Kevin Harvick bringing back No. 29 for All-Star Race


For the NASCAR All-Star Race only, points leader Kevin Harvick is bringing back the No. 29 and the paint scheme he had when he won his first Cup race in 2001 at Atlanta.

“With this being my last year as a Cup Series driver, we wanted to highlight a lot of these moments, and many were made at RCR in that 29 car,” Harvick said in a statement from Stewart-Haas Racing. 

“So, with the All-Star Race going to North Wilkesboro – a place with a ton of history – we thought it made sense in a year full of milestones and moments to highlight where it all started.” 

Harvick’s Ford Mustang for the May 21 All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway will be white and feature the red stylized No. 29 that he drove throughout 2001. Primary sponsor Busch Light will bring back its logos from that era to complete the look on the car. 

Harvick has competed in every All-Star Race since 2001. This is Harvick’s final season in Cup before he moves to the TV booth for Fox Sports next year. 


Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway


Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be the third at the 1.5-mile track since it was revamped in 2021.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers William Byron and Chase Elliott won last year’s Cup races there.

The track changes — most notably higher banking in the turns — made drafting much more important. The racing there now leans more toward Daytona-Talladega competition than the typical 1.5-mile track.

MORE: NBC Sports Power Rankings: William Byron is No. 1

Chevrolet drivers have won all four Cup races this season.

A look at drivers to watch Sunday at Atlanta:


William Byron

  • Points position: 29th
  • Best seasonal finish: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I)
  • Past at Atlanta: Won last March and has led 154 laps over the past four AMS races

Byron’s early-season burst has made him the driver to beat. He put together back-to-back wins (at Las Vegas and Phoenix) for the first time in his Cup career and has three stage wins this season. He and other Hendrick Motorsports drivers will be racing at Atlanta under the shadow of severe penalties issued to the team Wednesday.

Ross Chastain

  • Points position: 2nd
  • Best seasonal finish: 3rd (Auto Club)
  • Past at Atlanta: Runner-up finishes in both races last season

Chastain’s run at Phoenix Sunday was marred by another altercation with Denny Hamlin, this time on the last lap. He figures to be a contender at AMS with 74 laps led at the track last year.

Daniel Suarez

  • Points position: 7th
  • Best seasonal finish: 4th (Auto Club)
  • Past at Atlanta: Finishes of 4th and 6th last year

Suarez finished outside the top 10 for the first time this season at Phoenix, his run hampered by a pair of pit-road speeding penalties. He has led laps in two of the past four races at Atlanta.


Kevin Harvick

  • Points position: 1st
  • Best seasonal finish: 5th (Auto Club, Phoenix I)
  • Past at Atlanta: 3 career wins

Harvick owns three wins at Atlanta but finished 12th and 21st in the races at the “new” AMS last year. He enters Atlanta with three straight top-nine runs this year. Can he finally close out a win?

Brad Keselowski

  • Points position: 9th
  • Best seasonal finish: 7th (Auto Club)
  • Past at Atlanta: 2 career wins

Keselowski and Chris Buescher, his teammate at RFK Racing, have shown early-season improvement in Keselowski’s second year of operating as an owner of the team. Keselowski finished 12th and 18th in the first two races on the repaved Atlanta track last year.

Kyle Busch

  • Points position: 5th
  • Best seasonal finish: 1st (Auto Club)
  • Past at Atlanta: 2 career wins

Busch’s worst finish in his first season at Richard Childress Racing is a 19th in the season opener at Daytona. He won the following week at Auto Club Speedway. He has won twice at AMS but was 33rd and 20th on the new surface last year.

NASCAR Power Rankings: Two-time winner William Byron is No. 1


Four races into the NASCAR Cup Series season, William Byron is a winner 50% of the time.

Byron added his second victory of the season Sunday with an overtime win at Phoenix Raceway, boosting him to first place in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings. Hendrick Motorsports drivers occupy three of the top five spots in this week’s rankings.

MORE: Denny Hamlin’s comments about Ross Chastain incident on NASCAR’s “radar”

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

1. William Byron (fifth last week) — Byron was the top dog at the beginning and at the end of Sunday’s race. He led 59 of the first 60 laps and then rebounded with the benefit of a late-race caution to notch his second win.

2. Kyle Busch (second last week) — Busch bounced back from a tough afternoon and rallied for an eighth-place finish Sunday.

3. Alex Bowman (fourth last week) — Bowman was a strong ninth at Phoenix, and he stood atop the point standings until Wednesday’s penalties by NASCAR dropped him to 23rd. Among full-time drivers, he has the season’s best average finish — 6.25.

4. Ross Chastain (first last week) — Chastain falls from the rankings’ top spot after crashing with old foe Denny Hamlin on the last lap at Phoenix, ruining what could have been a strong finish.

5. Kyle Larson (eighth last week) — Larson led 201 laps at Phoenix to again illustrate the strength of the No. 5 Chevrolets this season. A fourth-place finish boosts him three spots in the rankings. Larson is one of only five drivers with two top-five finishes this season.

6. Christopher Bell (sixth last week) — The Toyota contingent failed to lead a lap at Phoenix, but Bell had another steady race and came home sixth.

7. Kevin Harvick (ninth last week) — The Closer had the door slammed in his face Sunday as a late-race caution and pit stop strategy damaged his shot at the win. He led 36 laps.

8. Denny Hamlin (third last week) — While William Byron, Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick and Kyle Larson were wrestling for the win Sunday, Hamlin was jousting with Ross Chastain back in the shadows. Their incident dropped Hamlin to a 23rd-place finish.

9. Joey Logano (10th last week) — Logano was quiet most of the afternoon at Phoenix but came home 11th with a less-than-excellent car.

10. Ryan Blaney (unranked last week) — Blaney roared into the picture late in the race Sunday and almost stole the win. His second-place run gives him two top 10s for the season.

Dropped out: Daniel Suarez (seventh last week).


Josh Berry answers critics with Phoenix run


AVONDALE, Ariz. — Josh Berry heard the noise about if he belonged in the No. 9 car for Chase Elliott. 

After Hendrick Motorsports went 1-2-3 with William Byron, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman earlier this month at Las Vegas and Berry finished 29th, doubters questioned the team keeping Berry in the car for the oval races until Elliott returns from his broken leg.

MORE: Phoenix winners and losers

Of course, it was easy to criticize Berry without looking at the fact that he had not driven a Next Gen car until the Las Vegas weekend and that a throttle issue in that race also made his day more difficult.

With that hanging over him, finishing 10th Sunday at Phoenix felt special to Berry.

“I kind of feel like I received some unnecessary criticism last week for getting thrown into a really tough situation filling in for Chase, my first start in the Next Gen car, no preparation at all,” Berry told NBC Sports after the Phoenix race. 

“I feel like I kind of got held to the fire. We worked hard this week to remove doubt that we can do this, and I feel like we did that.”

Berry took advantage of four fresh tires on the final pit stop. He gained five spots over the last two cautions to help put all four Hendrick cars in the top 10.

Berry’s performance earned praise from Jeff Gordon, vice chairman at Hendrick Motorsports.

“I’m really impressed with (Sunday’s) effort,” Gordon said after the race. “I was on the 9 box most of the race. It didn’t start off so great. To see them just continue to work through changes on the car, changes of the track conditions, just continue to push forward.

“Then he was mixing it up, man. On those restarts, he was right in the middle, three- and four-wide. I was a little bit nervous because they’re pretty deep in points and needed a solid finish.

“It was great to see Josh get that. That’s going to build his confidence. I don’t think anybody can explain how difficult a situation this is. I mean, an Xfinity car today could not be more opposite than what the Cup car is throughout the history that I can recall of those things being so different than they are today.

“To get out of an Xfinity car and hop into a Cup car that’s so different I think is a big, tall task. We put him in a bad situation last week. This week I saw him putting in the effort and the time, the sim, getting fitted in the seat, doing his homework. It really showed up.”


Phoenix marked the end of the West Coast swing of Cup races at Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.

Kevin Harvick and Alex Bowman were the only drivers to score top 10s in all three races. William Byron won twice (Las Vegas and Phoenix) and Kyle Busch won at Auto Club Speedway.

Here’s a look at the top 10 in points scored in the three West Coast races:

136 — William Byron

114 — Kevin Harvick

113 — Alex Bowman

113 — Kyle Larson

110 — Ross Chastain

104 — Kyle Busch

103 — Denny Hamlin

93 — Christopher Bell

90 — Martin Truex Jr.

89 — Daniel Suarez

Here’s a look at the top 10 in stage points scored in those three races:

44 — William Byron

38 — Ross Chastain

37 — Kyle Larson

32 — Denny Hamlin 

26 — Ryan Blaney

25 — Christopher Bell  

22 — Kevin Harvick

22 — Alex Bowman 

14 — Daniel Suarez

14 — Brad Keselowski

14 — Martin Truex Jr. 

Here is a look at top 10s by organizations in the West Coast races:

9 — Hendrick Motorsports (2 wins)

4 — Stewart-Haas Racing

4 — Joe Gibbs Racing

3 — Richard Childress Racing (1 win)

3 — Trackhouse Racing

3 — Team Penske

2 — 23XI Racing

1 — RFK Racing

1 — Kaulig Racing


Chase Briscoe’s seventh-place finish marked the first time he’s placed better than 20th this season.

“That’s a little bit of a relief,” crew chief John Klausmeier told NBC Sports. “We ended last year with some momentum and expected to pick up there at the start of the season and it has not been the case at all. We kind of had this (race) circled on the calendar.”

Briscoe started 24th. He was the only driver outside the top 20 to finish in the top 10. 

“To be in contention today, everyone’s confidence is a little bit better than the last two weeks,” Klausmeier said. “You get beat down and you start questioning yourself and second-guessing things. … Obviously, we didn’t qualify good, so we had to battle track position all day, but we stayed in the game and it’s a shot in the arm for everybody. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling.”

Said Briscoe after the race: “I think we overall had a pretty strong and solid day. Starting that far back in the pack, it just takes forever to get up there. I thought my car was good enough – if you would have put it in the lead, I would have been fine staying there. But, it was just a matter of getting up there – it takes a long time.”

Winners and losers at Phoenix Raceway


A look at winners and losers in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway:


Hendrick MotorsportsWilliam Byron won the race, leading 64 laps. Kyle Larson was second, leading 201. Alex Bowman was ninth, and Josh Berry, running well as the replacement for injured Chase Elliott, was 10th, giving the Hendrick team four spots in the top 10.

Tyler Reddick — After a tough start to the season, Reddick fought forward over the final miles and had a shot to win in overtime. He finished third.

Kevin Harvick — Harvick, who practically owns Phoenix Raceway with nine career wins there, led 35 laps and was on the road to victory until cautions impacted the finish.


Harrison Burton — Burton finished next-to-last after his late-race crash caused a caution and jumbled the finish. He has had a rough start with finishes of 26th, 15th, 26th and 35th.

Aric Almirola — A wheel escaped from Almirola’s Ford, leading to a two-lap penalty and a 33rd-place finish. The other three Stewart-Haas drivers all finished in the top 12.

Austin Cindric — Cindric had a tough afternoon, bouncing around in the second group after a pit-road speeding penalty and finishing a lap down in 25th.