RICHMOND, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Martin Truex Jr. overcame a first lap penalty for jumping the start of the race and came back to win Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders at Richmond Raceway.
Truex beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell for the win, which automatically advances Truex to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs that begins in two weeks at Las Vegas.
“I let the 11 (Hamlin) get a nose out in front of me to get the launch first,” explained Truex about the start of the race. “I wasn’t going to jump him, and then he spun the tires and stopped. What am I supposed to do, stand on the brakes and crash the field behind me?”
Fortunately Truex didn’t crash the field behind him but he was sent to pit road to serve the penalty, which left him the last car in the field.
Hamlin, who led a race-high 197-laps, held on for second place and is also locked into the Round of 12 after his win last weekend at Darlington.
“The whole JGR team had fast cars for all of us today. I really wish we had gotten two in a row, but regardless still a great day for the team,” Hamlin said.
Chase Elliott rallied for a fourth place finish after having losing a lap after trouble in the pits.
A rough pit stop for the No. 9 team of Chase Elliott.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) September 12, 2021
Joey Logano finished fifth with Kyle Larson in sixth. Larson is also locked into the Round of 12 on points.
Four playoff drivers head into Bristol outside of the Top 12 and need to either win or score a ton of points in order to advance.
Hendrick Motorsports Alex Bowman sits in 12th spot after a 12th place finish at Richmond. Bowman is tied in points with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch but Busch wins the tiebreaker by having the best finish in the round. Tyler Reddick, William Byron and Michael McDowell are also on the outside looking in.
Busch was having a great run and even came off pit road in the lead following the competition caution on lap 32 but disaster struck on lap 42.
Kurt Busch is done for the night.
The #NASCARPlayoffs driver has a flat tire and hits the Turn 1 wall.
TV: NBCSN pic.twitter.com/eh0ZsyFlqn
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) September 12, 2021
“Something happened in that left rear,” explained Busch. “It let go and it let go of our points and it let go of our whole season right now.”
Ryan Blaney wins NASCAR All-Star race at Texas
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.”
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.
Racing Notebook: Logano on Darlington pole; Allgaier wins Xfinity race and more
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
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
McGriff, Shelmerdine and Kenseth elected to NASCAR Hall of Fame
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.
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.