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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch Grabs 3rd Place Finish At Auto Club 400

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Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

FONTANA, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch grabbed a third place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

“Really happy,” exclaimed Busch after the race in pit road.  “All weekend the car just had a good vibe to it, the way it unloaded and the way we made small changes on our Monster Energy Chevy. I was really proud of this effort.”

Busch started fourth in the No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet Camaro and stayed in the Top 5 from the drop of the green to the end of the race’s first stage, where Busch finished fifth.

A pit-road miscue relegated Busch deep in the field to start the race’s second stage, but that’s where the 2004 NASCAR Cup Champion put his experience and a good race to work.

“I messed up on a pit cue,” said Busch.  “To race and to do different things in the draft and to be able to gain speed with cars on the straightaway and then once you get all by yourself you actually lose speed, it’s a whole type of different racing.”

Busch was back in the top 10 by the start of the race’s final stage, battling with his brother Kyle and Chase Elliott by the end of the race, finishing behind his brother but ahead of Elliott.

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“I’m glad that I had a good car to do it all with, and just thanks to my guys,” said Busch.  To have a third-place run right here in Monster Energy’s back yard, this was a solid run for our Chevy.”

It was a tough day for Busch’s teammate Kyle Larson.  Larson, a California native, started ninth and was having a solid run when Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin attempted to bump-draft the No. 42 McDonald’s Chevrolet.  The attempt was too hard, sending Larson into the outside wall.

Larson pitted to fix the damage and lost two laps in the process.  The remainder of the race Larson and the No. 42 team played catch-up, getting one of their two-laps back to finish 21st.

Hendrick Motorsport Alex Bowman took home the win, his second career Cup Series victory.

Auto Club 400 Results

NASCAR

Ryan Blaney wins NASCAR All-Star race at Texas

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Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

FORT WORTH, TX (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Ryan Blaney held off Denny Hamlin to win Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway.  The victory was Blaney’s first in the event and Team Penske’s fourth.

Blaney won the event’s third stage guaranteeing him a front row starting spot for the final stage.  Blaney got a huge push from teammate Austin Cindric and powered to the victory.

“This Mustang was a rocketship,” said Blaney. “I am really glad we ended up winning that after that last caution. I am so proud of everybody. Tonight will be fun.”

“Really happy for Ryan (Blaney) and the No. 12 team,” said Cindric. “They had the fastest car all night and if I wasn’t going to win it, I was committed to helping him. I lined up behind him on that last restart and gave him the best push possible.”

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Hamlin was upset after the race that NASCAR extended the final caution to accommodate Blaney, who dropped his window net when he thought the race was over when in fact the caution light came on before he crossed the start/finish line.

“It’s tough because he deserved to win the race, but if you mess up and you break a rule – not intentionally, but there’s rules and we have rules in place for safety,” said Hamlin. “My crew chief is taking four weeks off (a penalty from a pit-road infraction earlier in the season) because of safety.”

“I already took my window net down and everything,” explained Blaney. “My left arm is worn out from trying to get that damn thing back up. I got it rigged up enough to where it halfway stayed. I appreciate NASCAR for not making us come down pit road to fix it and letting me get it clipped back again to where we could stay out there.”

Next up for the NASCAR Cup Series is the Coca-Cola 600 next Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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NASCAR

Racing Notebook: Logano on Darlington pole; Allgaier wins Xfinity race and more

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Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

DARLINGTON, SC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – It’s NASCAR ‘throwback’ weekend in Darlington, South Carolina where all three series are on the track this weekend.

Logano Take Cup Series Pole:

  • Team Penske’s Joey Logano is on the pole position for Sunday’s 3rd Annual Goodyear 400.  Logano’s fast lap of 28.805-seconds (170.720 mph) was .082-seconds quicker than Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson’s 28.887.  Hendrick’s Chase Elliott, Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and B.J. McCloud did not make qualifying attempts after separate issues in practice. The green flag drops at 3:30 p.m. on FS1. Darlington Cup Lineup
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Allgaier Wins Xfinity Race:

  • Justin Allgaier beat JR Motorsports Noah Gragson by .259-seconds to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Mahindra ROXOR 200 at Darlington Raceway. In a 2-lap shootout following a caution flag, Allgaier quickly dispatched A.J. Allmendinger – who was on 16-lap older tires and drove away with Gragson in tow.  JRM drivers now have won three straight races in the series. Darlington Xfinity Results

Nemechek Wins Truck Series Race:

  • John Hunter Nemechek beat Carson Hocevar by .552-seconds in overtime to win Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dead On Tools 200 at Darlington Raceway.  Wexford native Kris Wright finished 32nd after starting 21st in the No. 44 VFW Chevrolet thanks to an accident. Darlington Truck Series Results
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NASCAR

McGriff, Shelmerdine and Kenseth elected to NASCAR Hall of Fame

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Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Herschel McGriff, Kirk Shelmerdine and Matt Kenseth have been elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2023.  Mike Helton was also named the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

McGriff’s first race was the 1950 Southern 500, in the NASCAR Cup Series’ sophomore season, at the age of 22. His final NASCAR race was at Tucson Speedway in the NASCAR Pro Series West – in 2018 at the age of 90. McGriff started 85 races in parts of 28 NASCAR Cup Series seasons, capturing four wins – all in 1954, when he finished sixth in championship points.

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Shelmerdine won four total Cup Series championships with Earnhardt (1986, ’87, ’90, ’91). Over his 16-year crew chief career with Earnhardt, Rudd, James Hylton and Richard Childress, he won 46 races and posted top-10 finishes in more than half his starts.

Kenseth, the 2003 Cup Series Champion, scored 39 Cup wins, which tie for 21st on the all-time list and include two Daytona 500s, the Southern 500, Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star Race.

The Class of 2023 Induction Ceremony is set for Friday, Jan. 20, 2023 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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