AVONDALE, AZ (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch is on the pole position for today’s Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway outside Phoenix.
Busch’s fast lap of 25.693-seconds (140.116 mph) in the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry was .067-seconds faster than Team Penske’s Joey Logano (25.760-seconds, 139.752 mph), who will start second in the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang.
“Obviously a really good starting spot for us,” said Busch. “Track position is a really big deal here and obviously No. 1 pit selection too. Lots of things that can certainly help us fire off here to start the race.”
Busch’s teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr will line up side-by-side in row two after fast laps of 25.825 (139.394) and 25.839 (139.324) respectively.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson will start fifth in the No. 42 Clover Chevrolet after a fast lap of 25.855 (139.238). Starting alongside Larson in the sixth position is Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott in the No. 9 NAPA Camaro (25.866, 139.179).
Truex is the only driver starting in the top 6 who is locked into NASCAR’s Championship 4 next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway by virtue of his win at Martinsville two weeks ago.
Busch, Logano, Hamlin, Larson and Elliott along with Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney are racing Sunday for the final two spots in the title fight.
The easiest way to make it into the Championship 4 is for one of the six remaining eligible drivers is to win like Truex did a few week ago and like Kevin Harvick did last week at Texas. In this scenario, one driver will make it in via points.
If a non-playoff eligible driver wins at Phoenix then two drivers will make it into the Championship 4.
Busch and Logano enter the race currently above the points cutoff line, +22 and +20 respectively. Hamlin sits 20-points behind the cutoff. Larson and Blaney sit 23-points behind the cutoff and Elliott sits 78-points below following mechanical issues at Martinsville and an accident at Texas.
Elliott is in a must-win situation. Larson, Blaney and Hamlin could make it in on points but would need to score maximum points in the races stages and have the drivers ahead of them finish outside the points paying positions or have issues.
“Those guys behind us, we know they are going to awfully hungry,” said Busch.
The green flag for the race is at 2:30 p.m. ET and the race will be televised by NBC and can be heard on Motor Racing Network (MRN) affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
William Byron Wins NASCAR Cup Series Race At Homestead-Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Hendrick Motorsports William Byron picked up the win in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Byron led race-high 102 laps en route to his second career Cup Series victory.
“This car was just awesome,” said Byron, who credited his crew chief Rudy Fugle. “The track was super slick to start. We had to start pretty far back but made our way up and just had to keep adjusting on the car and kind of finding those little bits.”
Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick was chasing down Byron in final laps of the race but simply ran out of time to catch the leader.
“It’s beyond frustrating,” said Reddick. “2 or 3 different decisions on a restart would have put me miles ahead and I would have been in-reach (of Byron). 2nd’s great but I saw how much faster I was than those guys at the end so naturally it’s frustrating.”
Martin Truex Jr finished third followed by Kyle Larson in fourth and Kevin Harvick and in fifth.
“My balance got off their the last 40-laps or so,” said Truex. “So close.”
Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell finished sixth follow by Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman in seventh.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch finished eighth and his teammate Ross Chastain finished 17th.
The races featured 20-lead changes among 16-drivers and was slowed by 6-caution flags for 36-laps.
Myatt Snider Wins NASCAR Xfinity Race At Homestead Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Myatt Snider held off a hard-charging Tyler Reddick to win the Contender Boats 250 Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The victory was Snider’s NASCAR Xfinity Series win.
“It’s amazing to finally be in this position of having won a NASCAR Xfinity Series race,” said Snider.
Snider spun his tires on the first restart and Reddick got the lead before the eighth and final caution flag flew for AJ Allmendinger, who spun in Turn 1.
“I yelled ‘damn it’ to myself when they told me on the radio that Tyler was ahead of me,” Snider said after that restart. Snider made the most of the next restart.
“I guess I got a great second chance there,” said Snider. “I saw Tyler (Reddick) happened to do the same thing on the second restart, so I knew that if I could just lay as much power down as I could and get out ahead of everybody then I had a great chance.”
Reddick may have crossed the finish line second but that was short-lived as his car failed NASCAR’s post-race inspection because the ride height in the right rear measured too low.
Reddick’s penalty moved Brandon Jones up to second.
“Those restarts are crazy,” remarked Jones. “That’s a big one there at the end, getting your tires picked up and trying to regroup and you’re going three or four-wide.”
Daniel Hemric finished third with Jeb Burton and Austin Cindric rounding out the top 5.
Snider beat Reddick by .085-seconds. The race featured 20-lead changes among 11-drivers. There were 8-caution flags for 42-laps. The average speed of the race was 103.72 MPH.
Chip Ganassi Fined And Suspended By NASCAR
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team owner Chip Ganassi ended up on the NASCAR penalty report following this weekend’s events at Daytona International Speedway.
Ganassi was fined $30,000 and suspended from the next NASCAR Cup Series Championship Points Event which is Sunday at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Ganassi violated section 12.8.1.b of the NASCAR Rule Book “for bringing into the competition area a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint”, essentially brining someone not authorized inside the ‘bubble’ which part of the sanctioning body’s COVID-19 protocol.
Chip Ganassi Racing will be permitted to enter their cars, the No. 1 Monster Energy/Gearwrench Chevrolet driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 42 McDonald/Clover Camaro driven by Ross Chastain, in the event.