Getty Images

Today’s Cup playoff race at Texas: Start time, lineup and more

Leave a comment

After the memorable finish at Martinsville last weekend, the Cup playoffs continue today with the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

There are just two races left to determine the championship four at Miami.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s playoff race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: U.S. Army Maj. Ed Pulido (Retired) will give the command to start engines at 3:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:16 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 334 laps (501 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 85. Stage 2 ends on Lap 170.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 9:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1 p.m. Driver introductions are at 2:30 p.m.

MOMENT OF SILENCE: Will be held at 3 p.m. for Mary Hulman George, Chairman of the Board Emeritus of Hulman & Company, which owns and operates Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NATIONAL ANTHEMAir National Guard Band of the Southwest will perform the anthem at 3:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 3 p.m. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. with NASCAR America on NBCSN. Countdown to Green begins at 2:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 2 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for sunny skies with a high of 65 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kyle Busch led 116 laps in the spring and beat Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray. Harvick won this race last year over Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

TO THE REAR: Martin Truex Jr. (engine change), Daniel Suarez (engine change), Chris Buescher (engine change), Matt DiBenedetto (transmission change), Aric Almirola (body adjustment)

PRE-RACE INSPECTION: William Byron will start from the rear and a crew member will ejected for the race after his car failed inspection three times. Jimmie Johnson will also start from the rear for failing inspection.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup

Martin Truex Jr. to start at rear for engine change

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

FORT WORTH, Texas – Martin Truex Jr. will start at the rear of the field for the second consecutive weekend after his Furniture Row Racing team made an engine change Saturday.

Truex started at the rear last weekend at Martinsville after failing post-qualifying inspection. Truex will give up his 13th starting spot for Sunday’s race (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Truex was third on the speed chart in the final practice session with a top lap of 191.844 mph. He ranked 14th in the best average over 10 consecutive laps in the session.

Truex is one of four drivers going to the rear this weekend.

Daniel Suarez, who qualified 19th, will go to the rear for an engine change. Both Suarez and Truex have Toyota horsepower.

Chris Buescher, who qualified 21st, will go to the rear for an engine change. This team is using a Hendrick Motorsports engine this weekend only. JTG Daugherty Racing runs Earnhardt Childress Racing engines but will switch to Hendrick horsepower next season.

Matt DiBenedetto, who qualified 31st, will go to the rear for a transmission change.

 

Six Cup teams to be penalized practice time Saturday at Kansas

Getty Images
Leave a comment

KANSAS CITY, Kansas – Chase Elliott‘s team is among six that will be docked practice time Saturday at Kansas Speedway, NASCAR announced.

Four cars will be penalized 15 minutes of Saturday’s first practice session for being late to qualifying inspection. Docked practice time will be the teams of Landon Cassill, JJ Yeley, Timmy Hill and Kyle Weatherman.

Two cars will be penalized 15 minutes of Saturday’s final practice session for failing qualifying inspection twice Friday. Docked practice time will be the teams of Elliott and Matt DiBenedetto.

First Cup practice Saturday is from 10:30 – 11:20 a.m. ET on CNBC.

Final Cup practice Saturday is from 1:05 – 1:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

 

NASCAR explains lack of caution at end of Talladega Cup race

9 Comments

Kurt Busch criticized NASCAR for not throwing a caution on the last lap of overtime Sunday when there was a multi-car crash, but NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell said the sanctioning body made the right call in letting the race end the way it did.

Had NASCAR called a caution for the incident that included Matt DiBenedetto, Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch, it would have sent the race to another overtime at Talladega Superspeedway. A caution would have ended the race since the field had taken the white flag.

Also, the decision to let the race finish under green was in contrast to Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race that ended under caution after contact by the top two cars led to Noah Gragson crashing and collecting others.

O’Donnell was asked Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to explain those two calls.

“Two different races and every race is different,”  O’Donnell said. “Every call is a judgment call. The (incident) on Saturday was in front of the field, you saw a couple of wheels get off the ground, and any time you’re going to have more and more of the field driving into that caution, we felt the need in that case to throw the caution. We always want to try to end under green, but in that case we just felt like we couldn’t.

“Then on Sunday, very similar in terms of a car hitting the wall but where it happened was different and in terms of where the field was. The 32 car (DiBenedetto) then kept rolling, which is certainly a sign for us that we’re OK to keep going. The 9 car (Elliott) where it stopped (on the grass inside the turn) was right in front of our safety vehicles and had communication from the tower that that car was in good shape so we elected to not throw the caution and finish under green.

“You could say in this case that could have gone either way and could have. I talked to Matt (DiBenedetto) after the race and he was supportive of the call and understood. Our first job is to always make sure everybody is safe, and we felt we did that in this case. Certainly go back and review it as we do but stand by the call and thought it was the right one.”

Aric Almirola wins at Talladega in overtime with last-lap pass

2 Comments

Aric Almirola won Sunday’s Cup playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway in overtime after passing teammate Kurt Busch coming to the checkered flag as Busch ran out of gas.

The win is the second of Almirola’s Cup career and comes 149 starts after his first in the 2014 July race at Daytona, which was shortened by rain.

Almirola beat Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. Almirola secured himself a spot in third round of the playoffs.

Almirola, who only led the final lap, capped off a dominating show of force by Stewart-Haas Racing, which led 155 of 193 laps and ran first through fourth for 122 of 162 green flag laps.

“That’s so awesome!” Almirola told NBC at the start-finish line. “At Talladega! … I’ve been so close, so many times this year. … Four or five times this year I’ve felt like we had a shot to win and haven’t been able to seal the deal. To come here, a place that I love … I just love racing at Talladega. I came to the track with the mindset we’re going to go race and we’re going to give them hell. If we wreck, we wreck and if we win, we win. And we won!”

With the win all four of Stewart-Haas Racing’s teams have won this season.

Almirola’s win comes a week after he led with less than 10 laps to go at Dover when a wreck by Bowyer brought out the caution. Almirola lost the lead when he pitted.

Almirola also had chances to win at Chicagoland and New Hampshire. His bid at New Hampshire was also wiped out by a late Bowyer wreck. Almirola was a half lap from winning the Daytona 500 until he was wrecked by Austin Dillon.

“I felt like I kept giving it away and I was so disappointed for all these guys behind me because they’re awesome,” Almirola said. “They’re the best.  I’m with the best team in the garage and I felt like I kept letting them down not winning a race. Today, the Good Lord was shining on us and we went to Victory Lane.  We did it, finally.”

Busch, who led 108 laps, was the second SHR driver to run out of gas. Kevin Harvick, who led 46 laps, had to pit for gas as the field took the green flag in overtime.

Busch finished 14th and Harvick placed 28th.

The overtime finish was caused by a wreck in Turn 4 with three laps to go in the scheduled distance involving Alex Bowman, William Byron and JJ Yeley.

There was a multi-car incident on the last lap of overtime involving playoff drivers Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch. Matt DiBenedetto and Trevor Bayne were also involved.

MORE: Kurt Busch critical of NASCAR’s decision to not throw caution on last lap

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kurt Busch won the stage after leading all 55 laps

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

MORE: Race results
MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished third for his best result of the season … Jimmie Johnson bounced back from a wreck on Lap 63 to finish seventh … Joey Logano has finished in the top five in four of the last five Talladega races.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: David Ragan finished 39th after he lost power on the first lap. He went to the garage on Lap 10 before returning to the race later.… Kyle Larson finished 11th after he spun from a flat tire with seven laps left in Stage 2Michael McDowell finished last after having to serve multiple speeding penalties … Brad Keselowski, who led 21 laps, had to pit for fuel coming to the final green flag and finished 27th.

NOTABLE: Aric Almirola is the second driver to earn his first win of this season in the playoffs (Ryan Blaney, Charlotte Roval) … The race saw 15 lead changes, the fewest for a Talladega race since the May 1973 race (13 lead changes).

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The Hendrick organization has been there before, the Gibbs cars have done that before.  It was our turn, you know what I mean?  The Penske cars have done that before. We finally got all four cars to the cream of the crop.  Oh my gosh, was it awesome.” – Clint Bowyer after SHR led 155 of 193 laps.

WHAT’S NEXT: Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway at 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 21 on NBC