Friday 5: Will free-agent frenzy define 2021 Cup season?

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The free agent market could prove volatile with more than a third of last year’s Cup playoff drivers entering the final season of their contract and a group of Xfinity drivers positioned to move to NASCAR’s premier series.

Among those entering the final year of their contract are 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, 2004 champion Kurt Busch, 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr., three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin, and 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman, as well as 2020 playoff drivers Alex Bowman and Matt DiBenedetto, among others.

Keselowski’s contract with Team Penske was to have expired after last season, but he signed a one-year extension through this year. After finishing second in points and winning four races last season, he’ll again face a decision on his future. He turns 37 two days before the Daytona 500.

“It’s not fun,” Keselowski told NBC Sports. “I think probably the biggest thing is you try to not let it be a distraction to your team. You operate in good faith. There’s a level of persistence that is required to work through it. I don’t sit and dwell on it either.”

Kurt Busch Season in Review
Kurt Busch has won at least one Cup race each of the past seven years. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

As the 2019 season came to a close, Busch signed a multi-year extension to stay at Chip Ganassi Racing, so he could drive the Next Gen car. But NASCAR delayed that vehicle’s debut to next season because of the pandemic.

So would Busch, who is 42 years old, look for a deal next year in order to drive the Next Gen car?

“The biggest thing is this Next Gen car is intriguing,” Busch, who tested the car in November and January, told NBC Sports. “I’ve enjoyed my test sessions with it on the road course and the oval. NASCAR asked me to come back and verify things in January and I felt flattered. That got me even more fired up about what 2022 could bring.

“Again, it’s a matter of all the right timing and making sure things fall into place. I guess the word right now is intrigue. I’m intrigued about the car, all the newness of all these road courses, the dirt race at Bristol and it’s like the slogan – this is NASCAR’s ‘best season ever’ – why jump out? If the opportunity is there with Ganassi, with Monster Energy, with Gearwrench, we’ll see what the schedule brings.”

Denny Hamlin, who is 40 years old, confirmed to NBC Sports that he is in the final year of his deal with Joe Gibbs Racing. He’s not worried.

“I think I’ve built a great relationship, obviously, with my sponsor, and I’m in a such a blessed situation to be with Joe Gibbs Racing,” Hamlin said. “I look at it like this: I don’t know how long I’ll go. I don’t see the end by any means. I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I also know that as long as I continue to perform at the level I’m performing, I’m going to want to continue to win.

“Right now, I know that Joe Gibbs Racing is the best place for me to do that. Like I’ve said many times, I want to end my career there. That’s super important for me. But ultimately, I just want to win as long as I can. There’s a great number of wins out there for me that I’d like to get to before the end of my career. If I could do that, I’m going to be damn proud of my career. I already am. I still am in what I believe the prime of my career, and I’ve still got lot of years of winning ahead of me.”

Ryan Newman Bubba Wallace
Ryan Newman enters the final year of his contract with Roush Fenway Racing. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Newman said he’s more focused on his goal of winning a Cup championship this season at Roush Fenway Racing than leaving the sport.

“The reality is any driver that goes out on their own terms has quit, right? That’s the only way it works,” the 43-year-old told NBC Sports. “So I’m not a quitter. I haven’t achieved my goal, so the only way I would go out on somebody else’s terms is if they quit me. That’s not good teamwork. I’ve got to put myself in position with the right people that have a common goal of winning races and eventually winning a championship. I know that I’m at that place.

“That doesn’t mean I’ll stay at that place, but I’m at that place and as long as I’m capable – in other words, able to do the things I need to on and off the racetrack to be successful – then I’ll continue to do so with the hopes of living out my lifelong dream to be a Cup champion.”

Truex confirmed to NBC Sports that his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing ends after this year. As to what his future could hold, Truex said: “At this point in my career, I kind of take it year by year just because I really don’t have to worry about long-term where I’m going to be, what’s going on.

“I’m happy with where I’m at. I’m confident in what I can do in the race car. As long as I’m fighting for wins and, hopefully, putting myself in that championship conversation again, I don’t have a whole lot to worry about.”

DiBenedetto knows he won’t be in the No. 21 for Wood Brothers Racing after this season. That ride will go to reigning Xfinity champion Austin Cindric.

“The neat thing is I have the opportunity to let my performance do the speaking and auditioning for me, which is all I can ask for,” DiBenedetto told NBC Sports.

A challenge for some drivers will be what the landscape is like for next season.

The Xfinity Series features several returning drivers who won races last season. If they repeat those results this season, it could propel them to Cup rides in 2022.

Some of those drivers could include Harrison Burton (four wins last year), Justin Haley (three wins), Justin Allgaier (three wins), Brandon Jones (three wins) and Noah Gragson (two wins).

Put this together and it could make the race for seats unlike many seasons.

“I think there’s definitely going to be a lot of craziness,” Erik Jones told NBC Sports about this year’s silly season after going through it for the first time last year in his move to Richard Petty Motorsports.

2. Numbers game

Since 2017, Ross Chastain has competed in 243 races across Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Trucks and run 47,275 laps in competition.

“Wow! No wonder everything hurts!” Chastain, 28, quipped to NBC Sports when informed of those stats.

AUTO: FEB 21 NASCAR Cup Series - Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube
Ross Chastain will drive the No. 42 Cup car for Chip Ganassi Racing this season. (Photo by Will Lester/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He competed in 77 races across NASCAR’s three national series in 2019. Kyle Busch is the only driver who has run more races in a season across the three national series since 2006. Chastain ran 74 races across all three national series in 2018.

While Chastain’s focus will be on his new Cup ride at Chip Ganassi Racing this season, he says all those races and laps helped him get this opportunity.

“It was that quantity of laps that let me learn,” Chastain said. “There’s not as much testing anymore and I was with teams that did not test at all. I wasn’t in the simulators like I am now. Some drivers through that time would have more laps in simulators than I had in real life. It was real life racing that just helped me continue up the learning curve that I was on.”

As he contemplated all the races and laps he had run the last few years, Chastain recalled his NASCAR debut in 2011 at what is now Lucas Oil Raceway, located near Indianapolis.

“We finished 10th and then we got four more (Truck races),” he said. “I just remember every one of those drivers meetings, sitting in chapel right after the drivers meeting and thinking ‘I’ve got four more. I’ve got three more. I’ve got two more drivers meetings. I’ve got one more race. All right, it’s probably over.’ And now, we’ve run that many in just a few years.

“No wonder everything creeks and pops at 28 years old. I wouldn’t trade any of it. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, because it’s not for everybody and everybody takes a different path. We didn’t have a plan to do it. Get into each race season and start figuring it out ahead of time, ‘OK, you got this opportunity and that opportunity.’ All my peers would just pick one and go with it, and I wanted to do all of them. It’s worked out.”

Drivers who have run the most races in a season since 2006:








Kyle Busch






Kyle Busch






Kyle Busch






Kyle Busch






Ross Chastain






Timmy Hill 






Brad Keselowski 






Clint Bowyer 





2018 Ross Chastain 7 33 34 74

3. Not the favorite?

Although the March 28 Bristol dirt race is about two months away, the anticipation for the first Cup race on dirt since 1970 grows.

While many would point to Kyle Larson as among the favorites for that race based on his vast dirt racing experience, Larson says he’s not.

“I don’t think you can pick a dirt guy as a favorite,” Larson told NBC Sports. “I know a lot of people will. (Christopher) Bell, myself and Ricky (Stenhouse), we’ve never driven anything like this. I guess Bell and I have with Trucks at Eldora. That’s a way different race track than Bristol.

Bubba Wallace beat me the second year of the event (at Eldora) and he had to my knowledge, no dirt experience. Eldora would get so slick that it would turn into a pavement race in a way. The way you would drive it is kind of like a worn out pavement track. We’ll see how Bristol is. Maybe with more banking you can be more aggressive and maybe that will help the dirt guys some.

“I think the dirt guys, their edge on others will be how we can read a surface and change throughout the length of the race. .… We’ll probably be able to adapt to that quicker, but everybody is so good in the Cup series that they’re going to figure it out fast. I think it’s going to be the same people up front that you see running up front every week.”

Larson won the 2016 Eldora Truck race. He won his second consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals Jan. 16.

4. Helpful hand

Cup rookie Chase Briscoe says he’ll lean on Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick this season, but the relationship between the two drivers is not new.

It goes back to Briscoe’s Xfinity debut at Atlanta in February 2018.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Rinnai 250 - Practice
Chase Briscoe with Kevin Harvick at Atlanta in 2018. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

“Kevin has helped me a ton over the last two years,” Briscoe told NBC Sports. “My first Xfinity race, I wasn’t even driving at Stewart-Haas. I was with Roush (Fenway Racing) and we just happened to be pitted beside each other at Atlanta.

“I was wearing him out. I almost felt bad for him, how much I was talking to him. He was nothing but nice to me. Ever since that day he’s kind of taken me under his wing.

“Last year, I probably called him before five or six racetracks and talked to him for about 20-30 minutes. He’s been amazing to me. He’s been a huge help to me.”

Briscoe said he also received help from SHR’s Aric Almirola last season and expects to lean on Cole Custer, last year’s Cup rookie of the year, “a lot more than he probably realizes because he’s the most similar to me.”

5. Focused ahead

As Denny Hamlin enters his first season juggling his role as driver at Joe Gibbs Racing and co-owner of 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan, he knows some will watch his results closely to see if they dip. If so, some will suggest Hamlin is spending too much time with his new team.

“I just know that it’s going to be out there,” Hamlin told NBC Sports. “I could win three straight and have two bad weeks and that will be the topic, right? You’ve got to mentally prepare for that because you just know this sport is week to week and you’re only as good as you were the last week.”

Hamlin said he has his weeks figured out so he can manage both roles.

“I’ll spend my time at JGR just like I normally would on Mondays working on debriefing and figuring out what I could do better the previous week,” he said. “Then I’ll shift my focus on Tuesday or Wednesday to 23XI figuring out where was (their) shortfalls, how can (they) get better.”

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NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.

What drivers said at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — What drivers had to say during and after Monday’s 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

Ryan Blaney (Winner) — “I might shed a tear. This has been a cool weekend. Obviously, Memorial Day weekend means a lot, growing up here watching Dad run this race for a long time. It’s so cool just to be a part of it, let alone win it. I just was able to get the lead, and that car was so good that I could kind of bide my time a little bit and then we were able to drive off. I was hoping no caution just because you never know. I know we had the car to do it, but restarts can be crazy. … You start to get to feel like you can’t win anymore when you don’t win in a while. It kind of gets hard. So just super thankful to the 12 guys for believing in me. It’s just so cool. What a weekend with (Josef) Newgarden and Roger (Penske) winning at Indy and us winning the 600. I mean that’s just so cool. That kind of snaps our winless streak right there and that’s even better. We just kept working on it all night, and I think the track took a change. I didn’t feel great at the end of Stage 3. I was kind of getting pressured by a couple guys and we had to work on our car, and it was getting cooler outside.”

MORE: Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott crash and disagree

MORE: Charlotte Cup results, driver points

William Byron (Finished 2nd) — “We just needed a little bit. Really happy for Ryan. He really deserves it. He’s a good dude. Cool to see him get a win. We just needed a little bit. I felt like there were enough restarts for him to get back to the front. He had that one pit road where he lost a few spots, and it was kind of between us and the 5 (Kyle Larson). I knew the 12 (Ryan Blaney) and 45 (Tyler Reddick) were a little bit stronger than we were. Thanks to this Liberty University Chevrolet team. The car was great tonight. Just not quite good enough. Really proud of the effort. Pit crew was phenomenal on pit road. Those guys are just high energy, and that pit stall helps.”

Martin Truex Jr. (Finished 3rd) — “It was a handful. We just battled really hard and never gave up on the car. We had some stumbles on pit road – had some issues there. We had some issues getting a flat tire with some contact leaving pit road, which wasn’t our fault, either. Just battled a lot of adversity today, but our Bass Pro Shops Tracker Boats Camry was really fast. At the end of Stage 3, I thought that we had a shot to win this thing and then we got some damage out of nowhere on the splitter, and then I got too tight. We made some adjustments to try to get us balanced back out, but it just wasn’t as fast then, and we still ran third. Just proud of everybody for the effort. We definitely had a shot at this one tonight, just didn’t get enough things to go our way and we didn’t do a good enough job on pit road. It was a fun day overall. We had just too many hiccups, too many issues on pit road with a couple of bad stops and the damage that sent us to the rear and had to come back. I thought through Stage 3 we were going to have a shot at this thing, and out of the blue at the start of the final stage, we got some damage on the splitter from debris and the car was never quite as good. … It means a lot to have all of the soldiers on our cars this weekend. I got to meet an amazing family this weekend. Really wish I could have taken them to victory lane, so it’s a little bittersweet, but overall, it’s a solid day for us.”

Bubba Wallace (Finished 4th) — “It started on Friday. We didn’t get through tech. We are trying to push all we can get, and didn’t happen, so bad pit selection really set us back all day. I knew it would be a grind. I need my pit crew to know that as well – they made a couple mistakes – but they rebounded. We were playing the cards that we were dealt. I’m super proud of this Dr. Pepper Toyota team. Just continuing to make strides and continuing to show up and be a part of the factor. Just makes you think – if you were that close on the final restart, or closer, what could have happened. It looked like the 12 (Ryan Blaney) was lights out all day. About time he got him one. I thought he was done washed up (laughter).” (On confrontation with Aric Almirola) Yeah, we were just frustrated on how we raced each other. We were in Stage 2 of the Coke 600. I finished fourth and that’s a good day for our team.”

Tyler Reddick (Finished 5th) — “We had a great car. We were really, really strong there. Just made a lot of mistakes – we kind of went to the bad side of it on that one strategy in the second stage. We had a million cautions because we just kept crashing. We got behind there and we had to fight to get our track position back after that and we did. We got to the 12 (Ryan Blaney), and just being too aggressive, got sideways and hit the wall, and front there, hit the wall about 10 more times and pretty much took all of the life out of the race car. We had a fantastic car. We just couldn’t get around the 12 (Ryan Blaney). We were way faster than he was for most of the day. I tried to take our time, because it’s obviously a 400-lap race, but yeah, made a few mistakes along the way and then I knocked the fence down and then every time we did, we lost a little speed in our Jordan Brand 23XI Toyota. So yeah, fifth.”

Kyle Busch (Finished 6th) — “Coca-Cola 600s are normally up-and-down, so we definitely had an up-and-down day. But the guys fought hard all race long and made some good repairs. We made a lot of good adjustments. There were a couple that we had to go back on, and then go back on again. But all-in-all, just proud of everyone on the No. 8 Alsco Chevy team. Our car wasn’t as fast as we wanted on the fire-offs there – we wanted the long run to finish. Even though we hadn’t been good on the long runs all night, we adjusted for that, but we just didn’t get it. We’ll take a good solid effort and top-10 finish.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Finished 7th) — “I feel great. I got up and did the ‘Murph’ workout this morning. My trainer wasn’t too thrilled about that, but went ahead and did that, and then came out here and ran 600 miles. Our No. 47 Kroger/Coca-Cola Chevy was so good all night. We just fought some track position every now and then, and then the No. 8 (Kyle Busch) fenced us there. I felt like we would have had a top-five if it wasn’t for that. But all-in-all, it was a great Coca-Cola 600 for us. It was what we needed after last week at the All-Star Race. We kind of got beat up there a little bit. But it’s cool to get another top 10. This team is doing a lot of good things.”

Chris Buescher (Finished 8th) — “It was a really strong day. Our Fastenal Mustang was really good. We got hit on pit road and definitely took a decent amount out of us, so I’m upset about that, but at the end of the day it was a good recovery. We kept digging back and it’s cool to have this camo paint scheme up front for a lot of the day, but I want to do more.”

Austin Dillon (Finished 9th) — “We never gave up all night, and it feels like we passed more cars than anyone else all race long in our Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chevrolet. It was a hard-earned top-10 finish. We started this year’s Coca-Cola 600 deep in the field – 33rd — after practice and qualifying were canceled due to weather, but I knew that we would have a chance to be in contention at the end because this is the longest race of the year and there are plenty of laps to work our way forward. It was challenging, though. Pit road was tight for us today, and it felt like every time we gained positions we would pit and get trapped in our box and lose everything we worked so hard for. We never gave up and to finish in the top-10 is a testament to the tenacity that this No. 3 team has. We were just too tight at the end to advance any further, but I think we showed how hard we are willing to work. Today is about our heroes who served and made the ultimate sacrifice. I’m thankful that I can do what I love, which is race, because of them. Thank you to the families of Navy Seal Mark Crampton and Army soldier Rusten Smith for allowing us to recognize them.”

Zane Smith (Finished 10th) – “I am so happy, as happy as could be, really. I was worried when we didn’t take tires there and were running really good and had a really good day. It just worked out, so just a great job by this whole 38 Boot Barn FRM team. We got our Mustang better and better every single stop and that’s so cool. We run on half the budget, if that, than a lot of these guys, so to finish top 10 in our sixth start at the Coke 600 is really cool. It’s been a rough three weeks for me. The Cup Series is a different level and obviously I’m trying to prove I belong here and it’s just an outstanding run. Ryan does an outstanding job and it’s so cool to finish this race, but better yet with a top 10.”

Alex Bowman (Finished 12th)“It doesn’t feel very good at the moment, but about what I was expecting. There was no pain in the car really, but now that I’m out, I feel it a little bit. Just proud of my No. 48 Ally Chevy team. We had a really fast long run car. Obviously the short runs were what we needed, but we were just too tight for that. We got stuck on pit road – every stop, we came in like 10th, but lost spots coming out. But that wasn’t on my guys, it was just pit stall selection. We’ll move onto Gateway. Hopefully we’ll get to qualify there, have a good pit box and just go have a normal day.”

Ryan Preece (Finished 13th) — “What a night. We battled all night long. Some of those cautions just did not work in our favor at all, but we had a good car and just needed track position and clean air. We made strong adjustments throughout the night, and my crew was on it. I think we had a top-10 car. We’ll take 13th after a day like that, and it’s definitely the momentum our team needed. Those top 10s and top fives are coming, and I’m looking forward to St. Louis.”

Justin Haley (Finished 15th) — “We fired off tight today, but the No. 31 team made some great adjustments and had good pit stops. We made it as high as eighth and thought we would get a top 10 there but just got shuffled at the end. A top 15 is not a bad day, but our car was by far the best car we’ve had all year. We made some major gains today as a team.”

Joey Logano (Finished 21st) — “Tough night for the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang team. We struggled with the balance and unfortunately couldn’t miss the late accident and got damage. So happy for Team Penske, Josef and Ryan on a weekend sweep.”

Aric Almirola (Finished 25th) — (On confrontation with Bubba Wallace) “It was early in the race, and I felt like he ran me all over the racetrack and then when he got by me he shot me the bird, so I just went by and asked him why you shot me the bird. I felt like I gave him a lot of room and a lot of respect and he started mouthing off and saying a lot of bad things and cussing at me after he shot me the bird, so I just wasn’t gonna take that. I think it’s squashed. I got my point across. I let him know it’s not acceptable. He’s not gonna cuss at me and shoot me the bird. It was a good night, honestly, for our Smithfield Ford Mustang. It’s Memorial Day and such an honor and privilege to race on Memorial Day. We were running 10th there with 20-something to go and got caught up in that restart wreck in the middle of one and two and got a lot of heavy damage that really killed the race car after that. I hate we didn’t get out of here with a top 10. I felt we certainly had a top 10 race car, got loose on a restart early and hit the right-rear toe link, we fixed it, got two laps down, got all of our laps back and drove from the back to the top 10. I’m really proud of the effort and the fight, not the result, but we certainly fought hard. We’ll go get ready for Gateway. That was a really good racetrack for us last year.”

Austin Cindric (Finished 31st) – “You’re patient for 550 miles; why be patient for the last 40? I probably could have helped myself there by not drifting up the racetrack and knowing my own strength and weaknesses. It’s just unfortunate to get so close to the end of this race and not being able to finish it last year and the same with this year. I felt we had a lot of positives from today – some really good pit stops. We had good speed at times, but just having to put the whole race together as a team. I definitely made some mistakes today and unfortunate not to be able to finish it off.”

Erik Jones (Finished 32nd) — “We had a fast No. 43 U.S. Air Force Chevy, but nothing to really show for it. Appreciate the U.S. Air Force and their support. Just hate that we had the radiator issue, but hopefully we’ll go to Gateway with the same speed and have a good day.”

Chase Elliott (Finished 34th) — “The 11 (Denny Hamlin) ran us up into the fence there. Once you tear the right-side off these things, it’s kind of over. I hate it. I thought our No. 9 NAPA Chevy was getting better. It was nice to be making some gains there throughout the race. Our pit stops were really good. We had some pretty good fortune to get up towards the front there. I was just trying to get to mile 600 and have a shot, so unfortunately failed to do that again.”

Denny Hamlin (Finished 35th) — “I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightaway (referring to his collision with Chase Elliott). It’s a tantrum, and he shouldn’t be racing next week. Right rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. I don’t care. It is the same thing that Bubba Wallace did with Kyle Larson. Exact same. He shouldn’t be racing. It’s a tantrum.”

Noah Gragson (Finished 36th) — “Bummer day for the No. 42 Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevy team. We made it through the first stage clean. Something went through the radiator. We replaced the radiator and the motor blew up. Just frustrating. Thank you to Black Rifle Coffee Company and the Menusa family for coming out here. Wish we could have had a better run for them, but it was an honor to have Sgt. Menusa on the windshield. It makes this weekend all worth it. Wish we could have given him and his family a better run, but we’ll try again at Gateway.”

Jimmie Johnson (Finished 37th) — “I just didn’t know we were put in that three-wide situation. There were a bunch of us cars that were wrecked and just trying to limp it home. Unfortunately, I ended up in a situation I wasn’t aware of and got turned around. It’s a bummer for the No. 84 Club Wyndham Chevy team.”

NASCAR Cup Series results: Ryan Blaney wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Ryan Blaney outran William Byron over the final miles and through several restarts to win Monday’s 600-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Blaney thus ended a 59-race winless streak and qualified for the Cup playoffs.

Following in the top five were Byron, Martin Truex Jr., Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick.

Charlotte Cup results

Charlotte Cup driver points