Kyle Larson celebrates return with 1st win since suspension
LAS VEGAS – Kyle Larson wasn’t sure he’d ever race again in NASCAR, and if he could, he didn’t know who would even hire him. On Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson raced to his first NASCAR victory since he was reinstated from a nearly yearlong suspension. “Thanks Mr. H. for believing in me,” Larson radioed to boss Rick Hendrick after crossing the finish line. Larson is considered one of the top talents in NASCAR but won just six times in six seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing. “He got in a great car, he's a great driver and he's going to make things happen,” runner-up Brad Keselowski said.
Byron gives NASCAR another surprise winner at Homestead
William Byron was the third surprise winner through three races this season with his victory Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Byron controlled most of the final two stages at Homestead to win for the second time in 111 Cup starts. Byron entered the weekend as a 28-1 shot to win a race many expected would provide a return to normal for the racing series. The Roush Fenway Racing driver led five times for a total of 57 laps, but he started to fade "when as sunset neared. He ended up getting X-rays, which were negative, and was cleared to work the Cup Series event.
NASCAR's 'unique' winners already altering playoff landscape
Christopher Bell celebrates at the finish line after winning the NASCAR Cup Series road course auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)HOMESTEAD, Fla. – NASCAR’s postseason landscape has been altered after just two Cup Series races. “The number of unique winners is really going to change how many cars get in on points, right? Although Bell drives for powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing, he was a rookie for that top team and in his second full season in the Cup series. The Cup Series opened on a superspeedway, then raced on a road course, and now heads to an intermediate track. Whether that’s different markets, different racetracks, it has to be different from year to year.
Bell snags first Cup victory in another surprise Gibbs win
Michael McDowell was the surprise Daytona 500 winner and then Bell earned an earlier-than-expected first trip to victory lane. The 26-year-old Oklahoman is a longtime Toyota development driver who won 16 Xfinity Series races driving for Gibbs. Ty Gibbs, the 18-year-old grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, won the Xfinity Series race Saturday night in his first career national series start. Kevin Harvick finished sixth and AJ Allmendinger, in his first Cup race since the 2018 season finale, finished seventh. It was the highest finish in three Cup races for Kaulig Racing, an Xfinity Series team formed in 2016 that wants to be full-time Cup next season.
Hiccup for Hendrick Motorsports ahead of Daytona 500
Alex Bowman and William Byron were slated to lead the Daytona 500 field to green but that's in danger following Thursday night's qualifying races. Byron was collected in a crash in the second Duel and it ruined his Chevrolet. AdAustin Cindric and Kaz Grala both earned their first berths into the Daytona 500 by claiming the two available transfer positions in the Duels. He was the leader on the final lap of the second Duel until Dillon crossed to Wallace’s inside and inched ahead. “We’ve got an incredible race car and I can’t wait for the Daytona 500.”
Jones lands iconic No. 43 with Richard Petty Motorsports
43 next season for Richard Petty Motorsports, a pairing of a driver and a team both in need of fresh starts. 43 next season for Richard Petty Motorsports, a pairing of a driver and a team both in need of fresh starts. The loss of Wallace could have crippled RPM, the cash-strapped team co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty. Jones won rookie of the year in the Truck, Xfinity and Cup Series, as well as the Truck Series championship. Richard Petty took on a series of different investors beginning in 2009 for re-branded Richard Petty Motorsports, which last put the No.
Logano wins at Kansas to clinch spot in Cup Series finale
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Joey Logano spent the final 40-plus laps at Kansas Speedway keeping an eye on Kevin Harvick in his rear-view mirror. Now, he can look ahead to the NASCAR Cup Series finale at Phoenix. Using every bit of the track Sunday to hold off the winningest driver this season, Logano took the checkered flag on a cold, blustery Sunday to secure a spot in the championship round of the playoffs. Hamlin managed to hold off the 2014 series champion to win his 10th stage of the season. Then, midway through the final stage, he began to notice a problem in his car.
Kevin Harvick nabs 9th win of season to roll into 2nd round
Busch furiously tried to catch him as the two weaved their way through lapped traffic, but Harvick held firm in the No. Only six cars finished on the lead lap in a tepid event at the 0.533-mile bullring revered for bumping and banging. Track officials sold all 30,000 tickets allowed — making Bristol one of the largest sporting events since the pandemic — and the spectators crowded the fence as Harvick celebrated his second win of the playoffs. Erik Jones, who is not eligible for the playoffs, finished third for Joe Gibbs Racing and was followed by rookie Tyler Reddick and playoff contenders Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer. Denny Hamlin, considered the closest challenger to Harvick this year, closed out a sub-par opening round of the playoffs with a 21st-place finish.
Ryan Blaney hopes to avoid playoff elimination at Bristol
With a bit of disbelief over his fast fall in the NASCAR standings, Ryan Blaney is determined to avoid elimination from the playoffs. William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Blaney are the four drivers below the cutline headed into the knockout race. “This whole group, this team, we are not a 16th-place-in-points team,” Blaney said. 12 team was also off last week at Richmond, where Blaney finished 19th to fall to the edge of elimination. Cole Custer trails Bowyer by eight points, while DiBendetto is 25 points behind and Blaney is 27 points out.
Suarez on the move again after parting with Gaunt Brothers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Daniel Suarez, who landed a ride two weeks before the season-opening Daytona 500, will not return to Gaunt Brothers Racing next season and is seeking a new team for the third time in three years. Gaunt Brothers said Tuesday it was a mutual decision for the Mexican driver to leave the team. “I’m extremely thankful to my entire Toyota family for everything they have done for me, especially this year," Suarez said. “I will always be grateful to them for having my back.”Suarez has struggled with Gaunt Brothers, which is in its first full season of Cup competition. His long relationship with Toyota helped Suarez get the job with Gaunt Brothers, a team that began in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2010 and the Canada-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
Road king: Elliott wins at Daytona for 3rd straight on road
NASCARs most popular driver won the Cup Series road course race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, holding off hard-charging Denny Hamlin following a late restart and notching his third consecutive victory away from ovals. The 24-year-old Elliott also won on road courses at Charlotte and at Watkins Glen last year. Elliott, Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. had the cars to beat. Making up that kind of ground on a 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course was a nearly impossible tough task, especially considering Elliott was turning mistake-free laps at the front of the field. Newman was one of the few Cup drivers with experience on Daytonas road course.
Leavine Family Racing to close at end of 2020 season
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Leavine Family Racing has sold its NASCAR team but will finish the season with driver Christopher Bell. Leavine is the second team owner to close its doors after aligning with Joe Gibbs Racing. We will say goodbye at the conclusion of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, Leavine said. Leavine Family Racing has competed in NASCAR since 2011, making its debut with David Starr at Texas Motor Speedway. Leavine Family Racing is winless in 240 Cup starts.
Hamlin holds off Keselowski for fifth Cup victory of season
KANSAS CITY, Kan. Denny Hamlin raced to his his series-leading fifth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season Thursday night, passing Kevin Harvick in the closing laps and holding off Brad Keselowski to make it back-to-back victories at Kansas Speedway. Joey Logano led early before his night went sideways and took some playoff contenders with him. His problems began when a tire got loose on pit road during the first stage, sending him to the back. He was working his way forward early in the final stage when his left front tire went down, sending Logano into the outside wall. Weve had some really bad weeks, Stenhouse said.