HOMESTEAD, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – NASCAR Championship weekend hits South Florida as all three NASCAR Touring Series will crown Champions.
This Sunday, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. along with Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will be fighting for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Title. Busch, Truex and Harvick will be going for their second titles while Hamlin is still seeking his first.
“I think one race, winner take all, anything can happen,” said Hamlin. “I mean, if you have a mechanical failure on lap 25, does that mean you’re not good enough? You made the final four. Making the final four is the culmination of your whole year. That is what deems your year a success. You made it to Homestead.”
Truex is the most recent Champion fighting for his second title. Truex won his first Championship, holding off Kyle Busch by .681-seconds, to win in 2017 when he drove for the now-defunct Furniture Row Racing.
“It’s amazing to be here having another opportunity at a championship,” said Truex. “I still have a hard time believing I’ve already got one, let alone here we are with a really, really good chance I feel like at a second. I can’t imagine the names of the list I would be on with those others. Still blows my mind. I’m pretty jacked up about it. Hopefully we can get it done.”
Kyle Busch captured his first Championship in 2015 after missing the first 11-races due to a broken right leg and a fractured left foot.
“Obviously with 2015 and being able to come out as a champion that was the greatest achievement,” said Busch. “You set your goal out for the beginning of the year and everybody’s goal there is to always just get to Homestead, and if we’re eligible for Homestead, then we can go after that championship. So I always look at it though as we want to be able to go out and win the championship. So for us to be eligible five years in a row I think is a pretty cool thing, but to come out with one of four is not so cool.”
Harvick is five years removed from his first Championship in 2014 and, like Busch, has qualified five times.
“It’s hard to get here,” said Harvick. “I know that we have been able to do that five times now, but the Playoffs are difficult now. It’s difficult to go through all those eliminations and different racetracks and have everything work out. So you just, this will be the fifth time here and we have only won once and so it’s definitely something that we would love to do again. This is what we race for.”
Joe Gibbs has a 75% chance of tasting the champagne in victory lane and his former driver, Tony Stewart, has a 25% of being the winning car owner.
“The thing that I love about our sport which is totally different than any other sport really, you’ve got four teams that have to work together in order to get here,” said Gibbs. “But once you’re here, this is each one of those guys, this is their chance to win a championship for their sponsor and everybody that’s following them. And so each one of our guys are geared up. They want to win this, each one of them for a different reason. Denny has never won one, and so it’s a big deal for us.”
“It’s what the goal of every organization is at the beginning of the year is to go out and win races, win big races and contend for a championship and try to win a championship at the end of the season,” said Stewart. “To get one in, I mean, that’s definitely our goal. Our goal is obviously to be in the scenario Joe is in and have multiple cars in, but it is, it’s tough.”
The green flag for the Ford EcoBoost 400 drops on Sunday at 3 p.m. The race will be televised by NBC starting at 2 p.m. and can be heard on the radio on Motor Racing Network affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series crowns their Champion on Saturday. JR Motorsports Justin Allgaier, Gibbs Christopher Bell, Stewart Haas Cole Custer and Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick are in the Championship 4.
Reddick is the defending series champion and is looking to become just the seventh driver all-time to win back-to-back titles. Allgaier, Custer and Bell are attempting to win their first Xfinity Series titles.
The Ford EcoBoost 300 takes place Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised by NBCSN and can be heard on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.
The NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series is racing Friday night. Niece Motorsports Ross Chastain, ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton, Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen and GMS Racing’s Brett Moffitt are battling for the title.
Crafton is a two-time series Champion (2013 & 2014) and Moffitt is the defending series Champion. Chastain and Friesen are going for their first titles.
The green flag for the Ford EcoBoost 200 drops Friday night at 8 p.m. The race will be televised by FS1 and can be heard on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Racing Notebook: Power Wins Grand Prix Of St. Pete Pole; Burton Wins At Texas; Robb Wins Indy Pro 2000
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Will Power wins the pole position for the INDYCAR race at St. Petersburg plus Harrison Burton wins the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Texas Motor Speedway; Road To Indy Winners and Carvana partners with Jimmie Johnson and Chip Ganassi Racing for their 2021 INDYCAR effort.
Will Power Wins INDYCAR Pole At St. Pete:
- Team Penske’s Will Power is on the pole position for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Power’s fast lap of 1-minute, 1.0369-seconds (106.165 mph) was 0.14-seconds faster than Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi (01:01:1730/105.929 mph) in the third and final round of knockout-style qualifying. Championship contenders Josef Newgarden will start eighth and Scott Dixon will start eleventh after failing to advance past the second round. The green flag drops at 2:30 p.m. on NBC. St. Pete Starting Lineup
Harrison Burton Wins NASCAR Xfinity Series Race At Texas:
- Joe Gibbs Racing’s Harrison Burton took home the victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday. The victory was Burton’s third this season. JR Motorsports Noah Gragson finished second followed by Richard Childress Racing’s Anthony Alfredo. Team Penske’s Austin Cindric finished fourth. Points leader Chase Briscoe finished 24th. Xfinity Texas Results Xfinity Drivers Points
Sting Ray Robb Wins At St. Pete:
- Juncos Racing’s Sting Ray Robb wired the field in Saturday’s Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by Cooper Tires. Robb, who started on the pole position, quickly pulled out to a 1.2-second lead and never looked back. “That was a hard race, even though I was leading the whole way. The team set a goal for me to hold a certain lap time and I did, until I saw Danial starting to catch me. I started pushing harder and set the quick race lap time, bettering my own race record from last year. Two lap records in one day here, that’s pretty special!” Danial Frost finished second followed by Robb’s teammate Artem Petrov. Robb will also start on the pole in Sunday’s season finale. Colin Kaminsky, the goalie for the University of Pittsburgh hockey team, finished ninth. indypro2000-race-results-r1
Porto Grabs USF 2000 Victory At St. Pete:
- Kiko Porto claimed a well-deserved maiden Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship victory Saturday afternoon in the USF2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Andersen RacePark. Eduardo Barrichello finished in second place for Pabst Racing with Reece Gold taking third for Cape Motorsports.
Carvana Partners With Jimmie Johnson & Chip Ganassi Racing:
- Carvana, the nations leading online auto retailer, is partnering with Jimmie Johnson and Chip Ganassi Racing for Johnson’s 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES campaign. Johnson will run the No. 48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda on the road and street course. Ganassi told Pittsburgh Racing Now he plans to enter the car in all of the races but the driver has yet to be determined.
NASCAR Reinstates Kyle Larson
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – NASCAR is reinstating driver Kyle Larson after suspending him for violating rules this past spring. He will be eligible to compete in NASCAR sanctioned events beginning January 1, 2021.
Larson was suspended indefinitely on April 13 for violating Sections 12.1 (General Procedures) and 12.8 (NASCAR Member Conduct Guidelines) of the NASCAR Rule Book.
During an online iRacing event on April 12, Larson used a racial slur while attempting to take with his spotter on a private channel. It turned out that Larson was speaking on a public channel and everyone heard him, including the online audience.
Chip Ganassi Racing fired Larson on April 14 from his duties as driver of the No. 42 Credit One Bank/McDonald’s Chevrolet. Matt Kenseth was hired to complete the 2020 season. Ross Chastain will drive the car in 2021.
NASCAR ordered Larson to attend sensitivity training as a condition of reinstatement and is going to require him to fulfill additional requirements in order to keep his NASCAR membership current.
“NASCAR continues to prioritize diversity and inclusion across our sport,” NASCAR said in a statement. “Kyle Larson has fulfilled the requirements set by NASCAR, and has taken several voluntary measures, to better educate himself so that he can use his platform to help bridge the divide in our country. Larson’s indefinite suspension has been lifted. Under the terms of his reinstatement, he will be cleared to return to all NASCAR racing activities effective January 1, 2021.”
Last week Larson sat down with CBS Sports James Brown for his first televised interview and detailed some of the work he has been doing behind the scenes to educate himself following his remarks this spring.
Larson has six victories in 223 NASCAR Cup Series starts. He joined the circuit full-time in 2014 with Ganassi’s operation.
Joey Logano Earns Berth In NASCAR Championship With Win At Kansas
KANSAS CITY, KS (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Joey Logano held off Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick to win Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
The victory guarantees Logano a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship November 8, 2020 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.
“So proud of this Shell-Pennzoil team,” said Logano. “They never quit today. It was a tough one to start. We kind of fell back I think a couple stage points the first stage, then no stage points the second. Paul had some strategy. Two tires. Hung in there, kept our track position. Crazy good pit stops kept us in position.”
Logano did the rest, getting to the lead and then blocking several attempts by Harvick to get the lead of the race away from the No. 22 Ford.
“A couple decent restarts got us to the lead,” said Logano. “From there it’s just driving out of that mirror almost the whole time there the last 40 laps. It was a long 40 laps, however long that run was.”
Harvick didn’t think Logano had a better car, just better track position when it mattered most.
“Joey did just a good job of putting his car right in front of ours,” said Harvick. “With this package, every time you put your car in front of the car behind you, it takes the nose away. We just had a little bit of trouble trying to get the nose to turn when he would take our lane. Our car was plenty fast to win the race today and just came up one short.”
Alex Bowman finished third in the No. 88 Chevrolet followed by Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski in fourth and Kyle Busch rounded out the top 5.
Two playoff drivers had issues in Kansas. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin hit the wall on lap 180. Hamlin was forced to pit road due to the damage. Hamlin however rallied for a fifteenth place finish.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch was not as fortunate. Busch’s motor blew up on lap 197 ending the No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet’s day. Busch is now in a must-win situation in the next two events (Texas and Martinsville) if he hopes to compete for his second Cup Series Championship.
Logano’s win means there are only 3-spots remaining in the Championship finale at Phoenix. Currently that leaves Keselowski and Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott fighting it out for the final spot. Keselowski sits in third place, eight points ahead of Elliott for the current points cut-off.