TALLADEGA, AL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney is locked into the third round of the NASCAR Playoffs after surviving a wild, rain-delayed 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Blaney’s No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford barely beat the No. 6 Wyndham Rewards Ford of Ryan Newman to the finish line with the margin of victory a mere 0.007-seconds. The victory was Blaney’s first of the year and third of his career.
“An amazing effort the last two days, to be honest with you,” said Blaney, whose family co-owns Sharon Speedway. “From spinning out early yesterday, missing some big ones today, weave our way through. I can’t thank Aric (Almirola) at the end for helping me out. That big push that Newman and the 11 got, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to block it. They were coming so fast; they would have split me”.
Newman led the field off of turn 4 on the final lap but Talladega’s finish line is at the end of the tri-oval instead of the middle like most racetracks so that gave Blaney more track to get the job done.
“Disappointing to not win that one, to be so close,” Newman said. “I’ve been that close here before. Quite a few years I’ve tried. But just crazy racing and proud to get our Ford a good finish.”
When asked if he could’ve done anything differently Newman offered this response.
“You could replay it 30 days from now and come up with 27 different answers,” said Newman. “I think I could have gone down and taken his air, and he probably would have worked to the outside of me and probably spun me as I tried to block him.”
The race was slowed by 9-caution flags for 43-laps and included three big crashes that involved several cars. The first one happened when Alex Bowman tried to block Joey Logano, who punted Bowman out of the way. Bowman came back up the track and collected several cars including his teammate Chase Elliott. Eleven cars were involved in that “big one”.
The second big crash came on lap 164 when Kurt Busch got into the back of William Byron, turning the No. 24 Chevy into the path of several cars. Eight cars were involved in that crash.
They weren’t done. On lap 183 Kyle Busch was turned in front of the field, sending Brendan Gaughan flipping over several cars.
.@Brendan62 stuck the landing.
An unreal crash, but the car landed on all four tires like a freakin' cat. pic.twitter.com/aRHNEWK3mT
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 15, 2019
The victory automatically guaranteed Blaney a spot in the third round of the NASCAR Playoffs, joining Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson. Only 8-drivers will advance to round three, so only 6-spots remain.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin finished third in the race and sits third in the Playoff standings but is first in points. Hamlin’s teammate Martin Truex Jr is second in points and fourth on the playoff grid heading to Sunday’s elimination race at Kansas Speedway.
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are fifth through eighth on the playoff grid.
Logano sits 18-points ahead of ninth place Alex Bowman and 22-points ahead of 10th place Chase Elliott. Clint Bowyer is 2-points behind Elliott and William Byron is 27-points out of the final playoff spot.
The Hollywood Casino 400 takes place Sunday, October 20th at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised by NBC and can be heard on Motor Racing Network affiliates or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Big Changes In The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Schedule
DAYTONA, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is a drastic change from years past. The changes are many and include 3-new tracks, a few tracks have left the schedule and a dirt race is coming to a track already on the schedule.
Permanent road courses at Circuit of the Americas (May 23), Road America (July 4) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (August 15) are the three new tracks. 2021 marks the first time since 1994 that the Cup Series will not run on the IMS oval.
NASCAR will open the season, as it traditionally does, at Daytona International Speedway (February 14) with the Daytona 500 followed by Homestead-Miami Speedway (February 21).
The ‘West Coast Swing’ begins at Auto Club Speedway (February 28) followed by Las Vegas (March 7) and Phoenix (March 14).
The Series returns East for the first of two dates at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 21). The Atlanta race is followed by the Cup Series first race on dirt in 50-years at Bristol Motor Speedway (March 28).
Two races in Virginia open the month of April, Martinsville (April 10) and Richmond (April 18). The Series two smallest tracks are a prelude to a run on the largest track, Talladega Superspeedway (April 25).
The first of two races at Kansas (May 2) opens the month of May followed by the track ‘Too Tough To Tame’, Darlington (May 9), Dover (May 16) before the inaugural visit to Circuit of the Americas (May 23) and a return to most teams home track Charlotte (May 30).
June opens with a road course race in California at Sonoma (June 6) before the All-Star Race, which moves to Texas Motor Speedway (June 13).
A return to Nashville Superspeedway (June 20) takes place before the series visits the Keystone State for a doubleheader at Pocono Raceway (June 26-27).
Celebrating our nation’s birthday highlight’s the series first visit to Road America (July 4) before a return to Atlanta (July 11) and a trip to New Hampshire (July 18).
Two road courses and two ovals make up the month of August beginning with Watkins Glen (August 8) and followed by Indy (August 15), which will continue as a doubleheader with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Michigan International Speedway loses it’s June date so the only race in the ‘Irish Hills’ takes place August 22 followed by the regular-season ending visit back to Daytona (August 28).
The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs begin at Darlington (September 5) followed by Richmond (September 11) and the Round of 16 elimination race at Bristol (September 18).
The Round of 12 begins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (September 26) followed by Talladega Superspeedway (October 3) and the elimination race at the Charlotte ‘Roval’ (October 10).
The Round of 8 consists of a return to Texas Motor Speedway (October 17), a return to Kansas (October 24) and the elimination race at Martinsville (October 31).
The NASCAR Cup Series Championship takes place Sunday, November 7 at Phoenix.
Hometown Boy Kurt Busch Wins In Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch beat Matt DiBenedetto and Denny Hamlin in overtime to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The victory was Busch’s first at his hometown track in 23-starts and his first victory in 2020.
“This is what kids dream of when they go racing,” said Busch, who grew up racing on the ‘Bullring’ with his Dad and younger brother Kyle. “You dream of winning at your hometown track and for two decades it’s kicked my butt and tonight with this Monster Energy Chevy, I’m in awe.”
Busch had to survive two late-race restarts to get the victory. Busch got a fantastic restart with 12-laps to go and had a multi-car length lead when Christopher Bell cut a tire and slowed on the front stretch where Hendrick Motorsports William Byron crashed into Bell to bring out the caution with 7-laps to go, sending the race into overtime.
The last restart saw Busch get another great jump out front as DiBenedetto and Hamlin were battling for second place as the No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro raced to the checkered flag.
In case anyone wants to see this greatness one more time, or a thousand more pic.twitter.com/ZCNZppJrWW
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) September 28, 2020
“I pulled out some drag racing skills on the restarts,” said Busch. “I knew that was our strong suit. I knew that was Ford’s weak suit. We just put ourselves in position and we held them off. Chip Ganassi was up in the suites somewhere and I could feel him breathing down my neck ‘I want to win’ and we did it.”
The win also automatically advances Busch to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Playoffs giving him and the No. 1 Monster Energy/GEARWRENCH team a little bit of a buffer before the Playoff field is narrowed down to the Round of 4 after races at Talladega Superspeedway and ‘The Roval’ at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Busch. “It’s sinking in, no Talladega worries, no Roval worries but we’re still going there to get points. We’re still going there to add up what we need to do to win this Championship.”
DiBenedetto held on for second place followed by Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman.
The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs move onto Talladega Superspeedway October 4, 2020.
Chase Briscoe Wins NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 at Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Briscoe dominated the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff opener Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, punching his ticket to the second round.
Briscoe won all three stages and beat Noah Gragson on a late restart to win the Alsco 300. The victory was Briscoe’s eighth of the season and 10th career win in 78 Xfinity Series starts.
“An unbelievable car,” said Briscoe, who led a race-high 164-laps. “That thing was on rails. It was so easy to drive. By far the best race car I’ve ever had.”
The victory gives Briscoe a 17-point lead over Austin Cindric in the Championship fight. Cindric finished sixth.
Gragson, a Las Vegas native, wanted to park his JR Motorsports Chevrolet in victory lane in front of the hometown crowd.
“It’s good to get points but it’s kind of frustrating,” said Gragson. “We were all doing everything we could. I was kind of the best of the rest. The 98 (Briscoe) was so fast.”
The second place finish moved Gragson up a spot in the Championship standings, 34-points behind Briscoe and 17-points behind Cindric.
Daniel Hemric finished third followed by Justin Allgaier in fourth. Ryan Sieg rounded out the Top 5.
The Xfinity Series title fight moves to Talladega Superspeedway on October 3, 2020.