Martin Truex Jr.

Photos by Daniel McFadin

Gallery: Coca-Cola 600 patriotic paint schemes

Leave a comment

With Memorial Day weekend here, many NASCAR teams will be racing patriotic paint schemes in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Here’s a look at the unique schemes that will compete in NASCAR’s longest race.

All photos by Daniel McFadin.

Landon Cassill – No. 00 Chevrolet

Brad Keselowski – No. 2 Ford

Ryan Newman – No. 6 Ford

Aric Almirola – No. 10 Ford

Ty Dillon – No. 13 Chevrolet

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – No. 17 Ford

Kyle Busch – No. 18 Toyota

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Martin Truex Jr. – No. 19 Toyota

 (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

William Byron – No. 24 Chevrolet

Corey LaJoie – No. 32 Ford

 

Michael McDowell – No. 34 Ford

Matt Tifft – No. 36 Ford

David Ragan – No. 36 Ford

Ryan Preece – No. 47 Chevrolet

Jimmie Johnson – No. 48 Chevrolet

Cody Ware – No. 51 Ford

Bayley Currey – No. 52 Ford

BJ McLeod – No. 53 Chevrolet

Alex Bowman – No. 88 Chevrolet

Xfinity Series

Michael Annett – No. 1 Chevrolet

Jefferey Earnhardt – No. 18 Toyota

Ryan Sieg – No. 39 Chevrolet

Mike Harmon – No. 74 Chevrolet

NBC Sports Power Rankings heading into Coca-Cola 600

Leave a comment

After finishing third in the All-Star Race, Kyle Busch is back atop this week’s NBC Sports Power Rankings – although it was not a unanimous decision.

The real story this week is Kyle Larson. Although it was a non-points event, Larson’s win in the All-Star Race propelled him from not even in last week’s rankings to No. 3 this week. Larson is one of three drivers who went from unranked last week to into this week’s top 10. Also making a big jump from last week was Kevin Harvick (from 7th to 2nd).

Several drivers took big drops from last week, including Chase Elliott (1st to 5th), Alex Bowman (2nd to 6th), Clint Bowyer (4th to tied for 10th) and Brad Keselowski (5th to out of the top 10).

Here’s how this week’s Power Rankings look heading into the Coca-Cola 600:

1. Kyle Busch (38 points): Finished third in All-Star Race but climbs the rankings for his rant on the radio late in the race. If you can’t win .… But he did win the Truck race and finished the year winning all five of his starts. Last week: 3rd.

2. Kevin Harvick (32 points): Once again, falls short of victory lane. Pit crew mistakes again. Will they finally get things fixed in time for the race that typically has the most pit stops of the season in it? Last week: 7th.

3. Kyle Larson (30 points): Will the $1 million man build upon his riches to earn some wins that will actually count towards the playoffs? Last week: unranked.

4. Joey Logano (24 points): Strong run at the end to secure top-five finish in All-Star Race. Could be a big factor in the 600. Last week: 8th.

5. Chase Elliott (22 points): Things didn’t go his way. Hey, he has 600 miles this weekend to make things happen. Last week: 1st.

6. Alex Bowman (17 points): With three straight runner-ups and eighth in the All-Star Race, a win could be right around the corner – perhaps as early as Sunday. Last week: 2nd.

7. Bubba Wallace (14 points): Storybook night – stage win in Open and fifth-place finish in All-Star Race – gave him an emotional boost that may lead to better things to come. Last week: unranked.

8. William Byron (10 points): Strong move to win the first stage in Monster Open and then finishes the night with a ninth-place finish in the All-Star Race. Last week: unranked.

9. Martin Truex Jr. (9 points): Fast car but then later had issues and finished 10th. Last week: 9th.

(tie) 10. Clint Bowyer (7 points): Punched his ticket to a 12th-place finish, then went out and punched Ryan Newman on pit road. Will their feud flare up again on Sunday? Last week: 4th.

(tie) 10. Kurt Busch (7 points): Late crash left him with a disappointing 17th-place finish (out of 19 drivers). Look for a big comeback in the 600. Given his consistency this season, he’s overdue for a win. Last week: 6th.

Others receiving votes: Brad Keselowski (4 points), Aric Almirola (3 points), Austin Dillon (2 points), Ross Chastain (1 point).

Preliminary entry lists for Cup, Xfinity at Charlotte

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The longest race of the NASCAR Cup season takes place Sunday with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is also back in action after having the last two weekends off. The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is off until June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for this weekend’s two races:

Cup – Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox)

There will be a full 40-car field in Sunday night’s main event of the weekend.

NASCAR On NBC analyst Parker Kligerman will be making his sixth Cup start of the season, driving the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota.

Cody Ware will make his fourth consecutive start and 10th start overall in the No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet.

BJ McLeod will make his seventh start of the season for Rick Ware Racing and will be in the No. 53 for the second consecutive weekend.

Joey Gase makes his fifth start of the season for MBM Motorsports in the No. 66 Toyota.

There is no driver listed yet for the No. 51.

Kyle Busch won last year’s race, leading 377 of 400 laps and beating Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Click here for the preliminary entry list.

Xfinity – Alsco 300 (1 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

There are 39 cars entered for this race.

Austin Dillon is the only Cup regular who will compete in this race. He’ll drive the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

Joe Nemechek makes his first Xfinity start of the season in the No. 13 MBM Motorsports Toyota.

Camden Murphy makes his second career Xfinity start, and his first since 2016, in the No. 17 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet.

Brad Keselowski won this race last year under caution, leading 77 of 204 laps, beating Cole Custer and Christopher Bell.

Click here for the preliminary entry list.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Perfect night: Kyle Larson follows up Open win with NASCAR All-Star Race triumph

1 Comment

Kyle Larson’s Chevrolet seemingly morphed into an armored car by virtue of driving home with a cool $1 million Saturday night for winning the 35th NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Larson earned his spot in the All-Star Race after winning the Monster Energy Open preliminary event earlier in the evening.

Even though he’s finished third and eighth in his last two regular season races, it has not been an easy season for Larson, who has struggled in several races (including three DNFs in a four-race stretch due to wrecks), dropping as low as 21st in the standings after Talladega (he’s back up to 15th after last week’s race at Kansas).

But on Saturday night, Larson was the best driver and wound up taking the victory.

“This is unbelievable,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. “This whole day was up and down, from the B Main (the Monster Energy Open) we were in to getting a little bit of damage and repaired on the car.”

Early in the final stage, Kyle Larson got a great push from Kevin Harvick, who was running sixth at the time. Harvick pushed Larson right through the middle of the pack to grab the lead. That would prove to be the move of the race.

“Harvick gave me a heck of a push to get to the lead from the third row, and then to get by the 18 (Kyle Busch) on the final restart,” Larson told FS1. “Man, this is amazing. I feel like every time I’ve been in the All-Star Race, I’ve been close to winning. It’s neat to close it out. … There’s a lot of people from the shop here today, so we get to do some celebrating and I’m excited about that.”

Harvick finished second, followed by Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace.

“Letdown” is the way Harvick described his night to FS1. “That’s how you take the fastest car and don’t win the race with it. You spot ’em the whole field.

“It was an incredible Busch Beer Ford. It was just unfortunate the way pit road went tonight because it wasn’t even close to anybody having a good car like we had tonight. It was just a great night from performance, just a bad night on pit road.”

Sixth through 10th were Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, Alex Bowman, William Byron and Martin Truex Jr.

MORE: Results from NASCAR All-Star Race

Kyle Busch won Stage 1, Kevin Harvick won Stage 2 and Joey Logano won Stage 3.

Stage 1 notes: William Byron, Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson transferred into the All-Star Race by winning the first three stages respectively in the preliminary Monster Energy Open race held earlier in the evening. Also transferring into the All-Star event was Alex Bowman, who won the fan vote. … The opening stanza went into overtime – with three extra laps for a total of 33 laps – after Erik Jones brought out the caution with four laps to go after hitting the wall, resulting in a blown right front tire.

Stage 2 notes: Ryan Newman went sailing through the front stretch grass just two laps into the 20 lap stage, bringing out a caution flag. The incident caused damage to the front end of Newman’s Ford, but he was able to bounce back.

Stage 3 notes: Erik Jones, Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch were all involved in a wreck three laps into the scheduled 20-lap stage. During the ensuing caution, Kevin Harvick was penalized for pitting too soon and his crew went over the wall too soon, leaving him to restart at the back of the pack. … But Harvick didn’t sit and sulk: he went from 18th to sixth in just 16 laps. … After his early-stage contact, Kyle Busch held back for the remainder of the stage, only to emerge fourth as Stage 4 began.

Stage 4 notes: After an apparent left rear tire failure, Denny Hamlin suddenly slowed and went spinning two laps into the scheduled 15 laps after being hit in the rear by Ryan Blaney, who had nowhere to go. The wreck collected Austin Dillon, as well. … With 12 laps left, Jones lost his right rear tire and hit the wall, bringing out yet another caution. … Clint Bowyer threw a volley of punches at Ryan Newman through his car window after the race.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Clint Bowyer soars to All-Star pole

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
1 Comment

CONCORD, N.C. – Clint Bowyer earned his first pole for the All-Star Race, posting the fastest time during the session, which featured three laps and a pit stop.

Kyle Busch joins Bowyer on the front row for Saturday night’s race that will pay $1 million to the winner. Kevin Harvick, who won this race last year, starts third and is followed by Austin Dillon and Martin Truex Jr.

Click here for qualifying results

Busch was originally penalized for a tire violation during his pit stop but NASCAR reversed the call and allow his time to stand.

Bowyer’s best previous start in the All-Star Race was second in 2011. He has one top-10 finish in nine previous starts. His best finish in the event was seventh in 2014. Bowyer’s last pole in a points race was September 2007 at New Hampshire, a span of 417 races.

“We put ourselves in position to take their million bucks and that’s all you an ask for,” Bowyer said. 

Ryan Newman, who qualified sixth, had the fastest speed entering pit road at 167 mph, according to Racing Insights. Busch had the fastest pit stop at 14.6 seconds.

Joey Logano and Aric Almirola each slid through their pit box on their stops. Logano will start 10th and Almirola will start 13th.

The teams of Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski each were penalized five second for having one lug nut not secured after their stop. Keselowski will start 14th. Busch will start 15th.

The final four spots will be set by the Monster Energy Open. The three stage winners advance to the All-Star Race along with the fan vote winner.