DOVER, DE (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick beat Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. by 3.525-seconds to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 311 at Dover International Speedway.
The win was Harvick’s 7th of the 2020 season and 56th of his NASCAR Cup Series career, which is 9th on NASCAR’s All-time Cup Series wins list.
“It’s an honor just to be up there on that list, and as I’ve said before, I feel like it’s definitely a huge responsibility to be up there and be around those guys,” said Harvick. “Hopefully we can keep this thing rolling and make up some ground on the next gap. But it’s been a lot of fun at Stewart-Haas Racing, and you’re only as good as the race cars that you have, and it’s been an honor to drive the race cars and be able to take those race cars and have success with them and capitalize on winning like we did today.”
It was another dominant performance for Harvick, who led 223 laps and won the races first two stages. There were 15-lead changes among 6-drivers and the race was slowed by 7-caution flags for 40-laps.
Truex finished second for the second day in-a-row.
“I think we were second at Kentucky, too, like right there before that,” said Truex. “That’s where you need to be running to make your way through the playoffs. Obviously wish we could have won a few more. Our bonus point situation is not the greatest, and that’s something that we’ve really been working hard on trying to get some more here lately. Just seems like we’re always just right there second or third. Overall it was good. It’s good momentum. It’s good to be consistent. We’ve just got to keep working to find a little bit more.”
Denny Hamlin Wins Drydene 311 on Saturday:
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin won the first Drydene 311 on Saturday, beating Truex by 1.179-seconds to pick up his 6th win of the year and 43rd of his career.
“We’re just rolling right now,” said Hamlin. “It’s every week. I mean, it’s literally every single week. We set some lofty goals at the beginning the year to try to win 10 races. It’s still achievable. I mean, we should have more than six easily.”
Truex was leading but Hamlin was able to run him down when the No. 19 Toyota encountered lap traffic.
“Really struggled once I got to the 10 car,” said Truex. “He was running exactly where I wanted to run. Every time I tried to move up, he would move up in front of me. He was making it tough. Obviously the 11 came out of nowhere, having clean air between me and him. I thought his car (Hamlin) was in general better than ours all day. We were kind of struggling there. Surprised we were able to hold the lead as long as we did.”
Austin Hill Wins NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Westgate 200
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Austin Hill grabbed the lead on a restart with 39-laps remaining and powered to the victory in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Westgate 200 Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hill’s Weins Canada Toyota crossed the finish line 0.546-seconds ahead of Sheldon Creed, punching Hill’s ticket to the next round of the NASCAR Playoffs.
“We didn’t start the race where we wanted to after having a bad race at Bristol,” said Hill. “Track position was huge today. Seemed like back in the pack it was pretty hard to pass. I knew when we were restarting up front there we had to get aggressive, and that’s what I did.”
Creed led a race-high 89 of the 134 laps but had to settle for second place after winning both the first and second stage of the race.
“Frustrating honestly,” Creed said of the runner-up finish. “Way faster truck than him (Hill). I feel like the pace picked up there at the end running the top. He’d run half a truck off the wall and I’d run against the wall. He’d slide up and I would get really tight or really loose behind him. Just couldn’t do anything.”
Creed did earn a race-high 55-points as well as 2-playoff points to help in the Championship fight.
Tanner Gray finished third followed by Stewart Friesen in fourth and Chandler Smith rounded out the Top 5.
The race featured four lead changes among four drivers. Five caution flags for 25-laps slowed the average speed of the race to 119.861-seconds.
The next race for the Truck Series is October 3, 2020 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Ross Chastain To Drive Chip Ganassi’s #42 Camaro In 2021
CONCORD, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi is getting ready for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) by hiring Ross Chastain to drive the No. 42 Credit One Bank/McDonald’s Chevrolet Camaro.
Chastain replaces Matt Kenseth, who was hired in May to replace Kyle Larson, who was fired for using a racial slur during an iRacing event this Spring.
Chastain, a CGR development driver since 2018, is currently competing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), where he qualified for the playoffs for a second time following a runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway over the weekend.
Chastain first competed for CGR in 2018, behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet in the NXS. In the three races Chastain ran for the team that year, he earned a pole at Darlington, a win at Las Vegas, and a runner-up finish at Richmond, which helped him earn a spot in the NXS playoffs.
“Ross has been a part of this organization for a few years now, and I am happy to announce him as our driver for the No. 42 team,” said Ganassi. “In three races with our organization in 2018 and watching ever since, he showed me and everyone else that he is a tenacious driver who wants to win. We believe that Ross will give our team the opportunity to be competitive each week and our sponsors someone to build a program around. Additionally, his racing background has him well-suited to make the move to the Cup Series.”
Chastain, a native of Alva Florida, began his racing career at the age of 12 at Punta Gorda Speedway in his home state, racing in both late model stock cars and Fastruck Series events. During his short-track racing career he scored over 50 feature wins, including the 2011 World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway, winning three of eight events in the series.
Chastain made his first NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS) in 2011 and raced in that series for three seasons. Chastain began racing in the NXS in 2014 while continuing to make starts in the Truck Series. Chastain made his first start in the NCS in 2017 and ran nearly a full season in both 2018 and 2019 while also competing in the NXS. He also raced full-time in the NGROTS in 2019, where he won three races and finished second in the points standings. In total, Chastain has 352 starts in NASCAR’s three top series, with three wins in the NGROTS and two wins in the NXS. Since 2017, he has continued to make starts in all three national series.
“I can’t thank Chip enough for this opportunity,” said Chastain. “The faith he and the organization showed me back in 2018 was a real turning point in my career, and I am extremely happy for the chance to join the team again especially with all the great guys they have on the 42 and to be able to team with a champion like Kurt Busch. Racing in the Cup Series with a serious contender has always been my goal, and I’m looking forward to joining what is a very strong team. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m ready to get to work and help bring more success to the organization.”
Chastain earned the nickname ‘Melon Man’ because for eight generations his family has been involved in watermelon farming. Chastain continues to work on the family’s land when his schedule allows. Chastain’s signature move after a race win is to spike a watermelon at the finish line.
Chastain’s CGR teammate Kurt Busch is excited to have the ‘Melon Man’ as part of the CGR lineup in 2021.
.@RossChastain is a great addition to @CGRTeams. I’ve watched his relentless pursuit to make it to the top level of @NASCAR, and I know he will continue to give everything he has to win! Chip likes winners! https://t.co/BlAzGOljCE
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) September 21, 2020
Kevin Harvick Holds Off Kyle Busch To Win NASCAR Cup Series Bristol Night Race
BRISTOL, TN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kevin Harvick continued his incredible season by holding off Kyle Busch to win the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Harvick’s No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang beat the No. 18 Skittles Camry to the checkered flag by .310-second and led a race-high 226-laps en route to Harvick’s 58th career Cup Series victory.
“We had just a really, really good Busch Light Ford Mustang tonight,” said Harvick. “I got it a little dinged up with 50 or 60 laps to go. I knocked a hole in the nose and made it a little too tight through the center of the corner, but turned into a heck of a race, in and out of traffic there with Kyle. He got me once pinned up there in traffic and I was able to do the same thing back and then hold the lead there until the end.”
“Frustrated over finishing second,” said Busch. “You know, just felt like this was one of our greater shots to win, and I don’t know. You know, just come up short. Skittles Camry was fast and we had a good car, one that was in contention all night long. Fired off the start of the race, I was like, oh, wow, this is a pretty good car and then got beat by another really good car, I guess.”
Harvick was already locked into the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 by virtue of his win at Darlington and Busch’s second place allowed him to advance based on points.
Four drivers failed to advance and were eliminated from the playoffs: William Byron, who was involved in an incident where he slammed into the back of another car. Ryan Blaney finished 13th but did not have enough points to advance. Matt DiBenedetto finished 19th and did not have enough points to advance and Cole Custer finished 23rd and is out of the playoffs.
The race featured 14-lead changes among 8-drivers and was slowed by 5-caution flags for 50-laps. The average speed of the race was 95.911-mph.
The NASCAR Cup Series moves onto Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 27, 2020.