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Monster Energy Open: Larson, Wallace, Byron, Bowman advance to All-Star Race

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MONSTER ENERGY OPEN UPDATE — CONCLUSION OF RACE:

Kyle Larson dominated the final stage of the Monster Energy Open to advance to tonight’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I had to be patient,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. “I knew I had a really good car so I didn’t want to put myself in a bad spot and get damage like other guys did in the segments.

“Hopefully, we can give ourselves a good shot and clean up our act in the next hour or so (when the All-Star Race begins).

Click here for full race results.

Larson joins Stage 2 winner Bubba Wallace and Stage 1 winner William Byron in transferring into the All-Star Race. A fourth driver, Alex Bowman, also advances to the All-Star Race by virtue of winning the Fan Vote.

Larson briefly had a challenge by Ty Dillon in the 10-lap final stage, but then pulled away and won uncontested.

Dillon finished second, followed by Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Corey LaJoie and Michael McDowell.

The All-Star Race is slated to begin shortly after 8 p.m. ET.

MONSTER ENERGY OPEN UPDATE — END OF STAGE TWO:

Bubba Wallace held off a late charge by Daniel Suarez — sending the latter spinning after colliding — and Kyle Larsen in Stage 2 of the Monster Energy Open to advance to the NASCAR All-Star Race later tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Wallace joins Stage 1 winner William Byron in advancing to the All-Star Race. One final stage remains in the Open.

“This has been tough and I’ve been feeling like a failure for a really long time, I didn’t give a damn out there,” Wallace told Fox Sports 1. “I love Suarez to death but he knows what’s on the line. … We needed this. I needed this.”

Like Stage 1, the scheduled 20-lap Stage 2 went into overtime. Ryan Preece and pole-sitter Daniel Hemric collided with two laps remaining, bringing out the caution.

Stage 2 ultimately went 25 total laps, including five laps of overtime. Kyle Larson finished second, followed by Suarez, Ty Dillon and David Ragan.

Sixth through 10th were Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Corey LaJoie and Alex Bowman

One final stage — a 10-lap shootout — remains in the Open. The winner of the final stage will also advance to the All-Star Race. A fourth driver will also advance by winning the Fan Vote.

MONSTER ENERGY OPEN — END OF STAGE 1

William Byron bumped his way into tonight’s NASCAR All-Star Race, bumping and then passing Bubba Wallace in the final turn to take Stage 1 of the Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will advance into the NASCAR All-Star Race later tonight.

Due to a caution late in Stage 1 when B.J. McLeod‘s car started smoking heavily, the scheduled 20 laps of Stage 1 went 27 laps. Byron was fourth when the white flag fell on the 24-driver Open field and was able to get by Wallace at the start-finish line to take the checkered flag.

“It was just crazy, the seas just parted for us,” Byron told Fox Sports 1. “It feels awesome to be in the All-Star Race. It’s a huge accomplishment for myself and Chad (crew chief Chad Knaus) has been here a number of times. It feels good.”

Two more stages remain: the 20-lap Stage 2 and the final 10-lap Stage 3 (the race winner). The winners of Stage 2 and the overall race winner will then join Byron in advancing to the All-Star Race.

A fourth driver will transfer to the All-Star Race by virtue of winning the fan vote.

Wallace finished second in Stage 1, followed by Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez and Alex Bowman.

Sixth through 10th were pole-sitter Daniel Hemric, Matt DiBenedetto, Paul Menard, David Ragan and Ryan Preece.

We’ll have the results of Stage 2 and the overall full results of the Open after their completion.

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Daniel Hemric wins pole for Monster Energy Open

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CONCORD, N.C. – Daniel Hemric backed up his fast time in practice to win the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy Open.

The Open is for all cars not qualified for Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race.

The three stage winners and the winner of the fan vote will advance from this race to the All-Star Race.

Hemric won the pole with a lap of 182.168 mph. He was followed by Michael McDowell (181.226 mph), William Byron (181.093), Daniel Suarez (181.044) and Paul Menard (180.662).

“We came here with a mindset as a company that we need to have a really fast race car,” Hemric said.

Click here for qualifying results

 

 

Stewart-Haas Racing cars fast in opening Cup practice at Charlotte

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CONCORD, N.C. – Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer took the top three spots in the first Cup practice Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The session was open for all cars, regardless of if they were competing in the All-Star Race or Monster Energy Open on Saturday.

Almirola posted a lap of 181.360 mph. He was followed by Harvick (179.581 mph), Bowyer (178.915), Kyle Busch (178.778) and Paul Menard (178.696).

Click here for practice report

Harvick and Alex Bowman each ran the most laps at 44. Bowman was 20th on the speed chart with a top lap of 177.311 mph.

Harvick had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 178.481 mph. He was followed by Erik Jones (177.525 mph) and Bowyer (177.232).

There were no incidents in the session.

Brad Keselowski was the slowest of the 39 cars on track. He had steering issues and ran only five laps in the session.

Final practice for cars in the Monster Energy Open will be from 1:05 – 1:55 p.m. ET. Final practice for cars in the All-Star Race will be from 2:05 – 2:25 p.m. Cars in the All-Star Race then will have pit practice afterward to prepare for Friday night’s qualifying format that includes a pit stop.

Chase Elliott wins Talladega Cup race

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Chase Elliott won Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway as the race finished under caution because of two wrecks on the last lap.

Elliott led 44 of 188 laps, including the final four laps. He beat Alex Bowman, Ryan Preece, Joey Logano and Daniel Hemric.

The win is the fourth of Elliott’s Cup career and came after a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 13. It’s also the first win for Chevrolet in 2019 and ends Ford’s streak of seven consecutive Talladega victories.

“What a day,” Elliott told Fox Sports. “We just had a plan and executed it really well. Obviously, could have gone both ways. Fortunately, everybody stayed together and stayed the course. Had some help on that last lap with the caution. … This is unbelievable. This is special. This is close to home for me. Kind of feels like a home race.”

Hendrick Motorsports is just the third organization to win this season, joining Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Bowman’s runner-up finish is his first top 10 of the season and his best result in 127 career Cup starts.

“There was no plan coming off of Turn 4, but unfortunately we didn’t get there before the caution came out,” Bowman told Fox Sports. “I am glad to kind of turn the season around.  It has been a rough start to the year. These guys deserve way better than the finishes they’ve had.  To come home second, it’s not a win, but (we’re) headed in the right direction.”

The final run was set up by a wreck with seven laps to go that involved Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher and Justin Haley. Truex was the only one able to continue, and he finished 25th. Haley, making his Cup debut, finished 32nd.

The wreck on the final lap included William Byron, Paul Menard, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ryan Blaney, David Ragan and Kyle Larson. It ended with Larson sliding toward the inside wall, going airborne, hitting the wall and then flipping multiple times. Larson was able to exit the car under his own power.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ty Dillon

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Elliott

Click here for race results and point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Rookies Ryan Preece (third) and Daniel Hemric (fifth) each earned the best finishes of their career … Ryan Newman finished seventh for his third straight top 10 and his best result of the season … Brendan Gaughan placed eighth for his sixth career top 10 … Corey LaJoie placed 11th, tying his career-best result.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Bubba Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Matt Tifft and Michael McDowell were eliminated via a six-car wreck on Lap 11Jimmie Johnson finished 33rd after he cut a tire on debris and hit the Turn 3 wall on Lap 24 … Denny Hamlin exited the race in Stage 2 with damage from the Lap 11 wreck … Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led 16 laps but finished 25th after he wrecked on the last lap, separate from the incident on the backstretch.

NOTABLE: With a new rules package that includes a tapered spacer and a taller spoiler, there were 37 lead changes, the most at Talladega since May 4, 2014 (48) … Chase Elliott’s four Cup wins account for Hendrick Motorsports’ last four wins overall … Kyle Busch (10th) has finished in the top 10 in every race this season. It’s the first time a driver has top 10s in the first 10 races of the season since Morgan Shepherd in 1990

WHAT’S NEXT: Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway at 2 p.m. ET on May 5 on Fox Sports 1

Ryan Newman fastest in second Cup practice at ‘Dega; six cars over 204 mph

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NASCAR’s Rocket Man lived up to his nickname, rocketing to the top of the speed chart in Friday’s second and final Cup practice at Talladega Superspeedway.

Ryan Newman piloted his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford to a blistering speed of 204.157 mph to top the 39 drivers that took to the track.

Newman was the fastest of six drivers that eclipsed 204 mph, and led 24 drivers that topped the 200 mph mark.

By comparison, the top speed in Cup practice last fall at Talladega was 204.227 mph and 24 cars also topped 200 mph in the lone session that day.

Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was second-fastest (204.127 mph), followed by Richmond winner Martin Truex Jr. (204.114 mph), Matt Tifft (204.092) and Cup points leader Kyle Busch (204.079 mph).

Sixth through 10th were Erik Jones (204.062 mph), Aric Almirola (202.611), Paul Menard (202.328), Matt DiBenedetto (202.243) and Denny Hamlin (201.949).

Qualifying for Sunday’s GEICO 500 takes place Saturday afternoon at 4:40 p.m. with two rounds of single-vehicle qualifying.

Click here for the full speed chart from Friday’s second Cup practice.

MORE: Kurt Busch, David Ragan, Erik Jones fastest in first Cup practice at Talladega

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