 2012) and twice by Toyota.

Toyota claimed win No. 2 last year with Carl Edwards, a former Roush driver. Finishing just behind Edwards was Biffle, who was the runner-up in the 600 for the second time in his career.

Biffle’s result was the best for Ford in the Coke 600 since David Ragan finished second in 2011. Before that, Biffle was runner-up in 2008.

“The Coke 600 is the longest race of the season and gives us an opportunity to work on our car for a long period of time,” Biffle said in a press release. “Charlotte is one of the more temperature sensitive tracks that we race on. Starting in the day and going into evening is a huge factor and why this race is so challenging. Last weekend (in the Sprint Showdown) we had a fast car and were able to race our way into the All-Star race, so I’ve got added confidence going into the Coke 600.”

If Biffle or any Roush driver wins Sunday, it would do a lot for the team.

It would snap a winless streak that stretches back to 2014 at Sonoma Raceway when Edwards won his last race with Roush. A win by Biffle would give him his first win since 2013 at Michigan International Speedway.

And if a Ford not driven by Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano wins, it would be the first by a non-Team Penske Ford since Aric Almirola won the rain-shortened Coke-Zero 400 at Daytona in 2014, a week after Edwards’ Sonoma win.

Xfinity race results, point standings after Bristol

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Chase Briscoe led the final six laps and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol for his seventh win of the season.

Briscoe beat Ross Chastain for the win. The top five was completed by Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the race results.

Playoff standings

The 12-driver field for the playoffs has been set with Briscoe’s win in the regular-season finale.

Brandon Brown placed 12th and clinched the 12th and final spot.

Here are the re-seeded point standings entering the playoffs.

Chase Briscoe – 2,050 points

Austin Cindric – 2,050

Justin Allgaier – 2,033

Noah Gragson – 2,025

Brandon Jones – 2,020

Justin Haley – 2,018

Harrison Burton – 2,014

Ross Chastain – 2,010

Ryan Sieg – 2,002

Michael Annett – 2,002

Riley Herbst – 2,001

Brandon Brown – 2,000

Click here for the re-seeded standings.

Click here for the normal point standings.

Chase Briscoe wins Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Chase Briscoe took the lead with six laps to go and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which marked the end of the regular season.

Briscoe passed Austin Cindric to assume the lead and went unchallenged to the checkered flag. The victory is his series-leading seventh of the season.

“I was so mad after last week (at Richmond),” Briscoe told NBCSN. “I told all the guys there ain’t no way we’re getting beat today. I was so mad after how we ran last week and I get on the internet all the time and see guys count us out after one bad race and I know what this team is capable. … I finished second here the last two races and I wanted to win here so bad and it’s awesome that I can actually celebrate it with all these race fans.”

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain, Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

More: Race results, playoff standings

Allgaier dominated the early portion of the race, leading 126 laps and winning the first two stages. But he lost the lead for good in the pits during the Stage 2 break.

Brandon Brown finished 12th and clinched the 12th and final playoff spot.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ross Chastain led three times for 117 laps, but had to settle for his fifth runner-up finish of the season without a win … Austin Cindric earned his 13th top-10 finish in the last 14 races … Harrison Burton earned his 13th top five of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brett Moffitt finished 27th after he had to pit three times in the opening laps and was penalized for taking fuel before the competition caution … BJ McLeod finished 34th after he was eliminated in a multi-car wreck that began when he made contact with teammate Jeffrey EarnhardtMichael Annett finished 31st and Joe Graf Jr. placed 27th after they were involved in an incident on Lap 120.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “I hit pit road and I wanted to cry.” – Ross Chastain after he finished second for the fifth time this year. He is winless entering the playoffs.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity playoffs open at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 26 on NBCSN.

 

Fans not allowed at Las Vegas races

Fans not allowed
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Spectators will be not be allowed for any of the NASCAR playoff races next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the track announced Friday night.

A press release said only essential personnel will be allowed to attend the Cup, Xfinity and Truck playoff races there.

“To say we’re disappointed that we will conduct the South Point 400 playoff weekend without fans would be a gross understatement,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell. “Our staff has been working – many of them remotely – since the February Pennzoil 400 to prepare the speedway for our playoff tripleheader.

“But we must adhere to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive that limits gatherings due to COVID-19.  While we disagree with this policy, we have no choice but to oblige.  We certainly regret this situation for the thousands of race fans who won’t be able to attend our NASCAR-weekend events.”

Nevada’s re-opening plan does not permit fans at sporting events, concerts. Groups are limited to 50 or fewer people.

The Las Vegas Raiders announced last month that they would not have fans at any of the team’s home games in its inaugural season there.

The Truck playoff race will be at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 on FS1. The Xfinity playoff opener will be at  7:30 p.m. ET Sept. 26 on NBCSN. The Cup playoff race will be 7 p.m. ET Sept. 27 on NBCSN.

Fans holding tickets for those events will be contacted by the speedway ticket services department to discuss credits for future races or refunds.

Pit crew change for Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson teams

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Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson each will have a pit crew change for Saturday night’s playoff race at Bristol.

The change is the result of an injury to one pit crew member.

Dustin Lineback, jackman for Bowman’s team is out with an injury, the team stated. Kyle Tudor, who has been Johnson’s jackman, moves over to that role for Bowman’s team. Eric Ludwig, a backup for Hendrick Motorsports, moves up to be the jackman for Johnson.

MORE: Saturday Cup race at Bristol: Start time, forecast, lineup

Bowman enters the elimination race 27 points ahead of teammate William Byron, the first driver outside a transfer spot to the second round. Bowman opened the playoffs by finishing sixth in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He followed that by placing ninth at Richmond. Bowman was collected in a crash and finished 37th in the May Bristol race.

Johnson, who is in his final full-time Cup season, seeks his first victory of the season. He finished third at Bristol in May.