“I have always said that when we have to fill a driver spot, that I owe it to our team, our partners and our fans to put the best available driver in the car,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “We are doing exactly that with Matt.”
“This was an unexpected opportunity for sure,” said Kenseth, the 2003 Cup Series champion. “I can’t say racing was even on my radar two weeks ago. After spending some time thinking about it and all the unique circumstances surrounding all of us right now, it just seemed the timing and the opportunity was perfect to come back. I also need to thank Chip and all of his partners for this opportunity.”
Kenseth has 39-career Cup Series wins including two Daytona 500’s. Kenseth also has 181-career top-5’s and finished in the top-10 in points in 13 of his 18-seasons.
“I have always admired the way Matt Kenseth raced,” said Ganassi. “He has proven to be a consistent winner, strong competitor, and respectful driver and I’m glad we are able to add another NASCAR champion to the team for the remainder of this season.”
“I’m excited to work with Kurt again and to meet all my new CGR team members, and I’m really looking forward to getting back in a Chevrolet,” said Kenseth, who began his racing career in 1988 in a Camaro. “I started my career in a Camaro and I can’t wait to finally race a Chevy in the Cup Series.”
Kenseth replaces Kyle Larson, who was fired after using a racing slur during an iRacing event a few weeks ago.
Top 5 Finish For Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch At Charlotte
Busch started 14th in the No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro and quickly raced into the Top 10, finishing eighth at the end of the races first stage.
Busch’s Crew Chief Matt McCall and crew adjusted on the car making it a little bit better and Busch brought it home sixth at the end of the races second stage.
The races third and final stage saw Busch battling with veterans Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick in the top 10 with Busch prevailing by the end of the race.
The Top 5 finish leaves Busch sitting in tenth place in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship points standings.
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) May 29, 2020
Busch’s CGR teammate Matt Kenseth had a tough night behind the wheel of the No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet.
In the races first stage, Kenseth cut a tire in turn 4 and spun onto pit road. Ironically just in front of him Keselowski cut down a tire and was almost stopped up along the turn 4 wall so apparently there was debris at that end of the track that affected both cars.
Kenseth and Crew Chief Chad Johnston were playing catch-up from that point on. Kenseth pitted for new tires and lost a lap a lap in the process.
Kenseth returned to the track and kept digging, eventually finishing in 23rd place, the first car one-lap down.
Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott picked up the victory. The win was Elliott’s 7th career victory and first of 2020.
The NASCAR Cup Series has a quick turnaround as they head to Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
Chase Elliott Gets NASCAR Cup Win Thursday Night At Charlotte
CONCORD, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott had a chance to grab victories in both NASCAR Cup races since the Series returned from the COVID-19 shutdown, but fate denied the Hendrick Motorsports driver the wins.
Thursday night Elliott and the No. 9 team took care of business winning the Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Elliott beat Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Denny Hamlin to the checkered flag by 2.208-seconds to pick-up his 7th career Cup Series win in 157-starts.
“We battled hard and finally got our car good enough there at the end,” said Elliott. “I’m not sure that we had it exactly perfect, but the guys did a great job making good adjustments and good pit stops there to put us in a position. Finally good to get a Kelley Blue Book win. That’s our first win together, so hopefully many more.”
It could’ve been two-in-a-row for Elliott if a caution flag would not have flown a lap and-a-half from the end of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott was leading when the caution came out. Crew Chief Alan Gustafson called Elliott to pit road for new tires while eight lead-lap cars stayed out, including eventual winner Brad Keselowski.
“I feel like we were in a lose-lose position there on Sunday, so it’s not his fault that the caution came out with two laps to go, and when you’re in a position like that you have to make a decision and stick with it,” said Elliott. “I’m not going to question him. I don’t fault him. It’s not his fault. It’s just one of those things where you’ve got to make a gut call and go with it, and heck, we drove back to third.”
Elliott started Thursday’s race in the 19th spot and drove to a 9th place finish in the races first stage. The No. 9 Kelly Blue Book team made adjustments during the subsequent pit stop and Elliott raced to a fourth place finish in the second stage. Elliott says that hard work needs to continue.
“We’re still very early in the year, and I challenge all of the people at HMS, myself, the road crew, the pit crews to stay hungry because the season is very long, a lot of racing left, and we just need to keep pushing,” said Elliott. “No reason to get content right now.”
Team Penske‘s Ryan Blaney finished third followed by JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in fourth. Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Kurt Busch rounded out the top 5 in the No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet.
Quick turnaround for the Cup Series as the next race is Sunday, May 31 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“500 laps at Bristol is a really physical event,” said Elliott. “We’ve raced a lot throughout this week. I’m tired, and I want to rest tomorrow and Saturday and get ready to go. It’s going to be a tough one on Sunday, especially in the afternoon.”
Chase Elliott Wins NASCAR Truck Race At Charlotte, Wins $100K “Bounty”
Elliott held off Kyle Busch by .627-seconds to pick up his first truck series win since 2017 and to beat Busch, who had won each of his last seven previous truck series starts prompting the “bounty”.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Elliott. “First off, a thanks to (sponsors) iRacing and Hooters, Chevrolet and GMS (Racing) for letting me come do this. (The truck) was really good from the get-go, for having no laps (of practice).”
Busch, who had to come from the back of the pack twice due to long pit stops, finished second.
“He was a little better than I was there at the end,” said Elliott. “I got tight. And I think he burned out his stuff pretty hard trying to get to me.”
The victory was sweet for Elliott, who was taken out of the Cup Series race at Darlington last week after Busch made contact with his No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro sending it into the inside wall.
“It doesn’t make up for Sunday but it was still a really good night,” said Elliott. “Glad to win and glad to do some good for the relief effort for this virus.”
The $100,000 “bounty” came from NASCAR Cup Series Driver Kevin Harvick and Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, who each put up $50K to any Cup Series regular who could beat Busch in a Truck Series event. The “bounty” will go to the coronavirus relief effort of Elliott’s choice.
Elliott’s GMS Racing teammate Zane Smith finished third in his first national-series start at Charlotte. Brett Moffitt was fourth and Sheldon Creed fifth. John Hunter Nemechek, also trying for the bounty, ran sixth, followed by Johnny Sauter, Ty Majeski, Austin Hill and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top 10.
BUSCH EDGES HEMRIC AND CINDRIC FOR XFINITY WIN
Kyle Busch passed Austin Cindric in turn three for the lead on the last lap of NASCAR overtime to win Monday’s Alsco 300 Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Cindric passed Busch on the restart to take the lead but the veteran rallied on the white flag lap building his momentum for the turn three move.
Cindric lost his momentum and eventually second place to Daniel Hemric. Cindric finished third.
The win was Busch’s 97th Xfinity Series victory.
Chip Ganassi Racing development driver Ross Chastain finished fourth followed by Justin Allgaier in fifth. Brett Moffitt, Michael Annett, Brandon Brown, Harrison Burton and Myatt Snider rounded out the top 10.