Cole Custer (+52 points above cutline): The Stewart-Haas Racing driver can clinch on points if he earns 22 points and there is a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Tyler Reddick or Justin Allgaier), he could clinch on points with four points earned.
Custer has finished in the top 10 in four of his five career Xfinity starts at ISM Raceway.
“Fifty-two points is a great gap as we head into this weekend but it’s not something we can be comfortable with,” Custer said in a press release. “If one of the guys below the cut line ends up grabbing a win, then I think we only sit 16 points ahead of Tyler Reddick and if we have a bad day or something happens early in the race, that could knock us out of contention. Our best bet is to just go into this race and get the Haas Automation car back into Victory Lane and control our own destiny. We had a really good car here in the spring (finished fourth), one I think we were capable of winning with, so that is what our goal is for this weekend.”
Tyler Reddick (+36 points): The Richard Childress Racing driver can clinch on points by earning 38 points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer or Justin Allgaier), he could clinch by earning 20 points.
Reddick finished third at ISM Raceway in the spring.
“We know going into this weekend we need to keep our No. 2 myblu Chevrolet Camaro clean in order to advance … so we’ll be paying really close attention to what’s happening on the restarts throughout the race,” Reddick said in a media release. “With the starting line being at the end of the new Turns 3 and 4, there is endless amounts of race track for people to play with. It’s so wide but narrows up so fast. That makes it very interesting going into Turn 1. As a driver, you have to be on your toes and understand you could be on top of four or three-wide, or on the bottom of the same situation.”
Justin Allgaier (+18 points): The JR Motorsports driver can clinch on points if there is a repeat winner (or a win by Cole Custer or Tyler Reddick) and he earns 38 points. He could also clinch on points with a new winner and help.
Allgaier won the spring 2017 event at ISM Raceway and has six top fives in 18 career starts on the 1-mile track.
“There is a lot on the line this weekend at Phoenix,” said in a media release. “Right now we’re in a good position sitting fourth in points, but I know there are a lot of guys behind us that are battling for that same spot. Phoenix is a good track for us though and everyone on this BRANDT Professional Agriculture team is prepared and focused on what we need to do
Briscoe finished sixth in the spring race, while Annett placed eighth and Cindric finished fifth.
Due to inspection issues at Texas, Briscoe will lose 30 minutes of practice time this weekend.
“It’s essentially a must-win situation for us this weekend after the luck we had at Texas,” Briscoe said in a media release of his 22nd-place finish after he had to pit for a cut tire. “Honestly, Phoenix isn’t one of my best racetracks, but we learned a lot back in the spring and were able to get the car where I needed it to be towards the end of the race. Hopefully, we will have good speed right out of the box and set ourselves up to battle for the win, so we can be one of the four cars battling for a championship. We won’t go down without a fight that’s for sure – I believe in my guys and think we can make it happen.”
Noah Gragson (-47) could also clinch on points with a repeat winner and help.
Gragson placed 11th in the spring race and he’s coming off his first DNF of the season last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Gragson finished second in the 2018 Truck Series race at ISM Raceway.
This week’s episode of NASCAR America present MotorMouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and will cover today’s breaking news that Jimmie Johnson will end his full-time NASCAR career after 2020.
Marty Snider hosts and is joined by Kyle Petty, Ray Evernham and Nate Ryan to take fan phone calls.
You can join the conversation by calling 1-844-NASCARNBC or reach out on Twitter via #LetMeSayThis.
If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com.If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.
Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.
When Jimmie Kenneth Johnson first competed in motorcycle racing and then off-road truck racing, NASCAR seemed a world away.
But when General Motors executive Herb Fischel convinced Johnson a little over two decades ago that if he wanted to achieve even greater racing success, he had to head to NASCAR — in a Chevrolet, of course. Johnson agreed to try his luck in stock car racing and the rest, as they say, is history.
Even though he was from the West Coast rather than the South where most NASCAR stars back then hailed from, Johnson would go on to become one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history behind the wheel of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
1998 and 1999: Began his initial foray into stock car racing with a two-year stint in the ASA National Tour Series, earning two wins, 17 top 5 and 31 top 10 finishes in 40 combined starts. His first win in a stock car came on June 12, 1999 at Memphis Motorsports Park in the Greased Lightning 200. He dominated the event, leading 156 laps on the .750-mile paved oval. During those same two years, Johnson also dipped his toes in NASCAR racing, competing in eight races in the then-Busch Series for Herzog Motorsports, with a best finish of seventh on July 4, 1999 at The Milwaukee Mile.
2000: Still with Herzog Motorsports, Johnson competed in his first full season in the Busch Series, earning six top 10 finishes, with a best showing of sixth place at South Boston, Michigan and Homestead. But to this day, he’s still remembered by fans for one of the most vicious wrecks of his career, as his No. 92 ran off into the grass at Watkins Glen, vaulted into the air and slammed head-on into the retaining wall after his car suffered brake failure.
2001: In his final season with Herzog Motorsports and also his final full-time season in the Busch Series, Johnson earned his first win (Chicagoland Speedway), four top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Ironically, with all the success he would go on to experience in the Cup Series, Johnson’s win at Chicagoland was – and remains – his only triumph in what is now the Xfinity Series. In the same year, Johnson got his first taste of NASCAR Cup racing, competing in three races for Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, co-owned by Rick Hendrick and Johnson’s new teammate, NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon. It was an auspicious beginning: Johnson finished 25th, 29th and 39th in his three Cup starts.
2002: Johnson exploded in his rookie season in the Cup Series. He began by earning the pole for the Daytona 500, then went on to win the first of what would be 83 career Cup Series wins at his home track, California Speedway (now Auto Club Speedway). He would win two other races (both at Dover, where he would go on to win a career-best 11 times), had six top-five and 21 top-10 finishes and placed fifth in the final standings.
2003: Johnson finishes second in the standings behind Matt Kenseth. Earns three wins.
2004: Johnson finishes second in the standings behind Kurt Busch. Earned eight wins, which would become the second-most victories in a single season in his career. Also experienced one of the most tragic days of his life when, on October 24, Johnson won at Martinsville only to skip any victory celebration when it was learned that a Hendrick Motorsports plane carrying 10 headed for the race, crashed in Southern Virginia.
2005: Wins four races and finishes fifth in the standings.
2006: Johnson begins the season in a big way, earning the first of two career Daytona 500 wins, and then continues on to finish the season by winning his first career Cup championship, capturing five wins, 13 top five and 24 top-10 finishes. He also scores the first of four Brickyard 400 victories.
2007: Johnson wins his second consecutive Cup championship, paced by a single season career-best 10 wins, the only time he has earned double-digit wins in a season.
2008: Johnson wins his third consecutive Cup championship. Earns seven wins, including his second Brickyard 400 victory.
2009: Wins his fourth consecutive Cup championship, breaking Cale Yarborough’s record of three straight Cup titles. Once again earns seven wins, including his third Brickyard 400 triumph. Selected as Male Athlete of the Year by The Associated Press.
2010: Wins his fifth consecutive Cup championship. Earns six wins.
2011: His string of consecutive championships ends, as he has what many consider an off year, finishing sixth in the standings and earning just two wins, the fewest he would earn in a single season until he went winless in both 2018 and 2019.
2012: Finished third in the season standings. Won five races, including his fourth and most recent Brickyard 400 victory.
2013: Earns his second career Daytona 500 win. He also wins the summer race at Daytona for the first and only time in his career. Wins six races and caps it off with his sixth Cup championship.
2014: Wins four races but struggles in the first year of the new NASCAR Cup playoff format, finishing 11th, the first time he’s finished outside the top six in the final standings in his Cup career.
2015: In a similar storyline as the previous season, wins multiple races (five), but struggles in the playoffs and is eliminated in the first round, finishing 10th in the final standings.
2016: Johnson moves into NASCAR legend status when he wins his seventh Cup championship, tying him with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Once again earns five wins.
2017: Johnson earns three wins, including his most recent – and 83rd of his career – victory in the Cup Series on June 4. It also extends his record as the winningest Cup driver at Dover International Speedway to 11 wins in his career. He once again struggles to advance in the playoffs and finishes 10th.
2018: For the first time in his full-time career, Johnson goes winless. He earns just two top-five finishes, a career single-season low. Makes the playoffs but is eliminated after the first round and finishes 14th, which was a career-low (until 2019).
2019: For the first time in his career, he competes without crew chief Chad Knaus. They were split after the 2018 season. Johnson fails to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in his career and finishes a career-worst 18th in the standings. His winless streak reaches 95 consecutive races. Johnson announces that the 2020 season will be his last as a full-time driver in the Cup Series.
Two months ago on the Dale Jr. Download, as seen on NBCSN, Johnson gave some hints as to what he may do once his full-time Cup days are over with. Check it out.
******************************************************************************************* Jimmie Johnson’S CAREER – BY THE NUMBERS
1 – Made his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 7, 2001; he started the race 15th but finished 39th due to being involved in an incident.
4 – Won his first career pole in the Monster Energy Series in his fourth start; the 2002 Daytona 500; he started first but finished 15th.
4 – Number of career Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race wins – series-most.
5 – Only driver in NASCAR National Series history to win five consecutive championships – from 2006-2010.
7 – Total number of career Monster Energy Series titles – tied with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the series-most.
11 – Career-most wins in the Monster Energy Series at single track – Dover International Speedway.
11.9 – Career average starting position in the Monster Energy Series – sixth-best among Cup drivers with 600 or more starts.
12.9 – Career average finishing position in the Monster Energy Series – sixth best among Cup drivers with 600 or more starts.
13 – Won his first Monster Energy Series race in just his 13th career start on April 28, 2002 at Auto Club Speedway; he started the race fourth.
16 – Number of consecutive seasons with wins in the Monster Energy Series (2002-2017).
20 – Number of different tracks he has won at in the Monster Energy Series.
36 – Number of Monster Energy Series career poles – 17th-most all-time.
83 – Number of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career wins – tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for sixth-most all-time.
227 – Number of Monster Energy Series top-five finishes – 11th-most all-time.
346 – Number of Monster Energy Series races he has led at least one lap – (53.5%).
364 – Number of Monster Energy Series top-10 finished – 10th-most all-time.
651 – Number of Monster Energy Series career starts – 26th-most all-time.
18,834 – Career number of laps led – ninth-most all-time
184,866 – Career number of laps completed – 22nd-most all-time.
Johnson will exit the No. 48 Chevrolet after 19 seasons at the end of next year. That sets the stage for a potentially wild Silly Season, especially with the current contracts of drivers like Erik Jones at Joe Gibbs Racing coming to end after the 2020 season.
Here’s how the current 2019-20 Silly Season has played out so far.
NASCAR and Rev Racing announced the six-driver lineup for the 2020 Driver for Diversity driver development program.
The lineup includes one new addition, Perry Patino, and five returning drivers: Chase Cabre, Nicholas Sanchez, Gracie Trotter, Rajah Caruth and Isabella Robusto.
The six drivers were selected from a group of invitees that competed in the two-day combine in October at Daytona International Speedway and New Smyrna Speedway.
The combine included fitness assessments and evaluations of each driver’s marketing and media skills. The on-track portion tested the drivers’ abilities behind the wheel and proficiencies in late model stock cars.
Caruth, Patino, Robusto and Trotter will compete in a NASCAR Late Model, while Cabre and Sanchez will compete in the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Showdown Series in 2020.
“We are very enthusiastic about the progress we continue to make with the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, and the 2020 class exemplifies the evolution of the program,” Jusan Hamilton, Director of Racing Operations and Event Management at NASCAR, said in a press release. “We were extremely impressed with the confidence, competitive drive and raw talent of the drivers that competed at this year’s combine, which made the selection process challenging for us.
“Our partners at Rev Racing work hard every year to develop the best diverse drivers around the world. To see familiar faces in this class that have grown and advanced through the youth ranks of the program bolsters our belief that we will see some of these same drivers at the top levels of NASCAR in the future.”
More on the 2020 Driver for Diversity class:
Chase Cabre: The 22-year-old from Tampa, Fla., will join Rev Racing for his fourth-consecutive racing season and compete in the ARCA Menards Series East. Cabre won twice in 2019 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Rajah Caruth: In 42 starts, Caruth, 17, of Washington, D.C., has twice won races in the eNASCAR IGNITE Series, driving the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1/Ford Mustang. Additionally, he earned two heat wins with Rev Racing in the 2019 Bojangles’ Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Perry Patino: The 20-year-old, Montgomery, Ala. native will join Rev Racing for the first time with one Limited Late Model win at Montgomery Speedway and the 2018 Limited Late Model championship under his belt.
Isabella Robusto: The 15-year-old won the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in the Semi-Pro class in 2019 and finished second in Semi-Pro points. The Fort Mill, S.C., native was honored with the Young Racer award at the 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards.
Nicholas Sanchez: The 18-year-old Miami native returns to Rev Racing for his fourth-consecutive season after winning at Myrtle Beach Speedway and Langley Speedway in a Late Model Stock Car in 2019.
Gracie Trotter: Denver, N.C. native, Gracie Trotter, 18, returns to Rev Racing as the 2019 Winter Heat Series champion at Charlotte Motor Speedway. She also won Round 5 of the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in the Semi-Pro Division.