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NASCAR

Kurt Busch Looking for Two in a Row as NASCAR Heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway

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SPARTA, KENTUCKY - JULY 13: Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway on July 13, 2019 in Sparta, Kentucky. -- Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

LOUDEN, NH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series are at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend and time is running out for drivers looking to qualify for NASCAR’s Playoffs.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch comes into the weekend hot off the heels of his victory last Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

The win was the first for the No. 1 car in the Cup Series since October 10, 2013 when Jamie McMurray visited Victory Lane at Talladega Superspeedway.

The win was the 31st for Busch in the Cup Series and his first with Ganassi.  Busch has also visited Victory Lane with Roush Fenway Racing, Team Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing.

Busch’s CGR teammate Kyle Larson has the third-best average finish at New Hampshire (10.7).  Larson has four top-five and five top-10 finishes in nine starts at the oval.  Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin has the best average finish (10.2).

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Kyle Busch has three wins at New Hampshire (2006, 2015, 2017) and four runner-up finishes at the track.  Kyle Busch is also the only driver on the grid with victories at the track in all three of NASCAR’s premier series.

“Loudon is a Martinsville-like short track,” Kyle Busch said.  “It’s a little more spread out, but there’s some rooting and gouging going on because it’s a one-lane track and everybody fights for that particular groove.”

New Hampshire is slightly longer than a mile and is a shorter, flat track with variable banking at two and seven degrees in the corners and one degree on the straights.

The first practice session on Friday runs from 12:05 p.m. to 12:55 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 4:35 p.m.

There will be two practice sessions on Saturday, 10:05 a.m. to 10:55 p.m. and a final practice session from 12:35 p.m. to 1:25 p.m. ET.

The Foxwood Resorts Casino green flag drops at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.

NASCAR

Denny Hamlin And Kevin Harvick Score NASCAR Cup Wins At Pocono Doubleheader

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Patrick Smith/Getty Images

LONG POND, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Denny Hamlin won Sunday’s Pocono 350, the second race of the NASCAR Cup Series Doubleheader Weekend at Pocono Raceway.

Hamlin beat Kevin Harvick by 3.068-seconds to pick up his fourth victory of 2020 and 41st of his Cup Series career.  Hamlin is now tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for the most wins all-time at “The Tricky Triangle” with six.

“It’s awesome,” said Hamlin.  “I think that’s the most wins I’ve got at any track now.  It’s hard to believe because we went through such a dry spell there kind of the middle of my career.  We’re doing a great job right now. Like I say, I hate to feel disappointed in a second and first. Man, I really feel like we should have won both races. Just didn’t work out.”

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Harvick won Saturday’s race, taking two tires on the final pit stop to grab the checkered flag from a track where he had never won.

“Everybody from Stewart-Haas Racing has done a great job,” said Harvick.  “We’ve had really fast cars every time we’ve come to Pocono, just hadn’t got to Victory Lane.”

The NASCAR Cup Series next event is the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a doubleheader with the NTT IndyCar Series.

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NASCAR

Ryan Blaney Edges Ricky Stenhouse To Win NASCAR Cup Race At Talladega

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

TALLADEGA, AL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney picked up his first win of the season beating Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by a bumper at the rain-delayed Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Blaney and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones made contact on the front stretch, sending Jones into the outside wall as Blaney headed towards the checkered flag.

Inside of Blaney however was JTG Daugherty’s Stenhouse, who was leading hard charge of cars on the inside lane.  The pair crossed the Start/Finish line with Blaney prevailing by 0.007-seconds in a photo-finish.

“I just kind of blocked, just trying to block the best we could,” said Blaney.  “The 20 got to my outside and I tried to go up there to slow him down, I hate that I hit him, but just kind of trying to beat and bang to the line and things like that. We just edged it out, but I am really proud of this whole Menards/Sylvania Ford Mustang team.”

Stenhouse finished second and said he did all he could to get to the front.

“The 20 had a good run,” said Stenhouse.  “Then they started banging fenders, slowing each other down.  I just kept on the throttle, was able to get close to the nose of the 12 there coming across the line.  All in all it was a solid day for us.”

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Stewart Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola finished third with his rear bumper crossing the Start/Finish line first as he was caught up in the Jones accident.

Denny Hamlin finished fourth followed by Jones who after hitting the wall crossed the line in fifth.

Talladega Cup Results

Prior to the race drivers and crew members surrounded Bubba Wallace’s No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet and pushed it to the front of the starting grid in a show of support after a noose was found in the RPM garage area on Sunday.

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – JUNE 22: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, and team owner, and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty stand for the national anthem prior to the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 22, 2020 in Talladega, Alabama. A noose was found in the garage stall of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway a week after the organization banned the Confederate flag at its facilities. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR President Steve Phelps said the FBI is investigating and that whoever is responsible for the action will be suspended for life from NASCAR.

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IndyCar

Chip Ganassi Condemns Noose Incident At Talladega

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Pittsburgh’s Chip Ganassi is condemning Sunday’s noose incident at Talladega Superspeedway.

Ganassi, who fields the No. 1 Monster Energy/Gearwrench Camaro driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 42 Credit One Bank/McDonald’s Chevrolet driven by Matt Kenseth in the NASCAR Cup Series, called the incident “horrific and completely reprehensible” and said now is the time to “rid NASCAR, and all sports, of these ignorant attitudes”.

Ganassi took to his Twitter feed to share those feelings.  Here’s the tweet:

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Ganassi had to do exactly what he tweeted about when he fired former driver Kyle Larson, who uttered a racial slur in an online racing event.

Ganassi’s team also showed their support for driver Bubba Wallace and his Richard Petty Motorsports team.  The noose was found in the RPM teams garage.

Ganassi has been a long-time believer of diversity and gender equality in his race teams, which in addition to the NASCAR Cup Series, includes 3-cars in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and an upcoming entry in Extreme E in 2021.

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