MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott and the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team will be racing for a Championship next weekend after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
Elliott needed to win the race to be eligible in next weekend’s Cup Series finale at Phoenix. The No. 9 NAPA Camaro was 25-points below the cut-line entering the event, making it virtually impossible for the team to get in on points.
“I think it’s huge,” said Elliott of the victory. “I think it’s huge for me personally. I think it’s huge for our team as a whole, each and every person that puts in time and effort to try to make our program work. I think when you’re able to be in a position that we were in, like we were tonight, have to go to perform, go and do that, I think everybody gains a lot of confidence from it.”
Elliott had the dominant car on the day at the paper-clip shaped half-mile track, leading 5-times for 236-laps and pulling away to a 6.577-second win, the 10th of his career.
Ryan Blaney finished second followed by his Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.
“Proud of this 12 group,” said Blaney. “Main goal when we got knocked out was to run as well as we can, try to win races, get ready for next year. The past 10 full weeks we’ve been strong. Had a chance to win a couple races. Just need to put it all together.”
The victories by Elliott and Logano automatically locked them into the Championship 4 leaving two spots to be filled by points.
Keselowski’s fourth place finished locked the No. 2 team into the race for the title.
“Making the Championship 4 is a big deal,” said Keselowski. “Credit to Team Penske for that, for having two cars in it, Joey and myself. I thought we were one of the best cars at the end of the race, if not the best car.”
Denny Hamlin also qualified for the Championship finale by points. Hamlin had a very good car early winning the races first stage and finishing third in the races second stage. Hamlin’s car faded late and he wound up finishing the race in 11th place.
Kevin Harvick was the odd man out despite winning a series-best nine races this season. Harvick just didn’t have the dominant car in the final playoff round of three races.
“These Championships aren’t like when Petty and Earnhardt were winning them,” said Harvick on pit road following a 17th place finish, where he rallied back from 2-laps down after cutting a tire. “You have to put them together three weeks at a time and it comes down to one race and it came down to one race for us and we came up short.”
The Championship takes place November 8, 2020 at Phoenix Raceway.
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.