Nashville winners and losers


A look at the winners and losers from Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway:


Kyle Larson – Has earned three consecutive wins for the first time in his Cup career following his victory on Sunday. In doing so, he’s the first to claim three in a row in Cup since Brad Keselowski in 2018 (Southern 500 at Darlington, Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, playoff opener at Las Vegas).

Ross Chastain – Continued upward trend in recent weeks with a career-best runner-up finish. He’s now posted three top 10s in the last four races. He and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team appear to be building for a run at a playoff berth as the summer continues.

Aric Almirola – Converted a pole position into a season-best fourth-place finish. Comes off a top-10 run in the non-points All-Star Race at Texas. Said Almirola on Sunday: “Confidence is something that comes with results. You can’t fake it, so it’s been nice to have two good weeks now and it certainly makes everybody have a little pep in their step and things are going in the right direction.”

Daniel SuarezFinished seventh to claim the third top 10 of the year for himself and the new Trackhouse Racing. With team owner Justin Marks seeking to move the organization to “Music City” by the 2023 season, Sunday’s effort may have built some early goodwill with the locals.

Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Chris Buescher‘s wreck on Sunday enabled Kurt Busch and Stenhouse to gain ground on him and the 16th-place playoff cut line. Busch (finished eighth Sunday) is within 24 points of Buescher in 17th place. Stenhouse (finished sixth Sunday) is within 43 points of Buescher in 18th place.


Bubba Wallace – A crummy afternoon for Wallace, who brought out two yellows for spins before finishing 20th. After the first spin at Lap 132, Wallace indicated he’d run over rotor parts and admonished what he saw as a lack of track cleaning. The second spin at Lap 218 came following contact with Michael McDowell. It wasn’t the first time they’ve had an on-track clash in Tennessee (see 2020 All-Star Open at Bristol).

Chris Buescher – When a right-front tire failure sent Justin Haley into the wall at Lap 77, Buescher hit debris from Haley’s car and had an immediate cut tire that sent him into the fence and ended his day. Now, Buescher’s hold on the 16th and final playoff position is much more tenuous with nine races left in the regular season.

Ryan Blaney – Brake failure sent him into the wall and out of the race at Lap 55. One of several victimized by brake issues on Sunday, he had to start from the rear when damage to his car’s left rear quarter panel forced him to pit before the green flag for repairs. Blaney’s crash contributed to an off day for Team Penske as a whole. Joey Logano had to grind for a 10th-place finish, while Brad Keselowski was a non-factor in finishing 24th.

Chase Elliott – Not everything went right in the Hendrick Motorsports camp on Sunday. Five loose lug nuts found on Elliott’s car in post-race inspection caused a disqualification for the reigning Cup champion. After initially finishing 13th, he ended up credited with last place in the 39-car field.

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.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.